United respond to Tigers building plans

Melbourne United have responded to the plans by a consortium aiming to restore the Melbourne Tigers to the highest levels of Basketball by repeating that they own the name and history to the proud club.

Melbourne United CEO Vince Crivelli was at first open to a new Melbourne Tigers by saying;

 ‘I think the board and (United owners) Larry (Kestelman) and Michael (Slepoy) would listen to anything – they want to see the game thrive’

Things suddenly taken a turn with Crivelli seemingly extinguishing any feelings of goodwill by next saying the following.

“I’d love to see an NBL team come in and match our funding of Basketball Victoria,” he said.

“We genuinely see ourselves as the organisation who are here to serve the game of basketball at NBL level.

“That is why it is ‘Melbourne United’ as opposed to Melbourne Tigers and its one team for all of Melbourne to get behind.”

The Age newspaper reports that United’s hold of the Tigers name in semi professional sport is a gray area and both sides are negotiating on the release which appears to be a contradiction of Crivelli’s comments unless Vince Crivelli was talking about the NBL name which is professional basketball compared to SEABL’s semi professional state.

Melbourne Tigers are understandably curious about why Kestelman, Slepoy and Crivelli did not fund Basketball Victoria when the team was the Melbourne Tigers and waited until they were a new entity to do so, it is a question that will most likely never receive an answer and will leave Tigers fans no doubt wondering what else was held back in the 2013/14 NBL season.

Tigers fans are confident that the Melbourne Tigers once they are in SEABL and are making good business will be able to match or beat Melbourne United’s contribution to SEABL and show that Melbourne United is not the lone voice in the state of affairs of Victorian basketball.

Melbourne Tigers fans are now eagerly awaiting announcements on ways that they can participate in helping the club get it’s SEABL plans underway while calling on Larry Kestelman and Michael Slepoy to be reasonable by negotiating fairly with the Tigers consortium to hand over the name and history at an affordable price so the SEABL journey can begin without problems and the expected to be slow going NBL buildup can start simultaneously as well.

Emailed letters to Crivelli, United Owners goes unanswered

Melbourne Tigers fans email to Melbourne United CEO Vince Crivelli asking him to read letters addressed to him and Melbourne United’s owners has not been answered, this has been expected by some fans even though the message was polite and diplomatic in seeking a solution to the problem that has divided Basketball fans across Australia, the letter was also posted on this blog and passed around on Twitter hoping for Basketball reporters to pick it up.

Tigers fans will be delighted that a Tweet carrying the blog form of the letter was favourited by Lanard Copeland and we are extremely grateful for that, the letter will continue to be passed around until somebody in the media or Melbourne United reads it and attempts to answer the plea to let the Melbourne Tigers name and history be in somebody else’s hands to enable a future return to the NBL either by straight return or a slower return via SEABL or BigV.

Newspapers talk up attendance

Basketball fans this morning woke up to find reports on Melbourne United being hammered by the Cairns Taipans and then find an article praising the off court support for Melbourne United

United CEO Vince Crivelli was quoted in the newspaper as saying the following
“It’s a good start. This time last year, to be honest, we were playing out of a 3000-seat venue and we were struggling to fill it.”

Melbourne Tigers fans particularly those who attended those games at the beginning of the 2013/14 season report that ‘The Cage’ had a healthy if not packed attendance and when matches went to the Hisense Arena the crowds got bigger and pushing into the 6000 range, the attendance of 5704 at yesterday’s game is also questioned for sections of empty seats were spotted at the game and on TV and sections were covered up, the sections that were covered up are only uncovered when ticket sales pass 6,001 so there was not a huge demand for tickets.

The newspaper described the courtside action at the game which is contestable by those in attendence as we have below the quote below.
“The new mascot was a walking basketball and a bloke in a sparkly silver coat to rival Joffa’s get-up warmed up the crowd. And, as always, there were the Dodo girls.

In a move to enhance the match-day experience, VIP seats ringed the court, following the lead of the NBA, but, alas, there were no movie stars courtside. The crowd vibe was good; Melbourne chants punctuated the play, the hand clappers were out and Mark Worthington got the United fans up and about early when he put the first score on the board for the game.”

VIP seats were reported to be mostly empty and in one photograph of the playing action the VIP’s could be seen looking everywhere else but the action, the crowd vibe was reported by many to be rather flat, the Mascot is named Mr Baller and the Melbourne chants were ‘B-A-L-L-E-R-S Ballers!’ which confused people because since when do a team chant the name of a mascot leaving some to wonder if the team name is really the CTI Melbourne United Ballers and not CTI Melbourne United in that case people would rather work in a sewage plant than support a professional team called Ballers which can easily be called Bawlers by those who love a wisecrack.

The newspaper writer forgot to mention that outside the court is the six retired jerseys of the Melbourne Tigers (including the demanded to remove Lanard Copeland’s #21 jersey) and the four championship banners earned by the Melbourne Tigers, the writer also forgot to mention that none of United’s promises to honour the other Victorian teams that graced the NBL were honoured with their own jerseys and other materials.

The newspaper article writer had this to say about the change from the Melbourne Tigers to Melbourne United.
“But, just five months after announcing the controversial decision to change the team’s name from Melbourne Tigers, Crivelli said the team had a good platform to build from.”

The team had a good platform to build on because the front office and coaching staff were largely Tigers from the 2013/2014 season, the playing roster is largely the same as the 2013/14 season with even this years additions being ex Tigers, the courts were largely used by the Tigers, Facebook likes were helped by the page being the Melbourne Tigers page before May 20 and even Melbourne United Fan Weekly were operating as Melbourne Tigers Fan Weekly, it should also be noted that promotional efforts for United were bigger than any promotional effort made by Kestleman, Sleepoy and Crivelli when they ran the Tigers.

At long last Melbourne Tigers fans opposed to Melbourne United finally got a say in the press, these fans efforts were nothing short of fantastic as they conducted themselves in the finest possible manner and were well received by those who stopped by them although some have reported that security guards were on hand to intimidate Tigers supporters, below is what the newspaper had to say.

“But some had already made up their mind before the game had started. A small group of long-time Melbourne Tigers’ fans staged their own mini-protest out the front of Hisense Arena before the game, handing out `Save Our Melbourne Tigers’ flyers.

Decked out in their Tigers’ gear, they held banners reading `Tigers forever, United never’, `Tiger Pride, United Shame’ and `United in Treachery’.

Dedicated Tigers’ supporter Graham Allen, 65, said he’d been supporting the Tigers for more than 25 years, but wouldn’t be following United. “Our main beef is they didn’t consult anybody,” Allen said. “They’ve got rid of everything that even looks like the Tigers and they’ve come up with this strange idea that a whole bunch of people that don’t support anything will come and support this, I don’t follow that one. “I’ve heard all the justifications … we’ve watched other teams start in Melbourne, all fail, the only one that survived is the Tigers.”

Vince Crivelli had the last words in the newspaper article with the following;

“I think we learn a lot from today both on the court and off the court on how to present our game and our brand,” Crivelli said.

“Once you invite people to join you on a campaign, I think it becomes very powerful. The word unite is there to actually call to action.”

Inviting people to join a campaign is one thing, getting them to join is another and by all appearances after the first day the campaign will be harder than what Vince Crivelli and those at United HQ (Tigers HQ) have envisioned especially if losses such as the one on Sunday switch and the wrong spreading of information switches the public off.