The Dentists Diary – 435th

Isn’t there a cheaper way of storing empty seats than building a new stadium for Salford?

7-25pm Saturday night-5 minutes to go to the start and the Salford fans are packing the place!

There are few occasions when you can say that the visiting support outnumbered the home one but on this occasion I think it just about did, but that loyal travelling army, turning out as we all did on a wet Saturday night, deserved so much better than the display we witnessed. As I walked into the ground I counted 10 FC coaches and Hull fans were everywhere in the bars and the ticket office. We certainly turned up in big numbers, while for the first 15 minutes the team didn’t turn up at all!! I guess after the Steve Michaels stuff of late last week all I wanted to see was some decent rugby and a continuation of the sort of form we had seen in the first two games.

However if the missed tackles, stupid penalties, dumb play and inability to kill teams off we saw so often in 2014 is weighed against the focussed all action, 100% effort stuff of our first two games of this one, then for me the scales have tipped firmly back towards last season, as many of the old failings returned, much to the dismay of all of us that attended.

With Leeds, Wigan and Catalan up next, this was our chance to consolidate our start and for us to keep ahead of the stragglers; if we ain’t careful after that display, we’ll soon find ourselves firmly back amongst them!! We simply have to win on Thursday but after that showing it’s starting to look like a big ask!

It had all started so well too. I parked for the first time ever in the airport car park across the dual carriageway outside the Stadium and although it was £5, it was a great solution to the famous Salford car park ‘log jam’ after the game. In fact afterwards I was back home in Beverley by 11-00 pm. Of course once I got to the ground, ‘the gang’ were all there and it’s that great family that is Hull FC that always heartens me as I meet old friends and on occasions make some new ones. This time, at the turnstiles, I met some Diary patrons who I hadn’t spoken to before and then some regular readers too, (and it’s amazing as an aside just how quickly the ‘Young’ Gareth fan Club is growing these days!) Thanks to all of you for taking the time to approach me to say hello and for your kind words and support. It’s all really appreciated and it was so good to meet up and have a chat.

Beforehand everyone was really enthusiastic and I’m convinced that had we played as we did against Warrington and Huddersfield, then even if Salford had been that good and had beaten us fair and square, we would have accepted it in good spirit. But there was so much wrong on Saturday night that no one that left the game had anything but disappointment etched on their faces. It was ‘Groundhog Day for all of us, as just like on so many occasions last year, we struggled to break them down in their 20 and indiscipline and errors once again caused us to lose any decent field position we had.

All we heard in the closed season from Lee Radford and indeed Adam Pearson was the need to get over the line in the close games where we had failed so miserably in the last campaign, but here we are with three games played and already two lost in heartbreaking circumstances…. again! This week although close to the line Rangi Chase was brilliant, it shouldn’t have mattered, but a lack of pace, too much forcing of the pass in panic situations, some poor tackling and a lack of focus cost us the match. In Mini, Pryce, Westerman, Houghton and Sneyd we have the leaders now, you can see that out there, but everyone has to ‘get it’ from the off and on Saturday far too many of our lot didn’t! We have somehow, I think, to find room for both Rankin and Shaul and perhaps even Michaels if he’s eligible to play, because when we are struggling we certainly lack an injection of speed to get us going again.

Afterwards Lee Radford said the Salford deserved their victory and commented post match that, “Overall I feel we were probably beaten by the better team, fair play to Salford they turned up and were as physical and competitive as we expected they would be, We couldn’t have got the players any better prepped, they just didn’t turn up and clock on.”

If you were there then it will be difficult to argue with that and it’s just so bloody disappointing isn’t it? We had to start like a house on fire, get in their faces and boss the early exchanges. I knew that, you knew that, even the bloody Acklam’s Coach drivers asleep on the car park knew that and yet we didn’t do it and we paid the price for not being mentally tough enough from the off! In the first ten or so minutes we got annihilated around the ruck and throughout the game some of our one on one defence was uncharacteristically poor. In fact as we trudged off to the cars afterwards, some fans felt that defence probably cost us the game and after leaking 32 points against a struggling team, it’s easy to see where they were coming from.

