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Lions forced out of city - but it is only temporary, insists Macaulay

And that's only if the BBL allows it...

Lions have applied to play their opening three BBL home games outside of Milton Keynes as their search for a new home in the city drags on.

The homeless basketball outfit will head to Stoke Mandeville for their first scheduled home match against Leicester Riders in under a month, provided of course the British Basketball League gives them the green light.

And Lions' following 'home' fixtures against Mersey Tigers and Essex Pirates are also likely to be played at the Aylesbury venue.

Confusion over the availability of last season's home court at Middleton Hall resulted in Lions being forced to play one fixture at Stoke Mandeville, losing out to Plymouth Raiders back in April.

And Lions chief executive Vince Macaulay admitted that in order to satisfy the League's request to know where they will be playing, the club might be forced to make it their permanent home for the whole season.

He said: "We're waiting to hear how much it's going to cost us to renovate the two sites in MK that we're looking at. After that we'll be able to negotiate costs on rent and we'll need to get the planning permission to do the work. This is going to take several weeks."

With the BBL set to benefit from a new television rights deal with Sky, Macaulay said moving to Stoke Mandeville full time isn't a road he wants to go down as the venue wouldn't be able to stage live televised matches.

But with the cost of turning a warehouse in the city into a proper home for a professional basketball club likely to reach in the region of 70,000, the Lions boss may have no other option if the club is to survive.

"Do we just want to play basketball in Milton Keynes or do we want to build a club that can be the best in the country?" said Macaulay.

"If we play at Stoke it might as well be anywhere else in England, because it's not MK."

 
 
 

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