Bullets trailing Nurse and Dorsey

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The mult-millionaire owner of Birmingham Bullets, Craig Bown, cheekily threw a spanner into the works of Manchester Giants' preparations for the Dairylea Dunkers Championship final at Wembley on Saturday by announcing that he wants to sign both their coach and leading player for next season.

Although Bown is new to the Bullets this season, the Giants' coach, Nick Nurse, and the league's player of the year, Tony Dorsey, have sat on the Bullets' bench before. Nurse was the immediate predecessor of his close friend and former college room-mate, Mike Finger, who ends a three-year stint with the Bullets on Saturday to return to the States with his wife Susie, who is expecting their first child.

When Bullets last won the championship final, in 1998, Finger was in his debut season and Dorsey was his leading player. Now Nurse is being given the chance to return and Bown wants Dorsey as well.

Bown said: "American Bullets first won the championship under Nurse in 1996, and when they repeated the triumph in 1998. We've approached Manchester and asked for permission to speak to Nick. His most successful time was when he was with the Bullets and we know that he still has a soft spot for the city and the club."

That swipe at Nurse's underachievement at Manchester will not impress the Giants' general manager, Jay Goldberg, and neither will Bown's desire to "get together before the final and strike a deal."

Bown then made a play for Dorsey, who also has a close friend on the Bullets' roster in Nigel Lloyd. Bown said: "Everybody knows about the strong relationship between Nick and Tony and we very much see them as a package."

Lloyd, discussing Dorsey's player of the year award, said last week: "Tony gets better and better and the people he plays with get better and better. I wish he was on my team again." Asked if he thought it would happen for next season, Lloyd said: "Who knows?"