The Dentist’s Diary – 669th

Hi There again I hope your all doing OK and surviving the changes we are all experiencing and welcome to another edition of the ‘Lockdown Diary’. If you aren’t following the serialisation of the book, I hope that you will at least read the first few paragraphs for I believe that they are important.

It was good this week to see Scott Taylor coming out big to support the Club for their caring attitude to their employees most of whom are on Furlough at present. It also appearedfrom Twitter that Adam was having a few issues with the Bank Manager, as he attempts to access more of the support provided by the government to get business through these strange times. 

This it appears is all linked to ancient debts, accrued by the previous administration, which is all really worrying because as Adam said, it puts the very existence of our club under threat. This, I believe, wasn’t so much Adam going off on one, as him being conscious that the livelihood’s of almost 200 people are in his hands and him only wanting what was due to the Club. We need all the help we can get for it will only take a couple of clubs to get into real difficulties for the whole game to collapse, so we all, fans, clubs, the games administrators and even the clubs Bank manager have to do our bit and hold the line as best we can.  

What is however most heartening is the fact that all 190 people on the Clubs payroll have agreed immediately to a wage cut of up to 35% until August, with not one complaint or grumble. That will bring hardship to some, but when compared with what is going on in Rugby Union and particularly Football, it show all of us (and no doubt Adam), the stuff that rugby league is made of and just reaffirms for us long term fans, what a tremendous spirit there is at Hull FC.That tenacity and will to survive got us through the seventies and the Lloyd years and it will get us through now! It is the stuff that runs through the very DNA of the Club and its army of fans and something that has repeatedly shown up to be our biggest asset over the years. 

I want here to personally thank the players and all the staff for their attitude and understanding and commend their sacrifice and their obvious passion for our great club. For us fans, your actions as employees of the Club we all love are a great tribute to our belief in that Club. What’s more in such dark times, when we are all worried and even scared for ourselves and our families, it is just so heartening and uplifting for us all.

Hull FC is an organisation central to the Community and I hope that should we continue to struggle, Adam and Clarkynext come to us the supporters to help out if we can. Many of us are under economic pressure and struggling at present and many can’t sometimes make ends meet at all, however I know we will all help if we possibly can. This is different to any other crisis we have faced, for it is not brought about by a profligate owner, or are unaccountable Board of Directors, or by the actions of a megalomaniac running the club, nor is it borne out of poor performances, poor coaching or players that can’t be arsed on the field either. 

This is a national crisis that is not of our doing, but one thatthreatens the very fabric of our way of life and as such we all must do what we can to get through it and as we do that, we must strive to preserve the things that are most dear to us all. We are lucky I think to have Adam for he has once again engendered a siege mentality, a belonging and a togetherness at the Club. He is doing his best and as Scott Taylor said, the staff trust him to do that. We must now all trust him and back him and the club through these horrible weeks and months, always with the hope that one day we will return to the KComto watch some rugby again. 

Man, these are strange times indeed. 

However, and moving on, I heard the other day from the keeper of records and all things historical about Hull FC, the Club historian Bill Dalton. He contacted me to tell me of a massive anniversary that came about this week.  Bills hasbecome a good friend to both me and the Dentist Diary over the years and he told me this week that last Friday it was exactly 100 years since our first ever Championship Title. Bill in fact sent me a newspaper cutting from the Yorkshire Post and a great piece he had written about it, that I enclose for you all here. 

Quite ironically, I discovered as well that back then the world was gripped by a massive Flu pandemic which coming as it did at the end of the Great War, in the end killed 17m people worldwide. I guess it will have been so different back then with no health service, news channels, internet and Piers Morgan, but it’s still a case I guess of what goes around…anyway Bill wrote;- 

Saturday 24th April 1920. Northern Union Championship Final (at Headingley)

Results wise, this was Hull’s finest season thus far in the Northern Union resulting in a 2nd-place finish in the League. After the opening day loss at Halifax, only a further four League games were lost up to and including New Year’s Day at Rochdale. 

Following that, only a Home loss to Oldham on Valentine’s Day 1920 spoiled the League record until the final two matches at Easter, during which Hull played 4 games in 5 days, viz; 2nd, 3rd, 5th, 6th April. The second of that quartet was designated Billy Batten’s Benefit match, which realised £1,079-13s-8d, a monumental sum for those days, and a clear indication of the extent of the affection felt by the Hull supporters. Second position in the League was already secure by the time the Easter Programme had arrived. Leeds, having finished third came to The Boulevard in the Play-Off Semi-Final and were dispatched 11 – 0. 

