It is with great sadness that we share the untimely loss of Newcastle Eagles’ director and much-loved former player Ken Nottage, who passed away yesterday aged 64.

Nottage had been involved with the club for over four decades after being recruited to the then-Sunderland franchise in 1981.

A former England international, Ken spent 14 of his 19 seasons as a professional basketball player based in the North East, before taking over the club with managing director Paul Blake in 1999.

The popular player turned club director after holding pivotal roles off the court, firstly as chief executive of Newcastle United Sporting Club and then in the subsequent takeover of Newcastle Eagles, which led to the development of the Eagles organisation we know today, becoming the most successful British basketball team of all-time.

In addition to his directorship at the Eagles, Ken was managing director of Gloucester Rugby for 13 years, where he was the driving force behind the club’s sporting successes, seeing them top the league three times and lift three trophies, as well as commercial growth off the pitch, much like that he helped establish in Newcastle.

We will be paying further tribute to Ken in the coming weeks with details announced in due course.

Along with his former colleagues at Gloucester, the thoughts of everyone at the Eagles are with the Nottage family at this deeply sad and difficult time.