| BIRMINGHAM boss Graham Drury says double title winning skipper Tom Perry leaves the club with his best wishes. |
Perry has returned to local rivals Cradley for the 2017 season after two memorable years with the Surestop Brummies.
Drury admits it will be "strange" not having Perry in his own side for next season but insists Birmingham will still build a team more than capable of making it a trio of consecutive National League titles.
Said Drury: "Being the league Champions with seven outstanding riders always means you're going to have to make some pretty big changes.
"We were always realistic with the fact that we would have to lose three, potentially even four, of that title winning side.
"Unfortunately, Tom Perry is the first rider who we have lost and when Cradley decide that they wanted him back, it was out of our hands in many respects.
"On his average, it was proving hard to put a draft team into place where Tom fitted in nicely and the numbers game can be cruel in this sport.
"However, there are no hard feelings whatsoever; Tom has been an absolutely fantastic servant to Birmingham Speedway and he will always be popular among our supporters.
"He has been an outstanding captain of the team and he has always given it 110 per cent out on track.
"Tom leaves with our best wishes and we hope he has a great season with Glasgow in the SGB Championship, and another good year individually in the National League.
"The AGM takes place this Tuesday and once rules and regulations have been finalised, we will be able to crack on with our own team planning.
"I think some clubs have been quite foolish in being presumptuous regarding the rules for 2017 and I've been in this game long enough to know that can come back and bite you on the backside.
"Once the AGM has passed, I will be straight on the phone to riders and we will be putting together yet another team who will be major contenders for the league Championship come the end of the season."
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