- National Teams
Basketball in Manchester is poised for big changes as the city is awash with rumours of the re-emergence of former BBL franchise Manchester Giants.
After EBL Division 1 side Manchester Magic ruled out entering the BBL next season, rumours started swirling of the re-birth of the Manchester Giants franchise. This week the Magic have announced the withdrawal of their Senior Men’s team from EBL Division 1, adding further fuel to the fire.
The decision to focus on their Division 3 team, made up of their top young prospects, is due to the board wanting to “forge a much closer link between the youngsters who are doing so consistently well each year, and the Club Senior Men’s team”, a link that they feel has not been established well enough in the past according to a press release on their website. Their is no mention however, of an impending BBL franchise for the city.
The press release states:
Manchester Magic is moving in a different direction with its Senior Men’s team. After a decade of great success with our Boys age group teams, and the winning of a multitude of National Championships and National Cups, we would like to forge a much closer link between the youngsters who are doing so consistently well each year, and the Club Senior Men’s team. We do not feel that we have established this link well enough in the past. The Trustees have therefore decided that we will just compete in Men’s Div 3 next season. It is our intention to start afresh at Senior Men’s level and the Trustees would like to make the following points:
- It will be much easier to build a new system, with solid foundations and good principles from a Division 3 starting point. We intend that many of our Under 18 players in September 2011 will play for this team, and they will be joined by some more experienced players who will be required to make a definite, medium term commitment to our Club. i.e. 2 or 3 years.
- We will promote the student/athlete system and will welcome players who may be studying within travelling distance of Amaechi Basketball Centre and wish to play for the Magic. We may be able to help financially with a contribution to course fees for suitable, high quality players.
- The Club target will be to get from EBL Division 3 to EBL Division 1 as quickly as possible. We do NOT see ourselves as a ‘Division 3 Club’, but a ‘Division 1 Club’. We are simply using a different philosophy to get there. If we are able to re-establish ourselves as a Division 1 team, with a bulk of our own youngsters playing for this team, we feel that we would then have a structured pathway from Under 13 Boys to Senior Men which will be attractive to any youngster playing for any of our National League teams.
- We have no intention of dealing in short term fixes, but wish to establish a new, long-term strategy.
- We will continue to encourage our players to play at the highest personal level they can. We accept that, in order for the more talented players to follow a career in basketball, they may have to move from the Club. e.g. to the USA. We will continue to support this movement.
The Manchester Evening News has reported that Magic Chief Joe Forber is open to working with a BBL franchise in the city.
“Magic chief Joe Forber is open to the idea of co-operation between Magic and the proposed BBL club – and doesn’t rule out the idea that the pro team could, in the short-term, operate out of the club’s Amaechi Centre base.
That would provide much needed income for Magic – who have played host to a number of Mersey Tigers games this season – and allow an informal link between the two Manchester set-ups that Forber admits could be “mutually beneficial”.
“Though this has been a long-term plan for us, the BBL thing forces our hand (to withdraw from EBL Division 1-Ed) in terms of players and crowds,” he added.
“We know the fans will want to watch the top-level games and the best players will want to go BBL too. I’ve always said that our players should play at the highest level possible. If our kids are good enough to play in the BBL they should.
“The trustees will look at the a BBL team using the centre to see what the benefits are and, though I can’t speak for all of them, I think there could be a mutually beneficial link.”
What do you think of it all? Happy to see a re-birth of the Giants at the expense of the Magic D1 side? Drop a comment and let us know your thoughts!