The Dentist’s Diary 439th

Another week, another game we should have won, another great turn out of fans and yet ANOTHER DEFEAT!!!!!

It bloody breaks your heart doesn’t it eh? It really, really does!

As the weekend unfolded all the excuses were trotted out, but don’t kid yourself we should have won! We are just incapable of managing a victory and by managing I mean carrying through the plan that will bring us the result! For me standing there watching a group of blokes who look to be on the verge of victory, but who then let it all slip away….again, is soul destroying. But in real time on the terraces, we just shook our heads in acceptance, because we somehow knew that would happen again, because it always does!! As my friend Al said “You know things are bad when a set of Hull FC fans behind you start singing, “Que Sara Sara whatever will be will be we’re going to Dewsbury, Que Sara Sara”.

There is little doubt that walking back up the street afterwards, it all leaves a sickening feeling in the pit of your stomach and it’s a pain that’s only eclipsed by getting home and having to write about it in all again in here.

Still there was another magnificent turn out of fans on Friday and what a great ground it is! The old stand was rocking again to the strains of ‘Old Faithful’ as we appeared to wrestle the momentum and initiative from a Cas team that had little else to offer other than resolve and a will to win at any cost. However once again it was all ‘Sweet Caroline’ by the end of another disastrous outing! The bloody infuriating thing is that they didn’t score a try that wasn’t assisted by us.

Is the age of miracles past? Well I for one sincerely hope not, because otherwise if Rovers cut loose, then Thursday will see us mullered!! If you don’t want to hear some more home truths and what I feel is the actual depth to which we have sunk as a Club, then don’t read on because this week’s Diary is certainly not for the faint hearted!!

There is little doubt in my mind that in this current FC team there’s tons of effort, but it’s the same old crap week in week out, isn’t it? If we are finding it hard to score tries then for heaven’s sake don’t gift them to the bloody opposition!

Their first touch-down, saw two players sauntering along with their backs to the play after conceding a penalty; a quick tap and Gale just ran at them and past them to score. Then, as we come out for the second half, we manage that most cardinal of sins just when we should be fired up to hold them for that first critical ten minutes. We all watched as sloppy tackling and a long break downfield by Lynch (of all people), saw them score off the first bloody set! Talanoa’s mistake over the line was unfortunate but a killer just the same and Toms Lineham’s miss on Carney, right in front of us, was in a situation that the FC lads had practised all Monday to stop. That’s their 4 tries and all down to our mistakes and/or lack of concentration.

Of course those mistakes shouldn’t have mattered as we made more metres, carried out less tackles and made more plays than the opposition, but we lost again, the forwards all made ‘good yards’ but we are clueless with ball in hand. That’s just par for the course for our overall play these days, heaven knows the effort is there and there is little doubt that we try really hard, some pundits claim that we play a less off the cuff and more structured game than most teams, but for me I have to say it’s more down to us regularly being sloppy, unfocussed, and predictable.

Someone said to me as we walked back along Wheldon Road “I don’t read the Diary these days because you don’t make us laugh anymore!” Well today in the cold light of the next morning, with the rain lashing down and the Diary to write, believe me I certainly ain’t laughing and the last thing I am thinking about is making anyone laugh either.

You know, by we have played Rovers we will be a third of the way through the season and likely still have just 4 points, that’s not doom mongering, that’s just a fact and instead of improving this season we are now officially going backwards. Already after 7 games, last season we had 3 wins in the bag, this year it’s just 2!

I didn’t travel to Cas with much in the way of hope, who travels anywhere with the FC these days with any of that? But with a full car and some good company at least we were embarking on one of my favourite trips of the season. For the first time in all those trips to Wheldon Road we took the advice of my pal Karen and came off the motorway at Junction 33 (the A1) to avoid that terrible log jam of Pontefract Road as you go into Castleford from Junction 34. It was a great route and we got all the way to parking the car up, without one delay or stop and did it in just 55 minutes, from Beverley. From then onwards though things went downhill fast!!

