Hull KR coach Tony Smith’s warning - look after club owners or lose them

VERY WORRIED: Hull KR coach Tony SmithVERY WORRIED: Hull KR coach Tony Smith
VERY WORRIED: Hull KR coach Tony Smith
HULL KR head coach Tony Smith says the sport needs to protect club owners and benefactors otherwise money it can already ill-afford to lose will be lost from the game forever.

Rugby league has never been cash-rich so, more than most, it will be hugely affected by the uncertainty coronavirus brings.

Still on lockdown and out of action for the foreseeable future, powerbrokers are still desperately trying to work a way out of the financial mess it has created.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Rovers owner Neil Hudgell, who has invested millions of pounds during his long association with the East Yorkshire club, has stated he will not put any more of his own money in until he gets assurances about what the Super League competition will look like once it resumes.

BIG INVESTOR: Hull KR chairman Neil HudgellBIG INVESTOR: Hull KR chairman Neil Hudgell
BIG INVESTOR: Hull KR chairman Neil Hudgell

If there is a skewed fixture list and there is still the risk of relegation at the end of all, Hudgell has vowed to pull the plug. There is an argument to abandon relegation for this term and possibly increase Super League to 13 clubs.

Former Leeds Rhinos and England coach Smith – whose side were second bottom when the competition was halted on March 16 – has never been a fan of promotion and relegation regardless.

He understands Hudgell’s argument and said: “Those (benefactors) who want to invest in sport are few and far between, particularly at the levels we’re talking about. We do need to take care of the people involved in our sport and make sure their businesses are sound and run well.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“That’s difficult to do under this system. We’re making the best of it but it’s not a healthy system particularly at this point; with the disruption this season’s had I don’t see how it (relegation) could be good for the game.

“For some owners why would they want to keep on investing money when they are going to lose a lot of money through this?

“Unless they know what the future holds, for some of them they may decide to opt out at some stage and we can’t afford that.

Promotion and relegation is not a very good business model, not based on solely where you come in the table.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“That’s why the licencing system was still by far and away the best system.

“It just needed the administrators to keep to the regulations of licencing whereas before they bent too many rules and it blew it all out of the water.”

Smith added: “We understand what Neil has said and that’s why everyone at our club has agreed to pay cuts and are happy to do so.

“We understand and we all need to share the burden of this and make sure our squad comes out as healthy as it can at the end of it. Whenever that may be.”

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Editor’s note: First and foremost - and rarely have I written down these words with more sincerity - I hope this finds you well.

Almost certainly you are here because you value the quality and the integrity of the journalism produced by The Yorkshire Post’s journalists - almost all of which live alongside you in Yorkshire, spending the wages they earn with Yorkshire businesses - who last year took this title to the industry watchdog’s Most Trusted Newspaper in Britain accolade.

And that is why I must make an urgent request of you: as advertising revenue declines, your support becomes evermore crucial to the maintenance of the journalistic standards expected of The Yorkshire Post. If you can, safely, please buy a paper or take up a subscription. We want to continue to make you proud of Yorkshire’s National Newspaper but we are going to need your help.

Postal subscription copies can be ordered by calling 0330 4030066 or by emailing [email protected]. Vouchers, to be exchanged at retail sales outlets - our newsagents need you, too - can be subscribed to by contacting subscriptions on 0330 1235950 or by visiting where you should select The Yorkshire Post from the list of titles available.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

If you want to help right now, download our tablet app from the App / Play Stores. Every contribution you make helps to provide this county with the best regional journalism in the country.

Sincerely. Thank you. James Mitchinson, Editor

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.