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Defoe: 'Even Mum can't believe the Sunderland fans'

Sunderland's new striker Jermain Defoe said even his mother could not believe the support the "fantastic" Sunderland fans gave him during his first match, away at Spurs at the weekend.

"I only played 70 minutes the other day but the fans were fantastic. I spoke to my mum after the game and she couldn't believe it. She said the Sunderland fans did not stop singing the whole game."

Defoe was speaking to the media for the first time since joining the Black Cats from Toronto FC last week.

He said he had heard from other players that Sunderland was a "special" club, and had previously been told that if he ever had the chance to join them, he should.

The striker now says he cannot wait to play his first home match at the Stadium of Light.

From Gateshead to Newcastle, Thunder rugby re-brands

Professional rugby league is returning to Newcastle for the first time in 77 years as Gateshead Thunder, the North East's only professional rugby league club, has today announced they will now be known as Newcastle Thunder.

The re-branding follows the purchase of the club last year by Newcastle Rugby Ltd, and ahead of a proposed move to Kingston Park, which they hope to use as their home ground alongside Newcastle Falcons.

The change will also see a revamp of the team's logo, with the home and away kits to be unveiled in the coming weeks.

The club say they are "delighted" with the name change and, if approved, hope their new venue will allow them to play every week on a specially fitted 3G pitch.

We are delighted to confirm the name change to Newcastle Thunder. Newcastle upon Tyne is renowned around the world as being a sporting city.

With the purchase last year of the club by Newcastle Rugby Ltd, the proposed move to Kingston Park and the support of the city council for rugby league the name change is both logical and the next step in our evolution.

It is right to put on record our thanks to Gateshead Council for their support over the past 15 years. The International Stadium is a fine venue but we have struggled at times over the past couple of seasons to secure the facilities there for playing and training.

The move to Newcastle means that every training session can be on the 3G pitch at Kingston Park.

– Newcastle Thunder Chairman Bill Midgley

The change has been approved by the RFL, and the club are now waiting for Newcastle City Council to give the green light to the move to Kingston Park.

The team will kick-off their pre-season campaign this Saturday (24th January) with a friendly versus Dewsbury Rams at Kingston Park.


Weekend's football results

Sunderland's new striker, Jermain Defoe, made his debut today against his old club, Tottenham.

He could not provide his new team with a win though. Tottenham clinched all three points in the final minutes and won 2-1.

Newcastle were also beaten 2-1 by Southampton. The Magpies were denied a late chance to equalise when a shot from Emmanuel Riviere was handled by Jose Fonte in the area, but referee Robert Madley decided not to award a penalty.

Middlesbrough have returned to winning ways in the Championship: they beat Huddersfield 2-0 at the Riverside.

There was no such good news for our teams in League Two, York lost 2-0 at home against Stevenage and Hartlepool were beaten, 3-0 away at Shrewsbury.


Poyet hints at Sunderland formation change

Gus Poyet has hinted that Sunderland might change their team formation after the signing of striker Jermain Defoe.

The Black Cats have played with a lone forward for the majority of the season so far. But Poyet said he's already started to introduce a new system in training this week.

Poyet said:

You need to adapt and find the right formula for players to be as much as possible where they're going to hurt the opposition. So we're working on it. It's still the early stages but there are things that we need to improve.

– Gus Poyet, Sunderland AFC Head Coach

Defoe a 'special signing'

Sunderland boss Gus Poyet says striker Jermain Defoe is a 'special signing' for the club.

The 32-year-old has completed his move to Wearside from MLS side Toronto FC, signing a three-and-a-half year contract.

Poyet expressed his delight at the deal. He said:

There were many clubs trying to get Jermain and it took really hard work from the club.

So I think it's a very special signing.

– Gus Poyet, Sunderland AFC Head Coach
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