So all the worrying about the future of the Phoenix has now been put to bed and the Phoenix will be competing in a ten team English Premier League next year. I will admit that I am a little disappointed not to be competing in the EIHL next season, but quite simply, I would happily sacrifice EIHL action for a long-term future for the Phoenix.
Lets face it from various reports coming out of the Phoenix the idea of a move to the EPL had been knocking round Phoenix HQ for a couple of months. It also seems that the agreements reached the Monday following the playoff finals weekend have not been kept. This was a corner stone for NM in keeping the Phoenix in the EIHL. So I can only assume he is not satisfied with the progress made.
Its also interesting reading the reaction to our departure from the EIHL from fans of the other EIHL clubs. In particular the Phoenix have come in for a bit of a hammering from the Panther fans for not ‘sticking it out’ like the Panthers did in their dark days! Quite frankly that is a ridiculous statement to make! For a start no Panther fan, or Phoenix fan for that matter, will ever know the financial in’s and out’s of the Phoenix balance sheet! They will also not know the projected revenue for the club. It is clear that the past two seasons have seen Neil sink a huge amount of personal money into the club to keep it going. Quite rightly he has decided this must stop, and the lower operating costs of the EPL seems to be right for the Phoenix.
After a period of half an hour being sad for the move, I have quickly moved on to excitement for the up-coming season. It represents a fresh slate for the Phoenix. Plus a chance to really connect the youth development at the club. Already demonstrated by a number of the ENL lads stepping up. (More on those signings will follow). It also has galvanised the Phoenix support, even on the train down to Nottingham for the recent finals weekend most fans were open to the idea of moving to the EPL. Now a casual glance at the forum will show that 99% of Phoenix fans are backing the club all the way.
I think this can come down to having one of the best owners in sports, to go along with an excellent back room staff and the great one at the helm. Manchester has always been run as a fan friendly club, so much so that during the 0809 EIHL season Phoenix fans gained a reputation as being some of the most loyal around. What most Phoenix fans recognise is the honesty in NM’s actions, and for that will stand up and salute him!
So with the Phoenix in the EPL, EIHL teams seemingly recruiting imports like its fashionable, it will be interesting to see how the wage cap holds! I give the EIHL one more season before it goes under! So the summer of 2010 could be another interesting one!