Youth Tournament - Italy July 2004

Official Statement

As many of you are now aware, The GB Lions will not be travelling to Italy at the end of July. The reasons are twofold. Firstly, a change in the Bologna local government means that the original funding secured for the trip is longer in place. The newly elected government will not honour the funding originally approved by their predecessors. This effectively quadrupled the cost to our players. As we are always mindful of the costs involved to our players, we therefore had no alternative but to POSTPONE the trip until October/ November time, when the tourist season is over, and costs will be far more realistic.

Secondly, and more worryingly was the inability of the squad to complete the recent camp due to injuries and non-attendance. This means that we are in no position to play in a tournament at this time. Hopefully, all our players will now work hard to rehabilitate their injuries and improve their conditioning between now and the date of the trip.

I can also announce a change in the GB Lions Head Coach position. Due to work commitments I am no longer able to devote the necessary time to the squad so I am stepping down. However I am happy to announce that defensive coordinator Tony Mulhall will taking over the position effective immediately. Tony has been working with the squad since 2002 when we participated in the European Junior championships in Glasgow. He is the most experienced coach on the squad and as such he has the credentials to lead the coaching staff and carry the team forward. I will be involved with the squad as often as possible, and will continue to assist Tony with the team administration.

National program director Riq Ayub said, “Tony is the natural choice for the HC position. He has worked with the team for some time and has the experience of the offence and defence needed to continue the development of the squad. This is a prime example of how the national program’s coach education system works. Tony has progressed from linebacker coach to defensive coordinator and now on to head coach”.

Coach Mulhall stated, “I will very keen to take on the position of Head Coach and carry on the work of the national program. I may not be familiar to many of you (teams and coaches), but I will be in contact soon to introduce my self. Apart from carrying out the day to day running of the squad, as we prepare for the trip to Italy I shall also be over seeing the preparations for the 2004 Team England squad. In the mean time please feel free to contact me if you have any questions regarding Team England, youth football or the GB Lions. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank Simon on behalf of the players and coaches for the time, effort and knowledge he has applied to this task during his tenure”.

.Simon Newnham