I’m just a fan who like many this weekend is exasperated and disheartened. How the hell can we end this downward spiral? My pal Alan has for weeks banged on about our warm up, to the point of it getting tedious, but I’m fast starting to believe that I have done him an injustice! Every other team seems to go out there running drills, huddling together (while senior players lay down the law) and concentrate solely on game related stuff, while we amble around, swing a few legs and generally look in disarray. Other teams stay out to the death, while we wander off in dribs and drabs ten minutes before kick-off to, no doubt, catch the second half of Coronation Street! It’s just as if we feel we’re too big a team to be buggering about with all that stuff, but more of that later!

Then we come out and find ourselves under the cosh for the first twenty minutes, as the nicely warmed up opposition buzz about and cause us problems. When eventually we start to find something like our feet, we have just about tackled ourselves to a standstill. Could that familiar pattern of late be down to our lack of a proper warm up; Al might just have a point there!

While I’m on theories here’s one of my own! Why is it that whenever we come up against a team featuring our ex players, or ones that we have been after signing, they always seem to raise their game and have a point to prove (on this occasion just look at Gale and Lynch) while we have players who are playing against their old Clubs who can’t be arsed to prove anything!

I have already said that we gifted them all their tries and if that were an isolated occurrence, then it would be acceptable but it’s happening too often. Our movement on the ball is not clever enough to get us a big lead, so we have to hold onto whatever we get, but instead we just gift the opposition tries. On attack we make the same mistakes week in week out and its bloody heart breaking. We struggle to score, despite playing some nice looking spread plays, but these inevitably fail because the wide running players are overwhelmed by the strength of the oppositions tackling out wide, as they are at best stopped in their tracks and at worst pushed into touch. It happened four times at least on Friday as our lot ran out of space wide out. But why is this? The issue is for me that unlike most other teams, we simply don’t have the dummy runners running the decoy plays to create the space for the ball carriers.

All the talk on the radio coming home was about rovers brilliant halfs, their flowing flamboyant style and what good backs they have, while for us it was all the ‘same old’ again and quite frankly it’s getting me down. Andy Last said in his post match interview, “It’s the same old issues we have had throughout our tenure as Coaches”. Well, doesn’t that tell you something Andy? From where I’m stood, you, me, Lee Radford, Adam Pearson and the bloke selling chips on the car park must get it, because the record shows that since Peter Gentle went, it’s 12 victories in 34 Super League games and in all that time, only once have we had back to back wins; only bloody once!!!!!!

If that record covers last season as well, then our recent history is little better as for the fourth time this season we were out manoeuvred in a close encounter that we should have won. For the fourth time we weathered the storm early on….somehow, then we set them up and even looked to be preparing for ‘the kill’, only for us to bumble and fumble our way out of that position to, in the end, capitulate once more. Once again, for the long suffering travelling FC pilgrims, it was Groundhog Day!

Despite a patchy start in attack, a massive tackling stint took the sting out of a home team lacking some forward power and as we slowly started to blunt their attacking thrust, we began to turn the screw. That set us up nicely to pressurise their line but some dumb attacking and some gifted possession let a Castleford team that was there for the taking back in it again. The plan for the whole game was fine, you could see what we intended to do, it was fine against Warrington, Salford and Wigan too, but we can’t carry it out, we have the players but they don’t have the poise or the mental strength.

We simply can’t kill teams off; our mistakes give them a sniff and our inability to score points back at them, does for us. Some of our tries were well worked, much better worked than theirs, which as I say came on the back of our mistakes, but twice in two separate sets we were held up over the line and yet we came away from both empty handed. It was as I say bloody soul destroying! I’m not going to feature player performances this week, suffice to say, Paea had a massive game, Lineham has certainly got his ‘mojo’ back, Michaels showed some great stuff wide out in defence, young Jack Logan didn’t let anyone down and Pryce was my man of the match, if not the best player on the field….again! Otherwise I was just too frustrated and too disappointed to notice much else and if I don’t hear ‘Sweet Caroline’ again it will be way too soon.

I wasn’t on my own either and as Neil Diamond blasted out at the end Pryce and Thompson, who worked really hard, were totally p*ssed off, (no doubt with some of their colleagues) and set off for the tunnel in a real dudgeon, before realising they should at least come over and applaud the fans. What’s the problem? Well it pains me to say this but I honestly believe that we think, as a team, we’re something we are not!

