Rugby Trade Directory

Newcastle Thunder readmitted to League 1

Newcastle Thunder have been admitted to League One after the Rugby Football League ratified the change of ownership led by chairman Keith Christie.

There were fears Thunder would no longer exist after previous owner Semore Kurdi and Newcastle Rugby decided to withdraw.

However, Christie and a number of volunteers have pulled together to deliver a plan which has been approved.

Chris Thorman will stay as head coach, and Thunder will play at Kingston Park.

League One will now remain nine teams, with Newcastle's first scheduled game at home to Hunslet on 17 March.

Thunder will also take their part in the revamped 1895 Cup competition.

While there is still plenty for the team to do to become fully operational for 2024, their initial grading by the IMG/Rugby Football League was 18th, which takes into account community footprint, potential catchment area, facilities as well as on-field performance.

In particular Christie and Jordan Robinson have been integral to restoring Thunder to business, having been part of the operation previously.

In a statement Thunder said: "Work has now already commenced on player and backroom staff signings, matchday operational requirements, commercial agreements, recruiting volunteers and a further push on memberships."

Thunder chairman Christie said: "This is fantastic news for the club and I'd like to thank everyone who has enabled Newcastle Thunder to get to the start line in 2024.

"Things looked pretty bleak just three months ago but the groundswell of support for the club and the outstanding work of a number of volunteers has resulted in today's announcement."

Christie has so often come to the rescue of Thunder along with other dedicated volunteers, notably when the old Gateshead club underwent ownership change after the 2009 season.

RFL chief executive Tony Sutton said: "We also congratulate Keith Christie, Jordan Robinson and the many other passionate rugby league supporters in the North-East who have made this possible.

"I know this view will be shared by other clubs and supporters across the sport who have enjoyed travelling to Newcastle to watch rugby league over the last three decades, and will look forward to the prospect of returning to Kingston Park in 2024."

Posted in Club news on