Newcastle Falcons

Newcastle Falcons
Newcastle Falcons
Newcastle falcons badge.png
Full name Newcastle Falcons
Union Rugby Football Union
Nickname(s) the Falcons
Founded 1877[1]
Location Newcastle upon Tyne, England
Ground(s) Kingston Park (Capacity: 10,200[2])
Chairman England Dave Thompson
Coach(es) Scotland Alan Tait
Captain(s) England James Hudson
League(s) Aviva Premiership
2010–11 11th
1st kit
2nd kit
Official website

The Newcastle Falcons (formerly Gosforth FC/Newcastle Gosforth until 1996) is an English rugby union team currently playing in the Aviva Premiership. The club was established in 1877[1] and played under the name of Gosforth Football Club until 1990. The name was then changed to Newcastle Gosforth and the club began to play at Kingston Park stadium in Kingston Park, Newcastle upon Tyne. At the start of the professional era the club adopted its current name of Newcastle Falcons.

The Falcons have been the biggest and most successful club in northern England, with one Premiership and four domestic cups to their name. They also boast a number of home-grown former players such as World Cup winner Jonny Wilkinson.



The original Gosforth Football Club was founded in 1877 by a group of Old Boys of Durham School,[1] in whose colours of green and white hoops the club played until the mid-1990s. The name Gosforth came from one of the suburbs of Newcastle-upon-Tyne. In 1955, the club moved to a new ground at North Road which was to be its home until 1990. During that time and particularly in the late 1970s Gosforth enjoyed tremendous success both on and off the field winning the John Player Cup in seasons 1975/76 and 76/77.

Gosforth supplied innumerable players to all counties over the years, to the North of England sides and to the full international and British Lions teams. These include Arthur Smith, Ray McLoughlin, Malcolm Young, Roger Uttley, Peter Dixon, Duncan Madsen, Dave Robinson, Richard Breakey, Jim Pollock and Colin White.

In 1990 the club name was changed to Newcastle Gosforth and they moved to Kingston Park. Gosforth Rugby Football Club continued as an amateur side working in partnership with Northumbria University. They currently play at the training ground of the Newcastle Falcons, Druid Park.

For the 1996/7 season the new name of Newcastle Falcons and the current black-and-white colours were adopted, after local businessman Sir John Hall had taken control and attempted to create a sporting club in Newcastle that would emulate the success of the Barcelona model. The four teams that made up the sporting club were the football team, nicknamed the Magpies, the Newcastle Eagles basketball team, the Newcastle Wasps (later Riverkings, Jokers, Vipers) ice hockey team and the Newcastle Falcons rugby union team.

Newcastle was the first fully "professional" club in the world. In 1995, Sir John Hall installed former Wasps’ captain, Rob Andrew, as his salaried Director of Rugby and saw the club earn promotion from the national Second Division to the Premiership. The following season, Newcastle became English champions at their first attempt. The following season Newcastle didn't play in Europe as English teams did not take part but they did go onto the Tetley's Bitter Cup final against Wasps which they lost 29-19.

Hall sold the Falcons for a 'nominal' sum in 1999 to current owner Dave Thompson and since then Newcastle have won two Powergen Cups: in 2001 the Falcons beat Harlequins F.C. 30-27; and 2004 the Falcons beat 37-33 against Sale Sharks. The following season the Falcons recorded their best ever Heineken Cup performance by winning their pool and progressing to a quarter-final tie against Stade Francais in the Parc des Princes.[3]

In August 2005 Falcons toured Japan pre-season. They beat NEC Green Rockets easily but lost to a fired-up Toyota Verblitz.[4]

In August 2006 Rob Andrew left the Falcons to be in overall charge of the England set-up ahead of the 2007 World Cup in a wide-ranging role that encompasses all aspects of the professional representative game in England.[5] John Fletcher succeeded Rob Andrew as director of rugby at Newcastle Falcons with immediate effect. Fletcher, a former England A centre, had been the club's academy boss and he headed up a team of Peter Walton, Steve Black and Bob Morton, with ex-Falcons prop Ian Peel taking over as acting academy manager.

2007–08 season

On 11 March 2008, Fletcher and Walton left the club, officially by mutual consent,[6] following Black who had left a couple of months earlier. Steve Bates took over as interim Director of Rugby until the summer of 2008 when the post was reviewed.[7] Dave Thompson stated that nine years of underachievement were the reason for the departure of John Fletcher and Peter Walton.

