Damian Irvine joins Hunslet as non-executive director

James Gordon

Respected rugby league administrator Damian Irvine has joined Hunslet as a non-executive director, as the club looks to secure its long-term future.

Irvine, 45, made his name at Cronulla Sharks, significantly changing their fortunes, before moving on to Notts County and Wycombe Wanderers football clubs, and then Bradford Bulls.

Along with fellow new non-executive Jason Peterkin and the board, Irvine will undertake a thorough review and audit of the club, as confirmed at a fans meeting on Monday night.

He said: “It’s extremely refreshing to see a proactive and positive approach from the long standing club directors at Hunslet in identifying and acknowledging the impending financial pressures on RFL clubs in coming years, and seeking help and expressions of interest for new models and investment.

“Other clubs have also experienced major change at boardroom level in recent months due to the need to change and ultimately alter their clubs course and destiny in a very challenging financial landscape for the sport.

“Hunslet have taken a measured and mature approach to exploring all options and we will know in 12 weeks time what the club can afford and what the best model of ownership is in future. Preserving majority supporter ownership is the priority and aim of our involvement and majority ownership of the club is not option for us on that basis.

“Increased membership is vital for the club and cannot be stressed enough, with the ultimate success, future and control of club dependent on it.”

Both Peterkin and Irvine are advocates of sustainable full or hybrid supporter ownership models, and are interested in investigating and exploring a permanent structural change to the clubs ownership once the initial due diligence period is completed.

The club say the shared goal by all directors and supporters in attendance was to apply a thorough and open minded decision making process in order to settle on the optimal structure and strategy for the club moving forward in a testing and difficult climate for Championship and League 1 clubs