I hope you’ve recovered from what was a really disappointing end to the season for all involved with the Club. As Rudyard Kipling famously wrote “ If you can meet with triumph and disaster and treat those two imposters just the same”. At the end of the day that’s what sport’s all about and that’s why we love it.
We certainly shouldn’t let that detract though from what has been our best season on the field since 2014, and I’d like to thank you all on behalf of the Board for your fantastic support throughout, it’s been very much appreciated as always. Off the pitch we’ve had huge success in our hospitality and bars whilst our crowds for our last 6 home games (including London Skolars) averaged 762, a 36% increase on 2022, which is great to see. We’ve also entered into a new partnership with TUFFS who will be providing our kit and merchandise and I’m pleased to announce that our new kits for 2024 will be unveiled in the coming months and definitely be available to purchase in time for Christmas.
Of course, 2023 saw us celebrate our 140th anniversary, the 50th anniversary of the Club rising against all odds like a phoenix from the ashes as “New Hunslet” and, of course, Jimmy Watson’s testimonial. All achievements of which we should be justifiably proud.
You’ll be aware that there’s a new coach in place too. Dean Muir replaces the departing Alan Kilshaw, to whom we offer both our thanks for his efforts during his time here and best wishes for the future, except of course when he’s coaching against Hunslet! We will be setting up a Q&A with Dean in the coming weeks where I’m sure you will want to take the opportunity to meet and welcome him to the Hunslet family and quiz him on his plans. Dean is already working hard on building his squad, so make sure you look out for further announcements throughout the close season.
In terms of next season, Obviously, the news about London Skolars resigning from League 1 is both sad and concerning. Our thoughts go out to all those who have been involved at the Club over the years, particularly Hector McNeil, who founded the Club, and of course their supporters. I’m pleased to see that the Club will still be playing in the Southern Conference League and hopefully they can return to the professional game sometime in the future. But out of adversity comes opportunity, and you’ll have no doubt seen that the RFL are in consultation with Clubs over the League 1 structure for 2024. I can assure you that we are very much at the table for those discussions and continue to lobby for a structure that we feel would benefit the wider game. We expect the matter to be resolved by early October
All in all, the Club continues to make progress and move forward in a positive direction so make sure you take time out to re-charge your batteries ready for what will hopefully be another roller coaster ride in 2024, whatever the league structure may be. Come on the Huns!