Hull KR chairman Neil Hudgell has promised to “smoke out” what he has described as “dishonest people” at the First Utility Super League club.
Hudgell’s extraordinary attack came in the wake of Rovers’ 36-22 Challenge Cup defeat to Oldham Roughyeds at the Lightstream Stadium.
Rovers were Challenge Cup runners-up last season, but less than eight months on they were dumped out of the competition by Championship opponents fourth from bottom of the second tier.
And after seeing the Rovers players booed off by what remained of the 3,056 supporters who braved the cold conditions, Hudgell took to social media to vent his frustrations.
“Credit to Oldham, they were deserved winners. Really pleased for Chris Hamilton after nearly 20 years owning the club,” Hudgell wrote on his official Twitter account.
“Ordinarily, I keep things in house, but today was a step too far. My first throughts are with our fans who have been embarrassed and short-changed.
“They spend money following us they can ill afford, and deserve way better.
“Apologies are not enough, action has to trump words. Too many cheap words by too many people who haven’t bought into what we are trying to deliver.
“We have dishonest people in our club, and they will be smoked out.
“Changes will be made, and we will be better for it. I can assure all our supporters we are working tirelessly to deliver that.”
Rovers are currently one place off the bottom of Super League having won only two of their 11 games.
Coach James Webster responded to the Oldham shock by calling the defeat the biggest embarrassment of his time involved in rugby.
“I’ve protected these boys since I’ve been here, but I have to apologise to everyone associated with this club,” Webster said.
“That is not of a level that’s needed to pick up the wage they pick up.
“Supporters give up cars, holidays to follow this club because I deal with these people every day. I understand what people think and it’s all true.”
There was another shock later on Saturday afternoon as Kingstone Press League 1 side Toulouse Olympique XIII edged past Championship leaders Leigh Centurions 10-8 at Stade des Minimes.
The French side, who have now won all six of their matches on their return to British rugby league, were 8-0 up at the break after Bastien Canet’s converted try and a Mark Kheirallah penalty.
But Leigh responded immediately after the interval as Sam Hopkins crossed with Martyn Ridyard adding the extras.
Ridyard then levelled the tie with another goal but Kheirallah had the final say as he held his nerve with 11 minutes remaining to slot over a penalty and secure a memorable win for Toulouse.
Batley Bulldogs will join Oldham and Toulouse in the next round after beating Championship rivals Featherstone Rovers 28-10 at Mount Pleasant.
Featherstone took a 6-4 lead into half-time after Misi Taulapapa’s try cancelled out Shaun Squires’ effort.
But James Harrison edged the Bulldogs back in front just before the hour mark and Batley sealed their progress thanks to tries from Shaun Ainscough, Dom Brambani and Cain Southernwood, with Jamie Cording crossing for a late Rovers consolation.