Pearson pleads with Hull FC fans as KC crowds shrink alarmingly

Hull FC owner Adam Pearson is concerned for the future of his club as meaningful challengers for Super League honours.

Pearson fears that too few fans are committing to season tickets, as he looks to trim a bloated wage bill.

The wage situation has not been helped by the fact that Willie Manu is owed £200,000 by the Black and Whites, as part of a pay-off deal.

Manu had part of his salary paid into the now illegal Employee Bnefit Trust scheme that the club operated. Manu’s scheme has now matured after his return to Australia.

The club are also looking at making lucrative pay-outs to Shannon McDonnell, Jason Crookes and Jacob Miller, who have all left, or are about to leave, the club.

This means that there will be no more new signings for the foreseeable future at the KC Stadium.

“Our wage bill is the highest the club has ever seen and we will spend £450,000 outside the cap next year,” said Pearson, according to the Hull Daily Mail.

“Lee would like another one I know that, but we have a competitive squad and we are happy with what we have.”

Attendances have also slid dramatically in recent seasons at the KC Stadium, with the 2014 average gate of 9,662 a drop of 4,000 on four years previously.

Hull coach Lee Radford is keen to get the team back to winning ways so that those crowd figures can be boosted in 2015.

“It’s my role and that of the players to win games because if we do that then we can get the three or four thousand back that don’t normally come when you’re not winning,” he said.

“I’ve already reiterated to the players they cannot just not turn up because you can’t do that in any other job.

“The players have to turn up every week. It’s a tough start for us but it is important we get off to a good start and play our part in bringing people back.”

Pearson is desperate for fans to return to the KC, otherwise he cannot see how Hull can compete with Super League‘s top teams in future.

“People need to decide if they want two top-class rugby league clubs, because we cannot operate as we currently are on gates of 7,000,” Pearson told the Mail.

“There is no future for the club as a genuine trophy contender on those type of gates.

“The club is getting smaller, we are all worried about the dwindling gates and the financial viability to keep the KC viable and open.

“We have one of the biggest wage bills in Super League, but that’s not sustainable on these gates.

“Lapsed and current pass holders need to decide that either they will come and support the club or settle for the club shrinking if they don’t.

“The club needs all those people saying we aren’t renewing to think again and back their club, because if they stop now then the future really is bleak.

“We have a great young squad and if you can afford the pass price then renew before it’s too late.

“There will come a time when I’ll have to stop pumping money in and the club will have to be run on what it earns, which is below the salary cap maximum.

“The club is getting smaller and smaller and if people don’t start renewing and buying passes then they have to accept that the club is going to become a smaller one.

“People will say well you need to start winning before I renew, but if they do that then we never will because we won’t get the players to come.

“We have three weeks to stop what is an alarming trend for rugby in Hull.”

Meanwhile, centre Joe Arundel has been sent for a month’s trial with rugby union outfit Newcastle Falcons, as he has been deemed surplus to requirements at FC.

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