Blake defends Hyatt's return

Newcastle Eagles chief Paul Blake insisted today that the decision to bring Jeremy Hyatt back to the club had not been taken lightly.

Newcastle Eagles chief Paul Blake insisted today that the decision to bring Jeremy Hyatt back to the club had not been taken lightly.

The shooting guard faced the threat of jail earlier this year after being convicted of motoring offences and missed the finale to the Eagles' clean sweep season after being suspended by the club.

He avoided a jail sentence but was handed 150 hours of community service by the courts.

The decision to re-sign Hyatt has not quite been met with the kind of protest and controversy the Eagles hierarchy had originally feared.

But Blake said: "It has been well documented that Jeremy left the club earlier this year due to off-court activities in relation to driving offences.

"In all honesty, it has been a difficult decision for us in some ways.

"As far as on-the-court is concerned, it has been a no-brainer as we all know how talented and experienced Jeremy is and the kind of exceptional things he can offer us.

"However, we did obviously have to take other factors into account and, having done so, we have decided to offer Jeremy another opportunity.

"He served his punishment by completing his community service and we are now looking forward to seeing him repay the supporters, sponsors and the club in the best way possible - by being an important part of a successful Newcastle team once again.

"We are convinced that the overwhelming majority of our supporters will be excited to see Jeremy back in an Eagles vest."

Hyatt is hoping to arrive in time for Sunday's game with Plymouth and his presence should provide the perfect tonic for supporters ahead of the club's first home game when they will be desperate to see the side chalk up a first win.

Indeed, with Hyatt in the side, it now makes defeat and an 0-3 start to the campaign almost unthinkable.

Meanwhile, Blake has revealed today that financial backing from their landlords enabled the Eagles to bring back Hyatt.

Metro Radio Arena have directly supported the club in the transfer market for the second successive season, having helped to bring Charles Smith to Tyneside last year - a move that gave the Eagles a mid-season boost which undoubtedly helped them in their quest to scoop all four domestic trophies.

Whilst it might not be quite that far down the road this time, the signature of Hyatt definitely brings a welcome boost with the defending champions languishing at the wrong end of the BBL table after starting the season with successive losses.

"Without the continued support of the Arena we might not have been able to complete the signing of Jeremy," said Blake. "We have a great working relationship and it is important our fans know how important this is to us."

Arena chief Colin Revel has also spoken of the deal which has the additional benefit of the Springfield Honda-backed club now being in a better position to possibly dip back into the market for a big man to bolster their forward line.

He said: "We are pleased to continue and strengthen our partnership with the Newcastle Eagles, and by contributing financially to help them bring back a player of Hyatt's quality, we know that the club can continue their recent success."

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