The Dentists Diary – 445th

Wow that was good!!! What an afternoon! If we play like that every week, win or lose we’ll at least be entertained again, for it was, for a change, a game I can only described as really exciting to watch!! We were just so much more adventurous!

I used to say that, “It’s the bad times that make the good ones so good” and good it was! Well done to everyone who went no doubt like me, in hope rather than expectation, because for once we were rewarded and the Halliwell Jones was a great place to be at 4-45pm yesterday afternoon.

It’s a long time since I’ve talked like that in here, but being in that wonderful crowd as that drop goal sailed though the posts was just something else. Around ten minutes earlier we’d been 10 points down with all around us the Wire fans singing, “Going Down, Going Down” and yet, in the end, we won it with a single drop goal right on the hooter. The drama was complete and that’s all anyone wants or can ask for, there was excitement, endeavour and even a bit of dare I say expansive rugby too.

It’s not the end of our woes I’m sure of that, but it might at least be a glimmer of hope that could just points towards the beginning of the end. Liam Watts said on Friday, “We have a game-plan and we know what we have to do, we just have to execute it. It’s going to be a decent match with some decent points scored” You have to say after that game, he was spot on with that!

Almost 24 years to the day that we beat Widnes at Old Trafford I wore the ‘Shopacheck’ shirt I wore that afternoon and now it looks like that just might be a fixture for the foreseeable future; or at least until we lose again!

A bit over the top? Well, let’s face it, when you’re a fan it’s never just ordinary is it? It’s invariably steeped in superstition, it’s often controversial and always either brilliant or tragic and, although my judgement may be tempered somewhat in the cold light of tomorrow morning, as I sit here in the car writing this on the way home I still can’t really believe it happened!!

The scenes at the end on the away terracing were simply amazing and I just wish you could all have been with me to feel the excitement as for once it was a joy to be there. In fairness throughout the game we looked capable of keeping in touch with a good Warrington side who found it hard all afternoon to deal with a sharp, running game from Pryce and a few tricks from Sneyd, while one of Rankin’s best games and a brilliant off loading performance from Wattsy, were paramount to the outcome too.

But let’s go back a bit. Built in 2004 in a well conceived partnership with Tesco and with a capacity of just over 13,000, the Halliwell Jones is as good a purpose built Stadium for the game as you will find. Central, with a mix of standing and seating and a viewing experience that ensures you’re close to the play, I always look forward to going there and this year was no exception. It’s not so much about the winning or losing and certainly not the long journey, but rather the place that I like and I thought yesterday as we walked up towards the Stadium, how we would love such an ‘Allam free’ home to play our games in back in Hull.

The M62 was pretty clear, although the journey was still frustrating, having first got tied up in the traffic around the Beverley 10k and then in a cycling ‘time trial’ on the Wolds. But we got there in good time and as we entered the away end I was, as always, reminded of that wonderful 26-16 victory under Peter Gentle in 2013 and a great night in the 2005 play-offs when under John Kear we beat the favourites for the Grand Final 40-6, (just a week after they had stuffed us at the KC) and we all sang ‘Joey’s Going Home’ to Andrew Johns; what a night that was and how times have changed eh? However yesterday, little were we to know that we would witness another memorable afternoon and an unlikely win to boot!

Gareth Ellis back and bangin’ em!!

It all started quite well with Ellis back banging the Warrington attackers at every opportunity, before a typical Thompson run saw him end up under the posts with three tacklers on top of him, but then it was ‘same old’ again! Having received the kick off after that try, we drove for three tackles before Talanoa I think it was, got up to play the ball without a player on him, held the ball in one hand and dropped it. There was a scrum and three plays later they were in, oh boy I though, here we go! Just as I did a few minutes later as we conceded two penalties that marched them down field and they scored again. We’d seen all this before, but strangely, from that point onwards even though we went 10 points behind near the end, we still always looked as if something could happen when we had the ball, and this week it did. Sneyd although still looking a bit confused and frustrating at first then opened up and had a great game. He brilliantly dummied to kick on the sixth and ran in to score under the posts in front of us and then near the end again he ran instead of kicking on the last tackle, stepped the defence and put Lineham on a long touchline hugging run to the corner.

