The Dentist’s Diary – 456th

Well, well, well, what a performance that was…..

…twelve points down at half time to the reigning Super League Champions in their own back yard and we come home convincing winners by 10 clear points. No one saw that one coming, either before-hand or especially at half time!

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Team spirit!!!! At the end the players huddle with joy while the fans dance on the terraces! We don’t wear those Steve Prescott purple shirts enough do we?

It was a great end to an interesting week when Washy and Manu had been announced as signing and Sa had waved goodbye to the Club and when, I have to say, I had to concede to being really impressed with our recruitment for next season. I mean to say when you step back to look at the 6 we have brought in you can’t really fail to be impressed really can you? That was all then finished off on Friday with a real ‘play don’t worry’ performance brought about by there being nothing at stake but pride in the shirt. It was a brilliant showing by a depleted FC outfit and how good it is to be able to write an upbeat diary once again.

A Friday night trip across the Pennines to St Helens is never a very appetising one and when there’s little at stake, we are beset by injuries, it’s bucketing down with rain and there are motorway flooding warnings on the radio, it takes a certain type of fan to travel over there. So firstly, with diversions on the way back and some rough weather on the M62 as well, a very big well done to everyone who made the trip; it’s a blooming long haul! Despite a feeling of futility and a smaller than usual travelling support, the Glasshouse pub in the City Centre on the ‘trail’ to the Stadium was still doing a roaring trade with FC fans before Kick-off. So, well done to all who went and how good it is to report that for once, everyone was richly rewarded.
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The view from the FC end!

Looking back, it was simply an amazing victory with Watts, Paea Houghton, Mini and Westerman absolutely massive in the middle, as one or two players showed Ellis, Manu and ‘Frank the Tank’ that they might not be quite the ‘shoe ins’ next season that they expect to be.

Behind them Sneyd played as well as he has done in the Hull shirt, Shaul looked a real class act and Naughton was deadly wide out. Our academy youngsters played error free rugby and all stood up brilliantly and perhaps, just perhaps, Pryce’s injury is proving a tad fortuitous too, as our coach now HAS to play Jordan Abdull, who took another big step forward in his career development as he manufactured two tries and played like a seasoned pro throughout. He’s going to be a really good player.

It was all about flamboyance and a devil may care attitude on one hand and a modicum of control on the other. In the first half we shared a similar completion rate to Saints, before in the second, as the ‘Entertainers’ continued in the same vein, we cut out the mistakes and that’s what won us the game; well that and dare I say, some really good game management! You see unlike other games we’ve seen this term we kept the ball away from the opposition, showed no fear of playing a bit and kicked deep and accurately with a chase that guaranteed we played the Saints at their own game. Adversity took a hand with injuries, concussions, diarrhoea attacks etc. but we came through! Had we done the same last week, we would now be two from two, (the coming through the adversity bit of course and not the diarrhoea attacks stuff)

Once again we had a real dig, but this time we added some good off the cuff rugby that ‘stuck’ and kept Saints on their toes from the start. Their Coach Keiron Cunningham said after the game, “Hull had nothing to play for and are playing better rugby now than when they were really structured. They looked dangerous and I said during the week they are playing ad lib and took Cas to the wire and should have won there. They are without doubt very dangerous with the ball in their hands, with three very effective ball players,” That certainly summed it up really, because in the first two games of the Super 8’s we have thrown caution (and at times the ball) to the wind and played some really exciting rugby, this week however we also had the ‘management skills’ to battle out a win.

We were robbed by the referee in the first half (but more of that later) but came through that set back well and tackled the second in absolutely spectacular fashion, to grab a famous victory which was our second at Langtree Park this year. Talk about another example of ‘Play don’t worry’, our carefree style with ball in hand was great to see and it should have been a more comprehensive win, had the referee got it right with two Saints tries that for me were dubious to say the least.

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Mini was massive!

Looking at the team we put out and the setbacks we had before the game, (as Sa was injured, Hadley got concussion and Feke was taken ill), it was easy to say that perhaps we would do well to keep the score down, but some of our younger players had massive games, which rendered any claims that this new merger business is anything but a cost cutting exercise null and void. We have young stars ‘in waiting’ there and we just need to give them some more game time. Fash, Abdull and Downs made big contributions and add to them Naughton, who couldn’t get a game for weeks and who took his chance with both hands and Shaul who has been out of favour for ages and you had half the mix of youth and experience that came through on Friday in pretty spectacular fashion. But, it was not only ‘pressure off’ for the players on the field, because it was also the same for the Coach and perhaps Lee should learn from Friday too and have the faith to play those youngsters and some of the others we have more often, when needs dictate.

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Flying In! Curtis Naughton takes to the Skies!

You know since that mare of a game at the KC where he made so many mistakes Joe Westerman’s been really solid and grown in stature. He had a great game on Friday and scored a good try off a peach of an inside pass from Jordan Abdull, while Miniciello who has taken some time to come back from that calf tear, was absolutely amazing. Described in the media as ‘a machine’ he had his best game for ages and was simply everywhere in defence and at times unplayable in attack! As I said earlier Sneyd had his best game for weeks too and kicked brilliantly at the end of sets, while his lobbed kick over the defensive line for the Shaul try was great to watch and a move timed to perfection.

