In the build up to #Thunders20Year anniversary, Newcastle Thunder are profiling members of the #ThunderFamily who have been part of the club since it’s early days.

Today Michaela Jade is the first person to feature, who started out as one of Gateshead Thunder’s first mascots when in they made their debut in the 1999 Super League season.

Helping her father – Mick Jones, she has helped the team anyway she can and today Michaela finds herself as the first team masseuse.

So how did you originally get involved with the club and how have you been involved with the clubs over the years?

I was one of the first mascots back when we were in Super League in 1999 against St. Helens.

I first got involved with the club when I used to help my dad sell Thunder merchandise, he made himself to raise money for the club.

As Thunder expanded, the club had more hospitality before games and I became the first face the teams would see.

I then qualified as a masseur and massaged at the amateur club Gateshead Storm who were in the NCL at the time and I was then approached by a physio from Thunder who asked if I would like to join their team.

13 years on and I am still loving my job. It’s a honour to work there and to see the club develop, I am looking forward to the future.

(Image above: Michaela and her Dad – Mick Jones, 1999)


How did it feel to be a mascot for Newcastle Thunder in that first season?

Back in 1999 I was one of the first mascots. It was amazing, I remember mum and dad buying me the full Gateshead Thunder kit for £50 and brand-new white trainers for the day.

I remember sitting in the physio room on the couch looking around thinking I would love to work in here one day. Loving the smell of deep heat as the physios got to work.

The whistle blew and I remember getting butterflies in my tummy with Australian captain Tony Gramaldi holding my hand and having Kevin Iro for St Helens on the other side of me.

We walked on to the pitch I remember looking down and having green marks on my brilliant white trainers. I then ran of and sat in the crowd with my parents and Grandma and afterwards, we met the players from both teams who were very welcoming, it felt amazing meeting all these stars.


Do you still get the same excitement/nervousness for a Thunder game after 20 years?

Before a game and the run up to it I still get very nervous/ excited but then I switch onto work mode and I become professional.


What have been your fondest memories over these 20 years?

It’s fantastic to be part of the club through the dark times and the good times. Best memory for me would have to be 2008 when we won the league under Dave Woods. It was the best feeling ever! We worked so hard for that and a lot of effort was put in.


What does it mean to be part of the thunder family?

To be part of the Thunder family for so long it’s an absolute honour and privilege, especially to work for a club in a sport I love. It’s always been my dream since I sat on that physio bed back 1999.

It is amazing to see how well the club is progressing with the both academy side and with the community clubs. It’s something that was spoke about years ago it’s great to see and be part of that adventure.

(Image above: Three generations of #ThunderFamily, 1999)


We celebrate #Thunder20Years this Sunday when Oldham RLFC travel to Kingston Park. Tickets for the game are available through the club website or can be purchased by calling 0871 2266060. You can also head into the Kingston Park Stadium box office to buy tickets or browse our club shop.