The Dentist’s Diary – 443rd

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ANY IDEA WHAT THE HELL IS HAPPENING????

Everyone has a theory, but no-one really ‘knows’ why it’s happening and everyone is tearing their hair out because of it and yet the decline continues, it’s looking like the Peter Walsh days all over again and quite frankly there is little doubt that, whatever the spin tells you, we’re in a deep crisis!!

I know that people at the Club and some players and their families read this, so it’s hard sometimes to be honest, but I have to be, because there is no point doing this stuff every week unless I write it as I feel it! Everyone is increasingly pointing the finger in one direction, with now, I believe, good cause and yet the main issue for me is restricted to just one thing; what’s happening to my Club on the field. For me, sitting there on the terraces and having to watch it all unfolding, with abject performances and people steaming out well before the end renders the whole experience bloody heartbreaking!!!!!

I’m starting to think that perhaps this Diary has run its course and on that one, who knows? I say that because once again this week’s offering is reduced to another succession of whinges, beefs and grumbles as despite a lot of head scratching and soul searching, I simply don’t know what else to write!

You’d think that, as a one club fanatic, if you go to a game with zero expectations, then you’ll not be disappointed when you lose! That’s at least the idea that I’d worked on it for weeks and at Sheffield at least, it worked. However for this supporter, despite that mind set, Friday’s performance was a new low, as a once vociferous fan who got involved, bayed at the referee, stood to cheer the breaks and sang and chanted with the best of ‘em, simply couldn’t be arsed to enter into it at all. I didn’t get mad and didn’t walk out, nor did I feel that awful gut wrenching disappointment I used to experience years ago, when the odd poor performance came along. For me personally I think the key to all that is in the last bit, because we no longer have to endure the ‘odd poor performance’ as they are now the norm. I couldn’t even get passionate about another poor refereeing show by Phaler because, ‘what the hell’, we all knew what the outcome would be from the first set of six didn’t we?

I’m told that during that simply horrid 80 minutes against Huddersfield the statement ‘Dear oh dear’ was all I repeated, time after time throughout what was just an absolute shambles from beginning to end.

Like many of you reading this I won’t be stopping going, boycotting games or protesting, I simply can’t do that , it’s my team and through good times and bad I stick with them, maybe only because I love them! However there is little doubt that for me we are now down to the real ‘Faithful’. Things show no sign at all of getting any better, Huddersfield weren’t that good and should have been despatched, but instead we failed again and it’s these awful performances interspersed with scratchy unconvincing wins (that paper over the cracks), that are becoming the staple diet of those of us with little else than faith left to cling to; we just turn up week after week simply out of a sense of duty or because it’s a habit!

Playing in that cathedral like atmosphere, in a cavernous stadium full of empty seats, where we all have become resigned to the ‘same old same old’ week in week out, we just look at each other and shake our heads and it’s simply killing any spirit us fans have left. Well it’s bloody killing mine, I’ll always be there, I love the Club, but we are haemorrhage fans, some of whom will never return and for all of us who have to suffer it, the future is bleak!!

Our defence is OK, our go forward quite good, but our execution and attacking game plan is, week in week out, a bloody shambles. Friday for me was the worst performance we have had under Radford and possibly as bad as we have seen since Adam took over, and there have been a few stinkers in there! In fact it’s hard not, in retrospect, to draw comparisons with the last time we were going backwards so markedly, which was way back in the 98/99 seasons!!

Lee said afterwards “I expected a performance out of the players because of the magnitude of the game and the need for a result, but individual poor performances cost us”. But they obviously didn’t see it like that Lee did they, they never do, you didn’t get the message across at all and you must know it has to be your job to do that!! Then he said, “They had trained well all week and I felt that the atmosphere and intensity leading up to the game was really good in the changing room, so I was expecting a performance from them given the magnitude of the two points” Lee mate it’s your job to make sure that happens!

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An absolute shambles!!

