Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Region Backing Falcons as Club Think Long-Term

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Region Backing Falcons as Club Think Long-Term

Article excerpt

Byline: RUGBY UNION SCRUM DOWN with MARK SMITH Tel: (0191) 201 6432; email: mark.smith@ncjmedia.co.uk

NEWCASTLE Falcons chief executive Paul Varley believes the North East as a region is behind Newcastle Falcons in their bid to make a go of Premiership rugby.

Clubs from across the area and beyond were at Kingston Park on Sunday as a packed morning of junior action led up to the Falcons' Premiership date with Gloucester, Varley stating: "Generally people are optimistic, and seem to be behind us.

"I do think the North East as a region is absolutely pushing in the same direction as us, and there is not the ill feeling you perhaps get in other sports."

With more than 5,000 people in attendance for the 22-16 defeat, the chief executive is hopeful last season's promotion bounce can translate into strong top-flight gates during their maiden season back in the big time.

He said: "It is all about what happens on the pitch, and the feelgood factor at the end of last season was down to the coaching staff and players.

"We were delighted to have achieved our stated non-negotiable aim, which was to get promoted into the Premiership, and our fans came out to support us. I would encourage them to do the same this year, as I would do for our corporate guests and commercial partners."

Learning from fellow top-flight clubs as they aim to find the right formula, Varley said: "I have spent a fair amount of time chatting to the chief executives of the teams we have played against, and attending the away games to get a first-hand view of what other clubs are doing.

"I spent a lot of time with my counterpart at Bath ahead of the Premiership 7s finals, visiting their training ground and seeing the set-up there. It is like a castle in the countryside where they are based, and then again when we played Sale I spent time with their board, talking about how they do things.

"From our perspective I feel we are doing things the right way, but it was never going to be a case of turning on the light switch and everything being OK.

"It is going to take time, and you have got to have that consistency of purpose in doing the same things over and over again, and doing them well. …

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