Having said this, Bates guided the Falcons to a record-equalling run of seven consecutive Premiership defeats by April 2008 with home games against Leicester Tigers and London Wasps plus a season-concluding away trip to Worcester Warriors yet to come. Defeat in the ECC semi-final against Worcester Warriors on 25 April 2008 may well have sounded the death knell for Steve Bates' tenure as interim DoR. However, on Tuesday 20 May 2008 Steve Bates was confirmed as Newcastle's Director of Rugby on a full-time basis.[7]

2008–09 season

In November 2008 Chairman Dave Thompson put an end to speculation of a takeover of the club after rejecting 3 bids.[8] He held talks with a number of different consortia and reportedly turned down one offer of a full take over as the bidding consortium wanted to relocate the club to Darlington. Furthermore, he said the speculation had led to instability in the club which was unsettling players and fans alike. On the pitch the Falcons reached another European Challenge Cup Quarter-Final going down to Saracens away from home and finished 10th in the Premiership.

2009–10 season

After a disappointing season the pressure mounted on Steve Bates and on 4 May 2010, the club announced that Bates' contract had been terminated and he was being replaced by first team coach Alan Tait.[9] The decision came after Newcastle went on an unbeaten run to quash any doubts of relegation largely due to an inspirational Carl Hayman. But a crushing home European Challenge Cup Quarter Final defeat by Cardiff Blues signaled the end of the Bates era.

2010–11 season

Towards the end of the previous season Chairman Dave Thompson had to seek investment for the club due to increasing debts after the Nationalisation of Northern Rock - the clubs main sponsor. After months of speculation, it was announced that local businessman Semore Kurdi had purchased a 40% stake in the club in September 2010, easing the clubs financial difficulties.[10] On the pitch in Alan Tait's first season the Falcons reached the Anglo-Welsh Cup final, losing to Gloucester 34-7. Despite this relative success the Falcons finished their worst ever Premiership season with just 23 points (4 wins), only escaping relegation thanks to the inferior points difference of Leeds Carnegie.

Club information

Kingston Park


Newcastle Falcons play at Kingston Park which holds 10,200.[2] Kingston Park is the second smallest stadium in the Aviva Premiership even so the attendance has been in steady decline in recent years with an average crowd of 4,500. This is mainly due to the fact the Falcons have been fighting relegation and have sold many of their main stars, at the teams peak, the ground attracted sell outs frequently. Traditionally the South Stand is where the loudest fans stand and sing. The stadium has three modern stands - 1 open air standing, 1 enclosed standing and a main stand which is all-seater - but kept the original Gosforth stand with the green and white seating (Gosforth colours).


Gosforth Rugby Strip.

The team wears a black strip with a grey lining for home games and from the 2011-2012 season will wear a light blue strip for away games. Cotton Traders are the current strip providers. Previously, in the 2007/2008 season the Falcons were the only club in the UK to wear a kit designed by Nike, prior to this the strip providers were KooGa. During the years known as Gosforth the team played in green and white hoops.

Historic League Positions

Season Final Position Points
1997–1998 – Allied Dunbar Premiership 1st 38
1998–1999 – Allied Dunbar Premiership 8th 28
1999–2000 – Allied Dunbar Premiership 9th 20
2000–2001 – Zurich Premiership 6th 57
2001–2002 – Zurich Premiership 6th 56
2002–2003 – Zurich Premiership 10th 40
2003–2004 – Zurich Premiership 10th 40
2004–2005 – Zurich Premiership 7th 47
2005–2006 – Guinness Premiership 7th 47
2006–2007 – Guinness Premiership 9th 44
2007–2008 – Guinness Premiership 11th 37
2008–2009 – Guinness Premiership 10th 44
2009–2010 – Guinness Premiership 9th 37
2010–2011 – Aviva Premiership 11th 23

Club honours


  • Record Win: 156 – 5 vs Rugby Lions (Courage League 1996)
  • Record Loss: 10 – 83 vs Leicester Tigers (2005)
  • Best League Position: 1st (1997–1998)
  • Worst League Position: 11th (2007–2008, 2010-2011)
  • Most Premiership Appearances: Tom May - 193
  • Top Premiership Try Scorer: Tom May - 47
  • Top Premiership Points Scorer: Jonny Wilkinson - 1489

