Hunslet stalwart Kenny Sykes takes over as interim chairman

Kenny Sykes has been appointed interim chairman of Hunslet following the decision by Neil Hampshire to step down at the end of last month.

Wednesday, 5th February 2020, 5:25 pm

And the new man at the helm of the south Leeds club announced: “This club means a great deal to me and I’ll do anything to help it that I can.”

Sykes represented the club in its incarnations as Hunslet and New Hunslet for around 13 seasons from 1971 to 1983.

He played 162 matches for Hunslet, scoring 15 tries, and appeared in 105 A-team games. Those first-team matches included the last game at Parkside – against his hometown club York – in April 1973, and New Hunslet’s first fixture, at Keighley, the following season.

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A real highlight of his career was the game at Hull at the end of the 1978-79 campaign (during which he was an ever-present) when both sides gained promotion from Division Two, the Airlie Birds sealing a 100 per cent win record over the league season with a hard-earned victory in front of 12,000 fans.

Sykes, on returning to Heworth, played for a further eight seasons, featuring in the 1986-87 BARLA National Cup final, and has subsequently served his amateur club as secretary.

He may be York born and bred but he is a valued ‘adopted son’ of the club, as proven by the request that he take over the chairmanship in a figurehead capacity until, at least, the forthcoming elections in the spring.

Sykes also took over as president of the Hunslet Ex-Parkside RL Past Players’ Association when he was inducted into the Hall of Fame last year.

He has never lost touch with Hunslet and admits: “I’m a supporter and always will be, and still go to matches even when I was playing for Heworth.

“I was a York supporter as a lad but, whenever Hunslet played York, I’d wear my Hunslet scarf; they’re my team.

“The club’s been good to me from the very start, as an outsider from York among lads who went to Hunslet schools, and I’ve always tried to back Hunslet in return.

“I’ve put a few bob in over the years and I’m happy to take on the position of chairman and do the handshaking and the greeting that comes with the role.”