NEWCASTLE Eagles club captain Andrew Bridge has vowed that he will spend the rest of his playing career on Tyneside – unless he is axed. Long-serving Bridge has been with Fabulous Flournoy’s men for six years, and has won every major accolade in British basketball.
But with Newcastle’s incapacity to pick up silverware in a stop-start season, he could be forgiven if he was tempted by a move away from Flournoy’s roster. However, the Great Britain star is adamant he is happy plying his trade under the bright lights of the Metro Radio Arena.
‘I think there’s a good chance that I will be staying put,’ said Bridge. ‘The thing about basketball is it’s a year-to-year existence, but at the moment it feels good and I’d definitely not rule out staying here forever. I’m very happy but at some point the club might decide they want to go in a different direction. It happened with TJ Walker, so in the back of my mind I know it’s not 100% guaranteed.’
The Eagles travel to Merseyside tomorrow for a clash with the Cheshire Jets hoping to extend their 11-game league unbeaten run. When the 29-year-old Bridge joined the ranks of Paul Blake’s emerging franchise they were just a team budding with talent. But, seven years on, Newcastle are arguably the biggest club in British hoops and the envy of the country.
‘Paul had only just taken the club over a year or two before and they were still building the club up,’ said Bridge. ‘Now we own property, it’s grown beyond anything I thought it would do in my career. Looking at other clubs around Europe, we have what they have off the court. It’s just that financially we can’t pay the players the same kind of money.’
‘The club owns apartments where players can live when they first come over. We’ve got nice cars. We have some of the best physios in the country. One of our physios has worked at athletics world championships and Olympics, another used to be one of Sunderland (football club)’s physios. We have the best in that sense.’