Hull KR heading in right direction, says departing chairman Neil Hudgell

HULL KR’S Neil Hudgell completed his last day as chairman yesterday insisting he has “real optimism” for the club’s future with positive updates on potential new investment and also plans to buy Hull College Craven Park.

Hull KR's Ryan Brierley in action against Salford Red Devils (Picture: Bruce Rollinson)

The long-serving owner announced in the summer that he would be stepping back from December 1 and Paul Lakin has already been brought in as chief executive to take care of the day-to-day running of the business.

But Hudgell, who has invested millions of pounds of his own money since taking charge in 2004, knows crucial work needs to be done to ensure the Robins do not face an annual battle against relegation.

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With that in mind, getting the right owners and taking full control of the stadium are imperative towards their development.

Hudgell said: “I stand down in the knowledge that the club is in very good hands under the leadership of Paul Lakin as chief executive and over the next few months he will structure a new board of directors, including a new chairman at the appropriate time.

“As the owner of this great club, I will, of course, remain a source of advice and assistance when required but I am stepping back, allowing me the time to concentrate on my other business interests.

“As I relinquish my role as chairman, I do look ahead to 2021 with real optimism for Hull KR, on several fronts.

“It’s been well documented previously that we have employed an investment banking group to identify prospective new owners/investors in the club.

Neil Hudgell: Bowing out.

“They are very experienced in running investment processes in sports clubs and competitions across the world and after several months of due diligence, they are now a month into the process of identifying the right prospective investors for Hull KR.

“There is a very clear mandate to ensure that future investors fulfil our criteria and understand the objective of establishing Hull KR as a leading rugby league club – both in the Super League and further afield.

“We are very pleased that initial conversations are already taking place with interested parties, in the UK and worldwide.”

He added: “With great support from Karl Turner (MP for East Hull) we have also re-engaged with Hull City Council regarding the purchase of the stadium and are in active dialogue.

“Having submitted a written offer, discussions are encouraging, and we are hopeful we can achieve a positive outcome in the next couple of months.

“Securing ownership of our own stadium will be a significant step forward and would open up great opportunities for the future.”

Hudgell expects Lakin to provide further updates on both topics in the new year while he also praised the “quality” of Rovers’ recruitment for 2021.

Prolific England and former Leeds Rhinos winger Ryan Hall and Fiji forward Korbin Sims have both signed from the NRL.

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