You know and here’s an admission, I really felt a strange nagging pang of envy for those gleeful Cas supporters, stood, arms aloft at the end of the game, as they sang along to ‘Sweet Caroline’ on terraces alive with happy smiling faces. It was like being in the midst of a family celebration, where you knew no-one! In my eyes those people are so lucky, always the under dogs, always the little team and just like our neighbours from across the City they use that position to their advantage and to overcome the odds. While their fans, appreciating their efforts, get right behind them. In my opinion, at Hull FC, both on the field and the terraces, we believe we are still big time Charley’s and that somehow we have a right to be something that we ain’t.

At Cas and the like, they just take the highs, love the journey and sing along!!! If I was in charge at Salford, Widnes, Castleford or indeed Rovers, I would battle to ensure that we never lost that ‘small Club’ image, never aspire to be a ‘Big’ Club and never became arrogant, because while you keep that safety net of low aspirations, everything is an adventure and every win a proper victory. When you’re in our position, we are never really satisfied and still cling to the belief that we are something that all the performance indicators staring us in the face dictate we certainly are not! We aren’t any longer a big club and for me, these days, we have no right to that accolade and still we unflinchingly believe that we have.

For a minute let’s just look at our demise from outside the box and from the viewpoint of an informed impartial observer. You know I say it regularly in here, but our state and position in the British game is like the ‘Kings new Clothes’. Every player that joins us says, “I’m pleased to have signed because Hull is a Big Club”. So we must still talk a good game, we obviously still look like a big Club and pay the wages of a big Club, but in reality we flatter to deceive in massive proportions.

To a neutral we are a team that has past the ‘going through a transition’ stage, because our record shows we have been going backwards for years and continue to do so in a consistent fashion. In fact we look to be decidedly past our ‘sell by date’ and the only thing that is ‘Big Club’ at Hull FC these days is the size of the fan base that still follow the team with almost blinkered loyalty. However a big disappointment on Thursday at the KC could even see that most envied of support melting away too.

We’re struggling, not this week, not this season but perennially and yet unlike the little boy in the Hans Christian Anderson fairy-tale, most of us simply can’t see that at all, but despite a great owner, some good players and the best supporters in the land, in reality there is no jam tomorrow and it’s is all a grand illusion because to the outsider we are in annual decline.

We are gradually getting worse, but then again, where DO we go from here? Well it’s hard to see us getting anything but a bloody nose in the next two games and as the injuries pile up it looks to me as if the Widnes game is already a season defining one. If just two Clubs went down, then I would still feel it’s all retrievable, but if I’m honest, with 4 teams involved in the ‘middle bit’ there is already little if no likelihood that we will finish anywhere but deep in that play-off doo doo! I’m concerned about the future, about what our owner will do and about a humiliation on Thursday, only time will tell if I should be and let’s hope I’m just an old worry guts eh? But all this stuff must have crossed your mind too?

Now, it’s been in around for three weeks, it’s important to me, but many are sick of hearing about it and for that reason it’s a topic I hadn’t wanted to cover….again! Unfortunately I feel obliged to include something about the SMC and the Allams because this time around there is just a chink of light and a little bit of hope starting to appear. We were told on Thursday in the Mail by the intrepid Angus Young that things were changing!! He said that, in a statement, the Council’s chief executive Darryl Stephenson stated, “We can confirm that the council has received a letter from Mr Ehab Allam and we have responded. However, until we gain an understanding of the full financial implications, we are not in a position to make a proper assessment and an informed decision. We are engaged in dialogue on the matter, and will need full access to the SMC accounts, which has been agreed. This process will take a number of weeks to work through so we are not in a position to make any further comment.”

Mmmmm, well that’s interesting to say the least, because I didn’t expect that ‘sell for £1’ comment was one that the owners of Hull City saw as anything more than a typical throw-away line. For me what is happening is without doubt a significant development and particularly pertinent for everyone who really cares about Hull FC and wants to see the Club continue for years and years to come. For what it’s worth I honestly couldn’t see us lasting another 10 years under the Allams! You’ll say that’s just me being over dramatic and of course I have no proof of that, but when you consider the way we are being constantly squeezed and the impact that is incrementally having on our ability to attract new customers and keep going, I think it’s a real threat.

