Arriva Trains Cup Victory, Head Coach Dean Thomas brings international flavour to Tyneside rugby, the club returns to status of a limited company and Australian coast Dave Woods joins the club in 2006
The new era of Thunder Mark IV came with the Arriva Trains Cup victory over Workington Town at Gateshead RUFC’s ground – the International Stadium being unavailable. Fundraising efforts and sponsorship from local companies allowed Gateshead to finish the year in the black with all debts paid at the end of the season.
On the field, the situation deteriorated as coach Paul Fletcher resigned after a defeat by London Skolars. The board appointed Seamus McCallion as head coach and the former Durham Cricket Chairman and Head of Century FM, Bill Midgley, joined the board.
2005 saw the arrival of Dean Thomas as head coach at Gateshead. He strengthened the squad, bringing a multi-national flavour to Tyneside rugby as he recruited players from Australia, the West Indies, Fiji and elsewhere. The strategy paid off, and Thomas guided Thunder into the play-offs, before they eventually went out to Workington Town. Off the field, the club underwent a restructuring, with new investment coming from Essex-based financier Neil MacPherson. The club returned to the status of a limited company, with three directors. After two stalled attempts, it was agreed that Gateshead Thunder would be allowed to use Newcastle Falcons’ Kingston Park stadium for a game against York. They also played a game at the venue in both 2006 and 2007, and the club stated that they hoped in future to be able to play one game a year at Kingston Park. Dean Thomas guided Gateshead into the play-offs for two seasons running. He left the club at the end of the 2006 season and was replaced by former Castleford coach, Australian Dave Woods.