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Lee Radford blindsided by Hull FC sacking | Rugby League News

Exclusive: Lee Radford tells Sky Sports about the night he was sacked as Hull FC head coach

Last Updated: 21/07/20 4:18pm

Former Hull FC head coach Lee Radford was sacked in March

Former Hull FC head coach Lee Radford was sacked in March

March 12, 2020 is a night etched in Lee Radford’s memory.

It was the last Thursday night match before COVID-19 shut down the competition and Hull FC went into it having lost three of their last four games.

No one could have predicted what was to come at full-time.

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In what should have been an interview with Radford, Hull FC chairman Adam Pearson broke the news that Radford will be leaving the club

In what should have been an interview with Radford, Hull FC chairman Adam Pearson broke the news that Radford will be leaving the club

The Black and Whites lost to Warrington 38-4 and, in the words of Hull prop Scott Taylor, the performance was one of the worst they had put in.

In Super League, post-match interviews take place immediately after the game, but that Thursday night was different.

The only interview I was waiting on was Radford. There was no sign of him anywhere.

After what felt like an eternity, I saw Adam Pearson, the club’s chairman making his way to the interview area. Immediately I knew something was off.

Radford's final game in charge of Hull FC ended in defeat to Warrington

Radford’s final game in charge of Hull FC ended in defeat to Warrington

Immediately after speaking with Radford, Pearson announced live on Sky Sports that Hull FC and their coach were parting company.

Speaking for the first time about the aftermath from that defeat, Radford admitted he had no idea Pearson was going to tell the world at that particular moment.

“I didn’t think Adam was going to do it,” Radford told Sky Sports. “I spoke to him after the game and I thought (assistant coach) Andy (Last) was going to do the press conference, while I spoke to the players.

“But look, he’s a very passionate man, he’s very passionate about his club.”

A didn’t think Adam was going to do it. I spoke to him after the game and I thought [assistant coach] Andy [Last] was going to do the press conference, while I spoke to the players.

Lee Radford

Radford had been in charge of Hull since 2014. He had led them to back-to-back Challenge Cup titles in 2016 and 2017, ending the club’s Wembley hoodoo in the process.

Radford told Sky Sports he was blindsided, revealing he had no idea his job was on the line heading into Round 7.

“No, no,” Radford said. “I was obviously unaware of that at the time.”

When asked if he was given the chance to speak with his family before Pearson’s interview, he said: “I didn’t, but again I wouldn’t change anything. It happened.

Radford's final game in charge of Hull FC ended in defeat to Warrington

Radford’s final game in charge of Hull FC ended in defeat to Warrington

“You know, hindsight is amazing. I’ve definitely done things after a game that I regret and said things that I regret. Some of my quotes in the changing rooms will go down in folklore at Hull FC.

“It happens, it’s sport and that’s probably why everyone is so intrigued by it.”

While Radford openly calls the performance “pathetic” he insisted he does not hold the players responsible and understands Pearson’s decision.

“The performance on the night was pathetic,” Radford said. “I’ve seen the bloke play-the-ball, where the dummy-half wasn’t looking at the play-the-ball, you’ll never see that again in Danny Houghton’s career. It was a pathetic performance.

I don’t have any ill feeling towards anybody. It happened and it happened for a reason, I think.

Lee Radford

“I’ve never met a professional rugby league player who walks onto a field and says, ‘I’m going to have a shocker today, I’m going to give my worst performance of the season today’. It doesn’t happen.

“Ultimately the penny drops with the coach. I don’t have any ill feeling towards anybody. It happened and it happened for a reason, I think.

“I genuinely wish all the players and all the coaching staff and Andy Last and Adam all the best of luck in the future, I hope they can go on and achieve what is possible for that group.”

Radford leaves the UK in October to begin a new chapter in rugby union as defence coach of the new Major League Rugby side the Dallas Jackals.

The good news is the former Hull and Bradford Bulls forward has not ruled out a return to league in the future.

“I would never say never, but at the minute I’m really looking forward to sinking my teeth into not only a new franchise, but a new sport, in a new country as well,” Radford said. “It certainly ticks a lot of boxes, that’s for sure.”




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