As I drove home across the Pennines in light drizzle and through those interminable and seemingly never ending 50 mile an hour speed restrictions, I was back to wondering whether it’s all worth it, why do we bother eh? For me that drive home was ‘same old same old’ really! I’ve done it dozens of times and somehow those drab despondent journeys seem to linger in my memory more than the other more rare ones I’ve done, with a smile on my face. It was a real back to the future night when for several passages of play we could have been watching the class of 2014 bumbling their way through a game. We still looked good at times, but at others our performance was riddled with all the usual short comings that FC fans have come to know and dread.

My pal Joe Bennett of ‘Blackandwhites’ fame was there with me and took this great picture of the celebration after the first of Thompson two wonder tries.

On Saturday our centres looked slow and Sa’s passing was shocking, while for me Westerman has to direct things more in the middle of the field. There were some high spots and the two tries by Jordan Thompson were as good as you will ever see and I don’t say that lightly. Pryce again had a big game; Sneyd showed some good touches and Micky Paea was simply awesome in the close exchanges. Houghton too tried really hard to get things moving as did the mercurial Jordan Rankin, but on the other side of things some of our lads looked very ordinary at times too.

I hate to single out individual players for criticism but when I’m thinking it, then as always, I have to include it in here and sadly for me, at present Chris Green just isn’t cutting it! The thing is the lad has all the physical attributed that a barnstorming prop should have, he’s got a good long term contract and bags of potential, but when we will see it all come to fruition? That is the million dollar question. In a nutshell I guess; he simply doesn’t do enough of the ‘Barnstorming’ stuff for me. When he is introduced he lacks the aggression of the starting props, our intensity invariably dips and long before he knocked on a kickoff return near the end, I was citing his lack of ‘grunt’ as a real issue. Another player that is worrying me currently is Tom Lineham. His defence on the wing was poor and probably led to us conceding two tries, while although starved of quality ball he does seem to lack that scintillating pace he had and looks very ordinary indeed at times.

However that said, he was unfortunate to have a try in the corner disallowed at a crucial time because two Salford fans I spoke to on the way out, who were stood close by to the incident, offered, quite voluntarily, the conclusion that it certainly was a try! However, as an aside, I also worry about the lack of grunt we see from Bowden (who didn’t play at Salford) and those three, do worry me a lot at present and I just hope they get their issues sorted out.

However it was far from all doom and gloom off the pitch and there are always those great moments of humour too. For me, the most unoriginal and perhaps revealing chant of the night came from the small knot of Salford fans huddled in the opposite Stand when they chanted, “You Dirty Yorkshire Bastard”…….to Mark Minchiello!

For me Liam Pryce had a good game again.

On the playing side of things there is still some hope because on attack we do look miles better this term, of that there is little doubt, but on Saturday this threat was tempered when, ala 2014, we panicked when we went behind and tried to force the play. Take for instance the example of when, with 30 seconds to go, 4 points in it, play in their quarter and with ball in hand, a good team would have spotted how knackered Salford were and killed them off with a structured training ground spread play. But we tried to force it….. again, Mini of all people uncharacteristically knocked on and the game was over!

I make no excuses however and Salford should take some credit for the way that they turned things around after their last outing because they were good value for their win’; but they were equally still there for the taking. However I have to say that although I don’t use it as a ‘get out’ the refereeing at times was atrocious! Roby really is a joke and twice gave a team warning to Salford for consistent ‘laying on’ and interference at the play the ball. However he still failed to send anyone off to the bin for it, as the Salford players just continued as before! Some of his decisions baffled both sets of fans as once again the officials were the topic of conversation as we all left the Stadium.

