Newcastle Thunder have announced that general manager Keith Christie will be leaving his position in May after ten years with the club. Joining with a local company in a senior business development role, he will remain with Thunder as a director.
Christie was part of the club whilst at Gateshead that won National League One in 2008 and gained promotion to the RFL Championship. He also oversaw the move to Kingston Park Stadium in January 2015 and the subsequent name change to Newcastle Thunder, creating a strong and recognised brand in the region.
Over the past two seasons, the club has seen a huge upturn in attendances, commercial and corporate support and the establishment of an Under 19 academy with teams in the RFL Super League Academy and National College competitions.
Speaking about Christie’s years at the club Thunder Chairman Mick Hogan said: “Keith has been one of the most significant and influential individuals in the club’s history since 1999. Whilst there have been plenty of highs in this time there have also been a number of tough times and it’s fair to say that without Keith and a small team of volunteers there might not be a club here today.
"He leaves the Thunder in great shape and whilst we are all sad to see him depart he goes with our very best wishes and thanks for the great job he has done. The club will benefit from the structures and partnerships he has put in place. It’s really positive news that he will remain as a director of the club and we will continue to benefit from the knowledge and experience he has built up over the past decade.”
Speaking on his decision to move on, Christie said: “It’s been a great journey with some fantastic people. While it’s been a hard slog in some very testing times, we are in the strongest position we have ever been and I hope to continue to support Newcastle Thunder going forward.
"Thunder has always been a family club and with the continued drive and vision from the board and I hope we will make the next step soon”
The club will announce a new management structure in the next few weeks.