At present to combat ridiculously stringent pressure from central government on their own services, the Council is setting up an arm’s length company to manage many of their leisure related operations which will function as a charitable trust. This organisation will run all the authorities venues, Museums, Art Galleries, sports centres, libraries etc and so it’s no doubt in their mind and pretty feasible that they could bring the operation of the KC under that umbrella, if the condition of the transfer is right.

That last bit is however where I see the issue really, because I just can’t see the owners of Hull City handing it over unless it is loaded up with debt, or there are clauses and caveats etc. attached to the deal. History indicates that they are more than likely to be in there! However for the community sports groups and the good people who use the Airco Arena, it is a chink of unexpected light in what was thus far a dark, dark scenario and for Hull FC fans it has to be greeted with guarded optimism. It’s very early days but it’s a start.

Whether the discussions will delay the Sports Hall conversion and prolong the future of the community groups is a matter for conjecture and no one I speak to seems to know the answer to that one. All the while groups are publically ‘waving goodbye’ to their venue as the end of the month approaches, so little it appears has changed. However it’s election time and local politicians are particularly sensitive to public opinion so if you want to do something to really ensure that your Club continues in perpetuity, then I would suggest you consider doing what I did last Friday and write to either your Ward Councillor, if you live in Hull, or to the Leader of the Council if you don’t.

I just said what a good idea I thought it was that the authority was considering the possibility of reclaiming the running of the jewel in the crown of sporting facilities in the City for the people and the community of Hull, who provided it in the first place. I can’t see the Council take over happening myself, because when you stack everything up, it’s an unlikely scenario really, but it’s our one big chance to be in a position to look to the future, without wondering month after month and season after season, what new ideas the Allam’s will have to screw us up and p*ss our owner off! It’s an interesting development though isn’t it?

Well back on the rugby and what great news it was to read in the same newspaper on Thursday that Fetuli Talanoa has signed a new two year deal to take his tenure with us to the end of the 2017 season (providing we don’t get relegated of course; I feel obliged at this time to add that bit!) He appeared in all 27 of Hull FC’s Super League fixtures last season, despite arriving late for pre-season and in doing so was hailed as the only player in the competition to have played in every minute of last year’s regular season. That in turn got him the Clubs 2014 Player of the Year accolade, for a mild mannered hero who had returned to the sport following a life threatening bout of pneumonia. You all know that I’m a really big fan of Fetuli, he’s an exciting player to watch, but also one that gets the crowd going and who obviously loves the Club. We need now to get Micky Paea signed up too, because he’s in good form but also out of contract, however as far as the ‘Flying Dustman’s’ concerned I’m just so pleased that he’s re-signed!

On Tuesday I was invited down to the Cup Draw on the new bridge across the River Hull. It was an impressive venue but the event itself involved a lot of hanging around, before the actual draw was made. There were plenty there though with fans from both Clubs and representatives from most of the teams involved in the draw. James Webster was there with Lee Radford, Chezzie, Adam, Hudge, Smailes of the Mail, plus representatives from Bradford, Featherstone and Sheffield. It was also good to meet ex FC Foundation Chief John Flatman again, who is now Chief Executive of Wakefield Trinity Wildcats.

Waiting to get started.

So, it was good to be invited and to see what happens and the event was certainly well managed by the council and the RL. It was however for me spoilt a little by that man from Look North Simon Clark, starting to talk to Peter Levy as the draw was being made and doing it so loudly that no one could hear what numbers were coming out of the glass bowl!!! Still all I was bothered about was that we didn’t come out of ‘the hat’ with Rovers and thankfully we didn’t, so as long as we avoided Leigh away I was happy. Sheffield away is tough; they are building a handy team, playing well at present and expecting a returning Jamie Langley to play a full 80 minutes this weekend. However let’s face it, if we can’t beat ‘em we are not worthy to get any further in the competition anyway! We needed some luck in the draw, but in our 150th year we must do everything we can to establish a good Cup run and for me we have to take this game very seriously, with none of that resting players nonsense.

