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Paul Cooke hits out as Tim Sheens’ “stupid” comments on Hull KR merger which weren’t true

Former Hull KR coach Tim Sheens, who also had time at Salford Red Devils, has claimed that part of his move from Salford to Hull KR was because of talks that the two could complete a merger.

At the time, Marwan Koukash was owner at the Red Devils and his turbulent spell at the helm of the Super League club saw Sheens become part of the setup at the AJ Bell Stadium as Director of Rugby.

Despite Koukash’s deep pockets, he was unable to make Salford a force at that time as they spent more time nearer the bottom of Super League than the top, with Sheens appointment unable to inspire an improvement.

Speaking on his time at Salford, Sheens revealed all and how his move to Hull KR was initially part of a bigger plan.

“I didn’t coach at Salford but then went to Hull KR as a coach,” he said. “I signed to coach them in Super League but as we know that didn’t end up happening straight off the bat.

“I remember being in London and coming back listening to Salford, where I was at the time, play Hull KR, where I was going, in the Million Pound Game.

“The reason I applied for the job at Hull KR with Jamie Peacock, who was the Director of Rugby at the time, was because we were working to put the two clubs together.

“The two owners had some discussions about Salford and Hull KR playing as one club. I think Marwan Koukash would have let Salford go under because he completely lost his way with things.”

However, this was not quite what the case was back then as explained on BBC Radio Humberside this week.

In truth, the clubs weren’t going to merge. Koukash was ready to leave Salford, and the same was true of Neil Hudgell at Hull KR.

Thus, Koukash was going to invest in KR and leave Salford and then bring Sheens and some players over to KR and that’s what the merger was – it wasn’t KR and Salford becoming one club.

Having heard this, former Hull KR star Paul Cooke wasn’t happy branding Sheen’s comments as stupid.

“Tim Sheens isn’t thick is he? He’s quite an intelligent man isn’t he?” Cooke said on BBC Radio Humberside.

“To me his comments to at best aren’t thought through, and at worst, just stupid.

“To bring that word merger, if you know anything about Rugby League in this city, and he professes to be a real student of the game, then the merger word, it can’t be said in the city.

“After the late 90s, early 2000s with the merger, where Gateshead bring all their players down, and there was also talk of merging Hull FC and Hull KR at one time.

“For Tim Sheen to then bring up that word and say that word, knowing full well the implications of it, to me, just smells of a rat.

“It smells like he’s just chucking that grenade in and letting it blow up. He’s quite a clever man and I don’t think he’s not said it without thinking. I think he’s said it and just thrown it in there. It’s his little way of having a dig back at either Marwan or Neil Hudgell.”

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