|Full name||Newcastle Falcons|
|Union||Rugby Football Union|
|Location||Newcastle upon Tyne, England|
|Ground(s)||Kingston Park (Capacity: 10,200)|
|Top scorer||Jonny Wilkinson (2005)|
|League(s)||Aviva Premiership, promoted from RFU Championship|
|Newcastle Falcons 156 - 5 Rugby Lions
|Leicester Tigers 83 - 10 Newcastle Falcons
The Newcastle Falcons (formerly Gosforth FC/Newcastle Gosforth until 1996) is an English rugby union team that have recently returned to the Aviva Premiership as of 29 May 2013 after a season in the RFU Championship. The club was established in 1877 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 are currently the only professional rugby club in north east England, with one Premiership and four domestic cups to their name. They also boasted a number of home-grown former players such as World Cup winner Jonny Wilkinson.
- 1 History
- 2 Club information
- 3 Club honours
- 4 Current standings
- 5 Current squad
- 6 Transfers 2013-14
- 7 Current Coaching Staff
- 8 Notable former players
- 9 References
- 10 External links
The original Gosforth Football Club was founded in 1877 by a group of Old Boys of Durham School, 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, and currently play at the training ground of the Newcastle Falcons, Druid Park.
For the 1996/7 season the new name of Newcastle Falcons and new black-and-white colours were adopted, after local businessman Sir John Hall took 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 that 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. During 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 local businessman Dave Thompson, under whom the Falcons won two Powergen Cups: in 2001 the Falcons beat Harlequins FC 30-27; and in 2004 the Falcons beat 37-33 against Sale Sharks. The following season the Falcons recorded their best ever Heineken Cup performance to date by winning their pool and progressing to a quarter-final tie against Stade Français in the Parc des Princes.
In August 2006 Rob Andrew left the Falcons to take 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. 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.
On 11 March 2008, Fletcher and Walton left the club, officially by mutual consent, following Black who had left a couple of months earlier. Steve Bates took over as interim director of rugby until summer 2008 when the post was reviewed. Dave Thompson stated at that time 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 European Challenge Cup 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.
In November 2008 Chairman Dave Thompson put an end to speculation of a takeover of the club after rejecting three bids. 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.
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. 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 signalled the end of the Bates era.
Towards the end of the previous season Chairman Dave Thompson had to seek investment for the club due to increasing debts following the Nationalisation of Northern Rock, the club's 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 club's financial difficulties. 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 (four wins), only escaping relegation thanks to the inferior points difference of Leeds Carnegie.
The 2011-12 season saw Newcastle Falcons relegated from the Premiership. The Falcons started the season badly but rallied midway through as Gary Gold took over. After changing the set up at Kingston Park, the club nearly escaped relegation, but Wasps held on to secure their premiership status by a point. Despite finishing with a higher points total than the year before (32) it was not enough to keep them up. The Falcons still had a small hope that London Welsh may be refused premiership status, however they were promoted after an appeal.
The Falcons' season in the Championship sees the much changed side coached by director of rugby Dean Richards. They won their first game of the season 37-20 against Bristol  and went on to win their second 49-32 against London Scottish. At the half way point of the season the Falcons were maintaining their unbeaten run, including a 24-13 score against a touring Tongan national side during the first international game to be held at Kingston Park since 1990.
The Falcons confirmed their place in the Championship play off semi-final with a bonus point win at home to Cornish Pirates on 22 February 2013 and their position as league leaders was confirmed early the following month. At the conclusion of the season, the Falcons defeated the Bedford Blues 49-33 on aggregate in the final to win promotion back to the Premiership for the 2013-14 season.
Newcastle Falcons play at Kingston Park which holds 10,200. Kingston Park is the second smallest stadium in the Aviva Premiership ahead of Saracens' Allianz Park but the club's average attendance currently sits at approximately 4,000. The stadium has three modern stands; the open air North standing Terrace, the enclosed South Stand Terrace - where the loudest fans traditionally stand and sing, and the all-seated West Stand. However, the Falcons also retain the original Gosforth East stand complete with green and white seating (Gosforth colours).
