Crunch talks on Hull KR's future
HULL KR's owners are considering their future support of the club in the wake of a difficult Super League campaign, the Mail can reveal.
It comes as chairman Neil Hudgell and vice-chairman Rob Crossland are thought to have become frustrated with the struggles of holding up the club in recent times.
The Robins recorded losses of more than £500,000 in their most recent accounts, the highest since winning promotion back to the top flight in 2006.
And, having spent the full £1.65m salary cap and still missed out on the play-offs, they are questioning various aspects of the club's continuing viability long-term.
This Friday Mexican night at The Black Bull, Burton Pidsea, Two...View details
Indulge with our delicious range of specially selected Mexican dishes available from 5pm to 8:30pm this Friday 21st June. Traditional evening menu also available.
Terms: Terms: Friday the 21st June only, from 5pm to 8:30pm. Offer includes two main Mexican courses. Minimum 2 people dining.
Contact: 01964 770402
Valid until: Saturday, June 22 2013
The Mail can reveal that as a consequence of the current uncertainty, the club has consciously taken the business decision to delay the sale of season tickets for the 2013 season.
And it will see Hudgell and Crossland meet later this week to discuss the long-term future of the club, and its business plans going forward.
"The issue over the club losing money is an old story which has been covered many times, so I am not going to go over old ground on that," Hudgell said when questioned by the Mail on the club's position.
"What I would say is that myself and Rob have always, and will continue, to act in the best interests of Hull Kingston Rovers and the club's long-term future.
"We have previously gone on the record as saying that we will not continue to run the business at a loss and shoulder the responsibility for that. We need to look at alternatives.
"As a board of directors, we now need to have important discussions over our current position, and the future funding of the club."
The club's struggles with balancing the books have been compounded by the failure to achieve on the field this season.
It also comes at a time when Hudgell has appeared frustrated by a number of issues in the sport, and at the club itself.
He is known to have been bitterly disappointed with what he has perceived as a lack of loyalty and commitment from some players this season.
Hudgell has also recently hit out at agents' increasing influence over younger, locally produced players, and criticised the financial management of the sport by the RFL for relying too heavily on wealthy benefactors.
Given Hudgell has transformed the Robins in recent years, making KR a top-flight force once again after years in the doldrums, he is unlikely to leave the club in a perilous position financially by walking away entirely.
However, when asked why season tickets were not on sale yet at KR, but have been available for a week at Hull FC, Hudgell admitted a decision had been taken to delay sales until October, when a clearer picture over the club's future would be available for fans.
"We have put the sale of season passes for next season on hold until we have had those discussions and until we are able to properly communicate to our fans exactly how we intend to take the club forward," Hudgell said.
"I'm not going to ask fans to spend their hard earned cash until I can safely say to them we will be going around again for the year.
"Not only that but those same fans who often spend money they can't afford need to know what they are getting for their support of the club.
"But for now it is a matter for us to discuss internally and at this stage I am not willing to say any more."
Rovers have lost substantial amounts of money in each season since being promoted to Super League.
Their first three seasons saw the club lose around £450,000 a year, as KR invested heavily to build a side firstly to avoid relegation, and then to compete for a play-off place.
The club peaked with a fourth place finish in 2009, and an average crowd of more than 8,500.
Rovers hoped to push on from that position and attract crowds in the region of 10,000 a week, a figure which Hudgell said would enable the club to become 'self-financing'.
However, like all clubs, they have suffered as a result of the economic downturn.
In addition, the much heralded north stand was subject to years of delay, before building work finally started last month.
That, combined with a slide down the Super League ladder over the past three seasons, has seen an average of more than 700 fans fall off the attendance for each home game.
The club were helped by a £1m, three-year loan from Hull City owner Assem Allam last season, money the club said would be put to 'capital projects'.
However, having seen trading losses rise to £503,267 in their latest accounts covering the 2011 campaign, both Hudgell and Crossland are believed to be seriously considering their positions going forward.
Hudgell has already confirmed that the club is unlikely to spend the full salary cap next year, with a focus being placed on developing the young emerging talent at Craven Park.