Lions Accepted Into National League Division 4 2009: Middlesbrough Lions

Lions Accepted Into National League Division 4

Middlesbrough Lions have been notified by England Basketball that their application for entry into National League Division 4 has been successful.
The news represents a significant step forward for a club that has only been formed for two years. In this short space of time, Middlesbrough Lions have a developed a huge community profile and attracted large crowds of 250+ at home games during this season’s campaign in the National Founders Cup. On the court, the team reached the final 16 of the competition, losing out to the eventual finalists Kings Lynn Ironwolf. Off the court the club has one of the best home game set ups in the country. Sheffield Sharks coach Steve Barnett is one of the leading junior development coaches in the UK and commented after visiting Middlesbrough “We were made to feel very welcome at Middlesbrough and entered the court to an NBA style intro with music, announcer and a spotlight!” On the court, Lions head James Thomson will be looking to strengthen his squad as the club prepare for a feast of fixtures compared to last season. The additional fixtures though is actually welcomed by Coach Thomson. “As a club, we just didn’t have enough home games and actually went two months without a game at Eston, which makes it harder to develop a fan base.” The club enjoyed an attendance of 250 at Darfield late January and 60 against Northumbria in early April. The final game against Menwith Hill on 19th April attracted the biggest crowd of the season at 284. The club are now preparing a large scale marketing campaign to attract new fans with the additional bonus of what should be an exciting home game every fortnight.
“We have identified key areas of the squad which are in need of strengthening, although the core of the team was very good this season, we have endured a terrible run of injuries and we don’t want to be caught short this again.” added Coach Thomson. Although no new player signings have been officially announced, one signing that has been confirmed is Coach Sid Nicholls, who will continue with the Lions for a second term. Coach Nicholls is highly regarded at the club and brings a wealth of experience as the head coach of the Royal Navy. Coach Thomson welcomed the news adding “Sid is an important part of the club and we were keen to secure his services for another season. His knowledge and tactical awareness will benefit all our players, both developing and established.”

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