Widnes Vikings sack John Kear as head coach

Drew Darbyshire
John Kear Widnes Vikings Alamy

Championship club Widnes Vikings have sacked head coach John Kear with immediate effect following a poor run of results.

Widnes currently sit seven in the Championship league table – four points above the relegation zone – having won seven from 16 games so far this season.

But with the Vikings having lost six of their last seven games, the club have now announced that they have parted ways with Kear.

Vikings head of operations Chris Hamilton said: “Of course it is never an easy decision to part company with a coach, and we wish to place on record our thanks to John for all his efforts whilst at the club and wish him well in the future.”

The club have confirmed that it has also parted company with assistant coach Mike Grady, who is also the boss of the Spain national team.

Neil Belshaw will take charge of Widnes for their Championship match in Toulouse on Saturday as the club search for a new head coach.

Kear took over the head coaching reins at Widnes in June last year, with the Vikings finishing the 2022 season eighth in the Championship table.

Kear’s departure means Widnes will end the season with a different coach for the seventh successive season – Denis Betts (2017), Francis Cummins (2018), Kieron Purtill (2019), Tim Sheens (2020), Simon Finnigan (2021), Kear (2022) and 2023 to be revealed in due course.

John Kear: Coaching career in detail

Kear has an impressive coaching CV, having retired from playing back in 1988 after making more than 130 appearances for hometown club Castleford.

The 68-year-old began his coaching career with Bramley back in 1992.

Kear had a short spell in France in 1995 with Paris Saint-Germain before he returned to England with Sheffield Eagles in 1997.

The veteran coach spent two years in charge of Sheffield, guiding the Eagles to one of the most famous Challenge Cup triumphs in 1998 when they beat red-hot favourites Wigan at Wembley.

In 2005, Kear was appointed as head coach of Hull FC, guiding the Black and Whites to Challenge Cup final success in 2005.

Kear spent six seasons as Wakefield head coach between 2006-11, winning 64 from 153 games in charge.

He then had six years in the Championship with Batley, where he took the Bulldogs to a top four finish.

Kear took over head coaching duties at Bradford in 2018, guiding the Bulls to promotion from League 1 to the Championship in 2018 before spending three seasons with the club in the Championship.

The Yorkshireman then took over at Widnes midway through the 2022 campaign but has now parted ways with the Vikings.

Kear is currently the Wales national coach and has been in charge of the Welsh for the previous two World Cups.

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