Newcastle Thunder chairman on club’s potential to complete the League One season, new signings and developing the northeast as a rugby league hub

NEWCASTLE THUNDER almost never made it to the start line for the 2024 campaign.

After being relegated from the Championship, owner Semore Kurdi announced his intention to withdraw from the northeast club, citing financial issues.

That raised questions about Thunder’s viability as a business, but, after months of turmoil, the club reappeared for the 1895 Cup competition last weekend.

Of course, Newcastle went down 114-10 to the York Knights, but with a brand-new squad that had had just three training sessions, it was perhaps a realistic result.

For Thunder chairman Keith Christie, he is determined to finish the 2024 season – and he has ensured the rugby league fraternity that the club has a financial program to ensure that happens.

“My aim is to complete the season. If we get two or three or wins out of it then brilliant, but we have got to be competitive,” Christie told League Express.

“There are always going to be areas of conflict and things that we haven’t seen yet but we have put together a program and financial plan and if we stick to that we will be fine.”

In the longer term, Christie wants to see more young players come through the system at Thunder, but he is “comfortable” with where the club currently sits.

“Our area needs to continue to develop. As an amateur footballer, would you like to play against Newcastle United? Of course you would, and our lads, I know how enthusiastic they will be. They will put everything out there and as long as they do that we will continue doing what we are doing.

“We have got some other guys to come in, but we have got a very strong opportunity in the northeast to experience a higher level of rugby league. I’m under no illusion that I think quite a few will stand up and we saw that at the weekend.

“For me, I’m comfortable where we are. We have a growing process to go through. We know we need to add to that squad and it ha sto change.

“If I am a kid in the northeast who has got the desire to play a high level of rugby league, they have got to play for us.”

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