Current standings

English Premiership Table watch · edit · discuss
Club Played Won Drawn Lost Points For Points Against Points Difference Tries For Tries Against Try Bonus Losing Bonus Points
1 Harlequins 8 8 0 0 234 143 +91 23 13 2 0 34
2 Saracens 8 7 0 1 195 122 +73 17 12 1 1 30
3 London Irish 8 3 1 4 221 195 +26 20 18 2 4 20
4 Gloucester 8 4 0 4 167 163 +4 14 15 0 3 19
5 Sale Sharks 8 4 0 4 177 201 -24 18 19 1 2 19
6 Northampton Saints 8 4 0 4 177 136 +41 15 10 1 1 18
7 Bath 8 4 0 4 153 169 -16 12 9 0 2 18
8 London Wasps 8 4 0 4 148 169 -21 15 10 1 1 18
9 Exeter Chiefs 8 3 0 5 150 170 -20 14 17 1 4 17
10 Leicester Tigers 8 2 1 5 210 231 -21 20 25 1 3 14
11 Worcester Warriors 8 2 1 5 110 151 -41 7 13 0 2 12
12 Newcastle Falcons 8 1 1 6 130 222 -92 9 23 0 1 7

If teams are level at any stage, tiebreakers are applied in the following order:

  1. Number of matches won
  2. Difference between points for and against
  3. Total number of points for
  4. Aggregate number of points scored in matches between tied teams
  5. Number of matches won excluding the first match, then the second and so on until the tie is settled
Green background (rows 1 to 4) are play-off places, and receive berths in the 2011–12 Heineken Cup. Blue background (rows 5 and 6) are clubs that do not make the play-offs, but will receive Heineken Cup berths. Red background (row 12) to be relegated if the champion of the RFU Championship meets the requirements for promotion. Updated 09 October 2011 — Current English Leagues

source:Premiership Rugby


Current squad 2011/2012

Note: Flags indicate national union as has been defined under IRB eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-IRB nationality.

Player Position Union
Joe Graham Hooker England England
George McGuigan Hooker England England
Matt Thompson Hooker England England
Rob Vickers Hooker England England
Darren Fearn Prop England England
Dan Frazier Prop England England
Jon Golding Prop England England
James Hall Prop England England
Euan Murray Prop Scotland Scotland
Grant Shiells Prop Scotland Scotland
Ashley Wells Prop South Africa South Africa
Josh Beaumont Lock England England
Richard Boyle Lock England England
James Hudson (c) Lock England England
Tim Swinson Lock England England
Glen Townson Lock England England
Andrew van der Heijden Lock New Zealand New Zealand
Ally Hogg Flanker Scotland Scotland
Redford Pennycook Flanker England England
Joe Robinson Flanker England England
Taiasina Tuifua Flanker Samoa Samoa
Will Welch Flanker England England
Mark Wilson Flanker England England
Adriaan Fondse Number 8 South Africa South Africa
Richard Mayhew Number 8 New Zealand New Zealand
Player Position Union
Will Chudley Scrum-half England England
Jordi Pasqualin Scrum-half England England
Chris Pilgrim Scrum-half England England
Jimmy Gopperth Fly-half New Zealand New Zealand
Joel Hodgson Fly-half England England
Jeremy Manning Fly-half New Zealand New Zealand
Luke Eves Centre England England
James Fitzpatrick Centre England England
Jamie Helleur Centre Samoa Samoa
Suka Hufanga Centre Tonga Tonga
Ryan Shortland Centre New Zealand New Zealand
Luke Fielden Wing England England
Rikki Sheriffe Wing England England
Alex Tait Wing England England
Michael Tait Wing Scotland Scotland
Tom Catterick Fullback England England
Greg Goosen Fullback South Africa South Africa

Internationally Capped Players

Transfers 2011/2012

Players In

Players Out

Current Coaching Staff

  • Head Coach: Alan Tait
  • Assistant Coach: Paul Moriarty
  • Head of Strength & Conditioning Coach: Andy Smith
  • Strength & Conditioning Intern: Patrick Evans
  • Team Manager: John Stokoe
  • Academy Manager: Richard Arnold

