And so, it begins ………!
I have to admit to having a good feeling good about this season for a while now, it was something that was mainly based around the fact that Hodgson had come in, approached things in a very succinct and sensible way and had immediately got all the players behind him.
Before the game Brett said that he had told the players to go out and enjoy themselves (not something you heard often from Radford) and what we witnessed was a game where the smiles on the players faces, soon put one on the faces of us lot watching at home. The match was played in a great spirit from the FC lads who swarmed around the tackles and played some great attacking stuff. What’s more for the neutral watching they certainly laid down a marker that shows we mean business.
All the hype was behind Huddersfield, their owners big spending and their new ‘Superman’ of a Coach! But I like Hodgson’s style, he speaks well, isn’t a drama queen, doesn’t try to be funny and yet he is totally focussed on what he believes is the right way to do it. As regular reader Dick commented afterwards, he certainly reminds me of a young Brian Smith and somehow, if you get what I mean, he sort of acts like a Coach. One things for sure, he had our tactics spot on and the new flamboyant style of play with which we let loose was balanced well with a lot of control and a superb showing in defence. In fact, we witnessed everything Brett had promised us in those long, long weeks before the season kicked-off.
Of course, its early days yet as it was last season, when we marmalised Leeds at the same ground on the same day, but that was under the old regime this is truly a new start and as starts go, it was spot on!!!
“We feel like the inferior tenants at the Stadium and the club needs to be stronger, more secure and flexible and in charge of its own destiny”.
So said our resurgent owner on Friday night, when the subject of a new stadium being built to become our home, was not just the stuff of hear-say, rumour, or the sages of the internet, but rather it was floated as a possibility, ‘straight from the horse’s mouth’!! I have always admired Adam’s way of telling it as it is, even if it upsets the Clubs and institutions around him and this was again a great example of that side of his personality!
But first up here, a big welcome to the last Diary before it all begins after some pretty bleak times and some really ‘thin’ weeks. In the last 7 days we had things cranking up in the media and we even experienced a Fans Forum on Radio Humberside and that extraordinary interview on the same station with our owner Adam Pearson. All that said somehow, as far as playing the game is concerned next weekend still doesn’t all seem that ‘real’ compared with other season openers. Does anyone else get what I mean?
You see, I don’t seem to be as fired up as I usually am and although streaming and Sky TV will mean that I can watch my heroes again, for me its scant consolation. Personally, it’s never ever going to eclipse that wonderful feeling of the whole season being in front of you as you walk up to the KC Stadium with the expectation and hope on the faces of the Faithful all around you. It’s a wonderful time and a great feeling and although it’s one that has on occasions in the past been shattered within 80 minutes, I’ll really miss it just the same.
Still playing wise at least, things are as I say cranking up and I’m certainly looking forward to Huddersfield and seeing how our new tactics and indeed the new philosophy we hear so much about, all pans out!
Well, we are underway and in a practise match that brought us a brilliant first half showing and a bit of a shambles in the second, it was pretty much business as usual for such games, with the exception of the fact that thankfully this time we got through it, injury free!
We shone in the first 60 minutes and then fell away when the kids were on, but both sides, I’m sure, got lots from the game. The thing is as fans watching on, it’s hard to gauge what you are actually getting from friendlies. Yeh you get match practise and a hit up against opposition that isn’t made up of your mates, but otherwise they are rarely a litmus paper as to what is in store for any given Club in the season ahead.
We did OK and looked great at times in that first half, as our general ball retention and organisation was way better than some such games in the past and it was certainly a lot better than that Richard Whiting Testimonial game back in 2013 at Featherstone when we were simply abysmal. That’s one I remember for all the wrong reasons! This time we did at least look more organised and structured than we did for most of last season.
So now, with just two weeks to go, we move towards the 2021 season with excitement, enthusiasm and perhaps, just perhaps a bit of trepidation too! We wouldn’t be FC fans if we didn’t would we?
Well, the first game is next Thursday at York and (I’m sure like you), all I’m doing is looking forward to seeing a bit of rugby, any rugby, again!!
Pre-season continues to ramble on and although the start of the 2021 campaign is getting nearer, we still seems a way off playing again. At least next week we’ll have a game to report back on, all be it just from a friendly at York. But it will give us some sort of ideas as to where we are and perhaps what the 2012 season holds for us. If nothing else it will give us a sense of reality again, in times that are still anything but normal.
Everyone who has anything at all to say about the upcoming campaign, agrees on one thing; that with the strengthening most teams have done, it’s going to be a tough one. With the exception of Leigh (who will be flying on pride and passion for at least the first half of the campaign anyway) almost everyone seems to have strengthened the level of skill in their squads. Where they perhaps haven’t (like maybe at Wakey) they have at least increased the depth of their playing pool, for a season that is going to be relentless once it gets going. As I said last week, with three big hitters leaving and one out injured for ages and just one coming in, I worry a bit about the depth of our squad. However, on that one I guess we’ll just have to trust the club and wait and see.
This week we’ve seen the final hurrah of Robert Elstone at Super League, a few veiled indications at our club as to just what was going wrong before Radford left, some news on potential new player contracts and an indication as to the fact that, although we could see a bit of rescheduling in the fixture list, as the new season unfolds, promotion and relegation are back on again this year.