So, for the first time Hull made passage into the Championship Final where, on 24th April 1920, the Opposition was Huddersfield, the ‘Team of all the Talents’, who sought  a win to achieve a Second ‘All Four Cups’ Season following their all-conquering season in 1914-15. Although much was made of the fact that the ‘Fartowners’ were without their five Tourists, it was also a fact that Hull were without Billy Stone, who had also departed on Tour, and Jimmy Devereux, Eddie Caswell (both injured), Ned Rogers (ill) and Forwards Tom Herridge, Jack Beasty and Fred Newsome, all suspended through dismissals in successive Easter matches. The loss of half their pack of Forwards notwithstanding, Hull matched the Huddersfield six in a dour Forward battle in which Penalties were the main feature of the first half, although all were unsuccessful apart from the solitary effort kicked by Holland on 27 minutes which gave Huddersfield the lead. That one was for offside at a scrum, which Billy Batten fiercely contested. After a flare-up 3 minutes before halftime, following an alleged tripping incident, Alf Grice was sent off, leaving Hull another front line forward short, for the remainder of the game. 

More missed Penalties by both sides together with failed Drop Goal attempts were a feature of the second half in which Hull gradually looked the more threatening as the game wore on. Francis broke and kicked through for Batten whose kick on rolled slowly over the dead ball line, so agonisingly slowly before the chasing Billy could reach it to score. But, it all came right for him and for Hull when, on 72 minutes, he drove through a defensive wall to set Markham up for a run down the wing before Billy took his return pass to score after what The Hull Daily Mail described as “a Superhuman Effort”. So, at long last, Hull attained the Northern Union Championship and Billy Batten was three-quarters of the way to his second full set of Winners medals.

Hull –J. Holdsworth; A.FrancisW.BattenJ.KennedyJ.W.MarkhamT.Milner,J. Hulme; A.GriceE.C.ShieldW.HolderR.TaylorH.GarrettJ.E.Wyburn

Huddersfield – M.HollandG.ToddT.GleesonA.RosenfeldH.PogsonC.MarsdenR.HabronJ.W.HigsonG.NaylorA.SwindenT.Fenwick , A.SherwoodH.Sutcliffe.

Referee – A Hestford (Broughton).                                           

Att: 12,900 (Rec; £1,615) 

So, thanks so much for that Bill, it was certainly an insight into times gone by. However, now for those of you who are following the continued serialisation of ‘Roamin’ the Range Together’ here is my latest offering. The next Chapter of Book One follows the difficult days of the sixties the end of Roy Francis, the advent of Alan McGlone, David Doyle Davidson, John Maloney and Chris Davidson amongst others and a trip to Wembley for a now famous international game.

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The Dentist’s Diary – 668th

So, here we are again 4 weeks into the serialisation of my first book and I just wanted to thank all those of you who have, in such strange and scary times, taken the opportunity to contact me after reading the previous instalments. It seems, like me, some of you are enjoying the brief escape of reliving less complicated times. In fact, a lot of you have returned to me stories of your own that hopefully one day in the future I’ll be able to include in the Diary. I know by the number of folks that are ‘clicking on’ every week, it’s being read by plenty of the regular readers.

Thank-you so much for all that and for sticking with me as the weeks come and go and I just hope that keeping the diary going in some form, is working for you, at a time when, however hard we look, good news is hard to come by, whilst   rugby news is none existent.

I know one thing, I miss bumping into all those fans I used to see every week, in the street, in the shops and in the pub, who were all eager to chew the fat about the last game, what I’d had to say in the diary and the team in general. If all this has proved nothing else then it has certainly brought to the fore just what gregarious and social animals we all are. 

As I said last week the weekly rounds may not be taking place,  the FC may not be training and the club may be in a bit of a state (as all clubs are), but as fans and comrades, even when we are unable to meet, we continue to gain great succour and strength from being part of the great FC family, and I think that there is a kindred spirit about us all that will, in the end, get us through.

Better times must be around the corner and one day we will,I’m sure, be getting back to some rugby and just worrying about who’s injured, who’s out of form, how our new coach is getting on and what the SMC is up to; if that is, by then, we have a game to support. 

Thanks’ as always for your good wishes, which I of course return to all of you.

This week in the continuing tale of a lifelong FC fanatic, we move into a rather tough times for the club; the 1960’s. However, for this young fan, struggling with the rigours, heartache’s and bullying of the 60’s secondary education system (which included being forced to play Rugby Union), there was always, my first trip to Wembley, Arthur Keegan, Clive Sullivan and the great Wilf Rosenberg to get me through. This week we start with a bit of Shakespeare and if occasionally it’s not strictly accurate, it’s just my mind playing tricks on me and on how I remember it. One things for sure however, it’s all come straight from the heart. So, again, I hope this week you find something to enjoy. Stay safe everyone!

