The Dentist’s Diary – comfortably numb

ALL HAIL THE HISTORY BOYS!!

Johnny Whiteley couldn’t win it at Wembley and neither could Peter Sterling, Knocker Norton, Roy Francis, Arthur Bunting or Brian Smith, but Lee Radford and those 17 heroes won it for us and they did it in the most glorious of circumstances possible!!!

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The moment that said it all for every FC fan, Lee’s face just showed what we were all thinking, what it meant to us as fans as he lifted the Cup and that picture is the moment that will stay with me till the day I die.

That win was for everyone who has suffered for the cause, everyone who has been taunted by our rivals, everyone who kept on believing in the dark days when the light almost went out and everyone who just hoped, despite never ever thinking it would happen. It was also for those who made sacrifices and went into hock to get there, those others who have passed on with their biggest wish unfulfilled and for those who said, “Never again” and yet came back for more.

It was simply awesome to see history made before our eyes. For this ageing fanatic, (who still has tears in his eyes as he writes this), LAST SATURDAY WAS SIMPLY THE BEST DAY OF MY LIFE which was then followed by a weekend that I’ll never forget until the day I die and one that when I do, will see me finally flee this mortal coil a happy, happy man.

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The Dentist’s Diary – 506th (Wembley Special 2016)

Without hope we have nothing!

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“Someone needs to fight, someone needs to sacrifice, someone needs to inspire and someone needs to be a hero.”

The weekend games are over, the stage is cleared and all the rest of the cast list are now mere spectators and, as the lights go down and the orchestra strikes up, it’s the Warrington Wolves and my team that are waiting in the wings to do battle!! At last it’s here, at last its Challenge Cup week and for the fourth time in just 12 years it’s the ‘Famous Hull FC’ that’s playing in the Final!

How good is that?? Well it’s good; but it’s bloody Scary!!!!!

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The Dentist’s Diary – Special Edition

HULL 82- CATALAN/WIDNES NIL

Two ‘nillings’ on the trot, 82 points scored, a top 4 place secured 4 games before the end of the season AND the Diary out on a Friday; it’s all happening isn’t it???

What more could you ask for just 9 days before Wembley eh? Of course in any sport you can only play what’s in front of you and if the opposition are off their game or a bit depleted, then it’s all about being ruthless in how you dispatch them. Smart attacking play and ferocious tackling is one thing, but the ability to treat both the under performers and the teams on their game just the same, is a real indication of just how much character and fortitude a team has. So often you see the ‘big time Charlies’ like Wigan and Warrington slip down to an inferior opposition’s level; as of course we have seen Hull FC do so many times over the years. However that display was so focussed and so intense throughout that as a fan you can ask no more really.

I won’t be playing anything down about our performance either because in our current physical and mental circumstances it was without doubt a great showing and as clinical as I have seen at the KC in a long time. Usually, whoever you are playing, games ebb and flow, but with the exception of about 10 minutes in the second half when they tried (unsuccessfully) to batter us, this one just flowed in our direction!! The defensive effort in the last quarter when the game was won (and when you could have forgiven the players for worrying a bit about being injured and for having Wembley on their minds), animates totally for me the spirit that there is in the camp. Catalan were going to be nilled; end of story!

So it’s two more points, top four guaranteed, just one win away from Old Trafford and now…….Wembley here we come!!!!!!!!

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The Dentist’s Diary – 504th

At this point of the season it’s a whole new experience for all of us at Hull FC, as the players, the Club and the fans move into what is in our Super league history, uncharted territory!
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Everyone loses games, but if your genuine contenders after you’ve lost one, it’s just about getting back on the horse again! On Thursday the lads did that in fine style and we not only got back on it, but we rode it to an emphatic win. In fact we dominated the game so much, that in the end it brought us as easy a victory as you’ll get in Super League.

Don’t get me wrong, a lot of mental strength and tenacity went into that game, but our defence was imperious and many of the Widnes mistakes that littered their performance simply came from fatigue, brought on by our constant pressure. Attack wise we scored 7 tries and all that without our charismatic play maker Mark Sneyd, but on this occasion we didn’t miss him at all, because Houghton’s field kicking was superb and Jordan Abdull defied all the concerns I aired last week and had a great game at half back.

I commented at the end that at times we looked like the Wigan, Saints and Leeds teams of yore, in that we went there, put a defeat behind us, did the job and without being overtly flashy or having to chance our arm too much, we got the win. In fact, as those teams have so often done in the past, we had the game put to bed by the 60 minute mark and so took the points and move on to the next big challenge on Thursday!

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The Dentist’s Diary – 503rd

Well who didn’t see that coming, because I’m afraid to say I did!!