So the gloom descends on the KC and we simply have to do something to turn things around on Thursday when the undefeated Leeds Rhino’s (and Tom Briscoe) come to town, if we don’t, then where the next win is coming from is getting harder and harder to predict and we’ll be down amongst the ‘dead’ men and struggling!!! Things have to change and we need to sneak a win or too and no mistake!

Well, it’s been an interesting week, and disregarding the comment of Lee Radford in an interview after the Huddersfield game when he said that, “The players are on a high at present”, the Steve Michaels stuff certainly came out of the blue on Friday didn’t it? We don’t have much luck do we and headlines like ‘Hull FC Rocked by Drug Scandal’ saw me having apoplexy!! Of course we were actually in truth ‘affected’ by the fact that one of our players quite unbeknown to us, was being linked with an historic drug scandal, thousands of miles away in the southern hemisphere. It was soon changed to ‘Hull FC Rocked by NRL Drugs scandal’ which was more accurate, but by then no doubt many Hull FC fans will have been concerned, perhaps much more than they at present should be! However whatever you call it, there is little doubt that the whole thing is a shocking ‘state of affairs’ and another ‘ball-ache’ we could all do without. In addition it was a major problem that greeted Adam on Friday morning when he returned from a short break away!

The Club only knew about it on Friday and when I spoke to them they were as shocked as all of us were. Michaels made a big impression on his Hull debut against Warrington Wolves, bringing what James Smailes described last Tuesday as ‘an injection of pace to the back line for the Black and Whites’. I had high hopes for him too (and perhaps I should say I still do) because I thought that once fit, he could just be that X factor player we so badly need in the backs. The Club will have taken a deal of legal advice on Friday and because Michaels has not been officially charged with any offence and has no plans to return to Australia before the end of the Super League season, we will, were told, consider him for selection once he returns to training on Monday.

That’s perhaps only right and the legal principle of innocence is one that we should all comply with until more news is forthcoming and we are in a position to assess the whole situation. We all jump to conclusions, people always do, (in fact it’s safe to say that some in East Hull will be leaping to them) but it’s rarely as simple or as clean cut as that and I guess all we can do is hold the line and watch what unfolds. However no doubt it came as a shock to Adam who must have thought that with the Shannon McDonnell situation now sorted, a smoother ride would ensue and he could now at last concentrate on the rugby.

He has though to realise that this is Hull FC and he must learn from the lessons we have all endured in the past. This is no ordinary Club Adam and as fans we have learned the hard way that it’s never easy, always fraught with issues and never plain sailing! What doesn’t kill you makes you strong, or so we’re told and at Hull FC we as fans must be the ‘strongest’ around. If there is one thing that anyone associated with Hull FC has to immediately understand it is that the only guarantee it’s that there are absolutely no guarantees and who knows what will happen next? It’s never dull and all that!

Well just days after the Daily Mail announced, “‘Hull FC owner Adam Pearson; “That’s the last time I pay off a player”, he’s paid another off! However Shannon McDonald has been a saga that has run and run and I for one am glad it’s all at last sorted out. In fact I would hope that the headline will now ring true and that is the end of the ridiculous shelling out for compensation payments that we have seen over the last 18 months or so.

The 27-year-old, who I really liked as a player, has doggedly pursued legal action against us following a dispute surrounding the way he left the Club. He has always said that he was offered a two year extension to his contract, (by apparently either Peter Gentle or Shaun McCrae), which he claims the Club never honoured. Coveted by the Dobbins fans, from whence we snatched him, he was certainly a talent when he arrived and a player I have to admit to really liking. As the chant of ‘One Shannon McDonnell’ rang around the KC, he showed flair and speed from the back and a skill set that almost saw Jamie Shaul pushed out of the Club. Radford’s eye for a real talent ensured that didn’t happen, but one can only presume that, as happens at times of change, Shannon didn’t get on with the new incumbent of the Coaching position, when his pal Peter Gentle left.