Notable former players


  1. ^ a b c History of the Club,
  2. ^ a b Kingston Park Stadium (Newcastle Falcons),
  3. ^ "Stade Francais 48-8 Newcastle Falcons". 3 April 2005. 
  4. ^ Falcons fall to narrow defeat in Japan, Guinness Premiership, 23 August 2005.
  5. ^ Falcons pay tribute to Andrew,, 18 August 2006
  6. ^ Boss Fletcher Leaves Newcastle, BBC Sport, 11 March 2008
  7. ^ a b Steve Bates given Newcastle Falcons job, Telegraph, 20 May 2008
  8. ^ "Thompson Ends Takeover Talk". 25 November 2008. 
  9. ^ "Falcons Club Statement". 4 May 2010. Retrieved 4 May 2010. 
  10. ^ "Kurdi buys stake Newcastle Falcons". 22 September 2010. Retrieved 22 September 2010. 
  11. ^ "Newcastle Falcons sign second row Richard Boyle". BBC Sport. 6 June 2011. 
  12. ^ "Newcastle Falcons sign Will Chudley from Bedford". BBC Sport. 20 May 2011. 
  13. ^ "Newcastle Falcons sign Doncaster Knights prop Frazier". BBC Sport. 20 April 2011. 
  14. ^ "Newcastle Falcons sign Gloucester's Jordi Pasqualin". BBC Sport. 9 March 2011. 
  15. ^ "Joe Robinson can be a soaring Falcon - Tait". Chronicle Live. 4 June 2011. 
  16. ^ "Newcastle Falcons seal deal for Rikki Sheriffe". BBC Sport. 8 February 2011. 
  17. ^ "Newcastle Falcons sign Esher back rower Richard Mayhew". BBC Sport. 7 April 2011. 
  18. ^ "Newcastle Falcons sign Ryan Shortland for next season". BBC Sport. 25 March 2011. 
  19. ^ "Newcastle Falcons sign Auckland centre Jamie Helleur". BBC Sport. 6 April 2011. 
  20. ^ "Newcastle sign Samoan international". Planet Rugby. 4 August 2011.,25883,3551_7079761,00.html. 
  21. ^ "FONDSE EXCITED WITH FALCONS MOVE". 2011-11-05. Retrieved 2011-11-05. 
  22. ^ "Goosen steps into Newcastle". Sky Sports. 17 June 2011.,19528,12331_6992981,00.html. 
  23. ^ "Newcastle Falcons sign tight-head prop Ashley Wells". BBC Sport. 21 June 2011. 
  24. ^ "Alan Tait in call to Falcons players ahead of Lyon game". Chronicle Live. 7 November 2011. 
  25. ^ "Sale Sharks sign Newcastle winger Charlie Amesbury". BBC Sport. 30 March 2011. 
  26. ^ "Tigers complete Brookes deal". ESPN Scrum. 11 January 2011. 
  27. ^ "Blaydon boss Micky Ward signs Hall Charlton". Chronicle Live. 2 July 2011. 
  28. ^ "London Irish sign Alex Gray from Newcastle Falcons". BBC Sport. 9 August 2011. 
  29. ^ "Sevens deal for Vickerman". Sky Sports. 17 May 2011.,19528,12333_6936743,00.html. 
  30. ^ "Blaydon seal deal with Falcons great Ward". Chronicle Live. 14 May 2011. 
  31. ^ "Reds Bring Williams To The Willows". 8 July 2011. 
  32. ^ "Ed Williamson tells of career ending injury shock". Journal Live. 5 July 2011. 
  33. ^ "Young signs for Tigers". Sky Sports. 18 April 2011.,19528,12552_6882727,00.html. 
  34. ^ "Preview: Aviva Premiership 2011/12". Planet Rugby. 30 August 2011.,,3823_7139113,00.html. 
  35. ^ "Blaydon seal deal with Falcons great Ward". Chronicle Live. 14 May 2011. 
  36. ^ "North Harbour named for ITM Cup's first match". All Blacks. 12 July 2011. 
  37. ^ "Levi signs deal at Makos". Planet Rugby. 27 July 2011.,25883,3826_7063587,00.html. 
  38. ^ "Andy Henderson to play for GHA". Glasgow Warriors. 22 April 2011. 
  39. ^ "Newcastle Falcons confirms trio will exit club". BBC Sport. 27 April 2011. 
  40. ^ "Flanker Mark Wilson is a real forward thinker". Chronicle Live. 29 April 2011. 

External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

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