Tony Garbelotto believes there are worrying times ahead for the BBL, and thinks teams will struggle to compete with the power of Newcastle.
The Eagles responded to a trophyless campaign in 2010/11, thanks to Garbelotto and his treble-winning Mersey Tigers team, by completing a clean sweep this campaign, completed by a play-off final victory over Leicester.
But the Londoner believes that the standard of the BBL is dropping, and teams will find it difficult to challenge Newcastle’s dominance.
He said: “I thought the league this season was so far down, it was crazy. Two years ago, we won the play-offs from 5th spot with a team including players like Chris Haslam, Olu Babulola, Trey Moore, Andy Thomson and James Jones. We had a nine deep team from 5th, and you compare that to this year where 5th spot was Glasgow, and we (Tigers) lost to them by one point on the last game of the season, with basically a team of kids, and Rocks playing as hard as they did.
“Worcester did an incredible job, but they overachieved. Plymouth underachieved. The league is not in a good state. There is no question that no one can match Newcastle’s budget, and I don’t see who is going to stop their dominance until Fab (Flournoy) and Charles (Smith) leave, especially if Plymouth continue to underachieve.
“The standard is diluting. Only Leicester and Plymouth pushed forward. Sheffield went back 20 places, we went back 50 places, the rest of the league wasn’t as strong.
“Newcastle rolled everyone over and won the league pretty easy. It’s worrying times. Some of the teams are just not equipped to withstand the onslaught of Newcastle.
“We’re living in tough times and it’s tough to get out there. Paul’s (Blake) got the best organisation and funding, Plymouth have shown they can be a great organisation too – that’s why Leicester deserve credit for what they did this season, and so do Worcester. It’s tough to see where things are going to go.”
Garbelotto’s Tigers paid the price for trying to compete with Newcastle in 2010/11, and although they won a treble, it came at a cost, as the club suffered, and still suffers, real financial difficulty.
All but one of Garbelotto’s treble-winning side left last summer, and there were doubts they would even make the start of the season, entering the campaign with no pre-season and failing to make the play-offs, despite a brave effort from a young side.