The Dentist’s Diary – 601st

“I’m Glad it all Over” sang Captain Sensible back in 1984 and never had the title of the song been more pertinent for every FC fan, as the final hooter went on Friday night.

For once, we didn’t look as if we felt sorry for ourselves and put in a really good shift, which brought a bit of positivity back as the curtain comes down on 2018.

It’s been a disastrous conclusion to a season that at the outset promised so much, but in the end it delivered just frustration and heartbreak. We needed some hope from our final game and despite only having 17 fit players to pick from and 11 first team starters missing, we got a bit of it last Friday. I’ve never been one to sign up to all this ‘We need a performance more than a win’, stuff because I just want us to win every week. However, this time around I guess I got that bit completely and as we got a passionate showing from the lads it at least sent us all into the closed season with a bit of positivity for the future.

There’s is always a lighter side to everything as well and Lee Radford does have the ability to be a class act at times with his quotes. This week’s post-match Press Conference was one such occasion. After 11 weeks of living in the vacuum of being safe from falling into the Qualifiers, but not close enough to crack the top-four, Lee was as relieved as all of us as he joked, “It’s been an unbelievably challenging time when you know you’re playing for nothing; you’re a double glazing salesman selling poor windows to people who don’t need them in the first place”. Before going on to add, about having so many stars out injured, that it was like, “Having a Ferrari at home, but getting the bus to work every week.”

At least we can laugh, for we aren’t those poor Widnes fans are we?

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The Dentist’s Diary – 600th

After 600 editions of this drivel all I needed was a good win to report on and one that brought some hope for the future and perhaps a good night out at the KCOM to relish. However, as so often has happened of late, in the end I was to be disappointed on all counts. This time though the game was there for the taking, but in the end it all came down to some shoddy defending.

What can you really say about that performance? It was yet another evening of heartbreak for the Hull FC Faithful as we managed to claw our way into a winning position, before we capitulated again and suffered a record-extending tenth successive Super League loss. When Jamie Shaul sprinted over following Bureta Faraimo brilliant run to put us ahead for the first time in the 71st minute, it seemed we would finally have something to celebrate. We showed some real grit and determination during the middle period of the second half as maverick play from Connor created two great tries and a superb flowing move then ended in that Shaul touch down, but again we couldn’t seem to sustain it. However, that bright spell aside it was business as usual and our defence was woeful. At 20-16 up with 8 minutes to go the opposition just breezed through our ranks in their next set, as once again we switched off at the death to allow Catalans the chance to score not once but twice to seal the win.

Our defence, for so long our strong point in previous seasons was just not good enough and the fans deserve more. You have to wonder if it can be anything else but a complacent acceptance of our demise this year, that sees the players so lacking in steel and grit. If Adam was looking for a win to boost the season ticket campaign, as the brochures drop through our letter boxes this coming week, then he will have been sorely disappointed.

So a disappointing display again and it’s sad to report that as far as I’m concerned I’m glad that it’s almost over for this year. However, at least this week it’s a significant milestone for this weekly rubbish and as it’s the 600th Edition of this drivel I’ve included some personal insight into what’s gone on as it has over the last 13 years covered over 400 games in the rollercoaster life of an average fan. There’s also some memories, some regrets, some great moments and some disasters, all encapsulated in some of my favourite photographs from previous editions.

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The Dentist’s Diary- 599th

Halleluiah!!!!

For me on Friday morning the greatest game in the world stood at a crossroads! The sport held its breath and waited. Of course, the competition has changed so many times before, in fact its infamous for it, but with seriously declining gates and mounting indifference, this really did look like the last hurrah! However, in the end, quite miraculously and against what was the general belief, sense prevailed and wisdom won the day. The new structure isn’t the solution, but I think those leading it do at least give us the best chance of finding it!

For this fan who has spent literally hours and hours studying the options and the arguments, one road, on the back of bloody mindedness, avarice and parochial thinking, saw the status quo prevailing and the (eventual) demise of our sport as we know it, whilst the other at least gave us a fighting chance of sorting things, before we have to renegotiate the new TV deal. A deal that is sadly something, that in two years-time will undoubtedly be make or break for the game as we know it. Ironically, Sky TV and their money has in many ways ruined British Rugby League already, but we had to give the owners one last fighting chance to save something from the escalating apathy that is surrounding the game at present.

With minimal interest in the Super Eights and the Qualifiers, attendances at games down to 2000 in the latter and Sky viewing figures running at around 80,000 when compared with the 200,000 that have watched the regular rounds, we are as a game in as big a mess as we have seen for decades. In a nut shell, the season, and perhaps even our great game, was dying on its feet. Sky is calling the tune, it’s ludicrous that the whole survival of a full time professional sport depends on one TV company and their money, but it does; what’s more it was becoming a dead certainty that come 2021 they won’t be paying anything like they did, because their patronage as a broadcaster depends solely on the popularity of the product with their viewers and that has declined significantly as well.

It may be too late already, who knows, but we desperately need to get our act together and personally, when compared with the owners of some Championship teams and/or the blazers of Redhall, then Elstone and Co. were always our best and perhaps only chance of doing that.

For me, the Super League owners are, through their vested interests and their own money being on the line, the ones who give us the best chance of doing something, so that as a game at least we don’t die wondering. I have banged on about this unprecedented crisis for months now, but on Friday it all came to a head and thankfully sense prevailed and at least for the moment we can all breath again. Now it’s time to see some action!

Oh and the FC tried hard again and fought valiantly again, but again came up short and more worryingly, a few, by their actions seemed to accept that defeat all too easily. But more of that later; bring on the end of the season

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The Dentist’s Diary – 598th

Well last Friday it was all a bit more acceptable and indeed a lot better wasn’t it?

Apologise again for the late posting of this week’s Diary, but at least a couple of day’s delay does give me time for my thoughts to gel after a game which we lost …again, but in which I think we got a bit of our self-respect back.

Three more players missing with injuries, a team under the microscope and a squad down to its bare bones didn’t exactly inspire much confidence before Fridays game did it? In fact, I’m told if anyone got injured in the warm up we would have just played a bench of 3!! Afterwards the headlines on the Love Rugby League web site that read ‘Castleford ease past lousy Hull FC’ ensured that, to the casual observer, it looked like business as usual for us lot, in what is a horrible run of results for the famous Hull FC’s.

Of course if you were there and saw not only what everyone saw on the TV, but what we saw as far as the spirit and togetherness of our players was off the camera, you’ll know that a headline such as that is so far wide of the mark it stinks. We were far from lousy, yes we lost and at times we lacked ideas and were profligate with the ball, but the spirit was back and we played as a team that despite being severely weakened by injury still had a lot of pride in the shirt. That I think was the difference and what a refreshing change it made. Quite frankly as far as Friday goes most of us couldn’t have wanted for much more really, because we were on a hiding to nothing from the off.

What’s more there is little doubt that this is as tough a time for some fans as they have known, whilst for others like us old timers, well, we have seen much, much worse over the years and so we simply try to just get on with it and hope for sunnier days. However, whether you are a new supporter or a weathered and battered campaigner like me, the rules are still the same. You simply have to stick by your Club!! You have every right to grumble, every right to protest, but you have to stay with them. As long as the players are not taking the what not (as they appeared to be at Warrington and Wakey) then performances like that one this week at least remind you of why you suffer it all and where your true loyalties lie; even when you are in the sort of rut we, as a team and a club, are in at present.

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