Ironically, if anything the ‘go forward’, so often our only strength of late was perhaps not as good against a massive Wire pack, but we were promised a more expansive game and indeed we got one. The scoring was still mainly down to individual efforts but we at least looked a deal more capable with ball in hand and there were many heroes out there! At the end the relief on and off the field was palpable as Rankin danced and celebrated with the fans and simply didn’t want to go off at all.

Super League XX Warrington v Hull FC Sunday 10 May at Halliwell Jone Stadium Hull FC celebrate Setaimata Sa try

Super League XX Warrington v Hull FC Sunday 10 May at Halliwell Jone Stadium Hull FC celebrate Setaimata Sa try

Sa goes in for what is becoming his regular ‘crash bang’ try!

At the end Mrs R (the lady who on Thursday, when Paddy Ashdown said “If that exit poll is right I’ll eat my hat”, replied, “He doesn’t bloody wear a hat”) said, “That was just amazing, because how often have teams done that to us?” and as usual she was spot on!! In the end it all came down to that massive, massive set piece after the referee had stopped the game so a player could have attention back down the field. It was just like American football as both teams set themselves for the play. As the official waved the play to restart with 3 seconds on the clock, Houghton meticulously played the ball like a quarter back in the ‘snap’, a pass was spun out straight at Sneyd and with defenders charging out from their ‘marks’ like ‘linebackers’ towards our line, it was through the posts and the hooter was sounding. I’m not sure it was the best performance of the season, but it was certainly the most exciting!

SPORT with James story 1-5-15 Hull FC's Marc Sneyd kicks a goal during their Super League match against the Salford Red Devils at the KC Stadium. Picture: Simon Renilson

SPORT with James story 1-5-15 Hull FC’s Marc Sneyd kicks a goal during their Super League match against the Salford Red Devils at the KC Stadium. Picture: Simon Renilson

Over she goes!!

The Warrington fans drained away towards the exits like water down a culvert, while we just stood there singing and dancing as if we had won the Cup. OK, it’s only one victory, and we still made some cardinal errors and gave away a few soft penalty’s but it was the manner of the win and the way we snatched it from the jaws of defeat that was so pleasing. Around me, it was as if the long suffering Faithful had blown their safety valve, there were even some tears, as weeks of frustration and stress came bursting out and you could literally taste the relief.

Performance wise everyone did their bit. Sa had a strong game and took his try really well, Lineham was found wanting in defence for two second half tries, but his own effort was a real ‘flyer’ and just about guaranteed us at least a draw. Yeamo misjudged a kick before one try but generally worked his socks off and also saved the game with a typical crunching tackle in the corner near the end, while Talanoa played well through-out and Pryce and Sneyd looked like proper half backs again. Michaels had a better game too and upfront Watts had a great game as did Ellis, while Houghton looked much better and Green and Whiting played big parts as impact players of varying skills from the bench.

So it’s only two points, but a richly deserved victory and could it just be a turning point? Well, who knows; this is Hull FC we’re talking about here! There were still issues and problems, but all that said you couldn’t fault it for effort and for excitement and all those of you who went must agree that providing as it did the most unexpected of wins, it was simply an amazing afternoon out!

So what’s been happening this week then? Well, Brian Noble for Football Manager? According to Dave Parker in the RL media last week he was certainly tipped to be coming and expected to be here for the Magic game in Newcastle. Through James Smailes the Club said, that there is nothing in it, but who knows? It’s an interesting one and should we appoint a football manager, then I guess he would be as good as anyone who is available. He certainly has experience, has coached, is a media personality and is pretty much out of work; in fact little different to Shaun McCrae when he came really. So……perhaps not such a good idea after all then?