Back to the quotes that mattered on the terraces as, “That was bloody diabolical”, was a comment from a distressed female fan as I walked out of the KC and who could argue with that? “And you have to write about that, I bet you haven’t got a ‘Homer Simpson’ where he’s completely expired?” was another cheery retort I received, as dejected, bitterly disappointed and yet strangely resigned to it all, I trudged out of the KC to head home! It’s so hard to write this these days, because I desperately want to find some positives, but at present, even when we win, I can’t find many at all. So once again you the reader receive a catalogue of grumbles, which are I guess the bedrock of most FC fans lives these days!

So, you’ve gathered already that on Friday night I left the Stadium semi comatose after a game which for the most part I had watched almost oblivious to what was happening, because it was simply mind-numbing! I’m afraid that it dawned on me a while ago that despite three scratchy wins we would never really rise out of our current demise because in the end it’s the system and the whole attitude of the team that is wrong. Having said that, on Friday players you’d expect to front up and lead the charge, looked like they couldn’t be arsed at all! Just look at Danny Brough, absolutely screaming at the Huddersfield players when they had dropped the ball when 16 points up with 8 minutes to go; now that’s passion, that’s wanting, although as an average FC fan you might not recognise it, let’s face it guys, we don’t see it that often do we?

These days people across the game talk of Hull and Wakefield in the same breath as we are consigned by the press and the ‘intelligencer’ of social media alike, as dead ‘certs’ for the bottom 4. We have the worst attacking record in the League, play boring rugby and yet some in high places seem to still wonder why we are leaking fans! People come to be entertained and that’s a commodity that is, at the KC Stadium, in very short supply at present, isn’t it?

Against Huddersfield, with the exception of the return of several welcome off loads from Watts (he’ll be in for a bollocking) there were no positives at all and it’s hard to think how much lower we can sink really. When the high spot of the game is a lad kicking the ball in the boot of a car at half time you’ve got real problems!!

I despair I really do and for me the script is now written, because after three scratchy wins and a truly shocking defeat, I can see us scraping past Salford with a win, after which everything will be ‘hunky dory’ again, before we get mullered by Warrington and Cas knock us out of the Cup! So it goes on week in week out as the players do just enough to maintain their own and their coaches survival, just as it’s always been since it started all those years ago, ‘way back when’ with Agar. They appear to have little thought for us lot shelling out every week to be entertained do they?

Playing wise our game plan is, as far as I can see, simply Bradford at the turn of the century, but we don’t have Vainakola, Hape, Deacon et al to capitalise on the field position that brings. We have players brought in and even bought because of their ability to create stuff, who instead of us adapting our game to suite those abilities, appear to have been told to change their game to suit our ‘style’ of play. Just my view of course but that’s how I see it!

My old beef about the warm up surfaced again as it saw us lot jogging around doing a few leg swings and a couple of half hearted drills, while Huddersfield were practising drives, wrestles and quick play the balls against trainers with tackle bags. Guess who came out for the kick off the most fired up?

For me however, there is a lot going wrong before we even get onto the playing area, because I can’t see the sense of dropping players who’ve had a real dig for you when you have won and indeed been instrumental in getting those victories, in order to automatically bring back the old ‘favourites’. What happened to, ‘If you’re playing well you keep your place’? The current scenario must mean that several players think they have a ‘God given’ right to play if they’re fit and thus no-one is playing for their place, but rather some are automatic choices whilst others know that as soon as the former are fit again, they will lose out. Take Jordan Rankin, he buzzes about, is full of energy and is always trying his guts out, yet he’s dropped so we can play three hookers; Jordan will be off I bet.

What’s that about and how baffling is it that even with 3 hookers on the team sheet we still, on three separate occasions, failed to have anyone fast enough or alert enough to get into dummy half as we lost out at the ‘play the ball’. The whole affair was an absolute shambles and let’s face it, did you ever think as we went in at half time 16-0 down that we could score the three tries needed to get back on terms? Of course you didn’t, because you’ve seen it all before; the thing is for me personally, we get the odd win, show the odd flash of genius but by and large it is simply I think, getting gradually and incrementally worse!!

