It is with great sadness this weekend that we share the loss of our dear friend Brian Manning, one of the greatest and most loved supporters of both the Newcastle Eagles basketball club and our community foundation.

As chief executive of our main sponsors Esh Group since the early 1990s leading the steady growth of the business, Brian earned a significant reputation as one of the North East’s most astute businessmen with a vision to serve the community.

A familiar face to all Eagles fans from his immeasurable support over many years, Brian passed away on Friday morning following a short battle with cancer.

Our managing director Paul Blake described Brian as “a hugely enthusiastic supporter and mentor of the club and foundation”. Paul added “more importantly Brian was a great friend to us all and very much part of the Eagles family. He was very proud of the North East and will be sorely missed by all of us.”

Staff at Esh Group paid tribute to Brian after news broke on Friday afternoon and chairman Michael Hogan said: “All of our thoughts are with Brian’s family at this very sad time. The success of Esh Group is a massive testament to Brian as a person and a businessman, and all staff are united in continuing his remarkable legacy, in his memory.

Along with his colleagues at Esh Group, the thoughts of all our Eagles staff and team, along with those of all our fans, are with Brian’s family at this difficult time.