For the 2012/13 season, the team are wearing a black strip with a red and white band across the chest for home games, and a white strip with a red and black band across the chest for away games. Orion Teamwear is the current strip provider although the team kit has previously been supplied by Kooga, Nike, and Cotton Traders. During the years known as Gosforth the club played in green and white hoops, colours that are still retained by the existing Gosforth Rugby Club.
Historic league positions
|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|
|2011–2012 – Aviva Premiership||12th||32|
|2012–2013 – RFU Championship||1st||98 (Champions)|
- Premiership (1): 1997–98
- Division Two / Championship (2): 1992–93, 2012–13
- National Cup (4): 1976, 1977, 2001, 2004
- Middlesex 7s (1): 2007
- Premiership Rugby Sevens Series (1): 2011
- Heineken Cup: Quarter-Final (2005)
- European Challenge Cup: Semi-Final (1998, 2001, 2006, 2008)
- British and Irish Cup: Final (2012–13)
- Record Win: 156 – 5 vs Rugby Lions (Courage League 1996)
- Record Loss: 10 – 83 vs Leicester Tigers (Zurich Premiership 2004-2005)
- Best League Position: 1st (Premiership, 1997–1998)
- Worst League Position: 12th (Division Two, 1989-1990)
- Most Premiership Appearances: Tom May - 193
- Top Premiership Try Scorer: Tom May - 47
- Top Premiership Points Scorer: Jonny Wilkinson - 1489
|Club||Played||Won||Drawn||Lost||Points For||Points Against||Points Difference||Tries For||Tries Against||Try Bonus||Losing Bonus||Points|
If teams are level at any stage, tiebreakers are applied in the following order:
|Green background (rows 1 to 4) are play-off places. Red background (row 12) will be relegated if the winner of the RFU Championship meets the requirements for promotion. Updated 2 December 2013 — Current English Leagues
source: Premiership Rugby
2013/2014 Note: Flags indicate national union as has been defined under IRB eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-IRB nationality.
Note: Flags indicate national union as has been defined under IRB eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-IRB nationality.
- Noah Cato from Northampton Saints 
- Adam Powell from Saracens 
- Mike Blair from CA Brive 
- Rory Clegg from Harlequins 
- Andy Saull from Saracens 
- Phil Godman from London Scottish 
- Scott Lawson from London Irish 
- Fraser McKenzie from Sale Sharks 
- Kieran Brookes from Leicester Tigers 
- Danny Barnes from Munster 
- Dominic Barrow from Leeds Carnegie 
- Franck Montanella from London Welsh 
- Gary Strain from Massy
- Gonzalo Tiesi from London Welsh
- Taiasina Tui'fua to Union Bordeaux Bègles 
- Jimmy Gopperth to Leinster Rugby 
- James Hudson to Gloucester Rugby 
- James Hall to Bristol Rugby 
- Michael Mayhew to London Irish 
- Jon Golding retired 
- Jordi Pasqualin to London Scottish 
- James Goode to Neath (Player-coach) 
- Joe Robinson to Fylde 
- Luke Fielden to England Sevens 
- Ollie Stedman to London Welsh 
- Rory Lawson retired 
- Andy Higgins retired
- Waisea Luveniyali released
- Suka Hufanga released
Current Coaching Staff
- Director of Rugby: Dean Richards
- Head Coach: Peter Russell
- Defence Coach: Graham Steadman
- Forwards Coach: John Wells
- Scrum Coach: Micky Ward
- Skills Coach: Calum MacRae
- Head of Field Conditioning: Kevin McShane
- Strength & Conditioning Co-ordinator: Andy Smith
- Academy Coach: Mark Laycock
- Team Manager: John Stokoe
Notable former players
||This list of "famous" or "notable" persons has no clear inclusion or exclusion criteria. Please help to define clear inclusion criteria and edit the list to contain only subjects that fit those criteria. (June 2012)|
- History of the Club, Newcastle-Falcons.co.uk
- Kingston Park Stadium (Newcastle Falcons), RugbyStadiums.co.uk
- Brown, Steve. "Newcastle Falcons relegated from Premiership". ChronicleLive.co.ul. Retrieved 30 June 2012.
