The Dentist’s Diary – 610th

A Merry Christmas to You All!!!

Out for another year Lucky Joe the Diary mascot!

This is the last Dentists Diary of 2018 and as Hull FC fans I guess that we are all glad to see the back of this year, for however philosophical you are, it all came as a massive anti-climax after the two previous seasons, when we spent most of our time on Cloud 9! On the other hand, the response of all us sometimes downhearted fans to this year’s season ticket campaign has, if nothing else, at least confirmed that the Clubs greatest asset is its supporters. Although for some of us that was a fact that was never in doubt.

Of late the weather has certainly been seasonal hasn’t it? Boy it’s been bloody cold! On Saturday in Beverley it was ‘coming down in stair rods’ and certainly ‘as cold as Christmas’. That got me thinking, how the heck did we ever stand all those years on Bunkers Hill, surrounded by 70 and 80-year old blokes shivering in their shoes, as we all watched our heroes, usually losing, in weather like that! It buggers belief really when you look back!

That’s FC fans for you though isn’t it? Granted, we haven’t had to do that or even get the banners and placards out for a long time, but we all know we still will do, if we needed to. That unfailing, lifelong loyalty is a rationale that avid fans of ‘their club’ understand completely, whilst few on the ‘outside’, struggle to understand it at all. And you know what, that love affair is something that has been on my mind a bit of late, but more of that later!

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The Dentist’s Diary – 609th

Adam Comes out Fighting!!

“Apparently we’re not recruiting, our squad isn’t good enough and certain people think we are going backwards. It’s time to set the story straight I think. This squad has proven that it can be competitive, so we are quite content with people writing us off, because they do so at their peril”. So said our owner at the end of a big interview in last week’s League Weekly. Its fighting talk that’s very welcome and as fans, seeing what has been put in print of late, you can’t say fairer or want to hear better than that really.

As a Club we do I think seem to be over reacting somewhat to a few Dicks who have written us off already, but most of us have risen above that and tried to be objective which I think is the best way to handle it really. OK we haven’t been making Marquee signings but we have put together a squad that can perhaps overcome all eventualities, unlike a lot of teams who have made those high profile signings to great trumpeting, but left themselves short on cover and numbers to do it.

Most agree that with a fully fit squad we are a match for anyone, but there is still no denying that the ‘anyone’s’ are getting stronger individually if not as squads and whether we like it or not, as far as making forward progress is concerned it won’t get any easier heading into the 2019 campaign.

It’s hard not to get enthralled in the overall dynamic of the competition next season either and several ‘high interest’ signings are making our profile as a game quite prominent at present. That position is probably down to us having the strongest (big name wise) Super League we have had in a long, long time and in general that has to be good for the image and the appeal of the game. That situation, animated particularly by the signings that have come over from Australia, is pretty easy to acknowledge, but when you look more deeply at the actual individual squads, their make-up, and their average age, its clear that some clubs have simply decided to maximise what money they have, by reducing (greatly in some cases) their squads, to bring in ‘names’ simply to sell tickets.

Teams like Leeds have done this with two marquee signings, Warrington have built even more on the substantial influx of players that joined the club for 2017 and St Helens look to have a squad that will be very, very difficult to beat, but all three have unloaded heavily too.

Even the Dobbins have strengthened a bit, all be it with journeyman players, but they have shed a dozen or so as well, which could weaken the depth of their playing resources as the rigours of the season starts to bite. In fact, when you look at the teams taking part, with the exception of Wigan who were really strong in any case and London who seem to be well behind the 8 ball as far as augmenting their squad is concerned, everyone besides us and Wakey has beefed up their star quota’s but reduced their squad size. I have a look later, this week, at that exodus, but we are just about the only club that has chosen to go the other way, no doubt after being conned about the reserve league and stung by what happened at the end of last season! Will it pay off, who knows, but one things for sure, this year Super League will be very tough from the off and it won’t be for the faint hearted!

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The Dentist’s Diary – 608th

Well we’ve done our bit, now it’s down to the Players!!

With well in excess of 7500 Season Tickets sold, we are at least over 200 in front of last Year at this time, when we were selling on the back of a Wembley win!! So, a big well done to the Club, to those who are new to the mad house and particularly to those who have signed up to go around again!

For us lot, that is the big news of the week and Lee Radford said it all on Saturday when he commented, “On behalf of everyone at the club, I would like to say a big thank you to everyone that has signed up. Our loyal fans are the best in Super League. In all sports people’s opinions change from week to week, that’s the nature of what we do, but clearly our members backing hasn’t faltered and their support will be crucial next year”.

Great words from our Coach I thought, but some of you will be saying at this point, ‘Come on Wilf it’s only ticket sales” but on any level that’s a phenomenal effort! It’s great news for us and really does auger well for the coming season, however, further afield it was relatively quiet with the RL who are still no doubt smarting from the leaks about rule changes, new balls and golden points, saying nowt!

Still it’ll soon be January when Christmas is all over. It’s a cold and inhospitable month, but at least we have the pre-season games to look forward to and even attend. It’s just 8 weeks to the start of the season and other teams are still adding to their ranks, whilst we seem to be happy with what we have got!

Furthermore, with the Super League looking so much harder this year any outcomes are even more difficult than usual to predict (unless you’re Garry Schofield). All we can be certain of is that for Hull FC it’s going be tough going from the off, particularly in a competition in which, with the exception of London (who are hard to judge at present), everyone looks stronger.

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