Jason Payne becomes first coaching departure of 2019 after leaving Newcastle job

Jason Payne has become the first coach to depart his club this season after League 1 side Newcastle announced they were releasing him from his position.

Thunder have started the season with back-to-back defeats to Doncaster and Coventry, and Thunder say that Payne will now take a three-month break from all duties, with his future involvement to be discussed thereafter.

Payne has been with the club for well over a decade, serving as a player and a coach – but assistant coach Tim Rumford and Academy Manager Michael Heap will be in caretaker charge of the team ahead of this weekend’s trip to London Skolars.

Newcastle Thunder chairman Mick Hogan said: “We have requested that Jason relinquish control of the Head Coach position with immediate effect.

“After further investment in the 2019 squad, we have not started the season as we had hoped and in what is a relatively short campaign, we have had to act decisively in the best interests of the club.

“Jason is a club legend, having been involved with Thunder for almost 12 years and serving it well throughout that time. We will discuss his future involvement after this three-month break.

“We’d like to thank Jason for all his efforts and commitment and it is our sincere hope that he will continue to be a part of Newcastle Thunder going forward.”