Andy Thomson has returned to Newcastle Eagles with a warning to the BBL that he is on a trophy mission.
Thomson is the Eagles’ first signing of the summer and it is an impressive one, reuniting the BBL’s former MVP with a team that achieved a clean sweep the last time he was on the roster.
The Manchester-born forward has revealed that he was approached about re-signing last summer but felt he still had unfinished business with La Rochelle, the French side who swooped for him after he swept the board at the Eagles’ player of the year awards in 2012.
This time around it “felt right” and now Thomson believes he is rejoining a club that can challenge for every single trophy in the 2014/15 season, which starts in September. It is a statement that will send reverberations around the BBL.
“I’m not going to say we’re going to win the clean sweep again but I am definitely coming back to win things,” he said.
“I’m not saying the clean sweep is on but I’m in it to win everything if we can.”
Thomson adds height, power, ability and experience to the Eagles’ roster, which is set to include at least two familiar faces to him in the form of Charles Smith (below) and Darius Defoe. He actually feels that he has improved significantly since his first spell in the UK.
“I think I’m coming back a better player. I have learned a lot from the last two years in France,” he said.
“I think I’m coming back with a better understanding of what I have to do. I’m just excited to come back to the Eagles because it’s a great organisation that treats its players right.”
When it came to recruitment Thomson was never far from Newcastle’s thoughts and owner Paul Blake made an approach to re-sign the big man last season, only to be told that the Mancunian fancied another crack at playing in the French second tier.
“I’m really, really excited that I have returned and we could sort something out,” he said.
“It was never something that was far from the front of my mind. Last summer they contacted me and asked me about going back but I had unfinished business in France. I still had stuff to do and they appreciated that but now seems like the right time for me to make this move. It was the right time to come back.
“I’m really excited to get this opportunity because I left with a very heavy heart.”
Thomson comes back to a BBL that has just enjoyed its most competitive season in years. Worcester, Leicester, Sheffield and London all exchanged blows and silverware was shared out equally – an accurate reflection of a league that has improved significantly in the last few years.
“It’s definitely more competitive. I have been watching what has happened in the league while I’ve been in France and it is exciting times,” he said.
“The league seems to be progressing forward and bringing in better players. Teams seem to have a better core and there are players who are coming to the top. These are definitely exciting times for the BBL and I’m delighted to be coming back when I’m coming back.
“There are a lot of good players in the BBL now and I’m really happy to be part of the league again.”