The Dentist’s Diary – 552nd



Can you believe it? No neither can I! As I sit here on the train travelling back home on Sunday morning with a happy heart, a smile on my face and a raging hangover, I’m absolutely bursting with pride and I’m so, so pleased for everyone who is in any way connected to our quite amazing rugby club. However, I’m particularly thrilled for our soon to retire Captain, (seen above in a wonderful pose) because that win made it official; Superman really does wear Gareth Ellis pyjamas!!!

As another chorus of ‘Mark Sneyd’s on Fire’ rings around the train, how can I really explain just how honoured and indeed privileged we are as a generation of fans to watch a team that despite spluttering and stuttering at times this season, has probably more spirit, heart and will to win in such big matches, than any other Hull FC team in our clubs glorious 152-year history. Well, certainly, no other team can have had more spirit and wanting can they? Some will talk of the early 80’s and quite rightly so, but remember, back then, there were more cups to win and we were the big spenders and like it or not we bought a team. Now, with the salary cap we’re all equal and so it’s down to tactics, coaches, recruitment, the level of team spirit and the will to win of the team.

We’ve got all that right and these are for all of us who have suffered so long, very special times indeed!

That Final, a credit to the game and the two teams that played in it, was a contest of brutish strength, gargantuan effort, feisty fracas, acrobatic catches and personal sacrifice and you simply couldn’t take your eyes off the action for a moment. These guys really are the heroes, these are the history boys and these are fast becoming the FC ‘Hall of Famers’ that will be remembered forever as we say, “I was there” and of whom future generations will say, “I wish I’d seen that team!”.

We all know dozens of family and friends who have over the years died wondering about winning at Wembley, but we haven’t and our generation is just so lucky, for we have seen it done twice in successive years. I’m just so pleased that I have been spared to stick around on this mortal coil long enough to witness history being made in such an unbelievable fashion.

Sat writing this on Hull Trains on a hazy, headachy Sunday morning it’s pretty hard to believe even now that it actually happened. It was such a great moment, which was, once again, all gone much too quickly. For once we actually got the breaks, and that bit of luck that so often alluded us in the past, we were undoubtedly the best team and our reward was to taste sweet success once more and to do it on another baking hot August afternoon, when all the rugby league world stopped to watch. Anyone who wasn’t there missed a real treat and another seminal milestone in the Radford/Pearson revolution. For all of us lot, it was simply a must be there moment …again!

We all knew that there would never be another 2016 Final, for that was the ultimate instance for all of us, that was our time and it is now etched on the hearts and minds of every Hull FC fan who witnessed that epic win, but last Saturday ran it pretty damn close and I’m so, so proud to be a Hull supporter this weekend. Does it get any better? Some will tell us it will, but for this fan the answer to that one has to be, probably not!

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The Dentist’s Diary – 551st



“We’re the famous Hull FC and we’re off to Wembley!”





Again …. Yep, that’s right, we went to Wembley and won the blooming thing there last year and now we are back at the National Stadium on Saturday to defend it! A few years ago it would have been hard to imagine it and yet these day, as fans, we pretty much take it all in our stride. However, having failed to get there at all between 1985 and 2005, when you actually sit back and reflect on things, it’s all pretty blooming hard to believe isn’t it? Particularly when you consider it’s the third time in five years that we have been there! In that alone we are as fans so, so lucky!

However, some things never change at Hull FC do they? There we were early last week approaching the final with probably for the first time since 1983, a modicum of confidence as we seemed to be on a roll; rotating the squad, steering clear of injuries, targeting the big games, blowing away Leeds in the semi in some style and preparing to face a Wigan team that had spluttered and stuttered all season. But, what a difference one night makes eh? All of a sudden after an abject display against Huddersfield and with Wigan producing probably their best performance since the Grand Final last year, we are doing what we do best before Wembley and wobbling a bit!!!

No wonder years ago we used to sing “We’re on our way to Wembley, our knees are getting trembly”. Oh and by the way many reading this will, like me, also remember what happened in 1983, as we defended the trophy last time around all those years ago.

Wembley is the maker of dreams and the breaker of hearts and we all know to our cost how painful that second option can be! Last year just as we were about to kick off Lisa Yeaman, whose husband was out there preparing to do battle, text me the single sentence. “Do we dare to Dream” and now 12 months on her words return to me and still ring so, so, true.

But nevertheless here we are again, on the threshold of Lisa’s dream once more, as our moment in the spotlight has just about arrived, the talking is almost over and its time for the flags, scarves, shirts and lucky underpants to be produced all over again. But just remember too that…..


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The Dentist’s Diary – 550th


It was always going to happen but it was still a sad day when it did!

When the excitement should have been growing, it’s been a sad old week really! That breaking news on Gareth Ellis made for a miserable day for the fans, because with everything else that is happening it’s still a really big deal for everyone on and off the field. For me it’s been an absolute privilege to watch him play in that world famous irregular hooped jersey. He is an icon, a leader of men and a real winner and perhaps it will be a few years before we can all look back and eventually appreciate just how good he actually was!!