Some of the players refused to go round the Stadium at the end to face the few poor misguided folks like me who were left on the terraces, while Danny Houghton appeared to have a word with one fan after receiving some slaver. It’s an interesting conundrum for the players in that position, in fact someone in a senior position at the Club told me before the game that some of the players don’t like playing at home any more these days because the crowd ‘get on their backs’; well whose bloody fault is that then?

The thing was too, that the opposition weren’t that good and were there to be beaten. Our demise is, I guess, best illustrated when they went down to 12 men, as we failed to capitalise on the numerical advantage that afforded and in fact The Giants looked better than they did before the dismissal! Brough had an off day with the boot and dropped a couple of passes, yet we could have played till midnight and not have got close to them.

You just have to wonder about the coaches reasoning don’t you? Against a physical and determined Huddersfield pack who dictated play from the first whistle, Paea was for me off for a disproportionate amount of time and yet still our man of the match by a mile, while our ‘number 3’ hooker Howarth, who was warming the bench and keeping Rankin off it, only got 15 or so minutes at the end!

The game plan is too one dimensional, when the barge and bluster plan A in the final 20 doesn’t work there is no Plan B, we get the width on occasions but are lacking in any sort of speedy spread plays that expose and isolate the opposing tacklers. I ask you this, when was the last time you saw an FC winger get a proper running chance in the open, that was set up by a team mate. It seems if your apply for the job of winger at Hull FC the Job Description is all about an ability to pick up the crumbs, defend the regular and constant high balls hoisted towards you, drive out of the twenty and look for the interception. It’s hard to be light hearted about it all though because I’m really worried!

You know, it breaks my heart to say it because those guys out there are my heroes, but I really don’t know where we go from here. However action has to be taken and quickly or we are out of the 8 for good and, with our new bedfellows Wakefield, thrust headlong into the League of Death, from which there might just be for this team, with their lack of any sort of plan and their obvious attitude problems, no escape!!

Well, perhaps I should have a look at the week past as the talk seems to be turning again to recruitment and certainly know that FC had a big Aussie prop (probably, as I have said before, David Shillington, well it is according to readers in Australia) on their hit list and almost sorted before Motu Tony went on his recruitment trip ‘down under’. However with Mickey Paea proving himself almost indispensible of late and about to re-sign and Scott Taylor already signed up, that looks to now be less likely, don’t you think? It’s amazing that some at the club actually doubted, at one time, that Mickey was the real deal, but he has proved all those doubters wrong and is now our best player. He’s bloody great but it’s come to a pretty pickle when despite the need for exciting play makers, flying wingers, wide ranging ball handling second-rowers and pacey exciting full backs, our best player by miles is a prop, that’s unfair on Mickey but you get my drift I’m sure and it says a lot for our current demise. I think that both Green and Bowden should study his technique and how he tucks the ball under his body slightly stoops and crashes forward into the line. Those too run stood up, stand stock upright in the tackle and are for me both easy targets… .however I digress! Thankfully it looks like Mickey has agreed terms so that’s good news.

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Bending his back and charging on; a couple of our younger first team front rowers can learn from Mickey’s technique.

Incidentally while we are on signings, it was interesting to hear from Redhall this week that it’s likely that the Marquee signing rule may come in next season where every club would be allowed one top signing outside the cap to try and stop the exodus of our top players to Australia and allow us to get our hands on one or two of their stars.

Some fans don’t like the idea but it shouldn’t be dismissed out of hand, because anything that makes our dull old game (at present) more attractive must be at least considered. In any case it’s hardly likely to be one carte blanche payment to a top player but rather you pay the player £200,000 which goes on your cap and then the rest of his salary over and above that payment is exempt. Of course it could cause unrest amongst other players that think they fit the criteria and then don’t get it and amongst these signings team mates, but I like the idea myself . For me, it at least means that we could give RU a run for their money and give them some of their own medicine back by maybe poaching one or two of their top players. Many in that code want to play League, but it’s not financially viable for them with ‘kick and clap’s’ heightened cap levels. It could make our game but what we have to guard against is bringing in players from Australia on the new rule who would have come anyway, because agents over there will be hanging out for marquee status for their players who would normally have come for a lot less. Perhaps there should be some sort of central ‘test’ as to whether a player is truly a ‘Marquee signing’ but in reality that would be almost impossible to deliver. Still we’ll have I guess to wait and see.

