Adam Pearson has been involved with Hull FC for over six years now, overseeing a change in fortune that rugby league can take a lesson from.
Hull were pretenders when AP took over. They were a mid to lower table side, yes they had ambition, but they flattered to deceive year on year.
That fortune ultimately changed when Hull’s owner finally found his match. In came Lee Radford and silverware eventually followed, with the club now talked about as one of the biggest in the British game.
Rugby League can take some inspiration from that story. A sport that seems to suffer at its own expense, but a sport that has arguably been presented with the greatest opportunity of its 127 years of existence regarding Toronto and North America.
If the game gets this right then the game becomes global, so in AP’s view things like the upcoming trip to Australia and the proposed England game over the pond, even if they are a risk, are absolutely crucial to the games expansion aspirations.
“Wigan have put a lot of work into the project and we’re trying to help them as much as possible because they’ve taken the risk,” he explained
“We’ve got a good relationship with Wigan and they know we’ll travel well. There’s a large Hull FC expat representation out there and Hull is well-known as a club.
“Financially it’s a great project and a great experience for our boys to be out there for two weeks, but it is a risk. Together we want to make this work.
“We’ve got a difficult start to the season with some top teams to play. We come back from Australia on the Tuesday and play Castleford on the Saturday, for example. It’s a challenge, but there will be no excuses.”
Expansion has always been a hot topic in rugby league, but a topic usually shoved away by narrow-minded flat cappers.
The sport has ambition now and if a new RFL chief that isn’t bothered by his own personal salary can get it right, then there is potential to grow, something AP claims is a necessity.
“We’ve got to start putting this sport back on the map,” he continued. “If that means England playing in Denver or Wigan playing in Wollongong, so be it. We need to be more expansive and more aggressive in marketing our sport.
“The England game is very important. We’re meeting Toronto next week. If they are serious about coming into Super League and adding new broadcast rights and franchises, then we truly have a global game when the Americans get involved too.
“It’s an interesting proposition, but we need the support of the NRL too. My players are chomping at the bit to get out there and play St George because they feel Super League has been disrespected.
“We need to start getting some due recognition and you’ll see some major changes in the coming months. We feel we can manage the sport in a more professional manner that appeals to more people and more sponsors.
“I think there’s a collective feeling in the sport that over the next six months with the way we’re going, we can become a real threat to rugby union in this country.”
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