Sports clubs and their fan bases are bastions of passion and camaraderie. As I said last week, you’ll never find a closer group of mates than those who win together and lose together on a sports field. Loyalty to the club, team and your mates is vital for sporting success, trusting that you are all working towards the same outcome.
However, what is loyalty at Newcastle University? When you pull on kit who is it you’re playing for? More often than not, you compete for your club, rather than the University or the Athletic Union. It’s the natural choice. When I rowed it was for the Boat Club and it was for the Blue Star, the logo the club is built around and the identity. The whole rowing world knows the Blue Star brand. They know that the club is built on hard work above all else.
When this deep-rooted loyalty is mirrored across 62 different clubs you end up with thousands of people with very similar aims of success and determination but fragmented in terms of a university wide strategy.
Over recent years, the Team Newcastle brand has fallen by the wayside. However, there are some clubs like Triathlon who keep it an essential part of their brand. We currently have a system of clubs who almost rival each other, trying to get one up on each other when we should be celebrating each other’s achievements and shouting on the side lines of our sports teams, coming together to support all our student athletes as opposed to judging and looking down on other clubs. Club loyalty is vital for fixture success; however, playing for Team Newcastle creates a powerful and respected brand up and down the country. Team Newcastle is passionate, inclusive and a dominant force in the UK, one we should all be proud of and ready to celebrate. It starts with looking beyond our respective clubs and contributing the bigger sporting landscape at our university.