Morris continues Phoenix fight

Manchester Phoenix boss Neil Morris is still fighting to save the EPL club.

Following their well-documented departure from Altrincham, Phoenix relocated to Deeside Ice Rink for the 2015/16 season – a move which has created major financial issues for the club.

Sponsors and investors have been difficult to attract to a team based away from their home city, while attendances have also suffered.

The club has spent the last few weeks asking for support from fans and the wider hockey community to help keep the team on the ice, in the hope they can return to Manchester next season into a temporary building while a new Arena is constructed.

Morris said: “Relocating has had a big impact on us. The support we’ve had from the people at Deeside has been great, but we need to get back to Manchester for the club to survive.

“We’re still working on making that happen and the signs are good, we already have investors and developers working hard behind the scenes to bring both the temporary and the permanent building to reality.

“Returning home would benefit us in so many ways – more fans, sponsorship and outside investment.

“The support we’ve had from across Britain has been superb and if we can raise the additional funds we need in the short term, it would allow us to implement the next phase of the plan we’ve put in place to see us through to the end of the season.”

As their financial position worsened Phoenix have struggled to remain competitive, winning just two of their last eleven league games.

Head Coach Tony Hand has been left icing a shortened bench for most games this season, as the team has been stricken with injuries plus the loss of one of their senior import players.

With no junior system or NIHL team to call on to strengthen their squad, Phoenix have looked outside of the club for reinforcements and the recent signings of Martin Baranek and Phil Hamer have boosted Hand’s options.

Morris says it was crucial to the club’s survival hopes to try and keep a competitive team on the ice.

“We were getting criticised for turning up with two lines and not being able to put on a good show,” said Morris. “Having lost Nico Aaltonen before Christmas we needed to do something to try and compete.

“The plan we have in place was worked out with the club’s bank and we’ve been able to add the two players while reducing the overall wages and outgoings again.

“Had we not brought them in it’s likely we’d have become even less competitive, which would have hit our attendances and income even further while we’re playing so far from home with very little local support.

“We’re now aiming for one last push towards our target to enable us to take the next step on the road back to Manchester.”

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