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  Wednesday, 30 October, 2002, 17:30 GMT
Longstaff hopes for Storm saviour

Great Britain captain David Longstaff has explained his decision to drop down to the Findus British National League rather than stay with struggling Manchester Storm.

Longstaff is one of the most successful Superleague players
Longstaff is returning to his Tyneside roots
Longstaff - who returned to Britain in the summer after a season in Sweden - has joined Newcastle Vipers rather than wait for a resolution to the crisis in Manchester.

Falling crowds have left the Storm unable to pay their latest rent instalment to SMG - the owners of the Manchester Evening News Arena, where the club play their home games.

Players and coaching staff are also owed about 40,000 in unpaid wages.

"It's very disappointing for my family and me that I have to leave Manchester at this time," Longstaff said.

"I came here to play for (coach) Daryl Lipsey and to win trophies with the Storm.

"The situation here was excellent for me. My family really enjoy living here and my two boys were happy in their schools and playgroups.


I hope the Storm can be saved, the fans deserve it to be
David Longstaff

"But I have to be able to provide for them and sadly the pay situation has left me no option than to find alternative employment elsewhere and Newcastle have given me that opportunity.

"The past week has been very unsettling for all of us. Not knowing what was happening has been the really hard part.

"I waited until the very last minute before signing with Newcastle in the hope that somebody could give me some assurances.

"I hope the Storm can be saved, the fans deserve it to be - they have been good to me and the rest of the players," Longstaff added.

Discussions have been continuing all week between the club, the Ice Hockey Superleague and SMG.

Manchester Storm officials have called a public meeting for Thursday evening at 1900 GMT at the city's Town Hall to explain the current position.

Meanwhile, Superleague basement club Scottish Eagles managed a surprise 4-2 win over league champions Belfast Giants on Wednesday evening.

Eagles - who had previously lost six of their last seven away games - surged into a 4-0 lead.

Johan Alston, Jeff Williams, Sean Selmser and Jason Rushton all found a way past Ryan Bach.

Giants managed to avoid a shut-out with goals inside the last four minutes from Rod Stevens and Dave Matsos.

See also:

24 Oct 02 | N Ireland
21 Oct 02 | Other Sports
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