Newcastle Thunder have entered into the spirit of the Magic Weekend, with some players changing their names by deed poll.
The rugby players have changed their names to those of local soccer legends, as a way of marking that Magic Weekend is taking place at St James’ Park, the home of Newcastle United FC.
They have adopted the names of 19 footballing legends who have worn the famous black and white stripes of the Toon, including Alan Shearer, the late Jackie Milburn, Kevin Keegan, Gazza, Shay Given and Peter Beardsley.
Beardsley himself was in typically irrepressive form when he uveiled the special Thunder shirts at St James’ Park.
Thunder stars Jordan Meads and Sam Luckley were also in attendance. The players will wear the special shirts with the football player’s names on for the League One clash with York City Knights on Friday evening.
Newcastle Thunder’s managing director Keith Christie is hopeful that the Geordie passion for sport will see a large number of newcomers to rugby league over the course of Friday evening and Magic Weekend itself.
“Everyone knows how much the people here love their football, but there’s definitely a growing appetite for Rugby League,” he said.
“There’s more enthusiasm around our team by the day and tickets for Magic Weekend have also been selling fast.
“That being said, we know some Geordies may still be a little unfamiliar with the rules of our game and our players, so to make it easy for them we’ve decided to have our lads change their names to reflect characteristics and talents that they may be more familiar with!”