It's been a turbulent week at Chester Jets, with one American star leaving and another axed. The BBL Champions suffered a crushing defeat at Leicester Riders on Saturday and had to postpone Tuesday's home clash with Scottish Rocks.
Sports editor DAVID TRIGGS speaks to Jets supremo MIKE BURTON about events on and off the court at the Northgate Arena.
MIKE Burton's seen it all in 18 years with Chester Jets, so he's keeping a sense of perspective about the various upheavals of the last week or so.
A short report in Tuesday's Daily Telegraph said the club was 'in turmoil', but the Jets' long-serving director and assistant coach is not so sure.
Although losing two of the first three games of the BBL season was not in the gameplan, Burton can remember a time when the Jets lost nine-in-a-row under former coach Robbie Peers.
And all Jets fans know what happened when Peers finally developed a winning formula.
Of more immediate concern to Burton is the loss of American imports David Fanning and Gentry Lewis, the club's two major close-season signings.
Point guard Fanning has decided to pack his bags and return to the States after only two weeks in the country, citing a long-standing toe injury as the reason for his exit.
Burton, however, suggests that other factors came into play.
'What we do know is that he (Fanning) had about 30 phone calls from his mother and girlfriend in the first 24 hours he was here,' he said.
Burton revealed Fanning asked to be allowed home within 24 hours of arriving in the UK.
'I said 'what's your problem?' and he said he got an injury in college to his big toe,' explained the Jets director. 'He said he'd have to go back to the States for the operation.'
Burton instead referred Fanning to the club's physio, who said the player was suffering from tendonitis.
'We told him it would settle down and he said 'fine',' added Burton. 'He played on the Friday against Newcastle and the next day he said to me 'I'm going home, my toe's not right'.
'It cost us £1,200 to bring him in and he's let us down within a week. It's a pain in the neck.'
American centre Lewis this week followed Fanning out of the exit door after being axed by Burton.
The 24-year-old from New Orleans made an inauspicious start to his career with the BBL Champions and was 'fouled out' of Saturday's 86-65 loss at Leicester after less than eight minutes.
'It was an awful performance, quite frankly,' said Burton. 'His performances have not been up to standard.'
The problems surrounding the club's two American imports have undoubtedly had an impact on the Jets' poor early-season form.
Perhaps it was a blessing in disguise for the team that Tuesday's scheduled meeting with Scottish Rocks was postponed - just four days before it was due to take place.
According to an official statement from the BBL, the postponement was due to 'work currently being undertaken at the Northgate Arena' that has 'meant the venue is currently unable to accommodate spectators'.
Burton is now calling for Jets fans to unite behind the club and new player/head coach Billy Singleton.
Burton said: 'We've had worse starts. We're experienced enough and it's just unfortunate we've had the start we've had.
'The fans need to stick with us.'
And there was some good news for those fans yesterday when, just before the Chronicle went to press, Burton revealed he had signed a replacement for Fanning. The new man is 23-year-old shooting guard Phillip Gilbert, from Bradley University in America.