Firstly, let me say this strong rumour doesn’t surprise me, Noble was desperate to be seen about the place and a regular in the West Stand (buying his own ticket) when Adam was looking for a replacement for Agar and back then just about offered himself for the job. Whether it’s wishful thinking from Nobby or actual fact is the big question though!

If there is anything in it, then it does pose the question of what now for Motu Tony? Another issue is that it will be hard for any such appointment, should it happen, to not be looked upon by many as the arrival of a ‘Coach in waiting’, as it would seem to be sensible should Lee ever find himself out of work, to appoint the football manager in the interim position, at least until someone else is appointed. I know as a Club we don’t exactly get on that well with Noble and so along with there being totally unsubstantiated rumours of takeovers and buy outs around too, it’s hardly surprising that when I asked the Club on Friday, I was told ‘It’s all absolute rubbish’ but it’s another one to speculate on and something else for us all to wonder about eh?

Well there was more good news last week as well!! Congratulations to everyone in our youth set up, as we heard we were one of a record six clubs who to have their junior development programmes assessed by the independent accreditation process, (which monitors the performance and progression of the 11 UK-based Super League clubs) and who have gained an ‘Outstanding’ rating in 2015. That’s four more outstanding Clubs than in 2014. We have joined St Helens and Wigan who have retained their top rating and Leeds Rhinos, Warrington Wolves and Widnes Vikings who have also been upgraded.

But, notwithstanding this tremendous accolade from the RL which was with the return of Gareth Ellis another piece of good between game news this week, here’s one for you; despite this ‘outstanding’ academy set up, are our Under 19’s as good as we were told they would be a couple of years ago, when several folks at our Club were salivating over our under 16’s team? Indeed with now 6 clubs attaining that level, are most other Clubs as good as say Wigan, in promoting their youth, or is it a fact that too many players are either coming into the Super League first teams ‘under cooked’ and ill prepared for the physical step up, or indeed not making that move up at all? Other youngsters, although retained by us and other team’s, appear to be in limbo, too old for the Under19’s yet too unprepared for the first team and therefore reduced to having to play in a dual registration situation at Championship Clubs where the ethos, structures and indeed game plans are completely different to their parent clubs. In the old days the style of play and the coaches tactics were reflected at all levels of one Club and the ‘A’ team was often used to polish up those plans and the young players who were expected to play to them, when they stepped up into the first team.

You know, in the past, when I asked about some of our young Under19’s stars filling in with the first team when injuries prevailed, I have been told by our owner and our Coach that they are “Not ready”, yet with the current situation will they ever be fit for purpose for a seamless transition into in the first team? Add to that the fact that with all the so called jeopardy about these days, Clubs in trouble will be less likely to blood ill prepared youngsters and you can see a return to journeyman ‘holidaymakers’ and short term ‘quick fix’ solutions being employed to stave off possible disaster at the end of the season.

Remember the old days back at the Boulevard when a young player would learn his craft in the Colts, hone his trade in the A team with aging first teamers, stars coming back from injury and utility players waiting their chance, before being first noticed and then if good enough groomed to be potential stars of the future. Then, when the time was right they would burst into the first team ready for the fray and sometimes even proving to be a real revelation? Remember too, the players who were just held in reserve like Tony Duke, who was destined to play the majority of his games in the A team, helping out the youngsters, but who was always there when required to fill in (in Duksey’s case pretty brilliantly) in the first team.

The issue is of course that we need to bring back either the old ‘A’ team structure or at the very least an under 23’s competition with around 5 or 6 open age players allowed. It’s so obvious and sensible really but another tier of playing to fund is without doubt something that the cash strapped owners of the Clubs, facing falling gates, corporate business, sponsorship and shrinking income streams, would never ever vote for.

The game is on its arse as far a seamless progression for kids over 19 into the first team is concerned and it looks to me to be destined to be that way for a while yet. Last week Johnny Kear, (who speaks so much sense and who, incidentally, I’d have back in the organisation tomorrow), said that every coach and trainer in the game is crying out for the return of a proper reserve grade structure, but it’s all down to money and the owners just won’t have it! For me, if the game is as awash with TV money as it’s said it is, then the RL should step in and see if they can facilitate this type of competition returning, because I honestly believe it is a must. It’s said in sport that ‘money talks’, but in Rugby League, in this case, I expect the owners will ensure a dumb silence will prevail don’t you!!