Try to Keep Believing 


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The Dentist’s Diary – 667th

Under normal circumstances I would today be wishing you a Happy Easter, reviewing and celebrating another big win over the Dobbins (hopefully!!) and looking forward to a tough old second Easter game on Monday, instead I’m wishing you well and trusting that you’re all keeping safe and staying in. 

These are certainly mad, bad and sad times, aren’t they? 

What a total mess this all is and although sport is pretty secondary to staying alive, I guess like me, there will have been times when you yearn to get back to the KCom to cheer on any sort of performance by our heroes. It seemed as if it was a real slog and even a drudge at times over the last couple of seasons, but oh boy, how we’d welcome some of that to return, in any form, now!! 

For me, the whole future of our great game hangs in the balance and lately I just seem to be pondering more and moreon the fact that I really don’t know how lucky I have been over all my years of following the FC. I guess as Joni Mitchell once said, “Don’t it always seem to go, that you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone?”. 

Don’t you as well, just have to wonder if the world of a sportwe all loved, will ever be the same again. Still, we all battle on and as brother’s in arms we in the FC Army have our camaraderie, memories and love of our club to keep us goingand so now, as promised, here is the third episode of my life, as a fanatical FC fan, growing up in Airlie Street in the ‘Shadow of Giants’. I hope you find something to enjoy, try to…..

Keep Believing.


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The Dentist’s Diary – 665th

Well if any of you managed to wade through last weeks offering here’s another dollop of the same as I continue the serialisation of my books about living in West Hull, the world of school and work and my lifetime obsession with Hull FC.Remember they are not the definitive final draft because these copies come before final proofing etc. but, I’m sure you’ll get the idea. I hope that you and your family are doing your best to stay safe. Man, these are tough times indeed but as promised below, I continue to cover my own younger yearsliving in simpler times, just across the road from the Boulevard. I hope to find something to enjoy. Stay safe and keep believing! 


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The 664th Dentist’s Diary

So here it is the first Chapter of my life as an FC fan serialised as promised on a weekly basis, as I said last week it’s a bit social history-ish at first, as it’s hard to get to games when you’re in your nappies! However, most of the big FC games and seasons are in there and if you fancy a read bear with me. It’s not ideal and I know many of you will have already read it and won’t feeI much like reading it again. But, its better, I think, with all the doom and gloom and anxiety around our lives and our game at present to look back at more simpler times when perhaps we didn’t know just  how lucky we were. I hope you find something to enjoy! 

So back to those less stressful times!

Try to stay safe everyone!


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The Dentist’s Diary – 663rd

Worrying times, No Rugby and a Bleak Future for our Game!

So, the day arrived that perhaps all rugby league fans had dreaded but yet expected, when last Monday all fixtures were suspended, as this crazy situation we find ourselves in, moves from worrying to serious. Of course, the weekly rounds had to be scrapped, because these are dangerous times and we have to do everything we can to protect the staff, players and supporters of our great game. 

However, it was still almost surreal to see all national sport on hold and financially there are certainly some big implications for the Clubs, their owners and their players. It’s hard really in here to know just what to talk about this week, but I’ve had a go below and I hope that you find something of interest!

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The Dentist’s Diary – 662nd


Words failed me about that performance and I bet they did for you too! 

But the drama that followed for those watching at home, when a chairman actually came out on the pitch and announced he had parted company with his Coach a few minutes earlier and did it, on live TV, was quite unheard of! 

It was certainly another night of drama on Thursday and just like the best Agatha Christie who-done-it, it was predictable all the way through until the final twist took us all by surprise.

He might have been the Bookmakers number One choice for the chop, but make no mistake about it, Lee will go down in the annals of Hull FC as one of the most memorable Coaches we have had. I say that simply because he took us to the Holy Grail on that wonderful summer afternoon in London, when all our dreams came true. Those memories will last forever and for me there should be a statue dedicated to him for that! However, although it’s all very sad, as with the end of the great Arthur Bunting, it just had to be done, his reign had run its course, Adams patience had run out and the fans had stomached enough, for it was all too cosy, as once out on the pitch, the players appeared to be just doing as they liked!!

That drama all followed what can only be described as a poor excuse for a performance. If that was the last game we were to witness at the KCom as fans, for a while, then it was one that could best be described as totally unmemorable and a match with too many ego’s on display and not enough passion and attitude.

