In 2011 the supporters embarked on a process to take over Hunslet Hawks Rugby Football League Club as a going concern. The takeover was complicated by the previous owners running the business at a considerable loss and relations with important stakeholders needed rebuilding, in particular the Local Authority who held the lease for the South Leeds Stadium, and the Rugby Football League who issued the licence for the Club to play in the Championship.
SDCD worked with Club officials to produce a robust business plan that gave comfort to the RFL and enabled the supporters to take over the Club. SDCD were also able to support the Club in meeting with the Local Authority, discuss the social value of sports clubs and help renegotiate the lease.
Since then the Club have gone from strength to strength turning around the loss making business, bringing in new sponsorships and resource from their supporters. They have built partnerships with local stakeholders such as South Leeds Academy High School and West Yorkshire Police, as well as setting up a Community Foundation Group to oversee plans to improve the stadium and other community projects.
Chairman Neil Hampshire said
“Supporters Direct have been there for us from the start, through the setting up the Trust and sitting in on Council negotiations around settlement of historic debt and negotiating new lease terms to advising us on due diligence when we were offered control of the Club. Their support, input and advice has been invaluable and in addition to face to face meetings they are always quick to respond via phone or email when needed. They have played a major role in our takeover of the Club for which we are immensely grateful and I would strongly recommend early involvement with SD for any group of supporters looking to achieve similar aims.”