‘Our sport would struggle’ – Tony Smith calls for more appreciation to be shown to club owners

Tony Smith has called upon those within rugby league to show club owners more respect.

The new Hull FC boss believes the sport would struggle without the financial backing those at the top provide, believing they are the people keeping the game healthy.

Speaking on BBC Radio Humberside, Smith says that for rugby league to thrive, everyone needs to get behind each other, and that includes support for the men at the very top.

“I think it is really important that we do take care of our owners and appreciate what our owners do within our sport,” said Smith.

“I’m not just saying that about Adam Pearson either, because without them all we probably wouldn’t be as strong or as healthy as we are.

“Sometimes we forget that. I know sometimes we like to vent towards them or take out our displeasure at times, but honestly, without them, I think our sport would struggle.

“I think anybody that puts their hard-earned money in, and I know spectators do when they buy season tickets as well, so they have a right to their opinion as well, but those guys at the top that put loads of money in and try to make the clubs better and healthier.

“Sometimes we get lost in our emotion about their involvement, but everybody needs to get behind each other and that will be the case in this club, that is for certain.”

Smith also went into detail on his reasons for accepting the offer to become Hull FC’s new head coach, just months after leaving his role as Hull KR boss.

Despite the huge rivalry between the teams and still having plenty of friends on the east side of the city, Smith says that he didn’t have to think twice about taking up the opportunity with the Airlie Birds.

“It didn’t cause me any apprehension, not at all,” Smith explained. “I didn’t know where my next job was or where my next pay cheque was coming from.

“I was doing a whole lot of networking, in terms of preparing for not coaching and going into some other fields.

“I was forging some relationships with some of the previous places that I’ve worked in the LMA and Sporting Chance. I was looking to do some work with them, and I still will in the future.

“But when you are a rugby league coach and you’re are out of work, you are just hopeful that somebody wants your services again and I was fortunate to get that call at the end of the season.

“I bit Adam’s hand off when he offered it to me, I wasn’t going to let anything I had done in the past get in my way and just the fact that I had coached at the other side of the river.

“I am very respectful and appreciative of that and I’m ready to do the best job I can for the Black and Whites.”

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