Takeover brings in another new era for Horne

Richard Horne is well placed to usher in a new era at Hull FC – he has witnessed it all once before.

The Airlie Birds stand-off was a young hopeful who had just made his Super League debut when the East Yorkshire club – then under the moniker of Hull Sharks – fell into financial crisis in 1999.

They recovered in the form of a bizarre merger with Gateshead Thunder, Kath Hetherington and Shane Richardson coming on board to revitalise and help re-establish them as a genuine threat.

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Now, more than a decade later, and without any of those monetary fears or worrying dramatics, Adam Pearson has completed another takeover in a surprise deal.

“I’ve seen all the changes from the name Hull Sharks to Hull FC, moving from the Boulevard to the KC Stadium, and all the progression that has come with it,” Horne told the Yorkshire Post, the only survivor from that defining period initiated 12 years ago.

“It’s exciting looking forward again now and it sounds like he (Pearson) has some good ideas but it was totally out of the blue for us as players, a real shock.

“New investment is always good though and for us to strive forward as a club we probably needed it.”

Yesterday’s announcement has certainly given Hull an added morale boost in readiness for tomorrow’s televised Carnegie Challenge Cup quarter-final with Leeds Rhinos at the KC Stadium.

Head coach Richard Agar is due to meet Pearson – who will retain his role as Hull City director of football operations – for the first time this morning and his playing squad may also be introduced.

For Horne, born and raised in the city, he feels the injection of extra cash is what is required if they are going to end their near 30-year wait for a league title and compete with the growing presence of Wigan and Warrington.

“We’ve had the same board of directors for a few years now and change is sometimes good, if anything to bring new ideas in,” he said.

“It will be interesting to see how things pan out, what he wants from us and what direction he sees the club going.

“We’ve been in the same routine for a few years now and someone new coming in, who is very experienced in sport, could freshen things up.”

However, the immediate aim is securing a place in the Cup semi-finals, an onerous task given Leeds’s iron-like nine-game winning run over Hull.

The clubs have also met six times in the Cup since 2000, Hull winning just once – their famous final victory at Cardiff six years ago.

Leeds knocked them out in the fourth round last season and won 20-0 in a Super League game at Headingley last Friday to make them slight favourites.

Horne, 29, admitted: “Leeds always do seem to get one over us, and not just in the league.

“The only time we’ve done them in the cup was the 2005 final and the seasons seem to have passed by very quickly since then.

“It was a great occasion and everyone wants to be a part of that again.

“We’ve got the squad to do it but have to show up for 80 minutes.

“We have got a point to make to everybody, ourselves included, that we are contenders not only in the Cup but Super League too.

“The performance just wasn’t there last week.”

That abject defeat in rain-lashed conditions was no way for the former Great Britain international to celebrate his new two-year contract – a deal which is all the more exciting given yesterday’s news.

But the mistake-ridden display has not dispirited the Hull ranks which had secured four wins from their previous five games.

They will seek to atone tomorrow and Horne, who has now represented the Black and Whites on more than 300 occasions and is just five points short of 500, admitted: “Maybe it was a concentration thing.

“We’d been progressing up to last Friday when we seemed to take a couple of steps back.

“Conditions didn’t help but that’s no excuse – we put 40 odd points past other teams in the same – and maybe it’s a concentration thing.

“We were more or less in it until a 10 to 15 minute spell later in that second half. They ran in two tries and the game was then gone.”

Hull’s Tongan prop Sam Moa has signed a new contract for next season after agonising over the decision for two months.

“It wasn’t an easy decision to make,” said the 25-year-old, whose partner was forced to return to Australia earlier in the year due to work commitments.

“I had to think long and hard about my situation and my family and it was a tough call.”

Agar said: “Sam has been a good news story for us since arriving at the club three years ago.

“His progress has been excellent. We understand that it has been a very tough decision for him personally and one he has needed to take some time over.”

However, it means there is now no room for fellow Tongan forward Epalahame Lauaki who is set to sign for champions Wigan Warriors.