A new era has been ushered in by the Wollongong Hawks after members officially welcomed Sydney businessman James Spenceley as the club’s owner.
Members gathered at Hawks headquarters at Beaton Park on Monday night for an Extraordinary General Meeting, voting unanimously to accept Spenceley’s private ownership proposal.
‘‘My job is to invest in the team to get a better back office, a better team on court and a more exciting game night,’’ Spenceley said.
‘‘It’s the fans’ job to get behind the club with a season membership, supporter membership, plus spread the word and get people coming to the games. With what we are putting together we have every chance of making it to the finals and I want everyone to be involved from day one with us.’’
Spenceley, a telecommunications entrepreneur, is the club’s first private owner in five years.
The Hawks had been a member-owned club during that period but faced constant financial pressure.
Multi-millionaire Spenceley’s backing provides the Hawks with solid footing for the future.
But the club will only grow - and maybe someday even prosper - with the ongoing support of sponsors and fans buying memberships and season tickets.
‘‘For the past five years a committed group of members has worked tirelessly to keep the Hawks viable in a difficult environment, and not only has the club survived, it has delivered results on the court that have far exceeded most people’s expectations,’’ Speechley said.
‘‘To release control of something you are so passionate about is never easy and I am profoundly aware of the trust the members, fans and indeed, the Wollongong community is putting in me.
‘‘I am confident we can build on the foundations laid over many years and deliver to this city a club that will thrive in and continue to provide members and fans with great entertainment for years to come.’’
Spenceley’s arrival at the Hawks comes a year before the NBL’s likely expansion from eight to 10 teams.
‘‘This is a great moment for the Hawks, the Illawarra community and basketball at all levels throughout the region,” NBL boss Fraser Neill said.
‘‘The Hawks have an incredible opportunity to reinvent themselves, and under the guidance of James Spenceley they have the ability to grow and thrive in tandem with the NBL.’’
In recent weeks the Hawks have appointed a general manager and re-signed coach Gordie McLeod and free agents Oscar Forman, Tim Coenraad and Larry Davidson.
The club acquired experienced swingman Brad Hill last week and Spenceley hinted that more signings are imminent.