That’s just conjecture of course, but you’ll remember Shannon resigned from Hull and started legal proceedings way back last May. He said he’d been marginalised by the Club who it is claimed by the Hull Daily Mail did a U turn which left the Club claiming that ‘while a contract may have been discussed with former coach Gentle, no deal was agreed upon’. One can only presume that a verbal agreement had been made, Radford either didn’t rate him (which is hard to believe), or had issues with the full back and his connections with the previous regime and he was binned. Whatever the truth it was made painfully obvious from the moment Peter Gentle departed that McDonnell’s days were numbered.

Still, it’s done and our reflections on an undoubted talent will be eclipsed by the memory of this long wrangle. He will soon fade in our memories to be filed away into a ‘dusty recess’ that is bulging with such costly departures. The last thing our owner needed after a string of such disputes and players who were signed on ‘ridiculous’ contracts, was an expensive, high profile legal battle. Thankfully now Mr P has agreed a settlement with McDonnell, (who is now apparently back home in his native Australia having a trial with former club West Tigers) and that’s that. Shannon certainly didn’t cut it at Saints last year when he had a trial and made the first team, but as I say, I quite liked him as a player and I think that perhaps he was caught in the cross fire and the recriminations that always fly around any Club at the time of change.

He was seen as one of PG’s men and that certainly got him off on the wrong foot when Adam wielded the axe. For that I have some sympathy, but that said there was no need for him to continue his dispute and pursue the club as relentlessly as offer after offer was turned down. Was that down to a real feeling of injustice on the player’s behalf or just bloody mindedness? Well perhaps we’ll never know, but for me, unlike Joe Arundel, who I discussed at length in last week’s Diary and for whom I had a bit of sympathy, the way that McDonnell has continued his dispute has left me a bit cold really. However of course everyone is entitled to what they’re owed, if indeed they are actually owed anything! So, in the end another chapter of the picking up the pieces process for our owner closes with him out of pocket……. again, only for that departing woe to be replaced by the new issue surrounding the aforementioned drugs stuff. Adam’s out of pocket hand outs can’t go on like this and hopefully now that one is resolved, they won’t have to!

It seems to me, that having read what Lee Radford said the other day on the subject of the future tenure of Jordan Rankin, perhaps the Club is bracing itself for him to be off. Lee said, “Jordan is a great kid. If he decides to go back to the NRL he goes back with our best wishes and I’m sure he’ll be a success wherever he is playing, we are in a fortunate position though, because we have options there” As I said last week, he is a bit of a favourite of mine and I just hope he stays.

Well, it seems that during the hiatus between games caused by the playing of the World Club Challenge, the main news coming out of our Club was once again scratchy and pretty inconsequential. In fact for three days the only real information we received was that our latest Testimonial recipient Gareth Ellis will sing a duet with boxer Tommy Coyle as part of his ‘benefit’ celebrations. It appears that these two will form an unlikely duet and be joined by other players and fans for a night of song which will take place at Hull City Hall on Tuesday, April 21. Gareth told the media that, “It should be a fun night, but singing is a daunting prospect, but you’ll get to see a different side to the lads. I’m set to sing with Tommy – one of us will play the girl, which I guess will probably be me.” That’s fine and it’s undoubtedly a great cause, but although cross dressing singing boxers are a real draw for some people, these days I worry a bit when players get pre-occupied with Testimonials, why wouldn’t I, after what we’ve seen in the past!

So, back in the world of speculation and the threat to our home at the KC, the arguments about the Stadium and its ownership are ignited again and rumble on and on in the background. This last few days we saw a situation which has of late become becalmed somewhat, ignited again as the Sports Editor of the Mail featured on Sports Talk last Tuesday and upset a few on social media as he raked over the embers; although in truth he spoke a lot of sense. I read an interesting piece in the new Fanzine that as well as having a go at me raised the prospect of the fact that in Hull the media, seem to enjoy making the news rather than reporting it and whether that’s true or just a dose of paranoia, we’ll all have to decide for ourselves I guess.

