Rob Andrew becomes Newcastle Falcons’ honorary president

Tuesday 12 September 2023 Written by: Alan

The former fly-half spent more than a decade at the club as a player and director of rugby, steering the Falcons to promotion into the top-flight and becoming the only club to win the Premiership title at the first attempt – a record which still stands 25 years later.

Also winning a pair of national cup finals during his time on Tyneside, Andrew departed in 2006 to become director of elite rugby at the RFU before joining Sussex County Cricket Club as chief executive seven years ago.

“I was thrilled and honoured to be asked by Semore Kurdi and Dave Thompson to take up this role,” said Rob, who remains committed to his full-time job with Sussex.

“Newcastle Falcons means a lot to me having been involved there for so long, I have amazing memories from my time there and I’ve always felt a strong connection with the club even after moving on.

“I’m delighted to be involved in this new position, and I’ve got huge respect for everybody up there who has put the club where it is. Dave and Semore have done a remarkable job, as did everybody before them, and I’ve always felt entwined with it.

“I’ve kept in touch with Dave and Semore over the years, we had a discussion during the summer and it was lovely to be asked to be part of whatever the next chapter for the club has in store.

“It’s an honorary position so I’m still continuing as chief executive at Sussex, which I love, and I’m not going to be involved with the day-to-day running up at Newcastle. I’ll represent the Falcons as and when they want me to – hopefully I’ll get along to some games at home and away, and I’m basically just here as a sounding board to support the guys up there.”

Newcastle Falcons chairman Semore Kurdi said: “It’s wonderful for us to have Rob Andrew on board in this new honorary position.

“He is synonymous with the Falcons, he has a wealth of knowledge to share and is hugely positive about the impact we can make as a club.”

Chairman of rugby Matt Thompson said: “Having Rob on the end of a phone to bounce ideas off is incredibly valuable to us as we look to move forward.

“He’s got first-hand knowledge of the club, the game and the area, and has gone away and broadened his experience at the RFU and Sussex Cricket over a number of years.

“It’s an honorary position but he’ll bring all of his enthusiasm and acumen every time he represents us, and having worked with him during his time as director of rugby I know first-hand what a positive contribution he will make.”

Andrew remains upbeat about the prospects for rugby and for the Falcons in particular, saying:
“It’s a big moment for rugby to put itself in the shop window with the World Cup getting underway, which always shines a spotlight on the sport.

“As always it will be a fantastic tournament, there are some very good sides and people will be drawn to it in numbers. It’s an opportunity for club rugby to latch onto that interest and it feels like a time for the sport to press the re-set button.

“We all know the challenges it has faced with things like Covid and the resulting implications of that period, but the opportunity is there now to re-focus and go again. It has obviously been really difficult for clubs dealing with all of that, but equally, having spoken to Semore and Dave, it’s exciting for the Falcons to be part of the picture going forward.

“Through a huge amount of hard work by everyone involved Newcastle are there to fight another day – and sadly not everybody can say that.

“That’s the most important thing. They’ve had some good days and some not-so-good days, but that’s sport, and I know there’s a big determination within the club to keep building towards a strong future. If I can play some small part in that with this honorary position then that’s great, and I’m still very much committed to my full-time role with Sussex County Cricket.”

Asked if his time in professional cricket gives him an added perspective, Andrew said: “The issues are pretty much the same whatever sport you’re in, so the things we’re dealing with in cricket will be very similar to those in rugby.

“It’s managing relationships with people, with governing bodies, the sustainability of businesses and what the future looks like. It’s not easy as we’ve seen over the past couple of years, but there’s a huge love out there for sport and for Newcastle Falcons as a club.

“There’s always been an incredible production line of sporting talent from the North East and Cumbria, not just in rugby but across a number of sports. That’s a big part of what the Falcons are doing, and the only way that sports like rugby and cricket are sustainable is if you produce your own players.”