Tributes paid after tragic loss of Hull KR’s Rob Crossland

RIP Rob Crossland 1966 - 2024

The world of business in the North West and rugby league has been shocked this week at the tragic passing of former Hull Kingston Rovers vice chairman Rob Crossland.

Aged just 57 he had been battling cancer.

He built Optionis Group, formerly Parasol, the Warrington-headquartered freelancer and SME services company, which was backed by MML Capital Partners and specialised in providing tax, employment, accountancy and legislative compliance solutions to freelancers, contractors, small businesses and recruitment firms.

Born in Hull, he was vice chair of Hull Kingston Rovers from 2007 to 2019, a position he cherished, and was invited as a special guest of the club to the Challenge Cup Final last year.

A statement in tribute to him by the club noted that he grew up Portabello Street and was a lifelong school friend of Neil Hudgell, chairman of Hull KR. 

Hudgell said, “Rob and I grew up in the shadow of the old Craven Park. Those formative years shaped our love for the club. He used to run errands for Colin Hutton out of the Zetland Arms pub.

“We had so many laughs over the years, teaming up again 20 years ago to begin the club’s journey back to Super League. He was with us at Wembley and again at our end of season awards night. He has fought his illness with incredible bravery and dignity throughout. Willie (Peters) dedicated our win last Thursday night to Rob, a game he watched on television.

“It is desperately sad he will not be here to see where this journey takes us. He will remain front and centre of our thoughts as we mourn his loss, and send our love and support to his wonderful family.”

Over the years, many of Rob’s businesses have taken pride of place on the front of club jerseys including Parasol, Brian Alfred and Clear Sky, providing significant support to the club.