What I do know is that the whole thing has moved on a long way since that proud day back in 2003 when we all walked round the Stadium as one with the City fans and marvelled at what a City Council could do for their sports teams and the sports fans of a great City. Now, some influential folks believe the Council should sell it to Mr Allam for next to nowt and let him develop the whole area around it while riding ride rough shod over iconic and individual attractions like Hull Fair. Furthermore they expect us to stand by and watch that happen, simply because they are frightened of the consequences of Hull City’s owner walking if he doesn’t get his own way.

Someone said this week on RL fans ‘What an absolute Joke it is, the media, rather than showing an impartial view of the debacle, just seem to stoke the fire at every opportunity, then sit back and watch the outcome’ and I guess it’s hard for many folks to argue with that. All the while the Allam’s sit up there on their piles of money laughing at all the arguments and posturing that are going on.

David Burns tweeted last Wednesday “Both @geesport_hull and David Burns have heard that FA have said NO to Allams name change Appeal but couldn’t confirm. @PJBuckingham story in tonight’s’ HDM a good indication? #hcafc” They had a sniff of something, but no-one in the local media was willing, or had the appetite to follow it up. Do they know what the outcome of the Hull Tigers appeal is? Are they just keeping quiet? Well perhaps we’ll never know, but quite frankly I’m sick and fed up with it all and don’t want to discuss it or the side the media etc. take on it anymore. So, why was I ever interested in the first place? Well it’s certainly not because of a life-long love affair with Hull Fair, but rather because of all I’ve seen unfold against my Club since Adam Pearson took over. It’s quite simply the fact that I honestly believe that should the owners of Hull City get total control over and ownership of the Stadium, then one way or another we’ll be out!

Well, I guess I’ll be expected to comment on this next bit and so I’ll just say that the local media at least, doesn’t seem to have lost its sense of humour, well I hope it hasn’t anyway! Last Wednesday, no doubt short of letters for the letters page, we were treated to a piece entitled, “Why the Dentists Diary left me feeling like pulling teeth!” in which I was ticked off for having a go at that nice, (young) Mr Westmorland in last week’s Diary! Ha, talk about fame at last; I guess perhaps I should feel suitably chastised having been publically rebutted in the local media! However, never fear, I take it as a compliment. Why worry anyway because all I do in here is animate what a lot of fans are thinking and usually base what I write on what a lot of folks are saying to me at every opportunity. The piece finished off with the comment ‘Fewey told me to give you a red card. He said it was old school and that you’d understand’ Now that bit I did understand!

So it didn’t bother me at all, and in fairness I doubt it was intended to, Gareth has a right to his thoughts, but because his position in the bigger scheme of things gives him a voice to a lot of people and he openly declares his bias to the Dobbins, he shouldn’t expect others, if they don’t agree, to not expound theirs. Be that in letters, on message boards or indeed through a blog and I think he gets that.

It did however bring some rather unexpected results, because as they kindly enclosed a link to this site, the readers and hits on this rubbish rose dramatically that day. And, as everyone is famous for 15 minutes, I even momentarily might have found myself the star of Blogs, Books and Hull Daily Mail? Well maybe, but some people must agree with what I say because for the first (and probably the last) time in the history of 435 editions of this rambling rubbish, I actually got some fan mail!!! Still as ‘Young’ Gareth will probably agree there’s no accounting for taste is there?

