Newcastle Rugby Limited today confirmed that it has assumed control of Championship One rugby league club Gateshead Thunder with immediate effect.
Thunder will now sit alongside Newcastle Falcons as part of Newcastle Rugby Limited.
Gateshead Thunder will continue to play their home matches at Gateshead International Stadium for the remainder of their 2014 season. There will also be no change to the club’s identity with the name ‘Gateshead Thunder’, the club logo and team colours to remain as they currently are.
The club’s coaching set-up under former Papua New Guinea star Stanley Gene will remain unchanged, however resources have been made available straight away to strengthen the current squad. Gateshead Thunder currently sit seventh in Championship One with the top five clubs going into the play-offs for promotion to the Championship at the end of the season.
Commenting on the ownership change Newcastle Rugby Ltd chairman Semore Kurdi said: “I’m delighted that Gateshead Thunder has become part of Newcastle Rugby Ltd. There are a number of benefits to having both league and union Clubs within the same organisation. Resources can be shared off the field in terms of administration, marketing, medical, sports science and facilities that will be to the advantage of both clubs.
“We look forward to the second half of the season now with Thunder with our aim being promotion to the next tier. With rugby league now re-introducing promotion and relegation between the various levels there is a clear path through to Super League. To reach Super League will be our long term goal. There is now a target date for this goal and if we do achieve it we will have earned our place by growth on and off the field and by becoming a sustainable club.
“We look forward to our Community Foundation working with the Thunder Community Programme to benefit both codes in the future.”
Bill Midgeley, chairman of Gateshead Thunder said: “This is undoubtedly the most significant date in Gateshead Thunder’s history since the formation of the original club back in 1998 and its first season in Super League back in 1999.The offer from Newcastle Rugby Ltd was unanimously accepted by the shareholders of Thunder Rugby Ltd and I’m both delighted and excited at the short and long term future for the club.
“There’s a lot of hard work ahead for everyone involved but today’s news gives us a real opportunity to grow not just Thunder but the sport of rugby league in the North East.”
For further information contact:-
Newcastle Falcons – Stewart McCullough, Media Manager on 07764 933301 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Gateshead Thunder – Keith Christie, Managing Director on 07988 198902 or email email@example.com