The Dentist’s Diary – 444th

Lee Radford; Hull Season STILL alive and kicking!

So read the headline that ‘shouted out’ to me from the back page of the Hull Daily Mail, in the rack in front of me as I walked into Morrissons on Saturday Morning! Perhaps a bit of an over statement of fact I thought? Well…. perhaps just a bit!!!!

But, boy did we need two points on Friday and thank goodness we got them. In the first instance it didn’t matter a lot how we grabbed them, because, in theory at least, it keeps us in touch with 8th place. However in the afterglow of another scratchy performance it was my hope that in winning we would give some indicators of better things to come. You know what I mean, some signs that we could rise to that 8th position and stay there through the tough away days that come thick and fast, weeks after week in June.

However in this game, it was hard to see much hope for those weeks ahead and I have to say that for me there were few real indications of us making much progress at all. As I say at least we won (these days that’s all you have to do), but for long periods it was again a desperate, muddled and at times pretty aimless performance, before, as at Sheffield, a couple of great ‘individual’ efforts got us over the line.

The thing about this match was of course that we were on a loser from the moment the Salford Club muted their problems. From then on in, we simply couldn’t win, even if we did! The histrionics in the media before the game, caused by the ‘hand wringing’ of the Salford Club, meant that we were on the back foot from the off. Scrape past them as we did, and they would be seen as heroes for holding us close, (as they are) blow them away and it was just what everyone expected, or lose and be the laughing stock of Super League. That’s why we HAD to win and thankfully we did.

However, I’m trying to find some positives here folks although once again, the win apart, it’s a pretty desperate search!!

As we walked across West Park at 7-30pm it was apparent already that the attendance would be a poor one, as grim faced supporters with heads down, tramped their way to a game that had been hyped all week but for all the wrong reasons. Before the match kicked off the atmosphere, in a poor attendance, was one of reticence and acceptance and from the start there was little to instil much hope in anyone’s heart. I saw a couple of ill thought out ‘Radford Out’ banners outside, but by and large it has gone way beyond that for most of us, as once in the ground we sat there like beleaguered pilgrims looking to the skies and awaiting some miracle to make it all go away. It’s just not exciting any more is it?

Salford looked to all intense and purposes as if the adversity of the past week had done them good and generally appeared to have more appetite for the battle. Despite a couple of flashes of inspiration that usually stemmed from Rankin’s energy and enthusiasm, in general, for the first half of the game, we bumbled about, passing without drawing players and getting rid of the ball as soon as possible,. Any short bursts of vim and vigour with ball in hand usually ended with a mix up or a dropped ball; lots of energy and little direction, in fact much the ‘same old’ really!

A better reception? Well a few more stayed till the end this time.

It would be nice to say that the atmosphere was tense, but it wasn’t, in fact most people sat there just taking it in and hoping. For much of the game there was little chanting and certainly no guarantees that we would win, in fact Salford looked, up until that late and quite brilliant effort from Sa, to be onto a most unlikely ‘winner’. In fact in hindsight I guess Salford will be pretty disappointed, but they perhaps didn’t just have the brains or nous to kill the game off when they lead by 8 points with 20 minutes to go and after we had bombed a couple more chances on the line by losing the ball, in the end we eventually just managed what looked for most of the game to be an unlikely win. There were times too we looked like we might have folded down the middle as their front row, in which Hull recruit Scott Taylor shone, got on top but we didn’t capitulate and that should be commended!

Well done Mr Sa a truly great touch down!

With a pretty beat up central unit in which Watts played long minutes well, Minnichiello was a real corner stone and Feke had his best game of the season, Salford made more ground down the middle than us and in Theo Fages had the best half by a mile on the field. On the other hand for the FC, Sneyd has yet to capture his early season form, Pryce was a bit better, but Houghton’s distribution and direction from acting half was wayward at times. However in fairness after a shocking first 40 minutes, we battled on in the second half and somehow got the result, that’s worthy of praise I think and perhaps dare I say, something to build on, but for me in the ‘hope for the future’ department, there were few plusses against a Salford outfit that was still way under strength and that markedly lost energy as both half’s progressed.

Yes we have won four of our last five games (as our coach so vehemently pointed out afterwards), but have you honestly enjoyed them as a means of entertainment and if the answer to that one is no, then perhaps that’s why people are starting to vote with their feet.

