Oxford greyhound racing stadium is no stranger to financial crises and the looming threat of closure. Indeed, its history is more chequered than the flags which signalled speedway racing at the track until 2007.

We reported recently how Oxford City Council said that owners of the Blackbird Leys stadium believed it was no longer viable and could be used for housing.

But Greyhound Racing Association, which owns the Sandy Lane stadium, said it was “not about to cease racing at Oxford” – so this dog might not have had its day just yet.

The Oxford Stadium was built in 1938 and opened in 1939, with its inaugural race night held on March 31, five months before the outbreak of the Second World War.

Since then, the stadium has been more akin to a cat than a greyhound, when it comes to lives.

Disaster first struck in 1944 when a fire devastated much of the stand.

A new one was built and in the early 1950s the Bristol Stadium company took over, changing the grass track to sand in 1967.

But warning bells started to ring in 1973 when a private developer submitted plans for 112 new homes and 288 car parking spaces on the site.

The national power crisis of 1973 didn’t help with constant power cuts disrupting race nights, leading stadium general manager Clarke Osborne to buy £10,000 generator from Holland.

But 1973 and its problems, went on and on. A new stadium was proposed in Abingdon Road, but these plans were also rejected.

Then the city council bought the stadium for £235,000 and it finally looked ‘done for’ until a campaign by workers and patrons was started.

Letters of support for the stadium flooded into the Town Hall and the council gave the campaigning committee a two-month period to come up with a new promoter, or see it closed.

The official Save our Stadium (SoS) campaign was launched and a 27,000 name petition was presented to the council, while Tory MP Michael Heseltine called for a public meeting.

The campaign put in a bid for a ten-year lease of the stadium and raised £12,000 in their first month but were still £70,000 short.

But councillors seemed impressed by the strength of public feeling and granted SoS a two-year lease, despite getting a better offer from Bristol Stadium.

Volunteers rallied to help run the stadium, but the Bristol company’s noses had been put firmly out of joint and they refused to lease them their machinery.

For the first time since 1939, the stadium was forced to close, shutting its doors in January 1976.

Eighteen months later Northern Sports showed an interest in taking over, but there was even more drama to come.

The council rejected the £185,000 takeover bid and gave the MDs just five days to come up with £300,000 or see council houses built on the site.

Five hundred more protest letters poured into the council offices and marches were planned on the Town Hall. All seemed lost.

But Northern Sports came up with a last ditch offer of £250,000 and the council accepted.

The stadium was safe again. But for how long?

Years of much-needed prosperity followed. A 1986 rebuild made it one of the biggest provincial tracks in the country but the stadium’s future was again thrown into doubt when Northern Sports went into receivership.

The Greyhound Racing Association took over in 1999.

Angie Kibble, 63, who owns the Hoskins Farm Kennels in Bampton and started training dogs at Oxford Stadium aged 13, said fans would be devastated by closure.

The grandmother of one said: It’s not an understatement to say the stadium and the dogs are my life, I have been there for 50 years and it is in my blood.

“Back in the early days there were only eight race meetings a week and the track was as basic as can be, plus, there was also no security and our dogs were prized, so people would try to steal them.

“After thieves were spotted one night, the management asked trainers to help out and I ended up sleeping in the kennels with the dogs for a few nights – it was the only way to keep them safe!”

Mrs Kibble became a trainer herself and now has 70 greyhounds and over 200 trophies to her name.

She said: “Race and training-wise I am there five out of seven days a week.

“I don’t know what would happen to me and a lot of other trainers if the place closed.

“A lot of the other tracks have already closed and Swindon already has its allocation of trainers, so that’s not an option.

“My career and that of the dogs would just end. It would be devastating.”