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The Newcastle Eagles are a professional basketball team based in Newcastle upon Tyne, England. They compete in the British Basketball League (BBL) and are one of the most successful franchises in the league’s history.
The club’s roots can be traced back to the founding of EPAB Washington in 1976. The club played in Sunderland through the 1980s and early 1990s.
In 1995, owner Dave Elderkin controversially moved the club to Newcastle, renaming them the Newcastle Comets.
Soon afterwards the club was bought by Sir John Hall, then the chairman of Newcastle United, adding them to his Newcastle Sporting Group of the city’s football, ice hockey and rugby teams. Hall’s Sporting Club group did not go as planned, and upon its dissolution, Ken Nottage and Paul Blake became the Eagles’ new owners.
The final name change, from the Comets to the Eagles, took place in 1996. Performances remained consistent with the club achieving regular top five league placings from 1998 onwards.
The Eagles cabinet was bare until the 2004-2005 season, save for a courageous effort against the Jet Wash Cheshire side in the 2001 BBL Trophy. The team took the long trip to the Brighton Centre to face Nick Nurse’s Brighton Bears on their own court in the 2005 BBL Trophy. This proved to be the beginning of Eagles prolonged period of success as the side walked away with coveted vase. The team went on to win the BBL Play-Off Final at the Birmingham NIA against the Chester Jets.
They are the only team to have done the “Clean Sweep” (BBL Championship, BBL Play-Offs, BBL Cup, and BBL Trophy) three times, with the first in 2005-06, along with the 2011-12, and 2014-15 seasons, and have now won 27 trophies over the last 20 years.
Despite their success in domestic competitions, the club are yet to take the plunge in European competitions, with owner Paul Blake always being clear any attempt to make the jump needs to be done sustainably.
Here are our latest news stories on the Newcastle Eagles:
The Eagles play their home games at the Vertu Motors Arena, which opened in 2019. The arena has a seating capacity of 3,000 and is considered one of the best purpose built basketball facilities in England.
It is a three court facility, and has corporate hospitality rooms, a merchandise shop, plus bar/cafe along with changing rooms, showers and other standard amenities you would expect.
The Newcastle Eagles biggest rivalry is with the Leicester Riders, being the league’s two most dominant franchises over the past decade, meeting in numerous finals.
Of the 36 major titles on offer since 2011, Newcastle and Leicester have won 26.
No other franchise has come close to breaking the two clubs’ near monopoly on the British game during the last 10 years.
The Eagles are owned by businessman Paul Blake, who bought the Newcastle Eagles Basketball Club from former Newcastle United Chairman Sir John Hall in 1999. Since then, under his management and guidance, the Newcastle Eagles have become the most successful team in British basketball history, winning 27 trophies over the last 20 years.
Blake has been instrumental in the team’s success, and his leadership has helped establish the Eagles as one of the premier franchises in the BBL. He received an honorary degree from Northumbria University in 2022 for his services to basketball in the North east.
Newcastle have had many notable players throughout their history, including Andrew Sullivan, Fab Flournoy, Charles Smith, and Rahmon Fletcher. Sullivan and Fletcher are both former BBL MVPs.
Marc Steutel (2022-Present)