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Thursday, September 23, 2021

Mick Hogan: Newcastle Thunder chairman says metropolis can turn into rugby league hotbed | Rugby League Information

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Newcastle United’s St James’ Park has performed host to rugby league and rugby union – might the world turn into a rugby hotbed?

Newcastle Thunder chairman Mick Hogan says Newcastle can turn into a rugby league hotbed within the UK, forward of Magic Weekend returning to town, reside on Sky Sports activities

Talking as a particular visitor on this week’s Golden Level Podcast, Hogan spoke first of his pleasure at Magic’s return to the north east and St James’ Park for the primary time since 2018.

“It is completely incredible,” Hogan mentioned. “It is turn into an actual fixture now inside the north east sporting calendar.

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“I do not assume town actually realised how necessary it was till it went away.

“It was there for 4 years between 2015 and 2018, we needed to give it a relaxation in 2019 as we had the rugby union European Cup finals and the stadium simply could not host all of it.

“Final yr was clearly nicely documented that nothing actually occurred, and right here we’re again in 2021 after three years.

“It is going to be a welcome return and I do know town completely loves internet hosting it. It welcomes the followers, the color, the noise, and the joy it brings.

“Those that may come will make it an amazing spectacle and it will likely be a incredible weekend.”

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A one-club, football-mad metropolis, Hogan’s goal is to carve out extra rugby illustration inside Newcastle.

Thunder, who have been generally known as Gateshead Thunder till 2015, have been promoted to the Championship for this present season and rugby league’s second tier final yr after Leigh Centurions changed Toronto Wolfpack in Tremendous League.

Although below no illusions as to what his sport is up in opposition to, Hogan is assured rugby league might flourish.

“What we’re getting now up right here is that we prefer to assume that we’re changing into a rugby metropolis,” he added.

“It would at all times be a soccer metropolis firstly, do not get me fallacious.

“Newcastle United, I used to be there myself on the weekend, they are not having the best of occasions lately, and but there are nonetheless 50,000 within the stadium.

“I might name it one step off a spiritual cult. You are born into it and might’t get away from it.

“And , each different metropolis builds a cathedral on the highest level, they constructed a soccer stadium in Newcastle: St James’ Park.

Newcastle Thunder chairman Mick Hogan spoke to Sky Sports on this week's Golden Point Podcast

Newcastle Thunder chairman Mick Hogan spoke to Sky Sports activities on this week’s Golden Level Podcast

“The bell goes out at 3pm on a Saturday afternoon and so they all down instruments, cease what they’re doing and stroll in the direction of it.

“Sadly, they normally come away once more disillusioned, as they did on the weekend, and vow by no means to return, however by the Tuesday/Wednesday are itching for the following residence sport.

“We’re up in opposition to soccer right here, however rugby in each codes is carving a distinct segment and we have constructed it round these massive occasions like Magic.

“These massive occasions deliver a lot publicity to the sports activities of rugby league and rugby union, and it attracts in lots of people who would not ordinarily come into contact with the sports activities.

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“Within the first few years when Magic Weekend was up right here in Newcastle, there was over 10,000 particular person ticket patrons from the area that got here to the video games.

“That is actually encouraging, as a result of for all our long-term aspirations at Thunder to get into Tremendous League and really win it, there’s 10,000 folks out right here keen to purchase tickets to observe rugby league, which is not a nasty begin in any respect is it?

“And on the again of that, you construct on all of the neighborhood work that we’re doing and proceed to do, and you may see why we imagine, long-term, Newcastle might be one of many actual hotbeds for the game.”

St James' Park on a rugby league Magic Weekend

St James’ Park on a rugby league Magic Weekend

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A associate of rugby union’s Newcastle Falcons, Thunder have been purchased by the identical house owners in 2015 and play their video games at Premiership Rugby’s Kingston Park.

The place Gateshead Thunder have been thrown into Tremendous League and failed, Thunder are going about their enterprise in additional sustainable vogue, placing assets into academy buildings and neighborhood work.

Hogan is assured they may become key gamers inside rugby league on the prime stage.

“The phrase ‘foundations’ hits the nail on the top,” he mentioned.

“I am going to let you know now, our proprietor might in all probability exit and do a Toronto. He might go and purchase one of the best gamers and put them in right here, however if you happen to do not develop the off-field facet of your membership in tandem with what you are attempting to do on the sector, there will be a spike, a little bit of success, however there’s nothing underpinning it and it’ll all come tumbling down.

“We wish to be right here for the long-term. We have got a said goal to win Tremendous League by 2030, which is a bit daring and bold, however we imagine we have got the suitable processes and situations in place. And the suitable plans going ahead.

Thunder are currently in the second tier of rugby league, the Championship, but are well clear of the relegation places and have ambitions to go higher

Thunder are at present within the second tier of rugby league, the Championship, however are nicely away from the relegation locations and have ambitions to go greater

“We have got an amazing stadium (Kingston Park), which is used for Premiership rugby union. We have got good administration round it, some nice employees right here, the academy, junior growth, good coaching amenities.

“Subsequent yr, we are going to transfer in the direction of full-time. We will go full-time in November, with a full-time squad and an amazing teaching crew with Dennis Betts and Eamon O’Carroll.

“We have got all of the issues in place. What we have got to do now’s maintain pushing on the crowds.

“I will be trustworthy, I have been barely disillusioned with our crowds this yr, however I feel there are a variety of causes for that.

Thunder have a highly ambitious stated aim of winning Super League by 2030

Thunder have a extremely formidable said goal of successful Tremendous League by 2030

“There was a lot uncertainty, and if you take a look at it, we began off the season taking part in to no crowds behind closed doorways, then we moved to small partial crowds, and now we’re at full crowds.

“The neighborhood sport is the fastest-growing a part of the game of rugby league on this nation. There’s been 30 to 40 per cent development within the final 5 years, and what’s been superb is, for the reason that sport has come again from lockdown, the variety of registrations for junior and senior gamers is at an all-time excessive.

“And that is straight after a pandemic, which is simply testomony to the unbelievable quantity of fine work by so many good folks on the market.”





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