The Dentist’s Diary – 614th

Here Beginneth the 2019 Season!

This is it, here we go and it all starts again on Friday and at the most difficult of places to play. We all have to get right behind the boys, be we watching at home behind the settee, in the seats at Caravan Park watching through our fingers, or stood there braced against the elements in the Beirut End of the Land that Time Forgot. It’s a massive test of a weakened FC team, but make no mistake about it, we have to be up for it because the game is so important to us as a Club!

Like it or not and play it down if you will, but I’ve gone out of my way to speak to dozens of fans over the past few weeks and just about everyone agrees that this is a watershed season for the Black and Whites. What’s more, with so many out of contract players this year, not to forget the whole coaching staff seeing their deals expire at the conclusion of the season, for everyone inside the club and out on the terraces, a good start to the campaign is an imperative. We have all stumped up again for our passes, but confidence amongst the fans is probably best described as wobbly at present.

Even with a fully fit squad it would have been difficult, as we have to navigate a torrid looking start to the season that combines beginning with a Derby on the road, with games against sides like Castleford Tigers, Wigan Warriors, Huddersfield Giants and Leeds Rhinos, all of whom have big ambitions. So, not only is a good start needed for the players and those soon to be out of contract coaching staff, but it’s also important for us lot, for the club has now to inject some self-assurance and belief back into the Faithful.

A win on Friday would do so much!!!

No one is panicking after the end of last season and there is a fragile calm amongst the supporters right now, but boy it’s going to be tough and we all have to do what we can to get behind the players, to give them our support, rally around the team and hope!! We all know that this squad has it in them and we have to do what we can to bring it out!

Sometime, in life, it’s not what you achieve, but what you overcome on the way to achieving it, that can really make you great.

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The Dentist’s Diary – 613th

R.I.P. WILF


As you’ll all probably know by now, the death was announced last week of one of my all-time rugby heroes as Wilf Rosenberg passed away aged 84 in Israel. You’ll also be aware of what his memory means to me, indeed I have adopted his name as a pseudonym to write this drivel for the last 14 years. I did that as a tribute to a bloke who, although he only turned out for us for four seasons, will be remembered for ever by anyone who ever saw him play. For us lucky, lucky guys who saw him perform, his memory lives on.

As with Paul Woods, Alf Macklin, Ronnie Wileman, Garry Pearce and a host of other heroes of our back pages as fans, it’s not always the longest serving, highest scoring or internationally acclaimed that are indelibly stamped on our memories, but rather those who were characters, brave beyond the call of duty, massive servants or extraordinary talents that are retained and so it is with Wilf. As the Club sadly didn’t see fit to feature him on their website this week, there’s quite a bit about Wilf in this edition of the Diary and I hope you’ll excuse me for that. As with many of you reading this I’m sure, I’ll always remember him out there on the wing, on damp December afternoons in the gloom of the Boulevard, often 3ft off the ground flying towards the try line.

It’s now almost 56 years since he last played for Hull FC and perhaps I was an impressionable youth, perhaps time distorts and sugar coats our memories, perhaps I’m just a silly old fart, but when, for the umpteenth time again last week, I saw that (only existing) grainy footage of him on YouTube playing for Leeds, it brought it all back again. From the correspondence I have received from those who, like me, saw Wilf play, it would appear that I’m certainly not the only silly old fart about either!!!

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The Dentist’s Diary – 612th

Two weeks on Friday and we’re off!!!!

Next week it’s Saints in our final warm up game before we are plunged straight into a season which will, I’m sure, be tough going for everyone at the Club.

Although great for the two Danny’s the game at Wakefield was always going to be a bit of a lottery with 51 players being initially named to take the field and although it was good to get more first teamers out there to honour the two stalwarts of our game, it was always going to be hard to judge our chances that much; that’s something that we will only really be able to gauge on 1st February. This week was all about a step up, a bit of game time for some first teamers, dusting off the cobwebs and avoiding injuries. At least we ticked the first three boxes!

The fairy tale at least unfolded from the off as both Testimonial Beneficiaries scored the first two tries and what are the chances of that eh? The game did its job as well, but as for what’s ahead in 2019 for Hull FC and indeed what our starting line-up will be, there are still more questions than answers!

The anti for the coming campaign was cranked up a notch this week with the Club’s Press Day at County Road. The emphasis from Coaches and players was on positivity, a big season and a top 5 finish. However, for the casual observer it was hard to get away from the fact that we were also reminded that at least 4 players won’t be fit to start! The depth of the squad however and their fitness levels, are without doubt the best I have ever seen at this point in the proceedings and I guess at present we just have to hope that we catch a couple of other teams cold. But credit to the Club because as an organisation we are certainly in optimistic mood!

Off the field the news from Hull FC was even more encouraging. Our season tickets sales for this year have now gone well over, (what is in the current climate, a staggering) 8000, while many other clubs are not doing so well again this year. Attendance wise we are the only club to have increased our match day gates year on year for the last 4 seasons and we were last year one of only two clubs to actually increase their home attendances. I’ll be having a close look at just how parlous was the state of British Rugby League live audience wise last year and revealing some of the fact behind the headlines, which I feel indicates that something has to be done about the issues some Clubs are having, and quickly!

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The Dentist’s Diary – 611th

Welcome back to The Dentists Diary and here’s to a Happy and Successful 2019.

The game at Doncaster heralded the start of the 2019 campaign and whatever this year brings, and at this juncture who knows what that will be, we’ll have a go at getting through it again together, whilst hopefully enjoying the ride.

We gave most if not all of the fit junior players and several academy lads a run out yesterday in the traditional fixture against our duel registration partners and although you can only play what’s in front of you and Doncaster weren’t up to much, we took the opportunity for a run out and looked really handy at times. As a group of players we are certainly fit and sharp and when we broke out, (which we did on a regular basis) our speed with the ball was impressive. You can’t really argue with 72-12 can you?

That said not much can be gauged from such matches, but everyone got a run out and although we looked a bit suspect at covering short balls from acting half that brought them their two tries, Liam Harris ran the game from half back and organised well which led to some great FC scores. Still we might learn a bit more next week at Wakey, where it will be much harder, although this, as a first run out, was still a heartening showing.

We need to be heartened too, as we are all, I guess, starting to look towards the coming campaign and hoping for ‘better luck this time’. It’s a big call though and let’s face it, as far as signings are concerned, the club doesn’t seem to have delivered what many of the fans had hoped for at all.

We have all heard the arguments about the quality of the team if we can get them all on the field at the same time and I’m sure they are valid, but as Chris Chester of Wakefield said last week, “This is going to be one of the hardest Super League seasons ever and a lot of clubs are really going to have their work cut out to stay with the leaders!”

Its always an exciting time and we are up and running and have a practise game in the bag, but we shouldn’t get too carried away either. Hull FC are already counselling us against inflated expectations with warnings of us starting short-handed and players taking longer than expected to get back from injuries and operations, what’s more, let’s face it, looking at what other teams have done recruitment wise, even the most optimistic of us can get what Chezzie means can’t we? However, for now let’s just try and enjoy the ride eh?

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