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Hunter Sports Group CEO Troy Palmer, today announced the appointment of home town boy Matt Gidley as CEO of Football Operations for the Coal & Allied Newcastle Knights.
"Matt brings to the table a wealth of experience as a player and more recently as an Administrator both here and whilst in England," said Palmer.
"It was vitally important for us that the right person was in this role, and that person had to be someone with strong ethics, a local, and significant rugby league knowledge. Matt ticks each and every one of those boxes, plus he is also a fantastic person," he said.
"Matt's position is unique in Australian sport. As we promised at the time of the Knights vote, Matt's position will focus solely on Football Operations and will not be frustrated with issues outside our core Rugby League business," said Palmer.
From a local Wests (Newcastle) Junior to Grand Final hero in 2001, Matt left the Knights in 2006 to spend four years in England with Super League Club, St. Helens. Matt was welcomed back to the Newcastle Knights in January of 2011 as Business Development Manager, a position he has thrived on since his return.
"I have really enjoyed being a part of the business side of sport and particularly the Knights and I am really looking forward to the challenge in front of me," he said.
"I am honoured to be CEO of Football Operations for the Knights, it is something that was always in the back of my head but I never dreamed it would actually become a reality."
The challenge is what attracted Matt to the position, as well as his passion for the Club and the Town. Not to mention the opportunity to contribute and help shape the Knights in what is promising to be an exciting era.
"I sincerely thank the Hunter Sports Group for the opportunity and the faith they have put in me," he said.
Matt's playing career includes 221 games for the Knights, 15 Tests for Australia, 11 appearances for NSW and a Premiership with the Knights in 2001. Matt's tenure as CEO of Football Operations will become effective once the Privatisation transaction has been completed.
"I see as a vital part of my position the need to communicate very clearly to the children in our community that it does not matter whether you are playing for your local club, school or backyard. If you are demonstrating the attitude we require in our footy club, the aptitude to learn our philosophies, we will provide an opportunity to represent your home town," said Gidley.
"I think a lot of traits that drove us to winning the Grand Final in 2001, will be transferrable into my new role. There are no excuses; we now, after a lot of hard work from past players, administrators and supporters, have a clear opportunity to fulfil our potential as a football club."