Tony Smith aims to “restore pride” in Hull FC as he sets out size of challenge

New Hull FC head coach Tony Smith says he is determined to restore “pride in the club” after taking the reins at the MKM Stadium.

Brett Hodgson was sacked last week after two disappointing seasons in charge of the Black and Whites.

Hull said they wished to make a “prompt appointment” and moved quickly to agree terms with Smith after he made his interest in the role known.

Smith’s Hull KR tenure ended acrimoniously in July but he has a track record of improving clubs, having taken Huddersfield Giants into Super League, won two league titles in four years at Leeds Rhinos, and turned Warrington Wolves into serial trophy contenders.

Hull FC will hope for a big turnaround under Smith after finishing eighth and ninth in the two seasons under Hodgson, who lost eleven of his final 14 matches at the helm.

The Airlie Birds have made the play-offs just once in the past five years and have only finished in the top four twice in 15 seasons, in 2016 and 2017, when they also won the Challenge Cup under Lee Radford.

As he prepares to move across the city, Smith knows the size of the challenge ahead.

“The overwhelming feeling for me at the moment is excitement about restoring some pride in the club and taking us to some greater heights,” said the 55-year-old, whose older brother Brian coached Hull FC between 1988 and 1990.

“In the past, I’ve had an association with the club through my family, and having lived in the city for a while, I’ve got a great understanding of how big the club is, and how much passion there is for the club to be successful. 

“I’m looking forward to playing a part in the club’s great history, and hopefully we can create some more great memories for the future. I can’t wait to get started.

“Super League is incredibly competitive, and success in sport isn’t always an easy thing to achieve – what it needs is everybody in the organisation on the same page, with plenty of positivity around the place. When that happens, you can achieve great things.

“I can guarantee a determination to restore this club to being a force in Super League, and we’ll endeavour to do that as quickly as possible.”

Chairman Adam Pearson said: “We have identified areas we feel we need to improve within our first-team environment and we believe Tony is well suited for that challenge.”

Smith’s backroom team is yet to be confirmed, after assistant coach Kieron Purtill and head of performance Paul Hatton joined Hodgson in departing.

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