Well, this week I heard from reader Stuart Sheard who wanted to tell me about a great event coming up for anyone who is interested in heritage and history in our great game. It’s the first ever Rugby League Heritage forum promoted by Huddersfield University and is primarily for historians, heritage groups and statisticians. If you’re interested you can get further details and book a place at

So, to the cobweb ‘bit’ of the Diary and the continuation of my ramble through the memorable and perhaps forgotten happenings of the last third of our occasionally spectacular, sometimes dire, but always interesting 150 year history. This week it’s a personal highlight because as you all know in the Diary I really try from time to time, to explain what supporting our club was like back at the Boulevard, but there’s always ‘that game’, the one you find it almost impossible to explain it was just so unbelievable. This week in Codgers Corner I want you to consider something that at the present time the average supporter of Hull FC will find really hard to understand. I want to look at a Hull team on the very top of their game, playing ‘total rugby’, as the best team in the league, and rugby that is absolutely overpowering, amazingly exciting and near perfect for the full 80 minutes. Recognised that, well you won’t if you were at Salford? However, this week as we approach a game against the Rhino’s, I want to try to explain a game that many may not remember at all, but one none the less that is for me at the pinnacle of my memories. In fact I want to try and enlighten you as to why it is in the top three best games I have ever seen Hull FC play. It’s certainly not most people’s cherished memory but for me this game was not just about a high level of performance either, because it also showcased the best showing from a young Hull player I have probably ever seen too.

October 1982 was little different to most had been for years in Kingston upon Hull. It was Hull Fair, drizzly and wet and the club must have been pleased to get a crowd of 13,057 down to the Boulevard for a top of the table clash on a cold Wednesday evening. As we all struggled through the Hull Fair traffic to get parked around the ground there was an air of expectation as we prepared to watch our heroes take on the club that was undefeated in 8 League games and who stood five points clear at the top of Division One.

Then like now Leeds were a great team, but then again so were we and the strength in depth that we had at the club was reflected by the fact that the previous weekend I had gone to watch our A team beat Wakefield A with a 13 that included Ronnie Wileman, Steve Portz, Mick Sutton, Tony Dean, Steve Dennison, Wayne Proctor and Shaun Patrick. No surprise then that the club were even muting the possibility of launching a new team called Hull White Star to play in the Second Division. The A team was certainly worth watching back then, and that strength in depth and competition for places certainly kept everyone in the first team on their toes.

That night the Threepenny Stand was rocking and packed to the rafters as the floodlights shone out on a glistening pitch and the ‘glow’ of Hull Fair shone in the sky over the Airlie Street end. As the teams ran out folks who had experienced difficulty in parking were still streaming into the ground and as for the match day programmes; they had run out well before then. Lee Crooks our 20 year old Great Britain Colts international second row forward kicked off into a light breeze. From the first tackle it was obvious Hull were up for it, as following up that kick Crooksey produced a massive hit that left international loose forward Heron in a heap on the floor, gasping for breath.

After 4 minutes we worked the ball to the half way line where Trevor Skerrett blasted his way through a tackle by Rayne and Pitchford and passed onto ‘Knocker’ Norton. Our international loose forward shot down the centre channel in front of the Threepennies and as we cheered him on, he threw out a low pass that Dane O’Hara picked off his boot laces. The winger stumbled, looked up and then set off for the corner as Dyl and Ward came across to tackle him into touch. As they closed in Dane showed his strength and skill to keep his line and squeeze in at the corner. Lee Crooks missed the touchline conversion and then although Kevin Dick reduced our lead to a point with a well taken penalty, it became the Lee Crooks show.

On 13 minutes our young GB Colts international got his first try. Harkin, Topliss, Kemble and Evans engineered a breathtaking move from our own 10 yard line to set up a position 30 yards out from the Leeds whitewash. Bridges, who throughout the evening worked the acting half back position superbly, flighted a long hanging pass to Norton who released the perfect drop off for Crooks to crash in with Leeds full back Hague on his back. He converted his own try and then got another penalty after 16 minutes and already despite Leeds’s big reputation we were 10-2 in front.