There were a few concerns and even a couple of folks wringing their hands when they heard that Adam Pearson was taking up a position as Football advisor at Sheffield Wednesday. When the announcement was made on Monday there was a suitable hiatus between it being breaking news and two excellent articles by James Smailes following an interview with Adam that put everyone’s concerns to bed. However in the time that elapsed in between, stories about him selling up and moving on where everywhere, but of course it was all bollocks.

I happened to hear from him that day and he couldn’t see what the fuss was about, football he said was his trade. Let’s face it, the bloke is now in for a load of money anyway and unless he can get a buyer he would never go, where he even interested in doing so…which he isn’t! Add to that our struggles on the field, dipping gates and crap landlords and we ain’t exactly a promising purchase anyway are we? Adam is staying although I can envisage him considering bringing in a Chief Executive to run the Club. We don’t need an expert in players, tactics etc but rather a good RL ‘brain’, who is an innovator as well as an administrator. Will he get one? Well we had all better watch this space I guess.

The Cup draw was interesting wasn’t it and it was good to see the conspiracy theorists over at Caravan Park bleating about their chances at Wigan and it all being a fix….again! Still it will be tough for us against Castleford even though it’s at home, but in the Cup, if you get a home draw, it’s really all you can hope for. In this great old competition you need a fair bit of luck and a Championship Club followed by a mid table Super League outfit is surely just that? From then on in you make your own luck. On this occasion too it appears we have to make it on the unlikely Saturday afternoon ‘slot’. It matters little to me when they play it, but Mrs R can’t go she’s at work, however that apart, I think it’s a good idea to try another time because let’s face it, it works for football!!! We can only try it and see who turns up and Cas fans might prefer it to Friday night but in the end I think if that’s the case then perhaps Sunday would have been best myself, but no doubt it’s all down to that new trendy excuse for losing, ‘Turn round time’. The Saturday is exactly between the two league fixtures at either side, but what am I worried about Eh? Unless we witness some sort of urban miracle we won’t be in the Cup come that Saturday evening will we?

That said it is still our chance to be in the quarter finals, in a 150th season that already offers little else in the way of eventual success and therefore it’s our game to lose and I would suggest a ‘basket’ that we should be putting all our ‘eggs’ in!! This should be a big, big match for a few Cas. old boys like Sneyd, Westy, Wattsy and Thompson and this time they have to shine like our ex players usually do when they play against us. It’s a forlorn hope I know but from our point of view as fans we need to attend in big numbers and do our bit and on both the field and the terraces I just hope we can rise to the occasion and do em!

Well the news last Monday about the loss of our Hull FC reporter at the Mail came as a real blow to this fan because as you all know I rate him. James Smailes ‘gets it’, is a fan and can write a bit too, particularly when he produces those occasional enlightening and brilliant offerings that explore life around the margins of the Club and reveal stuff away from the usual player interviews, match reports etc. Producing just such articles is, for me, the challenge faced by local newspapers whose old role of ‘Hold the front page’ sports exclusives, has been eclipsed by the speed of the internet and social media. Those articles take some skill, but if you can write such an analytical, in depth or behind the scenes piece, it will grab the fans attention and that’s what ‘Smailes of the Mail’ is good at. He’ll certainly be missed, but fear not for he isn’t going far and in fact will take up the role of Sports Editor at the paper, so in many ways with his affiliation to Hull FC that’s a massive plus for us. I’m not in any way saying he’ll be biased in his dealings, but then again it never stopped the last two sports editors did it? Well done Smailsey but you’ll be missed as FC reporter!