But the Diary can’t be all sweetness and light despite that great win and it’s still certainly tough being an FC fan this season isn’t it? In fact sometimes it’s darn near impossible to comprehend just what will happen next. I mean take this week when many of us wondered just who you can believe as one minute you’re being told by Lee Radford that Jamie Shaul is injured, then on Twitter the player is telling you he isn’t, boy it’s never dull at Hull, (world capital of temperamental rugby players, charismatic Coaches, expanding ego’s and miraculous recoveries), is it!!

However, that wasn’t the end of it as we were confronted with a quite astonishing interview by Humberside’s Mike White broadcast on Thursday. I’m not a ‘coach basher’ as you know, but on this occasion it’s hard not to wonder a bit and if you heard it you were probably as confused as I was! I have listened to it three times now and if you didn’t, then basically I guess Lee said Shaul WAS injured and was dropped from the Salford 19 for that reason, but then added that it was also because he had a poor game against Huddersfield (so was he dropped because he was physically unfit or because of his actions in the previous game??). Then like some shamed schoolboy who doesn’t know his twitter from his marbles and catapult, Shaul is wheeled out by the Coach to give his side of it, where he agrees he has injury ‘issues’ but he’s had them all season and believes he WAS dropped because of a poor performance against Huddersfield.

That seems to bear out what interviewer White claimed close friends of Shaul had indicated; that he was a player reported to be feeling he had been made a scapegoat for a poor all round team performance. So it’s all as clear as mud and with some quite frankly cringe-worthy attempts by our Coach to be funny and him accusing the player of being naive, it’s really hard to defend this episode at all. Why Oh why didn’t we just say the conflicting claims from player and coach were just a misunderstanding and now ‘it’s sorted’. It would have raised a few questions and eyebrows, but it would have then as an issue burned itself out! It was just so un-necessary. Just my interpretation I guess, you may feel differently about it, but I found it all a bit embarrassing!

You know it’s often said these days that the top 8 in Super League is for us lot and indeed every other Club in the League, a must; however it’s still, despite that win at the Halliwell Jones, increasingly looking to me to be a big ask for Hull FC. Mark Minichiello said after the Salford game, “Our start to the season has been pretty poor, but we are not far away and it is a pretty congested table. If you string a couple of wins together you soon climb up the table. We are still in a good enough position to make the top eight, but I don’t think the performance we gave against Salford would beat many teams in Super League”. Few reading this will argue with that!

I’ll go one further and say that I think we need now to win at least 5 more games to guarantee a position in the ‘Super Eights’ and for me the games we should be targeting are Rovers at Newcastle, Wakey home and away, Cas at home and Widnes and Catalan away. We can drop one from those six but with the other games being against Saints, Wigan and Leeds, those are a real set of must win matches. Should we be targeting games and thinking about resting players and packing the team with all our best for others? Well it’s pretty academic really because it hardly seems likely, although I suspect that’s what Rovers did the other week at Wigan. Many reading this will say we should simply target every match, but we have to get real and realise that things have changed and it’s no longer about valiant defeats and exciting but close losses, we’ve already had several of those and may rue the day we failed to get over the line, but now in our current predicament it’s all about one thing and one thing only; points!!

The fact is that I still really believe that we don’t want to be in that bottom 4 simply because I wonder if we can survive it. So, when you etch it in those terms and see the games we have to target, I guess with 4th place pretty much out of reach and 6th 7th and 8th perhaps still a sizeable ask, it’s going to be tough. In a competition that has been restructured to include what is I have always said just too much ‘jeopardy’, the next few games are going to be really hard, although yesterdays win should at least be seen as a bit of a launch pad to build from. I also acknowledge the fact that because I am a devoted FC fan, I find it hard to look at any such competition re-organisation, without my judgement being coloured by my partisan views about where my own Club will finish up!