One big bonus was to see Richard Whiting back out there, he wasn’t on long but he certainly made a difference in both attack and defence. However he featured in an incident below us that just about sums things up this season. With us trailing by 2 points and just a minute to go to the interval, he forced their centre into touch near half way. It was an opportunity to press the Salford line against an opposition that was drained of energy and out on their feet, but instead, with no scrum being formed and the clock ticking down, we wasted at least 40 seconds in an over the top celebration of Whiting’s effort; there was again, in that instance, a distinct absence of any sort of urgency and smartness and by the scrum was formed and the ball put in, there was little time for anything else and we trooped off two points down.

The second half was better and there is no doubting our battling credentials, we tackled well and bashed our way up field with some vigour, but again with ball in hand for the fans it was often boring and frustrating to watch. With just 9400 there the place looked empty as gates are dropping, corporate bookings are thin on the ground and talking to dozens of fans as I do every week, it’s apparent that any sort of real optimism is still only the territory of the Chairman and the Coach.

The rugby, because of our structure and game plan, is one dimensional and pretty un-entertaining and people are certainly voting with their feet. The most worrying thing of all is that every week we are now missing a lot of season ticket holders too. That’s a real issue, because it’s one thing to not buy a ticket or not pay on the day and save your money, but you must be pretty fed up if, having paid for your seat in advance through buying a pass, you still don’t go! That’s real sacrifice and a real indicator as to how far some fans enthusiasm has sunk! Heads will be scratched at the Club as the gates go down and appeals for loyalty in ‘times of duress’ will be everywhere. However for me it’s simply a case of the fact that we are not playing the sort of rugby the fans want to watch. So much so that, without the benefit of season ticket holders, I expect the Castleford Cup game attendance to be a real eye opener.

In fairness there were few signs that we are about to produce anything that will inspire the missing hoards of fans to come streaming back and although we got a win, until the last few minutes there was little sign on the terraces that the fans are enjoying what they are seeing. We are the hardcore fans the ones who come whatever, but it’s the ones who aren’t so emotionally attached to Hull FC and who come to be entertained that make the difference on our income streams; that lot, the ‘floaters’, are still very definitely staying away.

Of course in the new league structure winning is all that matters but again as with just about every win we have seen this season, on Friday it was a real grind and as Mrs R commented on a couple of occasions ‘painful’ to watch! As usual she had it just about spot on too. But, the consensus of those leaving the game was one of relief that we got over the line for the points, although unless we show a massive improvement and quickly, a string of difficult fixtures against Warrington, Saints, Rovers and a month away from home in June, will ensure that on that form, we’ll finish below that magical 8th position. Our only hope has to be that players returning from injury will make a difference. Still well done to the lads, we got the points and we certainly gave them all a good clap at the end because you can’t fault the effort, but as I said last week, while we play to that game plan and that structure, we might win some games, but we won’t ‘entertain’ or be an attractive team to watch.

The post match interviews were eagerly awaited as usual in the car on the way home, but we all sat in absolute silence as Lee gave his appraisal of the teams current situation and his thoughts on the fans and the future, until in the end, it was all getting a bit too ‘Agaresque’ for me! Why the silence? Well, probably because of the almost confrontation nature of it all and the celebratory terms that the game we had all just watched, nay endured, was etched in. That didn’t go down well with our lot at all. In fact, believe it or not, we all sat there in silence long after the interview had finished! Ah…the end to a perfect night eh?

One happy guy! On Saturday morning, young Daniel Collins proudly shows the customised boots that Jordan Rankin presented him in the crowd at the end of the game. Daniel will always remember that and what a great bloke Jordan is!

To some extent at present, to the disenfranchised and battle weary supporter who has had enough and yet can’t stay away, the days between games come as a bit of a blessed release. However last week the events leading up to the Salford game were in danger of overshadowing the very match itself! There I was last Monday trailing round the shops in York with Mrs R, loaded up with bags (as you are) and trying to forget about rugby for a while, when I got a text from my mate Joe that just said, “Are Salford taking the p*ss”, I checked the Lancashire Club’s site and indeed they were!! Have you ever heard anything so blooming ridiculous as to request a game be postponed because some players are injured and suspended? Where they right, thinking that a few injuries and 3 suspended players would see another Club desperate for the points, agreeing to call the game off? What was Mr. Koukash thinking of? Would they have agreed to the action were the roles reversed? Of course they wouldn’t!!

