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Crusaders Enter New Era

Dip Donaldson, Coventry CrusadersIf the people of Coventry want top class basketball in the city then they have to vote with their feet according to Crusaders coach Dip Donaldson.

Donaldson believes the team are entering a new era with the construction of the Rank Arena in the city, which will be the Crusaders new venue for their home matches.

The arena will hold 4,000 people with Crusaders staging their first match there in November, and Donaldson is hoping that big crowds will alert Budweiser league officials to the potential of his side.

He said:

"If we pack in the crowds they will be begging us to join the Budweiser and then that will spark off all the other benefits that you can get.

"Not only will it mean being able to see the highest standard of basketball in the country right here in the city, but it will also bring Sky TV to Coventry six of seven times a season.

"Attendance is the crucial factor now for Coventry Crusaders. We have really big plans for the future but if that is not backed up by crowds then we will not get sponsorship, so in turn will not be able to afford to bring new players here."

The American coach has already pulled off one major coup bringing well known player Derek Pope to the Crusaders.

The 37-year-old is seen by the club as an ideal figure to lead proceedings on the court as well as helping the younger players through training.

French-American Pope has played the previous 14 years in France and Donaldson is delighted that he will now be representing the Crusaders.

He said:

"We played together 15 years ago and we have remained friends since then. I know he has turned down several offers from other top sides in France and we are very excited that he has decided to join us."

On a more disappointing note Donaldson admitted that he had ‘scrapped’ plans for a new training complex at the Butts College site because of impossible financial targets that have been set.

He said:

"That's life - I will not be pursuing that plan because it has begun to frustrate me. We will continue to train at schools within the city for the time being.

"We have taken on some new staff and moved to new premises so we are growing all the time and turning ourselves into a big club."

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CWN / Sport / Basketball / Coventry Crusaders / 7 Jul 99

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This page modified on 10 November 2008 09:49:15AM