Although an away win at say Leeds or a home victory against Wigan would be great, they are, in reality, pretty unlikely. We can hope for a massive upturn in our form after Warrington, but if the top 8 is looking unlikely around the middle of a June packed with away games, then as a Club we have to look to the ‘group of death’ in August and September. Then perhaps in an aim to get everyone ready, if not resting players, we should not play any who are not fully fit, in preparation for the battles ahead. You can bet Featherstone and Leigh will be doing that by then! Let’s hope it never happens but if, in an old style format, we were battling to avoid the bottom place or the bottom two, to miss out on relegation, it would be exciting but manageable for all concerned, but this new situation is a bit different. I think myself that the next few weeks will be very interesting indeed, perhaps we’ll be Ok, but then again perhaps we won’t!

Something’s are so, so much bigger than just a game!

Lizzie Jones, what a brave, brave lady! #RIPDannyJones

Well it’s open season for those transfer rumours and on the terraces they abound. One that won’t seem to go away is that both Warrington and Wigan are looking to lure Tom Lineham away from the KC. I don’t think there is anything in it myself, we would be stupid to let him leave, but our cause isn’t helped when Wigan Warriors coach Shaun Wane has admitted that he is not looking to sign any players from the NRL this year. Why is that of concern? Well the worry was when he added that he is however looking for a replacement for NRL bound Joe Burgess and one can only presume that will be from a British club. I hope Tom stays, he’s a bit of a ‘card’ at times, but a real crowd pleaser and a character and we don’t have that many of those do we?

I was hearing this week that Sky Sports are struggling a bit and having to make at least 60 people redundant. With the recent revelation about the worrying dip in viewing figures for Rugby League, I hoped, I really did, but unfortunately it seems that none of the rugby league commentary team are threatened in the clear out! Also struggling a bit are Salford and I wonder what Mr K thought as he looked round the pathetic 1,972 crowd the Red Devils attracted last Friday night, boy that’s poor!

The Airco Arena stuff has certainly gone quiet although that didn’t stop a lot on Social Media making it up themselves and claiming that the Council have backed off getting the place back for the Community, a stance instigated, they say, by the Allam’s presenting the National Labour party with £300,000 towards their election efforts. l contacted a Councillor close to the action who sent me an E mail that explains the Council’s position and he agreed that I could enclose an extract from it here for your information.

“The reason that the council are holding off is that should the Allam’s fail to upgrade the academy they will take up the pitch, but if they were successful we would then instigate proceedings to have it removed which is very expensive, people need to remember this is public money and we need to be mindful of that, so if by waiting a few weeks we can resolve this, why would we start (Lengthy) and expensive court proceedings? As far as the question of those political contributions, they were to the National party not Labour (Hull) we have had not one word from the national party on this, It has never even been mentioned in passing, to sum up, if we can get to where we need to be cost free, we will take that option every time”

So I guess that explains where we are and now we must all await developments and wonder.

My headline of the week comes from the Yorkshire Post on Thursday night, it’s unbelievable but absolutely true, “Hull KR 54 Wakefield 56: Mantellato sees Robins crush Trinity” Wow that’s a hell of a comeback that one!!

This week in Codgers Corner I want to go back to a season when we were promoted under our then coach and rugby League legend David Doyle Davidson. The game took place at the Boulevard on Sunday 17th April 1977 at the culmination of a season that had seen us win 21 out of 25 Second Division league matches and that title of Champions was the first thing we had won since the Yorkshire Cup victory at Headingley some eight years previously. It also saw us back in the First Division for the first time since the formation of two division set up in 1973/74. The previous year we had been edged out on point’s difference, so the outcome of this particular campaign was so sweet for us the fans. This match was in fact the penultimate game of the season and the trophy was eventually presented to captain Brian Hancock by Norman Collier a week later when we played and beat Dewsbury at the Boulevard.

