ANDY Thomson has bid a reluctant farewell to the Newcastle Eagles - but says he may be back on Tyneside one day.
The BBL’s British player of the year was a revelation in his first year with Newcastle, maintaining the kind of consistency which was key as the Eagles scooped a clean sweep in his debut campaign at Sport Central.
He was widely tipped to return to Newcastle and turned down an offer from the newly-formed Manchester Giants earlier in the summer.
The Eagles hopes of bringing him back, however, were sunk by a counter-offer from French Third Division side La Rochelle, however.
Although Newcastle will be disappointed to lose a player of Thomson’s calibre, there was little they could do to stop the 6ft 9ins star from leaving.
The move gives Manchester-born Thomson a taste of European basketball while also giving him wages far in excess of what the Eagles could afford.
He said: “It is a big move for me and I hope the Eagles supporters realise it is just business.
“I have enjoyed my time in Newcastle and the North East and everyone has been fantastic to me since I joined the club.
“That is the club, my team-mates, Fab and the coaching staff and the supporters, who welcomed me with open arms.
“I would really just like to thank for everything.
“They were always hostile when I was with Mersey Tigers – not in a nasty way – but then as soon as I signed they were great to me and a few have said they will come over to see me in France.
“I have had a great time but this offer was really just too good to turn down.
“I have spoken to people at the club and Fab said he was very happy for me – there is no problem there and I will be coaching for him at one of his summer camps this year. It is sad for me to be leaving Newcastle because I thought I would be coming back but sometimes you just have to do what is right for your career.”