Falcons takeover speculation ended
November 25, 2008
© Getty Images
Newcastle Falcons chairman Dave Thompson has ended months of speculation regarding a takeover of the club by revealing he will stay at the helm.
In recent months Thompson had been in talks with three groups about the possibility of a buy-out as the club continues to struggle with £1m a year losses. But the Falcons chief, who recently paid a six-figure sum to stave off a winding-up order from the Inland Revenue, insists he is now going to stay with the club.
"The constant speculation has had a negative impact on the team, and I want to end it now by saying that I will continue as majority shareholder to give the club the stability it needs."
"Over the last five months or so there has been a lot of speculation regarding a change of ownership for Newcastle Rugby Ltd. During that time I have engaged in talks with three different parties. I don't know if it's the current economic situation, or the geographical area we are in, but those three sets of negotiations have failed to come to a conclusion. In light of that I have taken a decision that the club had to be stabilised, that we have to get rid once and for all the various rumours and media reports, which is why I have made this announcement today.
"That is important for the squad, because some of the things that have been said in the press and in the various bits of gossip around the place have just taken off that little bit of edge that you need as a rugby player.
Falcons currently sit in tenth place in the Premiership, above last season's champions Wasps and fellow relegation tips Bristol. The side's current league position has led to questions over the recruitment of new players, to bolster a side that already contains former All Blacks prop Carl Hayman and the currently sidelined Jonny Wilkinson, but Falcons fans have been warned not to expect any miracle-buys.
"We are looking at the squad at the moment, but that has to be put against the backdrop of the current economic climate and our crowd numbers, which have not been as strong as we would have hoped.
"The most important thing is that the club is stable going forward. Yes we will look at the opportunity to bring in players, but it is a difficult time of the year for recruitment and I have to be totally honest and say I can't make a promise in that area as to whether we can afford it.
"Our support from the corporate hospitality and match-day crowds is important in that regard, and it's absolutely vital that the people of the North-East back us right now when we most need them to get behind us."
In the wake of another perfect November series, Monday Maul talks to NZRU CEO Steve Tew about the constant demand for perfection
The latest Week in Pictures takes in all the action from the weekend when rugby united behind Samoa
The Wallabies showed flair in Dublin, but they still have a way to go if they are to do more than make up the numbers at the World Cup, writes Greg Growden
England broke their losing streak, but this was not them clawing their way back among the best, writes Tom Hamilton