Basketball: Grounded Eagles search for owner

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NEWCASTLE EAGLES have joined their rugby union colleagues in searching for a new owner after Sir John Hall's decision to abandon his Newcastle Sporting Club concept.

The Budweiser League side's general manager, Paul Blake, said yesterday: "We are looking for a new owner for our franchise, which has been a spectacular success in terms of growth and becoming a feasible business operation. As it stands today there is not by any means a problem getting to the end of the season."

The coach, Paul Lynch, was in agreement: "With basketball, we're on solid ground with fans and with sponsors. Our wage bill is smaller than the ice hockey, plus we've been successful and have been attracting sponsors."

Basketball was an important part of Sir John's Newcastle Sporting Club, which was built on Continental lines, alongside football, rugby and ice hockey. However, following last year's demise of the ice hockey team, the rugby union and basketball elements have now lost their financial backing too.

The Basketball League is already looking for new owners for Birmingham Bullets, but Blake denied that there was any prospect of the Eagles also reverting to League control in the interim. "The basketball club is more than feasible as a business and we hope to make an announcement within a couple of days," Blake said.

Charlie Bannerman has been appointed assistant coach at bottom-of-the- League Worthing Bears, another club contemplating new ownership.