A few folks thought it was a genuine plea for help from Salford, but to most of us they were trying to pull a fast one and trying to put us off our stride which, let’s face it, isn’t that difficult these days. Where they genuinely in crisis? Who knows but whatever the case, as I said earlier we simply couldn’t win and perhaps we’ll never know what was really behind it all. However that said, a few players did seem to make a ‘Lazarus’ like recovery once their request had been ‘laughed out of court’ didn’t they? Iestyn Harris even said before the game, ‘‘I have certainly never known as many impact injuries, but we have battled on. Some of the players were not as badly injured as we first thought”. Oh really what a surprise? But let’s, just for a moment, believe that they were genuine, because even if that was the case, can’t they understand that it opens up all sorts of other issues?

I remember lots of times when we have been in that position. In fact one, a number of years ago, saw us going to Warrington with just two of our first choice starting 17. That afternoon we got stuffed and that with no one suspended and a team full of youngsters. Would Salford have dropped Chase and the other two suspended players for the re-arranged game, I think not and yet that’s the idea of suspensions, to debit the players team by depriving them of a players services in the real time of their current League position. It’s not our fault that Salford’s players can’t control themselves is it? In addition to that there is the little problem of when would we have re-arranged the game.

Thanks to the poorly thought out recent round of the Cup, unlike the 8 Super league teams who weren’t involved, we are now already looking forward to playing an extra game against Wakey, between two other League games, in a 7 or 8 day period. A second scenario that is replicates this log jam of fixtures between now and round 23 would be ridiculous and it beggars belief that anyone would have the audacity or naivety to even suggest it. Injuries are part and parcel of the game; suspensions are your own fault and are usually down to the inadequacies of your players. To say that Hull FC was surprised to receive the request must be the bloody understatement of the years, so far!! I like a lot that ‘Marvellous Marwan’ does, but boy he was pushing it a bit there!! After all those years in the past of battling through 4 game Christmas and Easter programmes, It’s almost inconceivable, even in the modern game, that a Club could ask for a postponement because it didn’t think it’s under 19’s were ready for first team rugby because that, when you stand back from the situation, is probably what it was down to.

Fans across the game were up in arms that the request had even been contemplated and Marwan certainly over reacted in the media on Wednesday with comments that reminded me of another very rich person (who owns a football Club) who we all know and love (not) as well. Mr K said in his Manchester Evening Mail column, “People’s actions showed to me their true colours. It also showed a clear hatred and bitterness towards the Salford Red Devils. I am not happy with the attitude of people towards my club. We are resented. My message for those who clearly hate us is quite simple – they are the ones who my two fingers are aimed and stuck up at.”

Come on Mr K, with home gates like last weekend’s of 2,600 you should be the last person attempting to distance yourself from the rank and file of RL fans, for your club needs all the patronage it can get!! For me it looks like paranoia on a grand scale; it’s a professional sport that is inhabited with passionate and biased people; make stupid comments skewed by self interest, and you’ll get slated!

However all that said I still suspect that pretty unbelievable course of action was more down to my first theory and it was, by and large, a case of smoke and mirrors intended to put us off our stride. I think the Salford hierarchy had targeted this game as a winnable one, against a team that were obviously struggling in front of an unhappy home crowd. So come on Mr Koukash have a heart, don’t take us lot for fools, stop being so defensive and stop playing games. You should never ever have been so arrogant as to have even muted the idea in the first place. In fact why don’t you go and visit the Wizard of Oz and see if he’ll do you two for one deal for that heart………….. and a brain! Oh dear…. is that two fingers I see ‘aimed and stuck up’ in my direction now?

Before all this kicked off, and I should stress that bit, Salford attempted to sign Jordan Abdull on loan to try and help fill the breach in their obviously flagging resources on the field. In normal circumstances it would have been a good opportunity for the club to get Jordan some much needed Super League match practise whilst not risking him in our first team. However the fact that we were wracked with injuries too and also perhaps because we didn’t want to risk the possibility of Abdull facing us last Friday, the request was turned down. In the end he came on for us in that game and seemed, I have to admit, to add a bit of organisation and sparkle. Of course the move by Salford resurrected the rumours I mentioned in here back in February concerning our interest in out of favour (and perhaps over the hill) Salford forward Tony Pulatua, but the Club denied that, although I think we might still be in for the aging Red Devils player. Time I guess will tell, but one thing’s for sure, Salford’s on loan prop Scott Taylor, who I thought had a good game on Friday, is definitely our man and should be announced for 2016, any time soon.

