New investor safeguards Falcons' future
September 23, 2010
Newcastle went down at the hands of Exeter in their latest Premiership encounter © Getty Images
The long-term future of Premiership side Newcastle has been secured following a £2m investment from local businessman Semore Kurdi.
Falcons owner Dave Thompson has been desperate to find fresh funding following a testing financial period that included the collapse of the bank Northern Rock who had been a long-term club sponsor. But his two-year quest to safeguard the future of the club has finally been realised with the sale of a 40% stake in the Falcons to the 41-year-old Kurdi.
"The club would have survived without this investment," said Jordan-born Kurdi. "All the problems were addressable, but it would have taken two or three years to get to the point we are pushing quickly towards now. We are now comfortable for the future, and we're building the stability to develop the club, in rugby terms, marketing and on the commercial front too. This solidifies all financial business plans for the short, medium and long term that the club has, and allows us to meet all our obligations."
The much-needed cash injection will be used to develop young players rather than sign big names and Thompson will remain the majority shareholder with 59%. "No one needs me to tell them how many top-level players have been developed here and come through the club," said Jordan-born Kurdi. "It is vital we continue to produce players of international calibre and we still have very high statistics for local players.
"We need to retain them in the longer term too, though, and I hope this investment can ensure that is something we manage moving forward. We understand there is still a lot of hard work ahead, and we are very excited about that. I am looking to add value as a fresh face and new blood at the club and offer a different direction."
Kurdi has now set his sight on helping the club regularly fill their 10,200-capacity Kingston Park stadium that was sold to current owner Northumbria University in 2008. "It's absolutely imperative that we treat the customers right and we know full well that winning is not the only measure of success," Kurdi added. "Clearly results are hugely important and I believe we are headed in the right direction on the field, even though we have not claimed the results we would have liked so far.
"The goal is to fill the stands, pack the stadium and have them watching a winning team that plays attractive and exciting rugby. It's achievable and that's what we're working very hard to do. As a club we appreciate that we have to work harder to fill those stands though, that's down to us and we're addressing that. We understand that is a very difficult ambition, but that's our goal and that's what I believe we will achieve."