New Neptune chairman Tom O’Sullivan has big plans

New Neptune chairman Tom O’Sullivan has big plans

New Neptune chairman Tom O'Sullivan welcomes Jordan Blount back to Neptune.

NEPTUNE basketball club are in their 75th year and recently Tom O’Sullivan was elected into the role of chairman taking over from Paul Barrett, who stepped down after serving in the hotseat for 10 years.

The Blackpool club have a rich history in the sport as O’Sullivan reflected on how he got involved.

“I played with the North Mon U15 in 1995 but the club folded and I duly went down the road to join Neptune and I got a good start with coaches Mark Scannell and Noel Allen," O’Sullivan said.

“After winning a Billy Kelly U17 championship in 1995 with players like the late Emmett Neville and Kevin Reddy were a pleasure to play with and ironically I was part of the Irish U16 team in that year.” 

As the years matured O’Sullivan went right up through the ranks with the club and after finishing U20 it was time to for him to take his chance playing in the Super League.

“To be honest, I didn’t play very much under Pat Price or Stephen McCarthy but I actually learned a lot about the game.

“Every team at Super League level need fringe players and now I can talk to aspiring stars who feel they are ready to play in the big league.” 

In recent years Tom acted as PRO when Tony O’Connell was chairman and treasurer under Pat Lucey but when you a running a business and rearing a family it does require full commitment.

“I have been on the fringes but look my heart has been with this club for the past 27 years and that’s unlikely to change anytime soon.” 

So what convinced O’Sullivan to take the big job in the club?

“To be honest, our former chairman Paul Barrett sent out a plea out there last season for somebody to take over from him and it took me 12 months to make up my mind.

“I had to weigh up a lot of things like getting the blessing from my wife Liz and getting good people around me was crucial as Kieran Leahy has taken over as treasurer and Richard O’Brien as secretary.” 

Neptune are one of the few clubs in Europe with their own stadium but Tom knows this is a huge financial strain on the club.

C & S Neptune's player/ coach Colin O'Reilly has words for squad against Moycullen during the Mens Super League at The Neptune stadium. Picture: Eddie O'Hare
C & S Neptune's player/ coach Colin O'Reilly has words for squad against Moycullen during the Mens Super League at The Neptune stadium. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

“I think over the summer getting some sponsors on board will help with getting the stadium painted but that’s a tough task and I will be hoping members row in behind me in this venture.” 

O’Sullivan is a big believer in having people singing out of the one hymn sheet and reaching out to former members is something he will be doing in the coming months.

“I want former members to get back involved as this is their club because over the years we have lost some very good business people and I am stating now they can all expect a call from me.” 

On the playing front O’Sullivan is determined to make the club one that parents will be proud to have their kids involved in.

“Getting people that will filter into the community and get our academies running with good numbers as we have got to keep the conveyor belt moving.

“As I said at the AGM the best player produced by Neptune might not be born and it’s up to each and every member to pull their weight and make sure in 25 years’ time we are still a major force in Irish basketball.” 

Tom felt that it would be bad manners not to state the work that his predecessor Paul Barrett had done for the club.

“Look as chairman of any club you got to be prepared to make tough decisions that will not suit all the membership but credit to Paul Barrett he led the club through tough tasks including a Covid pandemic and he should be remembered for his work ethic.” 

Looking ahead to the 2022/23 season Tom has some ideas that will help bring more communication within the club.

“I have spoken to Colin O’Reilly and asked to get the Super League players to play a small role with the various teams in the club and if its only for 10 minutes every three weeks I want the kids to looking at a Roy Downey or a Gary Walsh to name two of the squad.

“The flip side if the kids have leading players at their training sessions they will hopefully want to be watching them play in the Super League along with their parents.” 

We wish Tom well in his new role!

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