That Sunday against Whitehaven we had already secured promotion, but the Champions title was at stake and over 4000 attended on a sunny spring afternoon. I watched the game from the Threepennies, where the mood as the teams ran out was buoyant. The first few exchanges were typical of games against the Cumbrian side that was renowned for their big uncompromising forwards. On the 9th minute there was a surprise though when from a play the ball on the 20 yard line McCurrie dropped a goal for the visitors to take a one point lead, however just six minutes later George Clarke pounced on a misdirected Cottier pass and raced clear to step out of full back Gallaghers tackle and score. Marshall superbly converted from the touch line and we were 5-2 in the lead. Within 2 minutes Clarke was at it again this time evading three tackles and taking play deep into Whitehaven territory. After a brief spell of pressure for the visitors a scrum was formed and as Chris Davidson passed the ball away from the collapsed scrimmage Clarke made the break and sent Graham Bray in at the corner, however Marshall could not convert his effort this time.

Although McQuire reduced Hull’s lead when Boxall was penalised for a trip on Martin, in the 31st minute Hull went further ahead with a move that had been especially devised by David Doyle Davidson and nick-named ‘The Buzzer’. We were awarded a penalty 20 yards out from the Whitehaven line. Five FC players lined up shoulder to shoulder just behind Chris Davidson who tapped the ball. He then passed it to the first man as all five players turned their backs on the advancing defence. The players passed the ball along the line completely confusing the Whitehaven players who could not see who had posession and then, all of a sudden, Boxall turned and as the other FC players ran off in different directions he charged at the advancing defenders who were by now totally confused and in disarray and taking three players with him he crashed over the line.

Marshal improved the try before, just before half time, he set off across the line making a fine cross field run before handing on to captain Hancock. He sent Chris Davidson on a 45 yard try scoring run for a spectacular score that had everyone on the terraces cheering. It was one of those chases where it seemed he was never going to get there but just as three defenders caught hold of him he plunged in and with another Marshall conversion we were already 18-3 up at half time. Whitehaven were clearly hurting and came out in the second half really fired up. Gainford took a swing at Boxall before a full scale scrap ensued which referee Stan Wall had to wade into in an effort restore some sort of order. Hull were penalised and from the ensuing play Pringle forced his way over the line and McQuire kicked the goal for the visitors to get the score board moving in their favour again.

It wasn’t long though before Hull cut loose again. Tindall, Duke and Ibbertson battering the big Cumbrian forwards much to the glee of the crowd, who were by now in party mood. Firstly Marshall kicked a penalty and then in the next passage of play as Whitehaven threatened again Mick Crane strode into their line and made a superb interception, before running 70 yards to score. George Robinson improved that touchdown before, as if to pile on the agony even more, Hull made a double substitution with Trotter replacing the limping Marshall and Chris Davidson being swopped for Keith Hepworth, who returned for his first game for nearly two months. On 61 minutes Hull struck again when Robinson took Hepworth’s brilliantly flighted pass to scythed through the defence and side stepped Gallagher to score another great touchdown. Finally for Hull, 6 minutes from time, Hepworth worked an opening for Bray to shoot through for his second try and Robinson converted from wide out.

In the dying seconds Whitehaven finally got on the score board again when McGuire, the pick of their team, grabbed a loose ball and drew Robinson before putting Charlton in, but it was too little, too late and as the conversion went wide referee Wall blew the whistle and we were over the fences and onto the pitch to congratulate the Champions. It was a great moment in our clubs history and one that was a credit to all the players in that make-shift team and particularly to our coach David Doyle Davidson the man who galvanised them into a winning team and invented the ‘Buzzer’. Great Memories eh?

