If 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 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.
"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.
"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.
"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."