Crooks was having a ‘stormer’ and looked ten yards faster than any other forward on the pitch. He tackled everything and was on hand to cart the ball up along with the workhorses that were Paul Rose, Trevor Skerrett and Charlie Stone. We were playing on a different plain to the league leaders and the crowd loved the amazing level of skill anticipation and tenacity they were watching. After 20 minutes a ‘flattish’ set of six drives ended with Crooks finding himself with the ball and everyone expecting him to kick it deep towards the Leeds line. However this was Lee’s night and as he spotted a gap he shot through it and kicked a little lobbed effort over Hague’s head. Running round the full back he caught the ball and to a massive cheer from all around the ground he flew over to touch down. The rest of the half was all Hull but although Evans and Kemble went close we did not increase the score.

We all started to believe that we were seeing something special that night though, and the crowd was buzzing through the half time break. It certainly did not take long for our suspicion’s to be confirmed either as the second half was barely a minute old when Crooks was at it again to complete a brilliant 32 minute hat trick, with his third try without doubt being his best. He broke from 60 yards out, kicked past the full back again and this time dribbled the ball for fully 40 yards to touch down near the posts. His conversions made the score 20-2 and you could see by the faces of the Leeds team that already with just 41 minutes gone the game was up. Everyone was playing their part in a complete annihilation of the Leeds outfit, the centres Evans and Leuluai looked yards faster than Massa and Dyl and in fact Evans went close on about 5 occasions that night, his best chance coming from a great passing movement that saw him cross the line in the 45th minute, only for referee Whitfield to pull him back for a forward pass.

On the 46th minute mark though it was Topliss who shot in for Crooks to goal and I guess by then it was starting to look like a rout. However Leeds were now seeing a bit more of the ball but a couple of brilliant catches of ‘Bombs’ and a superb tackle on Conway saw Kemble at full back a stone wall of defence through which Leeds could just not pass. It was simply magnificent rugby and I think the only mistake we saw from a Hull player was in the 53rd minute when Harkin dropped a pass from Rose straight into the path of winger Andrew Smith who went in for Leeds only try of the night wide out, but Dick could not convert and at 25-5 Hull were cruising.

It was then Leuluai’s turn to score as he caught the next pass from Paul Rose and set off on an arcing run for 45 yards to score near the posts. Then Rose himself finished the scoring with five minutes to go and with Crooks again adding the conversion, we had won a most memorable game 35-5. At the end no one really wanted to go home it had been such a wonderful experience and the sort of thing the fans could do with a bit at times these days. The performance of several players down the middle like Steve Norton, Lee Crook, Skerrett and Stone were just unbelievable as Hull tore Leeds’s confidence to shreds.

This was not so much a victory as a humiliation of a side that sat proudly at the top of the table. Hull never forgot the basics and stuck to them but had just so much flair on show in attack and we’re so mean in defence; there was simply no let up at all. We never once took the pressure off the Loiners who by the end were dejected and broken men. If you were there you will know exactly what I mean and no written word can fully describe just how brilliant Hull FC and young Lee Crooks were that night. It was something that we took a bit for granted back then simply because we were so good, but that night at the Boulevard was certainly better than going to the Fair!!!

So after Salford it’s a short turn round till Thursday and a battle royal against the old enemy from Headingley. There is something special I think about these games and they are usually one of two things, a close absorbing exciting battle, or a whitewash for Leeds. One thing’s for sure, it will certainly test our strength in depth as we will have to use a lot of our fringe players either in the preparation or indeed the game itself. We have to shake off the lethargy of that start at Salford and smash Leeds from the off, no excuses, no substitutes no surrender! I’ll be there fretting and worrying because we simply can’t see ourselves back to square one with just two points from 4 games can we. Thanks to everyone who got in touch last week after my appearance in the Mail, your support is greatly appreciated, and thanks too for all you comments about the Diary and my angle on things. Let’s get down to the KC on Thursday and get behind the lads, because in the end ‘We all hate Leeds don’t we? Thanks too for sticking with another Diary.
Faithfully Yours


And finally back to Salford and that Joe Bennett does like his selfies, doesn’t he?
I think I’ll buy him one of those sticks for his birthday!