So here we are, the last Diary for three weeks and judging by the lack of activity that we have seen forthcoming from our club of late, then perhaps a break is a good idea. What a great season 2017 was though and although not as significant as the previous historic campaign, we still have a trophy in the cupboard and what’s more I’ve really enjoyed an absorbing campaign following the Club we all love. After last week’s look at what could happen next season if we ain’t careful, this week I’ll have a look at a couple of interesting areas and developments within the game and in Codgers Corner there’s a look at happier times at Leigh, back in the early 1980’s.
Season tickets are on sale, Old Trafford has come and gone and the lads are off on their holiday and despite the up-coming World Cup, it has all now got a real end of season feel about it, hasn’t it! However, this year, with that Tournament, it’s going to be a truncated closed seasons spanning either side of the four-yearly bun fight that is our premier international extravaganza, which kicks off at the end of the month.
But closed seasons always bring out all sorts of traits in the fans and this week there have been a lot of folks out there, probably fuelled by disappointment, who have been expending time and energy comparing us with the eventual Grand Finalists. Several I have spoken to have been despondent because we weren’t at Old Trafford and lamented the fact that we haven’t won everything on offer. In fcat I guess as the teams lined up to be introduced on Saturday night, none of us could really fail to have not thought, “That could have been us!” However, as Theodore Roosevelt once said, “Comparison is the thief of joy” and although I was a bit fed up myself after the Headingley finale, I’ve avoided much of that and I still feel 9 days on, that 2017 has been a pretty good season.
I guess the fact that we aimed from day one to peak at the end of the campaign and then didn’t quite make it, is a bummer, particularly because I think that those grumbling fans have a point when they say that we were the best team in the competition ‘on our day’. Nonetheless, as often happens when you put your eggs in one basket we came a cropper and fell at the last hurdle, simply because on that Friday night in Leeds it wasn’t ‘our day’!
But, of course we didn’t quite put all those ‘eggs’ in that ‘basket’ as we won the Challenge Cup again and that has to count for something. The British game boast just two real trophies, we win one of them and get within a goal kick of competing for the other and people are saying that it was a disappointing year. Well if nothing else, I guess that just shows how far we have come and how high we’ve all set our sights this past season. Yet we have won a trophy for the second straight year whilst leading clubs like St Helens, Warrington and Wigan all went home entirely empty handed from the 2017 campaign.
I had a great time at Wembley and experienced some gripping encounters on the way there and indeed at the end of the season, which for me make for some fine memories from 2017; not fine enough this time around to write a book about, I’ll grant you that, but good memories just the same. One things definite though and that’s the fact that I’m ready for a bit of a rest now and quite looking forward to all the rhetoric, intrigue and anticipation that the closed season brings.
However, as I’ve been accused of being a bit of a ‘Happy Clapper’ of late, this week, as the dust settles on that 2017 season, I’ll have a look at the miscellany of problems, plusses, issues and pitfalls that I think face Hull FC as they tackle the next campaign which could well be fraught with difficulties.
PRIDE; (mass noun). A feeling of deep pleasure or satisfaction derived from one’s own achievements, the achievements of one’s close associates, or from qualities or possessions that are widely admired by you and your kindred spirits.
So says the Oxford Dictionary and boy, despite the disappointment, once I’d ‘boxed off’ the frustrations and wiped away the tears I was very proud on Friday night and I’m so, so pleased that I’ve been honoured to witness another quite amazing season. How my Mum and Dad and thousands and thousands of FC fans that have passed on, (some of whom you’ll remember well), would have enjoyed these last two campaigns. Yeh, I know we have had some hard to take defeats and a few disappointments, but boy have I had my £185 worth of ‘season ticket’ over the roller coaster that was the last 8 or 9 months.
Playing there with the very best, right at the top of the British Super League for most of the season, before in the end falling just two points short of glory, saw us destined to not live out the dream next week at Old Trafford. Nonetheless, we have the Challenge Cup and wow, what a season and again what an effort it was to get that far! I was gutted after Friday, of course I was, but in the afterglow of that defeat I realised that it was simply a case of tons of spirit, tons of endeavour, but not quite playing as well as we know we can for the full 80 minutes on the night. In the end fatigue took its toll and come the final hooter as is often the case at Headingley, it was ‘Close but no cigar!’ But all the same, what an effort eh?