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BLOG: Greetings all from Down Under

Greetings all from Down Under,

I’m in Melbourne at the moment, heading next to Brisbane for the final stages of the World Cup.

On the recruitment front, we can’t afford to be rushed into signing players, it’s about getting the right players at the right price. If that happens tomorrow, great, if it’s February or later, then we will have to deal with that. It’s still the best part of three months until the season starts, and we’ve started behind the rest at a huge disadvantage.

I think we forget the talent we added to the squad late last season in Carney, Masoe and Atkin. Plus of course Danny McGuire, who we announced in July.

If they were all announced in the last month or so everyone would be buzzing with excitement. I haven’t counted but between them they won’t have made more than a combined total of 20 appearances for the club, so they are all ‘new’ signings in my eyes. They were brought in to get the job done in the Super 8s, and then continue the charge into Super League.

Another very important point is that there isn’t the depth of talent to pick the right players up overnight.

That said I remain positive of making a signing(s) whilst Tim and I are out here. We are committed to spending up to the cap to be as competitive as possible in our first year back.

Off the field we are shaping up nicely, memberships have topped 4,000. The fixture announcement was not ideal, nor what we pushed for, but so far the impact on sales is minimal, although I don’t expect we’ll see the full impact of that until further into 2018.

A new electronic screen is proving logistically difficult and expensive, as it stands that won’t be up for our first game of 2018 but it’s something we are actively pursuing along with other upgrades to our matchday experience.

We’d prefer to make the investment and get the screen but our fall-back position is moving to a more simple electronic scoreboard. It’s always difficult to invest in big capital projects at a club which still loses money each year.

The immediate priority is to get the strongest possible team out on the pitch for 2018 to avoid a repeat of recent years! If we were in a franchised system with three to five year guarantees clearly we could make those types of six figure investments that would payback for 10 years+.

Retail sales are strong, it’s easy to forget but we have both our home and away shirts on sale, compare that to other years when we weren’t able to do that until mid-December and clearly that’s a massive turnaround. XBlades and the team are already planning 2019, it’s scary how far ahead we work on things like this now, but it’s the only way if we are going to get new lines here in plenty of time again for the next closed season!

That said, we can’t take our foot off the gas yet, much like last year, our financial performance between now and February will ultimately determine Tim’s recruitment budget throughout the rest of the year and beyond.

We monitor social media, the fans forum and the word on the street closely and I have to say I don’t understand this feeling from some that there’s becoming a disconnect again between fans and club. It’s the same club, same staff, same internal protocols etc.

If I’m honest, we didn’t change our approach last year or make a big extra effort to ‘win over’ fans – that’s all we strive to do all the time anyway. It’s just things were perceived that way. It’s the same story for 2018, we haven’t sat down and said now we’re back in Super League let’s change our approach.

All I can think is that last year we were able to put out good news almost every day. But all we were doing was announcing the resigning of players that were already previously ours and that contributed to an overall ‘feel good factor’. I’d rather have a settled club making fewer announcements than one in turmoil like last year.

I personally don’t feel like there’s any reason for a disconnect but as always, if we are missing something, the club are open to constructive suggestions or comments. Or channel it through your RSG rep and they can feedback at the next meeting.

We’ve made an investment to bring Hull KR TV in house during the last month and now the players are back in training we hope you’re seeing an increased level of output from the platform. Our aim is to have new content on there practically every day so you get a real sense of what’s happening on and off the field at all times to bring you closer to the club.

There’ll be other announcements soon about our digital output as we aim to bring that part of the club up to date, particularly for those of you who are reading this on your mobile device!

Likewise, keep an eye out for some announcements about Flash Flanagan soon as we look to reignite the fundraising efforts to get him a well-deserved statue at KCOM Craven Park. As well as a new addition to the board of directors and a new club president …

As always, we hugely appreciate the support!

Rovers Forever!

Neil

Photo: BLOG: Greetings all from Down Under