Well, the last thing you want when you are in the hole we are in is to have you best player banned for the second time in just 12 games for the same thing! However that’s what happened to Mickey Paea last week. Let’s be honest from the off and say that Mickey isn’t a dirty player at all, in fact he’s a genuine, hard player who is honest and appears as far as I can see to play fair. However obviously he has an issue and seems a bit susceptible to raising his knees in the tackle. It appears that this is not so much in the tackle as when he is going forward and that prompted me on Tuesday to have a look at a few old videos to see where he is going wrong. It appears to me that he stoops very effectively when he runs with the ball and uses his legs and the kick in them, to get as much momentum as possible on impact. In so doing, they certainly come up and into the face of any would be tackler trying to get round his legs.

It’s not the first time he’s had this problem and it’s something that the Coaching staff should have addressed by now, who knows, perhaps they have and he’s taken no notice? But, whatever, he obviously has to improve his technique because we can ill afford to have Mickey missing again. Still, at least he’ll be back full of wind and pith for the Cup game against Castleford and boy will we need him that afternoon.

How interesting it was to read his week that the vote intended to rubber stamp the Super League Clubs accepting the Marque signing rule at their June meeting is poised on a knife edge, because as well as the Clubs not being able to agree on the format, five Clubs are against it outright and we are one of them. The others are apparently Wakefield, Castleford, Huddersfield and Rovers! It’s interesting isn’t it and our negative attitude to it is probably an indication that should the rule be approved in some form or other by the member Clubs, we might not be taking part in it anyway!

You know, Adam Pearson is a good bloke, but he’s also a businessman, a sporting entrepreneur and in for a lot of money at Hull FC, so when he speaks we have to listen and understand that he’s probably saying what he’s saying, because he’s been there before. As fans we have I guess to accept it too, even if indeed we feel we’ve heard it all before. On Wednesday in a good article in the Mail by James Smailes our owner is quoted as saying, “The fans know it wasn’t good enough and they are showing that by not coming to matches it is down to the team to show some desire and show the team spirit to get the performances right to convince those fans again. There’s no hiding the fact we need to start winning and people need to look at themselves, myself included, and say, can we give any more? If we can, then it needs to start on Friday night”

Well we at least got the points against Salford Adam and that’s a start, but there’s a long way to go to getting back to 13,000 gates too. What I think we did get with Adam was some insight into the fact that he now perhaps understand our frustration out on the terraces when he said, “I was very disappointed. It simply wasn’t good enough and I can assure the fans that everybody within the club knows it was not good enough”.

We’ve all heard those statements from Adam before, but that doesn’t mean as a genuine guy, he doesn’t mean every word, even though for some, still hurting from the Giants game, it was one piece of rhetoric too far. However when you stand back from it all, the fact is, for me, that the time for talking is over and now to all intense and purposes as fans all we need is just a bit of hope; a new hope that things are at least going in the right direction. Many I’m afraid, as Fridays attendance proved, just ain’t convinced of that at all!!

We all just want to feel that we are progressing towards being a big club again and one that has a chance of beating the old enemy and winning something, sometime soon. The twitter campaign of #iwanttobelieve is so pertinent as we DO want to believe that things are on the right track, because as a fan it’s not the defeats, nor the disappointments and not the performances that do for you in the end, it’s the hope!! It’s the past months and years of our unrequited hope, manifest as they are in new dawns and shattered dreams, that final wear you down and eventually ‘kill’ you off; just as they have done for a lot of would be attendees of late.

I said last week, rightly or wrongly, (and it appears from the feedback I got that it depends which side of the ‘tunnel’ you are, whether you agree or disagree) that it looked to me as if over the months and years the culture running through the very DNA of the Club has been to win just enough games and play at the right intensity just enough times, to ensure the Coach and the players keep their jobs and thats it! That comment didn’t please some and it won’t please them again when I repeat it here. However I and hundreds of others sat there in the crowd believe it to be the case, we’ve seen it all before way back to the days of Richard Agar. The players change, as do the owners and coaches, but that culture seems to run on, deep seated in the very being of the Club, and until the whole club find a way to prove us wrong and get the Club on the upward road with some real hope for the long suffering fans, then little, as I see it, will change.

Now after a bit of a hiatus over the Airco Arena business and as we all wait to see what happens about the Premier League inspection of Hull City’s Academy facilities, the Allam’s were at it again this week, pissing off another section of the City ‘faithful’ this time the travelling away supporters. With the new TV rights granted to the competition this year, all Premier League Clubs were asked and agreed, to set aside £200,000 for 3 seasons out of the money they already receive from that Sky allocation to help and improve away support at games. Just about every Premier League Club has ‘looked to their own’ and provided free transport and reduced ticket prices for away games for their own fans. Sadly it would seem, other clubs aren’t owned by people with such contempt for the fans as it appears that the owners of our local soccer team seem to have. In fact it’s hardly a surprise is it that this week Ehab announced that he had decided to spend their £200,000 on improving the facilities and providing new TV’s etc at the away section of the KC, for the benefit of visiting supporters and all that whilst Stoke have put on free buses for their own fans to every away game.