Then of course there is the little matter of trying to fit in a mid week game against Wakey which should have been played that weekend and will now have been displaced. I hope we wait a bit and see if we both get knocked out of the Cup sometime, then we can free up a weekend to play the game on a cup round otherwise like Easter its three games in 8 days again. Still as far as the Cup is concerned I’d rather be going to Doncaster to play Sheffield, than to Bradford, or in Salford’s case to Leigh!!!

Now for a personal observation that a lot of you won’t agree with, it’s certainly an issue that I was going to leave out but it’s been on my mind so here goes! The Magic Weekend shirt was revealed several days ago now being previewed by the great Richard Swain as he wore it for his tumultuous return to the KC before the Catalan victory. I saw it a while ago and really liked the way crowns were embossed on the white background and personally I considered it to be a really nice piece of clothing, with one reservation; the sponsor. Look I certainly agree with the fact that people are using E Cigarettes to get off the real thing and well done to them, but call me old fashioned, I wonder about it on a rugby shirt. Perhaps it’s my age and perhaps I’m stupid and a bit of a dinosaur, however with kids so impressionable and influenced by all things Hull FC, I just think you have to be a bit careful, because although they have proved a real lifeline for those folks who are trying to get off cigarettes, we don’t want kids thinking it’s trendy do we? It’s great to see that the Club have kept it off the actual junior shirt, which at least shows they thought about it!

What a bloke!

In fact in my dotage I wonder sometimes what the Club are thinking, but I enquired and found out that the sponsorship deal for displaying Tru-vape on the front was worth what was described to me as a phenomenal amount of sponsorship. So I see what that’s all about too, but that doesn’t mean I have to think it’s a smart move. However that said I never complained about the Players No 6 Trophy all those years ago either, so who am I to grumble?

Who said that Mr Allam wouldn’t be making sure there would still be sport for all at the Airco Arena.

Now, I was reading last week about the multi million pound television deal that Rugby Union has just signed for the broadcast of Club games in this country. The Aviva Premiership have signed a new six-year contract with BT Sport, that will give the main rivals to Sky, exclusive live broadcast rights. The RU are not at liberty to say what the exact amount is, but speculation was rife last week that it was between £200-£250m per annum against a previous contract worth around £152m. The new deal runs to 2020-21 campaign and under the agreement, the number of live games are poised to rise from 69 to 80 per season from 2017-18. That is massive for rugby union and it will probably allow the Premiership to compete with the equivalent French competition, where there has been a bit of an in balance in the past as over there it appears money is no object following another massive broadcast deal signed last year.

There is talk of the Premiership who already have a salary cap three times the level of ours, increasing their player wage ceiling and there is little doubt that, in the long run, the amount of cash floating around there now is going to turn some rugby league players’ heads. It will mean union clubs can afford to look at our best and most high-profile players, which can’t be a good thing for Super League or the England team.

In recent years we have lost some high-profile players from Super League, either to rugby union or the NRL and of course in the case of Sam Burgess to both. However the longer it goes on like this, the more I believe that we should have granted a shorter TV deal to Sky and kept our options open as regards some of the ‘new players’ that are appearing in the field of televised sport, but we didn’t and so we’re stuck with it.

Perhaps now though it’s time once again to look at the much discussed marquee player rule, where we would allow clubs to bring in one high-profile, world-class player without him counting on the cap. How they would decide who these players are is a debatable one but if the RL are concerned about it overstretching some of the poorer Clubs resources then just make it for Clubs who average over 10,000 gates a year. That would reward Clubs who are well supported and encourage others to increase their support, while ensuring that at least the British game kept some of its top talent. The way that things are it’s another unlikely move though, so the new deal for rugby union and the increased TV rights negotiated ‘Down under’ see us fast becoming the poor relations of rugby in both codes at both sides of the world. That will affect the appeal of our game to ‘new converts’ and is for me something that our game simply has to address and quickly!

