Newcastle Thunder have announced former managing director Keith Christie will return as the club’s new chairman, as it embarks on the next steps of its development.
Serving as general manager and then managing director from 2009 to 2017, Christie was instrumental in securing the club’s future on a number of occasions during that spell.
He was part of the team that worked tirelessly following the withdrawal of investment in 2009, with former head coach and directors Chris Hood and club stalwart Jan Neighbour and managed the process that saw Thunder evolve from Gateshead to Newcastle and move to Kingston Park Stadium.
Since 2017, Christie has retained a position as one of the club’s directors but will now provide closer support to the club’s off-field management in driving forward areas such as attendances, partnerships and efficiencies.
Taking up his expanded role with immediate effect, Christie is looking forward to directing the club’s staff to ensuring it makes the most of a big year for the sport in the north east.
Christie said: “Thunder is very important to me and when Semore and Dave asked me to take on the chairmanship and to help them in the running of the club, it didn’t take long to accept. I have a real vision of what we can achieve for rugby league in the north east.
“The club has always had huge potential which we all realise, but making a fruitful and sustainable venture we need to see community clubs, sponsors and fans getting behind us, we have a great opportunity to make a big impression against Widnes on the 4th April which is our first TV Game in sometime, it’s something we’re really hopeful of the North East getting behind us on”.
“Thunder has some very good people working hard on its behalf and I hope to bring some support to them to help us make the most of a big year for the sport.
“With the club playing Championship rugby, Magic Weekend returning and the Rugby League World Cup looming large, there are some big opportunities to grow the club that we must take advantage of.”