Yet as FC fans, at these times when such scary problems surround us and our families, we just needed something to cling onto and to remember, something to at least raise our spirits for a short time, but we all got was more disappointment, more disenchantment and more frustration.  

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The Dentist’s Diary


In the end it was all hail ‘The Iceman’ who is the pulse of our team and yet the one that some fans were (quite unreasonably I believe) having a real go at just 5 days ago. Ice cool Marc continue his amazing Golden Point record and he did it on the back of a smart Jones play and an Albert Kelly wonder break, (wonder indeed, from a man who looked absolutely knackered in that last 10 minutes). Those plays manufactured the position from where Sneydy, organising the set-piece brilliantly, dropped a superb 40-yard goal. 

It’s never easy to go to Wakey, particularly on a Friday night as over the years, under the lights, they have saved some of their best performances for games like this one. What’s more, after the last few matches, there is little doubt that everyone who travelled did so in hope rather than expectation. At least both teams had the same short 5 day turn around to manage and the ‘Cow Pat’ pitch (as Lee Radford probably ill-advisedly described it) had dried out somewhat, but there were still no doubt a lot of souls on the terraces who were still smarting from that second half capitulation at the KCom last Sunday. 

In the end the loyal FC supporters witnessed a roller coaster of a game, with an almost perfectly controlled first half, an injury and penalty littered shambles of a second half and for the third time since it was introduced a brilliantly executed Golden Point drop goal. It got us the two points we so desperately needed and there is at present a lot of relief around the place. However, there’s a lot to do as well. We did well to hang on in the end when a missed conversion kept us in the game, but we should have had it won long before that. 

However, injury disruption, the loss of Ma’u with concussion, some stupid penalties conceded and an FC line in disarray at time, meant it was real heart in your mouth stuff. Wakey will beat a lot of teams at home this year, but we scrapped and scrapped and just sneaked the points at the death. And, at times like these, a win is all that matters.   

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The Dentist’s Diary – 660th

Well, safe to say that was heart-breaking!

After a capitulation that was as bad as I have seen at home for a long time, we walked out of the ground in silence and followed a couple, obviously not season ticket holders, who I over-heard saying, “They can’t expect us to come again when they play like that” and really you couldn’t argue with their logic. It summed it up completely and the club has to realise how such a reversal effects the supporters, for it was soul destroying for even the hardiest of fans wasn’t it? 

Even vice-captain Scott Taylor described it as, ‘A disgraceful and criminal collapse’ and who can really argue with him, but, what about, ‘the importance of winning our home games’ and what about ‘Fortress KCom’? With just two home wins in the last 8  …’s hardly that is it! 

I knew it was a season that, with so many new faces, we would have to build into. So, I was surprised when it started with a great performance against Leeds, before we managed to scramble our way over and past a resolute and scrapping Hull KR, folded in the second half against Saints, couldn’t match the tenacity and resolve of Wigan in the same period and then witnessed a complete collapsed against Catalan, again in the second half. Two things stand out for me from that record a) We are going backwards and b) we simply can’t seem to break the momentum of a team that gets moving in the second half. Yesterday we looked really good at times and incredibly poor at others. Again, we had issues with missing players and injuries, but again, our fringe players didn’t come up to the mark.

That performance, for a Club that has invested heavily, been really supported by the fans, (often against their better judgement) and set their stall out pre-season to be competing at the top of the table, was pretty unacceptable. Writing this as I am straight after the game, I am, even after all these years, really depressed, by what I saw this afternoon. 

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The Dentist’s Diary – 659th

A good effort, with some heart and spirit, but one that was again lacking in ideas, nous and execution and so, not good enough to get any reward!

Did we really expect to win? Well I think initially we were all just looking for us to have a good go, weren’t we? For me it was all a bit like last week really, we saw some good stuff from the lads, but when we were still in it, in that second half, just like in the Saints match seven days previously, Wigan lifted their game and we didn’t or couldn’t do the same. They were more clinical and ‘on it’ than we were, they got the breaks and took them and executed their plays when they mattered. 

Again, we saw a battling, scrambly first half, where we hung in the game, but then came a second period where we were outsmarted by an opposition that stepped up and left us trailing in their wake! It’s both worrying and concerning how other teams have structures that when they have injuries seem to be transferable to whoever is playing, whilst we don’t! 

A huddle of the players with Taylor calling the shots, continued on the field, before the players went in at the end and that showed, I think, that they knew they have to do better. It was not exactly a lock-in in the changing rooms, but a sign that our players realise such showings are not acceptable as well. 

So, a second defeat, another game lacking idea’s and another 2 points lost, but we tried hard and I wouldn’t be too disheartened, its early days and it’s not the end of the world …..just yet.

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