There is little wonder that its open warfare on the terraces now as in effect he is using this money to replace expenditure that should come out of the SMC to improve facilities at the Stadium; and what’s more he‘s only improving those that benefit fans of other Clubs. So when the Spurs or Stoke fans arrive on their free buses clasping their subsidised tickets, they then get the benefit of new and improved facilities not afforded to the home fans of Hull City! Quite frankly once again on this subject, you just couldn’t make it up!

Well this week in Codgers Corner I want to take your mind back to that fabulous 1988/89 season which was Brian Smiths first at the club and when, despite losing our first four games, we fought our way to the Premiership final and almost turned the form book inside out. A run of six victories over Christmas got us up there near the top of the League, and more steady form ensured that we got a home draw in the first round of the play offs, when we beat Cas 32-6. Once again because of the way that the games worked out in that first round, we found ourselves at home the following week too, this time we beat Featherstone 23-0. Both games are worthy of covering here in the future, but my over riding memory has to be Brian Smith coming onto the pitch after the hooter and racing towards the crowd displaying with his fingers that there were two and then one game left to us winning the Premiership. What a guy he was, he was as excited as we were.

So we got to Old Trafford, for a game in which no one gave us a hope, but this was Brian Smiths team, full of battlers and tryers. We looked hungry that season, and the fans knew that even if we didn’t win, we would continue hunting for trophies, because that year the Boulevard was buzzing. Widnes had a side packed with stars, that’s why they were known as ‘The Cup Kings’, but in the end it was the homespun unknowns of Hull FC that took a thrilling final by storm. Thousands of FC fans packed the M62 on the way to the game, and at Saddleworth Moor the whole thing ground to a halt as three packed lanes of traffic crawled all the rest of the way to Old Trafford.

The atmosphere in the ground was nothing short of electric and although Widnes had just had to travel ‘down the road’, as always, in a gate of around 40,000, we outnumbered their fans about three to one. In the end it was a game that I remember best for three critical incidents either side of half time that in effect cost us the game, the cup and the glory.

As we kicked off it was immediately apparent that we were in this one to win it, as our forwards led by Dannett, Steve Crooks and Welham pushed the Widnes six back at each drive. When we got the ball Lee Jackson was masterful at off half running first this side, then that, and ruffling the Widnes tacklers in the process. Of course as often happens after all this endeavour, with the FC well on top, the opposition scored first. Their rangy danger man Emosi Koloto had been kept quiet all afternoon until he broke a Windley tackle and started off down field. As Fletcher came across to grab him he sent out the deftest of passes to centre Darren Wright on half way, and the speed merchant ran straight down the middle to score. A Davies conversion saw us behind on the score board, when we were easily the better team. Next we received a real blow because as he was sandwiched between McKenzie and Joe Grima our scrum half Phil Windley was knocked out cold. He had to retire for the rest of the half although I remember Pearce made an excellent stand in 7, and dictating play for the rest of the first period.

Back we came and after three occasions when loose forward Gary Divorty almost got away from the Widnes defence, he at last stepped out of a Hulme tackle and sped to the line where he almost scored himself before slipping out a peach of a pass for Welham to crash over. Pearce goaled and we were level.

By this time ‘Porky’ Pearce was running them ragged as his prompting and probing almost got both Eastwood and then Sharp in for tries. In the end though a penalty on their twenty five saw him grab two more points, to give us the lead for the first time. At this point we were threatening to take the game away from our illustrious opponents, but then the first of those three incidents occurred deep in the Widnes half.

In the last minute of time added on, Pearce was lining himself up for a drop goal, when Jackson instead went blind at the play the ball and fed centre Price. The youngster sent a bullet like grubber towards the corner flag for O’Hara to chase, but somehow Andy Currier got in the way, it stuck in his ‘bread basket’ and he was off. Brilliantly Price somehow recovered and moved to tackle the Widnes man, only for Tony Myler to step across and obstruct him, leaving Currier haring away down the left wing to score and Price on his backside and we went in at half time trailing 10-8. The FC fans were not happy and gave referee John Holdsworth a right ribbing as he left the field, and with chants of ‘Cheat cheat’ ringing round the Hull end, we went off in search of a Bovrill.