It’s all been quiet in the ‘Aircogate scandal’ of late as the Council wait to hear from the SMC before the deadline date they set for the removal of the surface (today I think). There was an anonymous letter from a staff member of the SMC on Angus Young’s twitter page, however the main development saw the Chief Executive of the City Council send an E Mail out to all employees last Tuesday, which explained the Councils position. It didn’t tell us much we didn’t already know, but did at least confirm that the Authority had contacted the football authorities when it said, “A further letter has been sent by the council to Richard Scudamore, Chief Executive of the Premier League, highlighting that the SMC does not have a “legally enforceable agreement with the owner for exclusive use of an indoor artificial surface” – a key Premier League requirement for any club looking to attain Category 2 Training Academy status”. No doubt this week will bring more revelations.

Whatever else the new format in the League has brought about, it has bred more reliance on not losing ‘at any cost’ which has led to a lot of grinding games and seen a lot of unpredictability in the outcome of matches. With just 12 games left in the regular season we have to start making some consistency a priority. At the start of the campaign for Hull FC finishing 8th was a well below par aspiration, but now it would be a godsend; so far has our season sunk in the first half of the campaign. Our absolute lack of creativity and inability to ‘make’ much play has dictated that 8th is in fact the best we might be able to hope for and the chances of that after Friday look slim indeed. I know that we are still only a few points off the top 4, but stringing wins together through creative exciting rugby is looking way beyond our capabilities. Yet on paper we have the players. In fact whatever else I think it’s safe to say we face a real war of attrition and a battle to get that 8th place, something I think is looking unlikely and yet imperative simply because from what I’ve seen, that middle eight play-off league will I am sure see at least one Super League casualty and at present the sensible money is on us or the Wildcats!! The thing that has let us down is that since Lee Radford took over as Coach and probably long before that, we can’t make the plays needed to string good quality victories together our demeanour and work ethic is patchy and our game plan at times none existent. That for me is something that needs addressing PDQ.

In fact it’s one of the saddest elements of our demise over the last few seasons is that we have lacked that expansive flair and that’s something that has got us the reputation over the seasons as a battling, tenacious team and little else. You see I believe that we have lost that ability to regularly back up a defeat with a heartening thumping win that lifts the fans and restores their belief.

Over the years and as far back as the bad old days of the 60’s and 70’s we were always able to conjure up a big performance against Leeds or Rovers and when we got a disappointing defeat there was always the chance that we would bounce back again the following week with a ‘out of our skins’ display. No more I’m afraid! You see I don’t think we are capable either skill wise, planning wise or indeed attitude wise to do that these days and so as we get knocked out of say the Challenge Cup one week, the fans tip up at the next home game with little hope for the future and are therefore resigned to there probably being more of the same thereon in. This week in Codgers Corner I want to go back to those great, great days of the early 80’s were there were disappointments a plenty, but invariably they were soon forgotten as the team lifted themselves with a marvellous performance, to reward the fans the following week,

One of my favourite games of that era took place on 4th March 1984 just a week after Saints had knocked us out of the Challenge Cup and when we faced the daunting task of taking on Championship rivals and top team of the season Widnes at the Boulevard. Gates were at that time starting to wane a bit and wouldn’t be helped by that defeat at Knowles Road and the fact that Peter Sterling had returned to Australia after a wonderful 10 week spell at the club. Sterol was of course to return the following year for a sensational season, but with just the League left to concentrate on the fans that turned up that day expected a heartening performance from the FC and we were not disappointed.

All week long we had sweated on the fitness of Steve Norton and talented young loose forward Gary Divorty but both came through late fitness checks although they had not trained at all since that cup reversal the week before. Both were however greeted with a massive cheer from the 10,838 crowd when their names were announced on the team sheet before the game. Divorty was developing into a teenage sensation and was joined by several other great young players that Bunting was bringing through the ranks. Widnes needed a victory to go top of the League whilst we were in fourth position, just a point behind the top three. We had blooded several of those youngsters and as a team were becoming known that year as ‘Buntings Babes’ but Divorty, Puckering, Schofield, Edmonds and Proctor had not let us down, and at the other end of the age scale veteran Prop Keith Tindall was still going strong and doing a good job off the bench. However once the game got under way it did not look good when Edmonds tripped Burke and the Widnes full back converted an angled 45 yard penalty, but it was not long before the Hull pack soon set about the powerful Widnes six.

