Newcastle Eagles’ player-coach Fab Flournoy has handed British guard Andrew Bridge the club captain role in what will be the Chesterfield-born player’s sixth successive season on Tyneside.

While Bridge will have to take the reins from an Eagles icon in the now departed TJ Walker, Flournoy is nevertheless confident that his new leader is perfect for the role and is likely to be a huge success.

He said ‘I guess that I didn’t really choose Bridgey for the role of captain this season if the truth be told – it was a natural choice that he made himself because of all of the attributes that he has.

‘He will be a great leader for our team and I am one hundred percent certain he commands respect from all of our players but even more importantly, I know that Bridgey will give them the respect back which is essential.

Bridge, who has collected seven BBL winners medals and a Commonwealth bronze medal in recent season established himself despite having arrived as a relative unknown bench player from Sheffield way back in 2002.

Flournoy has been quick to point out that Bridge has put himself into the position off the back of some hard work and commitment – qualities which had the New Yorker waxing lyrical about the guard.

He explained ‘His dedication, professionalism and work ethic is outstanding and you can’t fail but to admire him for that.

‘He knows what it takes to win trophies and deliver success. His level-headed and honest approach means he can be our Captain Fantastic.

Flournoy, who unveiled his team at the official team launch yesterday will hand Bridge the responsibility for real on Saturday in their first game – a low-key pre-season friendly with the travelling USA Team Select.

The Eagles will then undertake a pre-season trip to Norway as they prepare for the mouth watering first BBL game of the new 2007/08 season when they will host reigning league champions Guildford Heat.