Hull FC veteran Richard Horne has announced he is to hang up the boots, after a remarkable career which has spanned over 16 memorable years as a one club man.
The 32-year old made his debut for the Airlie Birds at the tender age of 16, and has since amassed 383 appearances for his home-town club including 251 in the Super League, becoming a fans favourite due to his long service at the club.
Scoring a staggering 563 points, including 133 tries for the Airlie Birds, Horne appeared in the 2005 Challenge Cup final victory over Leeds Rhinos in Cardiff, the 2006 Grand Final and 2008 Challenge Cup Final, both against St. Helens.
His services to the Black and Whites have also earned him international recognition, appearing for Scotland on three occasions in the early stages of his career as well as 12 appearances for Great Britain, whilst his efforts also saw him claim a spot at half back in the 2004 Super League Dream Team.
Despite hanging up the boots, Horne will remain with the club as he takes up a role as Under 16s head coach, aiming to develop the next generation of home grown talent.
Speaking to hullfc.com about the decision to call time on his playing career, Horne said, “It has probably taken about two to three months to allow me to get my head around the idea, but it just feels the right time to retire from playing.
“If somebody had told me when I made my debut for the club back when I was just 16 that I would still be playing for Hull at 32, I would have laughed and then quickly snapped their hand off for the opportunity. For me to be able to live my childhood dream, what more could you ask for?
“It has been an amazing 16 years, unfortunately though at some point you have to make this decision and it just feels like the moment has come for me.
“The decision has coincided with the club offering me this role within the coaching staff, which I am extremely looking forward to and I’m glad I am able to stay with Hull to take up this new challenge.
“Hopefully I will be able to have an equally long coaching career at the club as I have managed to achieve playing.
“My main goal now is to bring these kids through and hopefully give them the right skills and tools needed to make it as a Super League player.”
Reflecting on the high points of his playing career, Horne added, “To be completely honest there have been so many that it is extremely difficult to pick one out.
“Obviously winning the Challenge Cup in 2005 has to be up there as the biggest, and to do that for my home-town club was an unbelievably proud day for myself, my family, and the club and is something I will never forget.
“Equally though playing in a grand final in 2006, the result may have been different, but the occasion itself was amazing and we came up against one of the best Saints teams that there has ever been.
“Reflecting back on that day now though, the experience and magnitude of the occasion gives me a very special feeling.”
With just four games remaining to conclude a memorable career, Horne is content that his side still has a strong Hull based contingent laying down the platform for future years.
“I am so happy that I am able to leave the side whilst it is still so rich in home grown payers, with plenty of players like myself being born right here in the city.
“For me looking forward that is the way the club has to go, using the young kids coming through and the talent that we have got in the city. I few can add some experience around that base, then we have real potential for the future.
Finally on the support that he had received over the years from Hull FC fans, Horne added,
“I would like to personally thank every single one of the supporters, who have been so loyal and passionate in following the club throughout my time.
“They are truly who you play for, and when it goes right it is fantastic to know that they are always behind you. It has been a privilege to represent not only Hull but all of the fans as well.”