A massive crash tackle by Rose and Dannett straight from the re-start after that penalty set the scene as Evans ran the ball back for 45 yards and a good chance was lost when Schofield couldn’t hold a Norton inside pass. ‘Schoey’ was going really well and the ‘teenage sensation’ of the League that year and was already on 24 tries, many of which had come from his trade mark interception play.

It was he who opened the scoring for us after just 11 minutes when a quick play the ball and pass from Puckering saw Divorty break away and run 50 yards down field before feeding the young centre who went in wide out but missed with the conversion. Back came Widnes and it took two heart stopping tackles from Gary Kemble at full back to thwart first Hughes and then O’Laughlan. However our forwards led by young Andy Dannett in the second row and Phil Edmonds up front were dominating the massive Widnes six and on 21 minutes we scored again. A flowing move first across and then down the field involved Norton, Topliss, Ah Kuoi and Leuluai saw Divorty in the open again and he whipped out a brilliant long pass and Schofield’s pace did the rest as he touched down close to the corner flag. At 8-2 our inability to convert our tries was a worry and Hughes nearly punished us as he broke through but was caught by Dane O’Hara ten yards short of the line and spilled the ball in the impact of a tackle he didn’t expect to come in.

Next after a scrappy few minutes the crowd were jumping for joy as Norton crashed through the line, linked with Topliss and as our charismatic half back looked round who was on his shoulder but Phil Edmonds, who brushed Andy Gregory aside like a rag doll (not an easy feat at anytime) to score. However once again Schofield missed the kick. It seemed like we were missing the injured Lee Crooks in the kicking department, but it didn’t matter as we witnessed the try of the game, if not one of the best in the whole season. The move stated ten yard from our line as a Widnes attack broke down when Joe Lydon went through a gap ‘without the ball’, and Leuluai picked it up. He stormed on downfield and as the cover ‘funnelled’ him into a ‘blind alley’ James somehow passed the ball round the tackler and found Schofield again. Off he went from 70 yards out with both Burke and Joe Basnett in pursuit.

As we all held our breath he ran first one way then the other before burning off the latter in a curving run towards the corner. He placed the ball over the line and ran off towards the crowd to celebrate a 24 minute hat trick which prompted the national press next day to label him ‘Whizz Kid’ Schofield. As half time beckoned we scored again and once again it was Norton who made the break, dummied once then twice before handing the ball onto Dannett who scored a well deserved try and at half time despite Schofield missing 7 shots a t goal we still led 20-2, having scored 5 quite brilliant touch downs.

Eight minutes into the second half Schofield at last broke his duck with a towering penalty after Andy Gregory had ‘lost it’ and slapped Topliss as he danced past him. Two minutes later as the Widnes team seemed to have lost interest in winning and following some massive hits from the Hull forwards Schofield landed an easier penalty under the sticks and at 24-2 we were cruising.

In fact as often happens in these situations we ‘took our foot off the gas’ and Myler got a try for Widnes as Kemble was left facing three attackers in our last line of defence. Proctor came on off the bench for Topliss, who appeared to be concussed, and the evergreen Tindall swopped places with Edmonds who was limping badly. Norton and Ah Kuoi then combined from a scrum as the New Zealander somehow stepped inside Lydon and outside Myler to touch down and at last Schofield managed a conversion. Basnett scored a late consolation try when he ran 60 yards to score for Widnes, but by then it was all over.