We had a real dig in the second half but on the whole we were poor and without doubt the best team won, however as I say our lack of intensity was, for me at least, pretty predictable. We don’t win these games, we rarely have over the years and we were always going to suffer a comedown after the emotion, stress and unreserved relief of winning the semi final. You’d better believe it too, that when you’re in that position and mindset, a fresh, rested and ‘carefree’ Castleford side are exactly the sort of opposition you don’t want to be playing!!

They played well, without worries or any pressure on them. They’ll be going to Wembley, but their only concern is where they’ll be sitting! Our players now have the euphoria of a Cup Final appearance and the hopes of a massive FC Army weighing on their minds and it showed on Friday. There were, in the first half hour, when we went 20-0 down, similarities to that debacle at Widnes back in round 5, but to their credit the players dug deep and made a game of it for the rest of the match. That effort showed me that we have at least improved since that bleak night; however by then the damage was done!!

I hope we have got that performance out of our system and it has helped our lot have a long look at themselves and re-group. Several of them were certainly ill prepared and a few, I thought, looked a tad jaded. We are still top of the League and will sit there for another week and even if we were to lose the next two matches, don’t despair, because we still all know what this squad of players can do, for they are, on their day, as good a group as we’ve had for years.

Unfortunately Friday was simply not their day!

However, for me, come the final, those same players give us as good a chance as we have ever had of winning that coveted trophy and as fans we simply have to believe in them!!!

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The Dentist’s Diary – 502nd

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We certainly are and just now…..
…Hullsapoppin!!!!!!

A strange expression? Well that was the headline in the Sunday Mirror the day after that wonderful win over St Helens at the Galfarm Stadium in the 2005 semi-final and although a completely different sort of victory manifest itself at Doncaster on Friday night, Hull is certainly ‘a poppin’ again! But boy what a bloody performance that was on Friday!!

For me the semi final was one of those magical nights which come all too infrequently in the life of an average fan, when the unlikely happens, the unthinkable becomes reality and you dare to dream. What a night, what a performance and what an outcome!

What helped to make it so special was the fact that both sides wanted the prize so much and, if the end was indeed ‘magical’, for the long suffering FC fan, the reality of enduring the game up until that joyous final hooter went, saw us fluctuating between a state of panic and one of ecstasy; it was simply heart stopping at times.

The whole thing was draining, tense, excruciating, mesmerising, dour, unbelievable, agonizing and finally just absolutely, absolutely wonderful.  It saw the full gambit of emotions laid bare and what a fabulous night it was for everyone who managed to attend. Those who had to watch at home no doubt hiding behind the sofa, missed a massive occasion and a wonderful atmosphere, but you must have all had a tense time too, on what was a great day to be associated with the famous Hull FC, wherever you were watching them from.

Anyone with an ounce of soul could not fail to be grabbed by the occasion and since then I’ve had a permanent smile on my face and am just so proud to support my Club. It was a pulsating encounter, a fabulous game and a wonderful outcome which for the third time in 9 years sees us just 80 minutes away from total redemption!!

That final excruciating ten minutes will live with me forever as 8000 black and white voices sang the boys home and for now at least the RL press, those BBC commentators, the match officials and indeed anyone else who has doubted our renaissance this season can eat their hearts out, the FC are back, we’re off to Wembley again and this time we ain’t coming back empty handed!!!

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The Dentist’s Diary – 501st

So the moment of truth is upon us!

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There it is, scary innit!!!

A great win at Salford marked five years since Adam Pearson bought Hull FC and well done to him, for he stuck at it with Lee when some of us doubted he should have done so and now no one would begrudge him a little gloat about the position the club finds itself in. For our owner it’s been 5 years of shelling out, heartbreak and at times disillusionment, but it all came good in the end! Thanks for everything Adam, and here’s to the next five years!

So, that dedication and financial support from our owner sees our beloved Hull FC going into the Super 8’s top of the league and well done to Adam, Lee and everyone concerned. However for now this Friday’s match is the only thing on all our minds!

It’s a massive moment in our season but at least the boys have ‘risen to it’ on every big occasion thus far; away and at home (twice) to Catalan, at Wigan, Warrington and Saints (twice) whilst we’ve also scalped the Dobbins on 4 occasions too, but this is different, this is the season defining game! It’s a massive match and a real ‘nerve-shredder’ for yours truly, as in 80 minutes on Friday our heroes mustn’t freeze or indeed hesitate to grab their chance and seize the day. In many ways it is the moment of truth when all the team spirit, zeal and enthusiasm is right on the line and our destiny is firmly in our own hands!

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The 500th Dentist’s Diary

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2016 Hull FC 4 Dobbins 0

“Defeat, falling on your face and your arse are the only things that really teach you how to win!”

