The North East’s only professional rugby league club today confirmed a change of name from Gateshead Thunder to Newcastle Thunder.
The change, which has been approved by the Rugby Football League, will happen with immediate effect. The club has also applied to Newcastle City Council to officially change home venue to Kingston Park where partner club Newcastle Falcons currently play games.
The name change and proposed move will see professional rugby league return to Newcastle for the first time in 77 years. A club named Newcastle Rugby League FC entered the professional ranks in 1936 playing two seasons through to 1938.
With the name change to Newcastle Thunder comes a new, updated logo that draws on many elements of the original Gateshead badge. The club colours of purple, yellow, black and white will remain with the 2015 home and away kits plus new sponsors to be unveiled in the next two weeks.
Speaking about the name change Newcastle Thunder Chairman Bill Midgley said:
“We are delighted to confirm the name change to Newcastle Thunder. Newcastle upon Tyne is renowned around the world as being a sporting city. With the purchase last year of the club by Newcastle Rugby Ltd, the proposed move to Kingston Park and the support of the city council for rugby league the name change is both logical and the next step in our evolution. With the Super League Magic Weekend coming to St James Park in Newcastle it promises to be a high profile year for the sport in the north east
“We have retained the name Thunder as this recognises the history of the club. We think it epitomises the rugged, battling qualities of the club and we look forward to building on our successful season in 2014. The new club logo designed by Cravens Advertising is both modern and recognises the Thunder history. We hope all our supporters will like the changes made to it.
“It is right to put on record our thanks to Gateshead Council for their support over the past 15 years. The International Stadium is a fine venue but we have struggled at times over the past couple of seasons to secure the facilities there for playing and training. The move to Newcastle means that every training session can be on the 3G pitch at Kingston Park. We will be looking to host games not just for the Thunder first team but also our junior squads as well.
“Newcastle Thunder look forward to representing not just the city but the whole region. Our junior development programme supports players and clubs across the north east and we will continue to do so going forward.”
The website address will remain as www.thunderrugby.com with the club’s Facebook name and twitter handles being moved over to Newcastle Thunder. All other contact details for the club remain the same. Ticket prices for games will remain the same as 2014 with the Thunder currently enjoying their best season ticket sales for over ten years.