|History||Ellesmere Port Jets |
|Arena||Cheshire Oaks Arena|
|Location||Ellesmere Port, Cheshire|
|Head coach||Ben Thomas|
|Championships||2 BBL Championship|
1 BBL Playoffs
2 BBL Cup
5 BBL Trophy
The Cheshire Phoenix are a professional basketball team based in Ellesmere Port, United Kingdom. Founded in 1984, they are members of the British Basketball League and play their home games at the Cheshire Oaks Arena. From 1993 until 2015 the team was based in Chester, where they enjoyed their most success. Under previous ownership, the team was known as Cheshire Jets, but due to financial difficulties the franchise was withdrawn from the League in November 2012 and reformed as the Phoenix. The team's head coach is Ben Thomas.
The team was first formed from the ruins of the Ellesmere Port team, the St Saviour's in 1984. The team was initially named after their sponsors 'Motocraft Centre Ellesmere Port'. However, after the loss of their sponsor, they renamed themselves Ellesmere Port Jets.
The Jets were admitted to NBL Division 2 in 1986 and finished last in their first season, with just a single victory. Edging up to seventh in 1987–88, they then changed their name to Cheshire Jets, though still continuing to play in Ellesmere Port. They continued a steady mid-table development until, in 1991, they won the divisional title despite suffering five defeats. The same year, the Jets moved up into the BBL joining in with Britain's elite basketball teams. Later however, the arena in Ellesmere Port became unsuitable, and so in 1993 the Jets were forced to move to Chester, and into the Northgate Arena. The move was reflected in another name change to the Chester Jets.
The real turning point for the Jets came in 1996, when the application of the Bosman ruling to basketball resulted in the departure of many of the top English players to European clubs, and the BBL changed its eligibility rule to entitle teams to use five non-national players.
Trans-Atlantic recruitment by coach and co-owner Mike Burton resulted in a team which finished fifth in the League table in 1997. Subsequent seasons have seen their best-ever performances in 2002 (Northern Conference Champions) and 2003 (3rd in the re-unified League), and a string of successes in the BBL trophy (4-times winners, from 2001 to 2004), culminating in the League Championship in 2005.
On 7 April 2007, prior to the Jets' season finale at home to Guildford Heat, an 81–102 defeat, club owner and head coach Mike Burton announced that he would be retiring from the franchise at the end of the 2006–07 season. Burton's announcement, after 19 years at the helm, raised serious doubts of the clubs' future, with mounting debts and lack of financial backing. Shortly after the announcement, fans formed a committee to help save the club and received the backing of players including former Jet James Hamilton. Following a sponsorship deal agreed during the summer of 2007 with local firm BiG Storage to save the club and preserve their future, the Jets was renamed as the BiG Storage Cheshire Jets to cover the wider demographic of Cheshire county in line with BiG Storage's market coverage. When BiG Storage terminated the sponsorship, the managing director of the company arranged a successor sponsor; Cheshire West and Chester Council.
The club was plunged into chaos in November 2012 when, after only 7 games into the season, the British Basketball League withdrew the club's franchise from owner Haydn Cook after he notified them that he was going to cancel the players contracts and cancelled all future fixtures.
A statement from the BBL said: "The BBL have withdrawn the Cheshire franchise from its operating company with immediate effect.
"The decision follows an urgent review of the franchise following notification from the club that they were unable to fulfil their fixture this weekend. The BBL is currently exploring a number of options to ensure the continuation of the franchise. It is anticipated there will be a further announcement in the coming days." (Cheshire Chronicle)[permanent dead link]
The club had until the end of November to find £50,000 to preserve its status in top-flight basketball. Local businesses were found to donate money and become sponsors, thus saving the club and fulfilling its fixture list as planned.