- "Stade Français 48-8 Newcastle Falcons". www.newcastle-falcons.co.uk. 3 April 2005.
- Falcons fall to narrow defeat in Japan, Guinness Premiership, 23 August 2005.
- Falcons pay tribute to Andrew, Newcastle-Falcons.co.uk, 18 August 2006
- Boss Fletcher Leaves Newcastle, BBC Sport, 11 March 2008
- Steve Bates given Newcastle Falcons job, Telegraph, 20 May 2008
- "Thompson Ends Takeover Talk". www.newcastle-falcons.co.uk. 25 November 2008.
- "Falcons Club Statement". www.newcastle-falcons.co.uk. 4 May 2010. Retrieved 4 May 2010.
- "Kurdi buys stake Newcastle Falcons". www.guardian.co.uk. 22 September 2010. Retrieved 22 September 2010.
- "Bristol 20 Falcons 37". http://www.newcastlefalcons.co.uk. 2 September 2012. Retrieved 8 September 2012.
- "Noah Cato: Newcastle Falcons sign Northampton winger". BBC Sport. 26 February 2013.
- "Newcastle Falcons sign Saracens centre Adam Powell". BBC Sport. 11 March 2013.
- "Former Scotland cap Mike Blair to make summer Newcastle move". BBC Sport. 8 April 2013.
- "Newcastle Falcons re-sign Rory Clegg from Harlequins". 17 April 2013.
- "Newcastle Falcons sign Andy Saull". BBC Sport. 18 April 2013.
- "Newcastle Falcons sign three for next season". BBC Sport. 22 April 2013.
- "Newcastle Falcons: Adam Powell and Kieran Brookes commit future". BBC Sport. 3 May 2013.
- "Newcastle Falcons sign Munster centre Danny Barnes". BBC Sport. 4 June 2013.
- "Dominic Barrow: Newcastle Falcons sign Leeds Carnegie lock". BBC Sport. 10 July 2013.
- "Franck Montanella: Newcastle Falcons sign France prop". BBC Sport. 8 August 2013.
- "Scottish prop Strain to make Aviva Premiership bow". The Scotsman. 6 September 2013.
- "Newcastle Falcons sign Argentina centre Gonzalo Tiesi". BBC Sport. 6 November 2013.
- "Phoenix clients agree Bordeaux deals". PhoenixSM. 7 January 2013.
- "Leinster sign fly-half Jimmy Gopperth from Newcastle Falcons". BBC Sport. 4 March 2013.
- "Newcastle lock James Hudson sign Gloucester contract". BBC Sport. 19 March 2013.
- "Bristol sign Newcastle Falcons prop James Hall for next season". BBC Sport. 9 April 2013.
- "Michael Mayhew: London Irish sign Newcastle Falcons hooker". BBC Sport. 11 April 2013.
- "Newcastle Falcons prop forward Jonny Golding to retire". BBC Sport. 23 April 2013.
- "Jordi Pasqualin Joins London Scottish". Premiership Rugby. 4 June 2013.
- "Neath sign lock James Goode and hooker Ieuan Dobbs". This is South Wales. 2 July 2013.
- "Fylde tie up Joe Robinson deal". Fylde Rugby. 15 July 2013.
- "Falcons Record Try Scorer Luke Fielden To Join England Sevens". Tyne and Wear. 30 July 2013.
- "Ollie Stedman joins London Welsh". Telegraph and Argus. 2 August 2013.
- "Rory Lawson retires from rugby due to chronic wrist injury". BBC Sport. 7 August 2013.
- "Andy Higgins forced to retire". Sky Sports. 7 October 2013.