Another year has almost wrapped up, it has been a year of almost two halves for Tigers fans and not all of it was good.
The beginning started so well, the Tigers were heading for the NBL finals after a couple of years sitting on the outside looking in, people were filling The Cage to 100% capacity and Hisense Arena was open for Tigers business to which the fans responded by getting 7,000+ in for a game against Sydney.
Finals were reached but the joy was short lived as Adelaide crashed the party and bundled the Tigers out of the title race, despite this Tigers fans were looking forward to the 2014/15 season for they knew if the Tigers got one or two more recruits and worked more their plays then finals would be a strong chance again.
It was a pretty quiet off season, the only major news it seemed was that Chris Goulding was on many international teams shopping lists which was understandable yet saddening for he was in great form with the Tigers then May 19 came.
May 19 started like any other day, people went on with their daily business and then in the afternoon rumors were spreading that the Tigers were going to be no more on May 20 and throughout the night people were swamping the Facebook page with questions and rumblings of dissent started.
May 20 came and the rumors were true, the Melbourne Tigers were no more, gone because they were the Melbourne Tigers, the offspring of the original Melbourne Tigers who have been a pain in the junior competition ranks and the BigV since 1931, gone because people said they wouldn’t support the Melbourne Tigers but would support another team, gone because owners didn’t want people to follow any other team.
The Tigers were renamed Melbourne United, the owners were the same, the coach was the same and the staff was mostly the same but the colours were different, the mascot was different, the song was different, the feel was different, in short they were not the Melbourne Tigers known for the last 30 years, replaced by the Victoria Titans 2.0.
Tigers fans were suddenly in unknown territory, do they stand with Melbourne United or stay away from the NBL?. Arguments broke out as some members pointed the finger at fans who didn’t have the means to be a member or attend matches, others struck back by pointing out that Melbourne United’s aims were moot because they were a repainted Melbourne Tigers and a second NBL team was coming to Melbourne in 2015/2016 or 2016/17.
In the months past fans have been reduced to watching NBL games in Melbourne as a casual observer, some have joined Melbourne United, some more have joined the South Dragons and South East Melbourne efforts to rejoin the NBL while a good number of fans have gone to follow the original Melbourne Tigers as they rebuild their honour and legacy through the VJBL and BigV.
Fans have indicated they don’t know what the future holds for the Tigers, many hope the Gazes can once again steer Melbourne towards good times, others hope business will give the SEABL plan for 2016 the green light, while it is still fairly dark in the tunnel there is a tiny light in the distance and it is not trains coming the other way but instead it is a future.
2015 will see the Tigers play in the BigV and VJBL and it is hoped that many Tigers fans will be watching and supporting the many Tigers teams as they have during this testing year, fans have learnt many lessons from this year and those lessons will help the Tigers grow again to be one of the best known and loved teams in Australian sporting history.
Let’s Go Tigers, Let’s Go!.