- Ellesmere Port Leisure Centre (1984–1993)
- Northgate Arena (1993–2015)
- Cheshire Oaks Arena (2015–present)
|Season||Division||Tier||Regular Season||Post-Season||Trophy||Cup||Head Coach|
|Ellesmere Port Jets|
|1986–87||NBL2||2||10th||18||1||17||2||0.056||Did not qualify||1st round (NC)|
|1987–88||NBL1||2||7th||18||7||11||14||0.389||Did not qualify||2nd round (NC)|
|1988–89||NBL1||2||8th||20||6||14||12||0.300||Did not qualify||2nd round (NC)|
|1989–90||NBL1||2||6th||22||10||12||20||0.455||Quarter-finals||Quarter-finals (NC)||Mike Burton|
|1990–91||NBL1||2||1st||22||17||5||34||0.773||Quarter-finals||Quarter-finals (NC)||Mike Burton|
|1991–92||BBL||1||11th||30||2||28||4||0.067||Did not qualify||1st round (BT)||3rd round (NC)||Mike Burton|
|1992–93||BBL||1||10th||33||10||23||20||0.303||Did not qualify||1st round (BT)||Quarter-finals (NC)||Mike Burton|
|1993–94||BBL||1||11th||36||11||25||22||0.306||Did not qualify||1st round (BT)||Quarter-finals (NC)||Mike Burton|
|1994–95||BBL||1||12th||36||6||30||12||0.167||Did not qualify||1st round (BT)||Quarter-finals (NC)||Mike Burton|
|1995–96||BBL||1||12th||36||8||28||16||0.222||Did not qualify||Quarter-finals (BT)||4th round (NC)||Mike Burton|
|1996–97||BBL||1||5th||36||24||12||48||0.667||Semi-finals||Runners-Up (BT)||4th round (NC)||Mike Burton|
|1997–98||BBL||1||10th||36||15||21||30||0.417||Did not qualify||1st round (BT)||4th round (NC)||Mike Burton|
|1998–99||BBL||1||11th||36||10||26||20||0.278||Did not qualify||Quarter-finals (BT)||Quarter-finals (NC)||Mike Burton|
|1999–00||BBL N||1||4th||36||17||19||34||0.472||Quarter-finals||Quarter-finals (BT)||1st round (NC)||Robbie Peers|
|2000–01||BBL N||1||2nd||36||25||11||50||0.694||Quarter-finals||Winners, beating Newcastle, 92–81||1st round (NC)||Robbie Peers|
|2001–02||BBL N||1||1st||32||24||8||48||0.750||Winners, beating Sheffield, 93–82||Winners, beating MK, 90–89||Winners, beating Birmingham, 112–105||Robbie Peers|
|2002–03||BBL||1||3rd||40||28||12||56||0.700||Quarter-finals||Winners, beating London, 84–82||Runners-Up (NC)||Robbie Peers|
|2003–04||BBL||1||5th||36||22||14||44||0.611||Runners-Up||Winners, beating Brighton, 68–66||1st round (NC)||Paul Smith|
|2004–05||BBL||1||1st||40||32||8||64||0.800||Runners-Up||Semi-finals (BT)||Semi-finals (BC)||Paul Smith|
|2005–06||BBL||1||7th||40||17||23||34||0.425||Quarter-finals||1st round (BT)||Semi-finals (BC)||Billy Singleton|
|2006–07||BBL||1||9th||36||10||26||20||0.278||Did not qualify||Quarter-finals (BT)||1st round (BC)||Billy Singleton|
|2007–08||BBL||1||11th||33||9||24||18||0.273||Did not qualify||Semi-finals (BT)||Quarter-finals (BC)||TJ Walker |
|2008–09||BBL||1||8th||33||15||18||30||0.455||Quarter-finals||1st round (BT)||Quarter-finals (BC)||Paul Smith|
|2009–10||BBL||1||4th||36||22||14||44||0.611||Quarter-finals||Runners-Up (BT)||Runners-Up (BC)||Paul Smith|
|2010–11||BBL||1||4th||33||20||13||40||0.606||Semi-finals||1st round (BT)||Semi-finals (BC)||Paul Smith|
|2011–12||BBL||1||6th||30||13||17||26||0.433||Semi-finals||1st round (BT)||Quarter-finals (BC)||John Lavery|