I was contacted this week by Chris Walker who made some requests including Roy Francis, Tommy Finn, Chris Davidson and Terry Devonshire to be included in the Codgers spot in the future and I’ll certainly be doing that, however first to this week’s offering and in keeping with the 150th years I want to take you back to another glorious day at the Boulevard that still makes me shiver at the thought of it! It was a simply amazing afternoon back in 1983 when we won the League Championship Trophy at the Boulevard and danced ourselves stupid on the stands after the match. There are times in your life that you never forget and days which milestone your life forever and for me at least that afternoon was one of them. You may recall if you can remember that far back (which sometimes I certainly can’t) that a win at Leeds on 13th April had all but guaranteed us the title and thus subjected the Dobbins to being runners up, but just to make absolutely sure that a monumental point’s difference could not be over turned we needed to win our final game at the Boulevard against Barrow on Sunday 18th April.

There was a carnival atmosphere at the ground that day as I crammed into the Threepenny Stand about 40 minutes before kick-off and only just before the Police stopped anyone else going in there and by the game started there was over 17,000 in attendance. Of course we all felt that we were on for an amazing Cup and League double but sadly Featherstone were to put paid to that hope at Wembley a couple of weeks later, however that day it was all systems go, as the teams ran out to clouds of torn up newspaper thrown from the Threepennies. Pipped at the post the previous season by Leigh, no one at the club was now going to let the trophy slip away again.

Barrow actually needed to win to save their own bacon because a defeat would see them relegated to the Second Division but there was not a sign of any sympathy as the FC set about them from the off. Barrow started well despite us taking a lead in the second minute from a Lee Crooks penalty, and the visitors actually played some neat rugby as Hull struggled to get their hands on the ball in the first ten minutes. Soon however that clinical, slick rugby that had bemused and bewildered much greater opposition over the season, started to come to the fore. As Barrow pressed Kemble showed his world class with a string of telling tackles and when we got the ball we played some risky off the cuff stuff that largely ‘came off’ and fitted the occasion perfectly. Trevor Skerrett opened the try scoring for Hull with what was the props first try of the season. Crooks brushed aside two tackles on the 12 minute mark and passed onto Harkin who drew Barrow full back Steve Tickle, before releasing Skerrett to touch down near the posts. Then almost straight from the re start Crooks and Evans cut out an opening before Crane and Leuluai engineered an overlap which saw Prendeville scoot in at the corner untouched. Silence fell across the whole crowd however when five minutes later a sloppy pass from Crane saw Les Wall the Barrow centre intercept and run 35 yards to touch down, but we were soon back in the driving seat.

Crane and Rose almost got Leuluai in but our centre just fumbled a low pass, however from the scrum, which we won against the head, Harkin fed Topliss who then produced that wonderful run around move with Evans that we all loved to watch, it saw of course Toppo then re-gain the ball to score our next try. Almost immediately after the restart, and before Barrow had time to ‘catch their breath’, we won another scrum against the head and this time Harkin fed Crane, who was standing out of the scrum in the centre. He took the ball and in his usual carefree manner dummied twice and sent Ralph Connell and Dave Milby completely the wrong way to saunter in and score ten yards to the left of the posts. Crooks added all the conversions and we were out of sight and dancing on the terraces by half time.

Sauntered in; Mick Crane!

Arthur Bunting substituted Evans and Crooks (who were both carrying injuries) at the start of the second half replacing them with Banks and Norton but there was no let up in the quality and skill on show. More drama followed as referee Peter Massey tumbled over and collapsed in a heap clutching his leg. He had pulled a muscle and had to be replaced for the rest of the game by touch judge Henry Mason. He was soon being berated by the Threepennies with shouts of ‘Get back on the Touchline’ as he awarded two quick penalties to Barrow and the visitors reduced the arrears when Wall scored his second try; a sloppy effort on our part directly from acting half back.

Tickle added the goal but then came the best try of the game. Crane broke and linked with Rose, (and if you were around back then close your eyes and you’ll still remember the next bit) and as so often happened back then from nowhere steaming through a gap came Kemble from full back, he ran towards Tickle at full back, swerved round him and on to the try line without changing pace. Prendeville converted before Kemble turned provider as he passed out of the tackle to Leuluai who shot in and then despite another try for Barrow by David Cairns, the demolition of the now relegated opposition was completed when Crane again supplied a peach of a short pass to Banks who drew the cover before putting O’Hara in at the corner. A brief skirmish between Charlie Stone and McConnell was the final act of the game as a relieved stand-in referee ended the game, and the party started.

