Gateshead Thunder could launch license bid

Gateshead Thunder chairman Steven Garside believes that with greater financial backing and support his club can launch a serious bid for Super League in 2012.nnThunder are one of the favourites to gain promotion into Co-operative National League One and have ambitions to regain their place in the top flight.nnThe new licensing system could be a way back to Super League for the northeast club whose previous incarnation merged with Hull in 1999.nn“Getting one of those licenses in four years’ time is definitely an achievable aim – circumstances will help us and we are already in a very good position to do it,” said Garside.nn“But we need help. I can’t do it on my own – we need support from businesses and from supporters coming through the turnstiles and if we get that then we’ve certainly got a good case to make to the RFL.nn“We are now one of the last outposts without a Super League team and that stands us in good stead.nn“I think the people of the North East need to realise, though, just how important the next few years are. If we’re promoted – and I accept that is by no means certain – and we get into National League One then it is a perfect opportunity to show that there is a hunger for rugby league in this region.”nnGarside added that the club’s current home at Gateshead International Stadium does not meet Super League criteria with a move to Newcastle Falcons’ Kingston Park a possibility.nn“The stadium is one of the issues that we would have to resolve if we were going to bid for one of the franchises. nn“The International Stadium does not fulfil the criteria to get into the Super League – we haven’t even had a working scoreboard for the last couple of years.nn“So we either need to do work on the International Stadium or move somewhere else. If we did that, Kingston Park would be a very good option for us – but once again, it would depend on the sort of support we manage to attract.nn“Obviously, we’d talk to supporters and canvass opinions on it, but I think it’s important that we get across that this is the North East’s rugby league team. nn“It’s not just Gateshead or Newcastle, it can represent everyone from this area with an interest in rugby league.”nnThe Rugby Football League have guaranteed that one National League club will be admitted to Super League in 2012 but any applicant must have reached at least one NL1 Grand Final.

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