Inside IBC: Tony Bell

Tony's natural habitat these days is in the press pit at concerts. Image © Tranquil Soul Photography

Over the course of the 2016/17 season, we’ll be bringing you a series of interviews with volunteers from around the club, shining a light on the various roles required to keep Ipswich Basketball running smoothly. This time, it’s the turn of Tony Bell, who has returned after some time away from the club to continue an old project…

It has been obvious for some time that Ipswich Basketball needed a new website.  The old one had served it’s time, it was built on old technology and needed a fresh approach.  Who better to ask to refresh the site than the man who built the old one? In fact the man who came to basketball seventeen years ago by building a website for a new club.  Back then he was a newbie, hadn’t a clue what he could do for this game his son got him involved in as a volunteer, so he built a website.

Tony Bell went on to do many other things in basketball, strictly off court things, he had no delusions about being a player or a coach. But he has served his time at Ipswich Basketball as photographer, match day DJ, court announcer and press officer – now he is back.

We caught up with him shortly after he pressed the big red ‘go live’ button on the new look ipswichbasketball.net

IpswichBasketball.net: What was it that made you decide to help us rebuild the website?

Tony Bell: Easy – Nick Drane! I’ve known Nick for many years, he is so passionate about everything he does, and I cannot resist passionate people. He also offered me Rob Schatten whose job it is to add the content.

IB: Why did that make a difference?

TB: Many clients think that having a website is all about having good, flashy, corporate looking pages that show off how good their web developer is. In fact, a good website is about three things: content, content and more content. Having Rob on board meant that I could concentrate on the technical stuff while Rob writes about basketball – something he is far more qualified to do than I.

IB: How long did it take?

TB: Nick first approached me in June. He wasn’t to know that as I now work as a photo journalist in the entertainment industry that he couldn’t have called at a worse time. Summer means just one thing in my world these days – covering music festivals! In between all of that, running up a proof of concept site and having a few meetings to discuss things, I think it took about six weeks.

IB: What part of the project are you happiest with?

TB: Well apart from meeting up again with old friends at the club and walking through the car park at Copleston and hearing that thump, thump of a ball and the squeeking of shoes on court… it has to be the fixtures and league tables. Years ago Ipswich Basketball was one of the few national league clubs to publish their own fixtures and we took great pride in that. If you are a new volunteer or the parent of a new player, then navigating the Basketball England website can be a bit daunting. I wanted to create something where the Mums and Dads can click on their child’s team and see the results and where they stand in their league. I’m not too bothered about the senior men – they are all basketball junkies who memorise stats for breakfast!

IB: Having built the framework is that your work finished?

TB: No, I have agreed to provide technical support throughout the season. I am also going to manage the fixtures and results section which is being sponsored by one of my major clients: Grapevine Magazine.

IB: Will we be seeing you courtside during the season?

TB: Yes, it’s been too long since I’ve watched a game. But I doubt I’ll be turning up at 11am, setting up sound equipment and then leaving at 7pm after packing everything away like I did back in the days at Holywells!