That quote from Kevin Spacey was used as the final words of an Andy Murray documentary two years ago and was all about searching your soul, digging deep and using past adversities to strain every sinew and get a result which, as they say, gets you ‘back on the horse’!

That’s what good sportsmen and good teams do and that’s what we did last Thursday! Now that display must be the vehicle which takes us onto that semi final in two weeks time. However for now I’m still basking in the afterglow of a great win because like most of you reading this I really don’t like Rovers at all and so it was a great night to be an FC fan.

We’ve done the Derby business this year now, we’re the best and as the chant at the end of the game went; the City is indeed ours. We’re the top dogs in Hull and Rovers are down in the middle 8’s again but, as I say, it might have been their ‘Cup Final’ but now we have to move on, we have bigger fish to fry, that match against Wigan is looming and it’s the game of the season thus far. However for now, let’s be content in the fact that what we witnessed on Thursday was a fabulous show of strength, power and a real lesson in how to bully a team into submission and then take them apart; so well done to everyone involved.

That aside, this is, the 500th Diary’s and after 11 years of this rubbish perhaps this week I’m allowed at least a bit of self indulgence!!! This edition is different in that there’s a lot about what’s behind this weekly stuff and indeed you’ll find for a change some reflections from yours truly, some home truths, a bit of looking back and a couple of things that have happened along the way that I’ve never told anyone about, before today. Plus throughout, there a just a few of my favourite pictures from the last decade of this rubbish!

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The Dentist’s Diary – 499th

Don’t you just love Leeds? They save their best two performances of the year to beat us!! Friday night was certainly disappointing and although the wheel hasn’t exactly come off just yet, something or somebody has certainly started to loosen the wheel nuts a bit!!

Last week Lee Radford made a slightly facetious point directed at us lot, when he said that when you’re a Hull fan, “You lose two games and it’s a crisis”, however although not a crisis by any means, what transpired in that last ten minutes against what is becoming our bogy team, does mean that our luck with injuries and the bounce of the ball has perhaps finally run out. Plus it would also appear that (looking at the Saints, Warrington and Wigan results) the possible inability of the team to peak at the right time of the season is starting to increasingly come into the machinations of the fans on the terraces.

There was no shortage of effort or indeed tenacity on Friday and in the cold light of day looking back, there was a lot of bad luck involved too. In fact some absolutely amazing goal line defence probably warranted a bigger return for our efforts than we actually got, but surrendering too much ground to the Leeds forwards throughout, an inability to hang onto the ball in our own half and a lop-sided attack following the loss of Tumavave all transpired to ‘do’ for us and it was in the end, very much ‘as you were’ and back to some of the failing of last season. We have to lose some games, everyone does and we are still very well placed in the league, but the good teams rarely lose two games on the trot at this time of the year, particularly against the bottom two teams in the competition and with so many battered bodies, injuries and a short turn round, it’s hard to see how we aren’t going to struggle next Thursday as well. Perhaps it’s time to look at the bigger picture and only play players that are fit, whoever they are, rather than getting players who ain’t fit somehow onto the field for the Derby!!

Wigan has to be targeted as the big one now, but whatever approach we take, I honestly believe for the first time for ages, there are perhaps some tough times ahead!!

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The Dentist’s Diary – 498th

Every 12 months or so I have a health check mainly centred around how my heart is doing, however this year I won’t be bothering……… because I’m convinced there’s nothing at all wrong with it!!!

If there was, the old ticker would have packed up during the last few games, because once again yesterday’s match was a real ‘nail biter’, our fifth victory by 2 or less points and it was once again blooming hard work watching, I can tell you!!

However on a serious note the issue is of course that despite winning that performance just isn’t good enough if we want to finish top 4, because like it or not we are getting progressively worse, not better and teams will start to find us out. In that last desperate 20 minutes yesterday, lacking the leadership of Ellis, Manu, Talanoa and Mini, with ball in hand the rest of ‘em had brain fart after brain fart. In the end it was sheer bloody mindedness, some amazing tenacity in defence close to our line and perhaps the steadying hand of Pryce that kept them out and JUST got us home with another two precious points.

Castleford will feel badly done by, but tough!!! We have been there so many times before and few had any sympathy for us!! And of course in the end as my pal Tommy always says, goal kicks win you matches! Despite us playing pretty crap at times the way we have stacked points up of late is quite amazing, but the desperation and wanting is there and of course as I said last week, winning does become a habit!! So, in the end, we made it 14 wins in our last 15 matches in all competitions.

However if you weren’t there, then believe me, we made bloody hard work of it and for that winning habit to continue next week against the Dragons, we will need to be ten times better with ball in hand!!

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