The second half had hardly started when Widnes scored again, and it was a try that was to be the killer blow! Paul Fletcher who was playing really well for us at full back pounced on a loose ball and ran off only to be called back by the referee for a scrum with a Hull put in; what happened to the advantage rule we all shouted. Amazingly we only lost one scrum with the head all afternoon and that had to be this one, where the referee should have waived play on anyway. Again Price was obstructed and pulled down this time by Currier, and once Alan Tait had given Martin Offiah his only bit of clean ball all afternoon, what happened then was a foregone conclusion as he scorched down the wing as only he could. Another Davies conversion meant that all of a sudden we were 16-8 down and two tries behind. We needed a quick score and looked to have got one three minutes later, as the third critical incident started to unfold.

Paul Welham was pulled down inches short of the line and from the play the ball Jackson dummied to runners Blacker and Eastwood before shifting play the other way for O’Hara to cross the line and clearly put the ball down. He was immediately carried out of play by both Pyke and Wright, but as we all celebrated and the Widnes players heads went down, amazingly the touch judge ruled no try and John Holdsworth the referee ordered a 25 yard re start.

There was still plenty of time to go, Porky got a good angled penalty on 58 minutes, and Blacker, Nolan and Fletcher all went so close, but in the last 20 minutes we could not add to our score, although our defence which was superb ensured that the opposition didn’t get any either. So as the hooter went we had lost our first final for several years, 18-10.

Fletcher our full-back that day was inconsolable!

It was a sad ending but deep down in our hearts we all knew as we tramped away from Old Trafford that something big was developing under Smithy, although few of us could envisage what was to happen just two years later at that same ground against that same Widnes team. Good days!

Old Trafford was a bit different back then!

The last edition of this chronicle was, after the Huddersfield debacle, a tough one to write, so it was so blooming gratifying to receive literally dozens of messages from Diary readers last week in response to the doom and gloom ridden offering I eventually cobbled together after the game. Thanks so much for taking the time to get in touch, some of you because you had noted my comments about whether in fact it was worth keeping going with this diatribe every week.

As readers I hope that you understand that as you get home from a game and desperately try to put the disappointing happenings that we too often seen these days, in some sort of order, trying to actually put some sense in it all is a sobering and daunting proposition. Would you want to sit down and try and write about it?

Sometimes after games like Huddersfield its downright impossible and I sit there into the early hours of the morning trying to tone my thoughts down a bit, as I search for some positives in a desperate attempt to say exactly how this very average fan feels. I had always set myself a target of getting to edition 500 and no doubt, if I’m spared, that will be the case, but it’s great to know so many folks out there ‘get it’ and understand and feel the same as me. It’s a reciprocal thing really and as I write it and you read it, perhaps the only thing that we all get, is that we can’t just discard the club we love like an old worn out pair of shoes and so at least we know that others feel the same and we’re all in it together.

You know, I see how many people ‘hit on’ the Diary through RL fans every week, but I honestly haven’t checked for literally months on how many people actual enter the blackandwhites site to read the Diary. Last Wednesday Joe, who helps me every week, commented as we exchanged texts that we were up to 2300 hits already, with by the end of the week that figure exceeding 2500. That’s a lot of bloody readers and as well as being quite humbling, pretty bloody scary too!! More people are in fact reading this rubbish every week now, than at any time in its nine and a half year run.

Then again times are probably harder than they have ever been in that period. Still, we’re all just trying to make some sort of sense of a depressing situation. Thanks so much for all your support and please keep the feedback coming in, as we all soldier on and see where we get to, but boy its hard work being an FC fan these days isn’t it?

Apologise’ this week also go to the guy who I accused of getting upset and giving some ‘Slaver’ to Danny Houghton at the end of the Huddersfield match. He sent me the details of the confrontation and according to what he said, it was certainly not a one sided exchange in any way and his comments were far from slaver! Sorry about that mate!

So there we are, its Warrington next week and no doubt a journey home from Lancashire with lap top ‘on knee’, trying to explain another 80 minutes in the continuing and often difficult saga of the Club I love. With just 4 home league games left before the split (just one in the next 8 weeks and then three in July) it’s now a tough run in. It will still be a miracle, I think, if we finish in the top 8, but at least a win in last Friday’s game gave us all a bit of hope. Thanks for sticking with another edition and once again my appreciation goes to everyone who got in touch and everyone who supports this Diary every week! See you again next week!

Try to keep believing!!!!!!!!!!!!

Faithfully Yours,