Pearson takes over Hull FC intent on driving them to the top of Super League

Former Hull City chairman Adam Pearson has promised to fund Hull FC’s bid to become a force in the “domestic and international game” after his surprise takeover of the Super League club.

Pearson stunned the rugby league world yesterday by declaring he had taken outright control of the East Yorkshire side following a major investment,

Previously Leeds United commercial director and chairman of both the Tigers – where he is now director of football operations – and Derby County, his move has come as a shock.

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However, he has roots in the game having played for Harrogate RU and his grandfather was former Featherstone Rovers captain Will Pearson.

“I’ve watched the sport for a long time but there’s no way I’m up to speed yet,” he told the Yorkshire Post.

“It took me 15 years to get things right in football but there’s an excellent team in place at Hull.

“As an owner, I’ll just be trying to get some enjoyment out of it from that side of things.

“With the work I do on the football side, so close to Hull FC, I’ve always seen the potential for this club. I tried to buy it back in 2002 but the board was a bit more receptive to offers now and felt the time was right.

“I’m really looking forward to it. It has the potential to be one of the biggest clubs in Super League.”

Although already a well-run and profitable business, it is felt if Hull are to seriously challenge the likes of Wigan and Warrington to secure a first Super League title, they do need to mirror these clubs’ sole ownership model and receive more significant additional funding.

Pearson is now in a position to do that having bought all the shares from the existing five-strong board of directors, led by chairwoman Kath Hetherington, which initially proved so crucial in bringing the club out of their financial woe in 1999.

Chief executive James Rule will continue in his role running the club on a day-to-day basis while head coach Richard Agar will meet Pearson today ahead of tomorrow’s Carnegie Challenge Cup quarter-final against Leeds Rhinos at KC Stadium.

“I’m seeing Richard for the first time just after training and I’m sure we’ll have a good chat,” he said.

“I’ll give him all the support I can and I’ll be there on Sunday for what is a massive game for the club.”

Formerly head of the stadium management company which operates the KC Stadium, Pearson intends to work closely with Hull’s arch rivals Hull KR as well as the football club, but ruled out the possibility of a merger.

Two months ago Hull City’s owner Assem Allam, a local businessman, donated more than £1m to the Robins.

To some fans, Pearson, 46, may be pushing things a little too much when speaking of wanting to have “mutual respect” with Rovers but, at the start of a “new era” for the club, he is keen to form closer ties.

“There is a big rivalry there and there will always be two big clubs which is something we all want,” he said.

“It’s good for the game and the city but I think it could be done a little more maturely and if there’s things we can do together we should look at them.

“For example, a combined Hull and Rovers side playing against a touring international side is one idea.

“Likewise we are looking forward to an era of constructive partnership with our partners at the KC stadium.”

Hetherington, who saw Hull win the 2005 Challenge Cup and reach the Grand Final the following year under her reign, said: “I have thoroughly enjoyed my association with Hull FC and leave with great memories.

“(But) I feel that we had taken the club as far as we could and I think that Adam Pearson is the man to inject fresh impetus and assist in driving the club forward.”

Meanwhile, Allam insists Pearson can fulfil both roles.

“I don’t expect a conflict of interests,” he said.

“Adam is professional enough to know there should not be any problems.

“This is rugby and this is football. He is a very experienced sports manager as well. I have no doubt he is a very capable and able man.”