At the end we all stood and cheered as the lads did an impromptu lap of honour so good had our demolition of the mighty Widnes been. The victory was built around a collective force, as individual skills blended perfectly with intense pressure, and where young players and old hands worked perfectly together. The pack was brilliant not just in their power but their ability to produce some fabulous running and ball skills, whilst Schofield was the predator supreme and with a dozen games to go already had 27 tries against his name. Great memories!

It appears the owners of Hull City ain’t that popular at all across the rest of the country as well as in Hull and district, as was indicated this week with a proposed boycott of Liverpool fans for Tuesday’s home game at the KC. It appears tickets for he away end have gone up £15 from last season and that is in fact £15 more expensive than Everton fans paid this season at the KC and an amazing £34 more than the ticket prices for Stoke and Burley fans. The fans come last every time it appears.

Supporters not customers? Well, just for a moment please bear with me because you can probably count on one hand the number of times I have written on here about football or indeed any other sport other than my beloved Rugby League, but this week has to be an exception because although it looks bleak for North Ferriby United, it is a great time for one football club, in fact the only football club that I have much time for. You see I have a great affinity for FC United of Manchester. Formed by a group of fans disenchanted by the takeover of their beloved Manchester United by the Glazers, their official history states of the reasons behind the Club being set up as, “The material theft of a Manchester institution, forcibly taken from the people of Manchester, was the tip of a pyramid of destruction, with changing kick off times for the benefit of television, soulless all-seater stadia full of ‘new’ supporters intent to sit back and watch rather than partake in the occasion, heavy handed stewarding and ridiculously priced tickets propping it all up” Real old fashioned working class Rugby League type rationale there I would say, in a ‘Premier League’ world that is corrupt, awash with money and according to Liverpool supporters screwing the fans for all they’re worth.

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Pinching a FC United slogan, a protest against the owners of Hull City when City went to Liverpool this season.

As shareholders my pals Ian, Sarah and Adam have been there from the off when FC United of Manchester started in level 10 of the game and are home and away supporters of both Hull FC and the fledgling outfit. I know for a fact that they love FC United, but wonder too if they love the principles of an independent club run for the fans by the fans just as much and who can blame them? Critics at the outset of the idea argued at the time that if supporters were disgruntled with the Premiership then why didn’t they go and support other local cash-strapped clubs instead of setting up their own? But that wouldn’t have been theirs would it? All the way the new Club has been based on the bedrock of fan ownership. They have a massive say in how it is run, within a model that shames the majority of football Clubs and many Rugby League ones too!

That was the vision and that’s been the reality and from those days back in 2005 when they set out in the North West Counties League, now, after a steep climb through the Leagues and a few seasons in the Evo-Stick Northern Premier they have built their own ground in Manchester which they move into next season and on Tuesday night in front of almost 4000, after a season where they played all their games ‘away’ from home, they were promoted to join North Ferriby (perhaps) in the National Conference North; just two promotions from the Football League. What a story what a victory for fan power, passion and fair play and what an example to us all who profess to support a ‘professional game’! Well done FC United, owned by the fans, run by the fans, for the benefit of the fans, with a group of players who are undoubtedly playing for the fans. In fact fans, fans, fan’s all the way; a lot of other Clubs could learn so much from FC United…..over to you Mr Allam!

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Professional sport; you don’t have to sell your soul! Perhaps the only football picture you’ll ever see in here!!

So there we are, a thoroughly depressing Diary and one that has been as hard as ever to write. For me it’s all gone beyond the pale and now I really can’t get mad anymore. I feel for Adam Pearson I really do because he must be really worried. We are spiralling to disaster and although, yes, I can see a scratchy victory against a depleted and downcast Salford outfit, the future is decidedly dodgy and the Championship still beckons for this fan! Thanks as always for all your correspondence and the chats and comments at the game and of course big raps this week for you all sticking with the Diary and for putting up with my lamentations; boy am I p*ssed off!!! I won’t ask you to Keep Believing this week because quite frankly if your anything like me, your hanging in there by a thread and belief is the least of your worries!!
Bring on Salford….I think!
Speak to you all next week!

Faithfully Yours

Wilf