In recognition of the rich rugby heritage intertwining the two clubs, Newcastle Falcons and Gosforth RFC are delighted to announce a series of events and initiatives in 2017 which will mark a number of important milestones and anniversaries.
Founded as Gosforth Football Club in 1877 and famously playing in the green and white hoops of Durham School due to many of their members being former pupils, Gosforth rose to national prominence before the professional and amateur arms of the club went their separate ways in 1996.
The intervening 20 years have seen the Falcons going on to establish themselves as a Premiership force while the incredible effort of Gosforth’s founder members has ensured the original name lives on, with Gosforth RFC now an established presence in Durham and Northumberland One at their new Broadway West base.
The partnership between the two clubs comes at a time when they are preparing to mark a series of milestones such as the 140th anniversary of their foundation, the 40th anniversary of their first John Player Cup final victory, the 20th anniversary of Gosforth RFC and the two-decade mark since Newcastle Falcons stormed to the Premiership title.
Newcastle Falcons managing director Mick Hogan said: “These two famous clubs are inextricably linked through our proud shared history, and it is important we give due recognition. Not only that, but we can offer each other significant mutual benefits as we look to the future in both the professional and community games.
“The relationship between the two clubs has not always been as positive as it could have been over the past 20 years, but through a shared respect we are now in a position whereby we can celebrate our collective history and benefit each other.
“In practical terms a recent example of our growing collaboration has seen our grounds-staff giving their time and expertise to improve Gosforth’s pitches and drainage issues. Looking ahead our community team will be working to support Gosforth’s mini rugby section and we will be making our Kingston Park facilities available throughout the 2016-17 season to their senior and junior teams.
“In 2017 both clubs will stage a joint dinner marking our 140 years on the rugby map, which will bring together many former greats of the clubs as well as raising money for the Falcons Community Foundation and the further development of Gosforth at its Broadway West base .
“We will continue to work with rugby clubs across the North East and Cumbria but it is also appropriate that the link between Gosforth and Newcastle Falcons is now being celebrated as it rightfully should.”
Malcolm Bell, president of Gosforth RFC, added: “We at Gosforth are working hard to develop our facilities at Broadway West and we are grateful to the Falcons for their assistance now and in the future.
“Joint Falcons/Gosforth dinners in 2001 to celebrate 25 years since the first John Player Cup win in 1976, and in 2002 to mark the 125th anniversary of the founding of Gosforth FC, were a success and live long in the memory.
“We are looking forward to celebrating the forthcoming milestones in the histories of both clubs, and another enjoyable evening. We are sure we will add to our rugby memories as well as renewing acquaintances with many past players and officials, remembering that without their hard work both on and off the field, neither club would be in the position they are today.”