Then of course we were subjected on Friday to possibly the worst performance from Hull FC we have seen in two years and that on the eve of a Wembley Final which made for an even more down beat and worrying end to the week for us all. In here I’ve never ever been afraid to tell it as I see it and despite at times the protestations of the Club, I have to say what I’m feeling because usually its pretty much in line with what your all thinking anyway. For me Friday was so bad that quite frankly I just sat there for an hour and then just wanted to go home. I stayed to the end but many around me didn’t and from around 20 minutes before the hooter went, there was a steady procession of folks heading for the exits. Who can blame them for on Friday our attitude was sadly pretty appalling!

What’s more, this week I reached another milestone with the 550th edition of this weekly diatribe and since it began that’s around 3.5m words (with some actually in the right order and spelt properly) which equates to the equivalent of writing around 29 books!!! Thanks for all your support over what is now almost 12 years of the Dentists Diary and I’m always so grateful to Joe Bennett from blackandwhites for his continued patience and perseverance, he’s certainly become a big mate over the years! Oh and before I go any further can I just say, you’ll read very little in here about Wembley because as had become tradition (and you know my feelings on that before a final) The Dentists Diary 2017 Wembley Special is coming out on this site on Tuesday morning!

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The Dentist’s Diary – 549th

“It was the ugliest, prettiest result I’ve had in an awful long time”.

Lee Radford is, for anyone who writes about Hull FC, an absolute dream at times. I’ve already written a book on the back of a season of his most exceptional, intuitive and downright quirky quotes and here he is once again, doing what the man does best, because you don’t get much quirkier than that one! But as always, in his own inimitable fashion, how true he was about Friday.

A massive if enforced selection gamble by Lee, a master pocket picking exercise by the team and a great win based on an exceptional spirit, all gained against the much fancied Saints in their own back yard. Top stuff indeed!

That’ll do!!

OK, I agree with you, it was a shocking game to watch, but whilst on occasions a great win is signified by brilliant rugby and a scintillating performance, on many others it is symbolised by the significance of the victory in the context of the season, the team you have out there, who you are playing and even perhaps the weather. Although certainly not scintillating by any means this latest win embraced all of the other four indicators on what was a quite extraordinary night. The referee added to the woes with a stop/start performance that took away completely what bit of flow there was left in the game, however, let’s not forget either that this was St Helens, the pundit’s present favourites and the current darlings of Sky TV. Therefore, all of a sudden, it was as big a game as we will contest in the Super 8’s. Now, with all the top four spots taken by Yorkshire clubs and the Lancashire boys dropping off the pace a bit, no wonder Phil Clarke isn’t happy.

Well done to every FC player involved and to the coaching staff and the owner, for in such games it really doesn’t matter how you win, but rather that you win …..whatever the cost. On Friday, because of all the late withdrawals and with a game plan that was cobbled together on the bus, it was always going to be tough.

Good teams find a way to get over the line and whether they do it as we did at Donny in the semi with sparkling rugby, or in shocking conditions and a war of attrition littered with mistakes, like on Friday, in the end it matters little. This team is special it hasn’t won anything yet and it may not do, but believe me it’s special! That was a showing of great resilience and passion against what were considerable odds and it was a massive tick in the box for building gradually and peaking at the right time.

A win next week will present us with all we need to go forward with momentum into the last four Super 8 games and, who knows, perhaps even a top two finish. So let’s not dwell too long on a hat full of handling errors and mistakes that were mostly down to the conditions. Instead let’s just focus on the points we gained as we move on to a battle against a dangerous Huddersfield team who visit the KCOM on Friday with nothing to lose but their last chance of glory in 2017. There, with a big gate, a send-off to the final and a chance to all but secure our place in the top four, it’s all to play for, but for now at least history would dictate that it still isn’t wise to talk too loudly about Wembley at all, is it?
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The Dentist’s Diary – 548th

Heroes and villains!

It was without doubt a good effort, a bit scratchy at times, but a good effort just the same! We got the job done, saw some great tries, grabbed the two points and witnessed another pretty atrocious refereeing performance! (Get rid of the back line judges, Mr Wood, we now have referee’s with bionic vision!!!) Another week, another game; Welcome to the Super Eights!

Kelly was great again, but there was another hero against Salford!

On Friday it was all about the result rather than the performance, for it was, when you looked at how the fixtures fall, a must win game. Yet, as I walked to the Stadium, I pondered on the fact of how much our success at Donny would influence the outcome on the night. I believed that what we took from that victory, coupled with how a disappointing outcome impacted on Salford’s resolve, would probably decide the game. I don’t care how good a team you are, there is no way that you can completely overcome the physical and mental stress inherent in such games so soon after a semi-final and it was always going to be about who best overcame the ‘hangover’ from the happenings of the previous weekend. In the end some shrewd preparations by Lee Radford, during which the players just rested up and did little else, got us the win and as the results fell, we ended up with three points on the teams in fifth and sixth and six points on those in seventh and eighth.

So, with everyone having to play each other and thus not just gaining points but taking them off their nearest rivals as well, we are on course for the top 4, but with still a bit to do to cement our place. However at least that win gives us some breathing space and allows us to go to Saints with a bit of the pressure off and hopefully a couple of players back. Now we have a slight cushion over 5th and 6th and if we win our other 3 home games, we should be home and dry in the top four with another ‘objectives for the season’ ticked off. So all in all, Friday night was without doubt ‘Job Done’!

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