Kemble, Leuluai and O’Hara lead the Haka with Crooks, Norton, Harkin, Banks, Evans and Arthur trying their best!!!

The Trophy was presented amid frantic appeals for the fans to get off the pitch and back behind the barriers and after some semblance of order was restored the players paraded the cup round the ground. There was singing chanting cheers and tears, plus an impromptu rendition of the Haka in front of the Threepennies. I was OK till Kemble and Stone came level with where I was stood but then my eyes filled up as my emotions got the better of me as they so often have at moments like that one! What a great feeling and what a great season!!!

What a day!!!

Well here, before I finish, I’ll share something more personal with you and tell you what I have been up to at Hull Royal Infirmary over the past month or so. Around Christmas, Ash Foster the Clubs 150th Celebration officer suggested a project to feature Hull FC, our past heroes, victories and ground and to use those elements in a reminiscence project to try to help Dementia suffers in the Hospital. I didn’t really appreciate how involved it would all be when I started, just thinking that I’d go every week and chat about rugby, but I soon got a rude awakening! Firstly I had to go through a training regime and because I was working in hospital, be CRB checked and health checked which resulted in me having to partake of a series of injections against mumps, rubella, Chickenpox and all manner of diseases I’d forgotten about!! The final booster jab was last Thursday, but, I told myself, it’s no big deal and certainly not the first time I’ve felt a prick in the name of Hull FC!! Anyway I’m through now and will start working with Ash on the wards in April, when armed with my big picture books full of images of the old Hull FC, the Boulevard, players and Coaches of the 50th and 60’s we’ll try and help a few folks out. It’s certainly a bit daunting, but I’ll keep you updated on how it goes and who I meet.

Just before the Diary went to press my old pal Tony Roberts from the Buccaneer in Brough rang to say that he has seats available for his coach to St Helens next Monday. If you’re interested its leaving Hull at 10-00am and picking up across West Hull, before it stops in Wigan for some dinner and a few beers. He estimates it will be around £15 and they are a great crew who travel with Tony’s bus every week, it’s the longest established regular coach so ring him on tel.07917 033949 if you want to join them.

So after a week that saw the first bus to run on human waste launched in Bristol and amazingly ran on the ‘number 2’ route, when it was reported that ISIS are to start using human couriers which got me wondering if we would start getting cards through our letter boxes that said, ‘We tried to carry out a terrorist atrocity but you were out’ and the FC lost….again, it was great to get the usual and much appreciated feedback for the Diary from all over the place. It was also good to bump into Joe of Blackandwhites fame in Morrissons and a special well done to big Chris who’se getting married. Thanks as well go to Brian in Spain, Harry in Menorca, Sammo, Stu, Kathy and Big Phil T in Morocco. All your feedback as always is greatly appreciated.

Nice idea but always a bad time for this fan!

So, it’s here again and all the murals (well meant though they are) and chummy, chummy advertisement boards, won’t make Thursday any easier to experience will it? As, once again, just like a broken down carousel its come round and it’s the bloody dobbins at the KC. That means of course that we are playing host to the raggle taggle army of the great unwashed and for me the sooner it’s all over the better! They’ll all be there on their big day out, sat in the North Stand like some mass public participation production of Les Miserables taunting us and berating us as they slurp at their beer! However a bit of friendly advice about rugby at the KC guys, bring plenty of money with you, this isn’t The Crown and it’s an expensive pint when you’re drinking Assam’s Ales!

Times are certainly hard for us at the FC, but in the most unlikely scenario of us winning, then in the short term all will be forgiven as far as my team are concerned, but that’s local Derby’s for you eh!!

The next Diary will be out sometime after the Saints game on Easter Monday so have a great Easter (if you can!!!) Thanks again for your support and my apologies again for saying it like I think it is, it’s depressing, but I hope you appreciate that it’s also written with honesty that’s likely tinged with a modicum of truth too. I so want to be positive but for me, as for the club we all love, I honestly think we are in a right pickle and no mistake!!

Take care, see you all at the KC and …………..

Faithfully Yours