RICHARD MIDGLEY has admitted he is to blame for his shock exit from Newcastle Eagles, by Paul Nilsen, Evening Chronicle, – and has paid tribute to the club ahead of his proposed move to Everton. Speaking candidly about his roller-coaster time on Tyneside, the Great Britain guard was eager to deny claims the Eagles were to blame for his departure.

He said: ‘I am sad to be leaving because they are a great club and I have respect for the management in terms of Paul (Blake) and Fab (Flournoy), who have been excellent. If I am completely honest I am being selfish and looking after my long-term career as I want to play in Europe in years to come, and that means playing point guard.’

‘My future lies in Europe as a point guard and therefore I have to play there this season. I was getting frustrated at not being given the responsibility of playing in my preferred position, and as time went by I probably did not handle that very well. I bottled a lot of things up and I am to blame for maybe not dealing with playing out of position, and it is just better for me to move on.’

‘I am looking forward to joining Everton and I know I can help them progress as a team and move up the table. I know I am possibly missing out on trophies by leaving Newcastle, because I feel they are more than capable of winning anything on offer this season.’

Midgley has also denied his rocky relationship with Flournoy was the main reason for his departure and was keen to praise his former boss – despite their differences. He added: ‘Fab does a great job in what is a difficult player-coach role and has brought success to the club, which nobody can dispute.’

‘I would be lying if I said there were not issues, but I just never got used to the concept of a player-coach. It was a really difficult situation for me to adjust to that, and I know even Fab himself would ideally want to be doing either one job or the other. We had some disagreements, but I cannot say enough about the effort he puts into the team and also into the community work he does.’

Midgley will not have to wait long to face his old employers, with the Eagles pencilled in to face Everton in Liverpool on December 28 – and the player is already looking forward to it. He said: ‘Although I was only with the club for a short period of time, I will miss a lot of people as I made friends both on and off the court.’

‘I will be looking forward to seeing everyone again when both teams meet. I will miss the fans because Newcastle are one of the few teams in the league where the supporters follow their team all over the country and they have given me great support ever since I arrived.’