TADEA Lions Boss Hungry For Success Next Season
By Tom Jameson
Thursday 05 May 2011 16:55:00
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TADEA Middlesbrough Lions chairman and head coach; James Thomson has signalled his intentions for next season and is as eager as ever to build a team capable of achieving success.


This week England Basketball announced the National League Division 4 line up which will provide at least 15 home games for the Lions fans to look forward to after Mr Thomson confirmed the club have entered the National Shield and National Cup.

TADEA Middlesbrough Lions will face another long season next year as 14 teams were confirmed for Division 4. There are four teams missing from last season as both Warrington Wolves and Huddersfield Heat were promoted to Division 3 while Bury Blue Devils, Durham Wildcats II and Wirral Hornets were all disbanded. In their place enter Bradford pair; The Maroons and Dragons II, Chidwell Stars, Mold Magic, Oldham Titans and Rossendale Raptors to spice things up.


Established sides such as Hull Wasps, Stockport Falcons II and Liverpool will all compete as well as a return for last season newcomers Cheshire Jets II, Newcastle Eagles II and the impressive Burnley College Blaze.


It is a shame that three teams have withdrawn. Bury Blue Devils suffered last season with the departure of coach Chris Walsh and were unable to fulfil some games toward the end of the season. For Durham finances may be a possible reason as the club prepare a bid to enter the BBL while the omission of Wirral came as a shock, especially as a team that seemed to do quite well.


As for the new teams, little is known about them and opens an opportunity for topic discussion in the Lions group on Facebook.


Two former England Legends in Warrington's Delme Herriman and Huddersfields player of season; Jason Swaine will be plying their trade in Division 3 next season but for Lions fans, the news of an extra team is good news, with an extra game to watch at Eston Sports Academy and the league missing two great players will hopefully boost Lions chances of doing well.


Mr Thomson said “Last Season was our second year of National League Basketball and I believe it was a significant one. This season we managed to improve our winning record with 9 wins and 15 losses which was better than the previous season at 4 wins and 14 losses. We also secured major sponsors in TADEA, Heaven Scent and Tavistock as we all as retaining partnerships with Tees Valley Leisure and Ravenwood Roofing.”

Most significantly Mr Thomson described the development of the clubs fan base as the biggest success. “We have a dedicated following of fans that support the team home and away and over the season have grown a real passion for the club.” There is every reason to believe that this fan base will continue to multiply over the coming years and if it follows the current trend, Mr Thomson’s dream of filling the 1,200 capacity Eston Sports Academy may soon become a reality. “We put on a good, entertaining show, not just basketball and this is very appealing for spectators, especially families.” Added Mr Thomson and when asked about the pricing structure, he indicated that the club is keen to remain as low priced as possible to ensure that the majority of people in Teesside can afford a ticket. Last season, tickets were only £4 adults and £3 children.


“As a club, we look good, have a great media profile, extensive presence in the community and attract large crowds to our games. In this sense we have been very successful and this potential has helped us secure some major partners to assist our development. There is little time to sit back and admire however and with all the existing ingredients in place there is a real desire to do well on the court. I must now work hard to attract players of a high calibre that can help us become successful.”


Last season Mr Thomson did this with the signing of Tom Robinson who went on to establish himself as one of the best players in the league. The signing of American DaWaun Wells was another major step as the first foreign professional signed by the club. Although Wells didn’t always live up to the high expectations, his signing is further evidence of the direction the club is heading.


There will be many new faces this season as a number of players move on. Anthony Humes is leaving to attend university in USA while John Ford is also leaving to attend university at Keele, near Stoke. Matt Taylor, victim of a bad broken finger is yet to announce his decision to keep playing. There is much hard work and negotiation taking place behind the scenes to sign and re-sign players but it is the right kind of player that is crucial.


“The player has to fit into the club and my ethos. It takes a special type of person to suit the Lions and this is one area which has helped to entice such devoted fans. The majority of our players and keen to be involved in community events, junior coaching, promotional events. They have a willingness to assist the clubs development.”

This obviously narrows down the field of available players, but Mr Thomson is adamant that the clubs policy will not change. “We don’t need to just open our doors to anyone and everyone. We are looking for players who will improve the team and portray themselves in a professional manner. I have had interest from many players both locally and internationally. Some of the local based players would surprise many. If they are right for the club, financially viable and good enough then I will make every effort to bring them to TADEA Middlesbrough Lions.”


Until then, it would appear to be a game of wait and see.

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