FORMER Newcastle chairman Robbie Tew says the prospect of the Knights losing their NRL licence if they don’t find a way forward financially is a “legitimate concern”.
Newcastle remains under the control of the NRL in the wake of Nathan Tinkler’s ill-fated tenure as club owner and Tew is part of the Our Knights, One Chance proposal to raise funds to support the long-term existence of the club.
The proposal, which was launched by a group of businessmen last weekend, involves making Newcastle a community-based club by selling shares at $500 each in a bid to raise $20 million.
“The economic imperatives I think weigh heavily on NRL clubs and sporting clubs in general around the world,” Tew says.
“I don’t think there’s any doubt that if you are not performing economically you’re at risk of losing your licence, that’s a legitimate concern for us, and we think the best way to overcome that is to have the community invest in the club and take responsibility for its long-term future.”
Tew says he is convinced the Newcastle and wider Hunter area has the potential to adequately invest in the Knights.
“We punch above our weight economically in NSW and I think it’s reasonable to say there is not another region of our scale or our diversity of economic sectors in Australia,” he says.
“We would like our club to reflect the positivity that is elsewhere in the community.”