Well. it’s safe to say that at our Club these days there is a real shed load of doom and gloom around the terraces which has lifted for now, but you wouldn’t be an FC fan, unless you were wondering when it will return. This week the ‘Shaulgate’ interview was totally bemusing and doesn’t help a Club that seems to be floundering a bit in the eyes of the fans. Up to this weekend and a good showing against the Wolves, when we’ve lost we’ve been unconvincing and when we’ve won we’re little different and it’s certainly been a tough old season on ‘the touchline looking in’ hasn’t it? As a group of fans, for several seasons, we’ve certainly not been that over enamoured by what we’ve seen, but for the next 6 days we have a respite from the League and the harbingers of doom, as we look forward to the Challenge Cup on Saturday. I wish you could have all been at Warrington to get you all up a bit, but now I at least feel that I have to make an effort to ensure that this week, things are different!

About 1400 went to Sheffield and cheered the lads home in a nervy and at times scary performance in the last round, but now we face last year’s finalists and a different proposition altogether in Castleford. In the next few days as we all approach the game, I think we have to try to really get behind the team and show the Club that should we get knocked out on Saturday, from what is (whatever Sky and Super League say) the most prestigious and historically significant competition left in the world, then it won’t be down to the a lack of commitment from the fans. On Saturday Lee Radford said of the players concerns about playing open rugby at the KC “…..that comes with a bit of apprehension in the surroundings – when you lay a play up and all you hear is moaning and groaning. Whether you like it or not, that causes apprehension”, (which I think is totally unfair because he wouldn’t be so quick to criticise the fans if he sat where I do and saw the game from our position!!), and so this week perhaps we all have to close ranks round the team.

However many fans attend on Saturday and that’s a real worry in itself, those who do turn up must get behind the boys to create an atmosphere that dictates that if we come up short in the game and exit the last real chance of winning anything we have left in our 150th year, then the long suffering foot soldiers in the crowd will have done their bit. It’s a massive ask and a tough game but that performance this weekend does, I think, give us all a glimmer of hope.

It is of course hard to gauge just how much effect on a player or a team vociferous support on the terraces has, but this Saturday at the KC we shouldn’t die wondering. Cup games are always ‘one off’s’ and do or die matches that can on occasions dictate for the participating teams their possible future in the League. Often a good Cup run ‘rubs off’ on the rest of the campaign and this game against Castleford is at home and therefore a massive chance to progress forward to a quarter final.

However this will only happen if we bring our ‘A game’ to the table (some of you, like me, will say that up to yesterday we hadn’t even got it out of the pantry!!). Anything short of that and I’m convinced we’re out, because Cas are an impressive outfit with an excellent ethos and a great Coach, so they will be hot for the fight! In fact I think they might just have ‘rested’ a couple last weekend and so it’s a really big ask for us, but I’m staying confident and I hope you will are too. I said two weeks ago that in this celebratory year, both on the field and the terraces, this game is certainly a ‘basket’ into which we should be putting all our eggs, we have to have a real go, or indeed die wondering!!!

How bad is it at Hull FC? Well not quite as bad as at some other places, spare a thought for the poor old Hull City fans; 14 millionaires running around the KC for 90 minutes a week and yet not one…not one, would speak to the fans on Radio Humberside after the game against Burnley; that for me is pathetic!!

So, on that thought I’ll leave you this week, tired but happy and for once just a bit optimistic! I can’t make it up, or say things that I don’t feel in my heart and so again it’s been an interesting write and after another hard week for me and many, many Hull FC fans, all of a sudden things might just be looking up a bit! Under stated or over the top (and despite the views onf the Club about this rubbish), I’ll just keep trying to reflect what this ‘Average Joe’ on the terraces thinks and what is perhaps on all our minds. Thanks so much for all your support, wasn’t it great at Warrington yesterday, but now we have to all stick together, get to the KC on Saturday and help roar the team on to Wembley….well we can at least HOPE can’t we? It’s certainly an undisputable fact that, as has been the over arching theme for weeks in here and as it was again when we were 10 points down yesterday with just 10 minutes to go, sometimes hope is all we have left!!!

Keep Believing!!


Faithfully Yours

And Finally I am indebted to my pal Hutchie for this brilliant pic which arrived with the sub text “You going into Children’s books mate??”