Hull KR chairman has delivered a honest appraisal of where the Robins are as a club after defeat in the Hull derby.
Hudgell’s 10 observations are as follows:
1- Reality check – Over the last 10 years of Super League our average league position has been 8th place, this has been broadly matched by our support base, facilities and financial health. All things being equal we are sitting at or about our natural level for now.
However, the last set of RFL benchmark reporting showed that our off field operation has just risen to around 6th in the league. Clearly we would like those two metrics to rise in tandem. Whilst we made a profit last year on the back of Wembley, we forecast a significant loss again this year, next year and the year after. The directors will continue to underwrite this, see point 9.
2- Goldfish bowl – I’ll say it again, Hull is a goldfish bowl for media scrutiny, and consequently there is an artificial pressure to over perform beyond realistic expectations. Our city rivals performing well only serves to crank up those expectations. When these are not met this leads to intense criticism fuelled by deep seated disappointment at being second best.
3- The unpalatable truth – Credit where it’s due, Hull FC have recruited better than anyone this year. Thursday night showed passion and enthusiasm is not enough when one side plays to its potential. I believe their success is based mostly on changes made 2/3 years ago which are now bearing fruit. It is not that long ago they were feeling the pain we are currently experiencing.
4- Over achieving – We want to over achieve, being at our natural level doesn’t excite me. We are having to make changes now, for a better future. Step one was bringing in Jamie Peacock, he is only just over six months into his role and the changes he is making are not quick fixes, step two is appointing an experienced and respected coach.
5- What’s gone wrong? – We aren’t where we want to be this year. Why? In my opinion, 30% was an awful pre-season, 40% is on-going injuries to a large number of players, and within that group many of our key players, 20% historic poor long term recruitment, 10% bad luck.
6- What we need to do to correct this? – A more experienced coach who can extract more from the current playing group. Better value for money from recruitment. Continuing investment in youth. I was delighted to hear the City of Hull Academy got an ‘Outstanding’ grading yesterday by the way, we will bear the fruits of that in the medium to long term.
7- Life in the Qualifiers – Being in the “middle 8s” is a huge handicap in recruitment at all levels. It is difficult to commit both ways until we can 100% guarantee our league position. The current system favours the established elite and does nothing to spread the talent or strengthen the 12 as a collective.
8- No news isn’t always no news! – I’m hearing a lot of criticism for the ‘lack of positive news’, we’re not going to create news or spin for the sake of it, we’re an honest club, we don’t live on hype or false promises. We have an “in principle” deal agreed with a new head coach, much like player recruitment, when our league position is 100% confirmed our full plans for 2017 will become apparent.
9- Healthy debate welcomed – On a personal level, I am first and foremost a supporter. I am under no obligation to continue underwriting Hull KR. I am quite happy and wiling to engage and indeed welcome meaningful debate with fellow supporters. I won’t though take personal abuse or have my motives questioned. Especially by the handful of empty vessels who have done nothing constructive other than throw out gratuitous insults. My message to them is that the jobs yours any time you want it, but I’m sure you won’t, as you haven’t the balls to do it.
10- And finally – We need you more than ever! – We are now in the Super League Qualifiers again and in a fight for our Super League future. Now more than ever we need our support behind us, which again it was right to the bitter end on Thursday night. Let’s turn up in numbers on Thursday against Leeds and show the doubters we’re ready to fight for every last point to secure that extra home game in the ‘middle 8’.