26 Oct 2023

Newcastle Thunder Update

Newcastle Thunder would today like to update its fans and the wider rugby league family on it’s plans to compete in the BetFred League One competition in 2024.

Newcastle Thunder would today like to update its fans and the wider rugby league family on it’s plans to compete in the BetFred League One competition in 2024.

After a very well attended supporters meeting at Kingston Park on Tuesday evening a clear direction for the club has emerged. A group of volunteers led by current Chairman Keith Christie and former GM Jordan Robinson has been working tirelessly behind the scenes on future plans. The principal aim is gain acceptance back into the RFL’s third tier (League One) for the 2024 season. The volunteer group shared the following update with supporters at the Kingston Park meeting:

- The club need to raise a six figure sum to be able to compete in 2024. Around half of that amount has been secured via sponsorship, Value in Kind support and the RFL central funding

- The other half of the fundraising needs to come from additional sponsorship, match-days, events and a supporters membership scheme that will be unveiled in early November

- The volunteer group are in discussion with current owner Semore Kurdi on how they can take on the ownership of the club

- Several ownership models are being looked into with supporters set for an increased involvement in the club moving forward

- Discussions are ongoing with the RFL over what guarantees will be needed for the club to compete in League One for 2024

- Whilst Kingston Park can’t be ruled out for larger games in the future the club will likely have a new home for 2024 with several options under consideration

- The club are actively seeking volunteers with experience in areas such as legal, finance, PR & Comms, digital media and match-day roles including medical and operational management. To enquire please email newcastlethunder@gmail.com

On Wednesday the RFL unveiled the new grading system for rugby league which will determine the future league structure of the sport from 2025 onwards. Thunder secured a Grade B score and of 9.30 out of 20. This ranked the club 18th out of the 35 professional sides and was reward in particular for the academy and community work that has happened over the last 8-10 years.

Thunder Chairman Keith Christie commented:

“We have an incredible amount of work to do before early December before we can definitively say Thunder will be around in 2024. We remain confident that this can be achieved, but need to be sure that the correct governance checks are approved by the RFL, that the finances are in place and that we can recruit a competitive team. There are several other additional factors that need agreeing and approving and we are also very mindful that whether we compete or not in 2024 has a huge impact on the other clubs in League One.

“That said we have been reassured by the support of our fans, sponsors and offers of help for the year ahead. We still need further commitment off existing and potential new supporters if we are to make it to the start line in 2024. We also view the publishing of the IMG grading scores yesterday as a real positive. It shows that we have some solid foundations for the sport in our region, although granted there is still lots more to do.

“We plan to have another fans meeting in late November and will soon be announcing a range of membership, sponsorship and fundraising options for our fans and the wider rugby league and north east sporting community.

“Once again can I thank everyone for the messages of support. The hard work is underway, we have a clear plan and together we can achieve our aim – Newcastle Thunder competing in 2024.

Please follow the link below to register interest in how you can support. 

Newcastle Thunder Commitment (google.com)