|Season||Division||Tier||Regular Season||Post-Season||Trophy||Cup||Head Coach|
|2012–13||BBL||1||11th||33||10||23||20||0.303||Did not qualify||Semi-finals (BT)||1st round (BC)||Matthew Lloyd|
|2013–14||BBL||1||5th||33||18||15||36||0.545||Quarter-finals||Semi-finals (BT)||1st round (BC)||John Lavery|
|2014–15||BBL||1||4th||36||26||10||52||0.722||Semi-finals||1st round (BT)||Quarter-finals (BC)||John Coffino|
|2015–16||BBL||1||7th||33||16||17||32||0.485||Semi-finals||Quarter-finals (BT)||Semi-finals (BC)||John Lavery|
|2016–17||BBL||1||10th||33||11||22||22||0.333||Did not qualify||Semi-finals (BT)||Quarter-finals (BC)||Colin O'Reilly |
|2017–18||BBL||1||9th||33||15||18||30||0.455||Did not qualify||Quarter-finals (BT)||Winners, beating Worcester, 99–88||Ben Thomas|
|2018–19||BBL||1||7th||33||17||16||34||0.515||Quarter-finals||Quarter-finals (BT)||Quarter-finals (BC)||Ben Thomas|
|2019–20||BBL||1||Season cancelled due to COVID-19 pandemic||Semi-finals (BT)||Quarter-finals (BC)||Ben Thomas|
|2020–21||BBL||1||7th||30||14||16||28||0.467||Quarter-finals||Quarter-finals (BT)||Pool Stage (BC)||Ben Thomas|
|2021–22||BBL||1||6th||27||13||14||26||0.481||Quarter-finals||Winners, beating London (BT)||Quarter-finals (BC)||Ben Thomas|
|2022–23||BBL||1||5th||36||19||17||38||0.528||Runners-Up (BT)||Quarter-finals (BC)||Ben Thomas|
- From 1999 to 2002 the BBL operated a Conference system.
- DNQ denotes Did not qualify.
- NYP denotes Not Yet Played.
- NBL Division One Winners: 1990–91 1
- BBL Championship Winners: 2001–02, & 2004–05 2
- BBL Championship Runners Up: 2000–01 1
- BBL Championship Play Off Winners: 2001–02 1
- BBL Championship Play Off Runners Up: 2003–04, & 2004–05 2
- BBL Trophy Winners: 2000–01, 2001–02, 2002–03, 2003–04, 2021–22 5
- BBL Trophy Runners Up: 1996–97, 2009–10 2
- National Cup Winners: 2001–02, 2017–18 2
- National Cup Runners Up: 2000–01, 2009–10 2
Note: Flags indicate national team eligibility at FIBA-sanctioned events. Players may hold other non-FIBA nationality not displayed.
To appear in this section a player must have either:
- Dave Gardner
- Delme Herriman
- John Simpson
- Paul Sturgess
- Alto Virgil
- Julius Hodge
- Adrien Sturt
- Simeon Naydenov
- Greg Meldrum
- Greg Francis
- Jorge Ebanks
- Joshua Fox
- Jason Killeen
- Colin O'Reilly
- Pero Cameron
- Tony Rampton
- Todd Cauthorn
- Correy Childs
- Martyn Gayle
- Kenny Gregory
- James Hamilton
- John McCord
- Louis McCullough
- Loren Meyer
- Billy Singleton
- TJ Walker
- Demond Watt
- Jordan Williams
|Cheshire Phoenix retired numbers|
|11||Dave Gardner||C||1990–1995, 1997–1998 & 1999–2003|
FIBA Hall of Famers
|Cheshire Phoenix Hall of Famers|
- Richard Taylor (7 April 2007). "Jets' future in doubt after Burton quits". The Independent. London. Archived from the original on 30 September 2007. Retrieved 7 April 2007.
- "Let's get on with it, says club legend Hamilton". Chester Chronicle. 2007. Retrieved 19 May 2007.[permanent dead link]
- "FIBA.basketball". Retrieved 20 August 2019.