Hall takes Newcastle into new era

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The Independent Online
Rugby Union

Newcastle United Football Club have taken over Newcastle Gosforth - who are to be known simply as Newcastle - in a deal which will make the Second Division rugby club England's first fully fledged professional operation, writes Steve Bale.

Sir John Hall, chairman of United, said last night that the rugby club had approached him with a view to adding the sport to the Newcastle portfolio. "Over the past three years we have built the football club into a formidable force," he said. "Now we want to give a major boost to rugby in the North- east."

Financial details are being kept private and how a members' club can be "taken over" by a commercial concern is also unclear. Newcastle lost their place in the Courage League First Division in 1994 and finished sixth in the Second Division last season.