Houghton again tackled everything in sight but for me looked a lot better out of dummy half, while Paea and Watts simply tore a well fancied Saints pack ‘a new one’ with some real power play. Of the youngsters ‘Bullhead’ Brad Fash is a real hard nut in your face forward who lives up to his nick name perfectly, while Downs did ok in defence but showed that he can run some really good lines when on attack. A word too for our much maligned Coach who handled his short handed troops really well off the bench in the second half, giving the youngsters just long enough for them to be effective while stretching the game time of Paea and Watts brilliantly!

Diary reader Mike J. summed up precisely the lot of the long suffering FC fan on such occasions when he wrote to me on Saturday morning stating, “It was a special result! We’ve served up so much dross this season and then we get performances like this, Magic weekend and at Caravan Park. For an FC fan frustrating doesn’t even begin to describe it”.

So all round a great game a wonderful if unexpected win against a Saints team that came out of the first half on top, but spent the second like rabbits trapped in the headlights! Well done FC!

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What a win!

As aside and as I said earlier, it was a small but resolute band that made that oh so rewarding trip, but they witnessed for me one of the answers to the greatest question in our game of why are people staying away and/or walking away from Rugby league. If you discount the fact that the way things are going every game will soon be available to steam live on line, (which must see some fans staying at home to watch from their armchairs), then after that it simply has to be the officials.

You know, when you lose, then any sort of ref bashing is considered to be sour grapes and let’s face it, perhaps it often is! However when you win, then you have an opportunity to be more objective about it all and can highlight issues that perhaps you can’t articulate authentically on the back of a loss. So coming on this occasion from a more pragmatic standpoint, I want to cite that amazing missed forward pass in the first half, when the referee waved play-on and a close and balanced 6-6 ball game became 12-6 and then 18-6 in just two minutes. After that obvious clanger our heads went down a bit and Saints did what good teams do and capitalised to go in at half time in a stronger position than they deserved. It wouldn’t have changed the final score had they run away with it and as it was it didn’t stop us going on to win it either, but it was crass bad officiating from a referee who up to that point had been downright pernickety as he over-reacted by blowing up for several other marginal ‘forward’ pass.

OK it was a small mistake in the bigger scheme of things, but it could have been so critical at that point and in the context of a game where a team are hanging in there, it was a body blow. When it’s so obvious, surely the only answer is for the second referee in the stand to tell the match official that he has got it wrong, because on the screen it was so blooming obvious. Bugger all the arguments about angles and hands facing one way or the other, it was blatantly forward!! Just watch it on TV if you can, I’m afraid he even had the assistance of a white line to see the pass started way behind it and finished over a meter in front of it, but still he waives play on!! It’s a little point now after we stormed back to such an impressive win, but in the context of the game in general it was all I thought about at half time and the sort of thing that really gets the fans ‘goat’! Let’s get it sorted eh?

So to the week gone by and as predicted here in the Diary last week the ‘Heigherton signing’ stuff was all a smokescreen (although I’m told that had the Manu chase come to nought, then Harrison Hanson was on the ‘back burner’) as on Thursday we announced the signings of Sika Manu and Danny Washbrook to finish off our recruitment for 2015. I’d still have liked a recognised hooker as back up for Danny Houghton, but you can’t have anything and looking across our dealings from Scott Taylor who was signed 9 months ago, through to these final two announcements, it’s clear to see that our recruitment is better ‘pound for pound’ than anything we have seen in the last 5 or so years.

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Another Manu comes in and boy is this one is a bit of an animal!!!!

I think with Fonua and Taylor we have replaced, at least like for like, Paea and Lineham, while ‘Frank the Tank’ and Manu are real plusses to add to the quality of the pack. When you think of Taylor, Watts, Pritchard, Ellis and Manu in the same pack it is certainly an appealing proposition. OK we are a bit heavy on back row forwards, but I believe the availability of Manu and his wanting to join some old pals at Hull FC was an opportunity just too good to miss out on. In the end though it was only the fact that Motu Tony had his finger on the pulse of the NZ/ Islander side of things in Australia, that saw us pull it off.

We all watched as we switched our target from another centre, (with Inu apparently still in the frame two weeks ago) to Manu. The only question in my mind and perhaps yours is still however, ‘Do our backs match the obvious quality of our forwards?’ The answer to that I think is an emphatic no, but then again a really aggressive pack backed by two good half backs has the ability to make any back line look better and with Michaels, Shaul, Naughton and Lancaster there will be no shortage of ‘already in house’ pace either. However for now we can sit back and digest our recruitment for 2016 and accept that all the incoming players have something to bring to the party and with the Aussie lads at least, we know everyone has an exemplary attitude off the field and hopefully a strong mental presence on it.

Manu, who played in the World Cup winning NZ team and who has captained Tonga, is a real coupe if only because, although the Club tried really hard to keep the lid firmly on the negotiations, (hoping I’m told, to hold an announcement to coincide with season tickets going on sale), once news got out of our interest, another ‘top four Super League Club’ (Leeds) were hounding the player for two weeks with a bigger offer. Whilst it’s said in the Brisbane papers that three NRL clubs were waiting in the wings too. But Motu Tony had done the spade work in advance and acting in an honourable way, Sika stuck to his word that it was never going to be a move solely about money and honoured his agreement with Tony. He appears to be now looking forward to playing with some old pals and his cousin Mr Talanoa at the FC. Sika is a real handful, an all action player who is great in the loose and who Andrew Voss described as ‘A wrecking Ball’, but he’s also a good defender who can control the ruck speed and things on the ground. And, if he’s as good as the last player of that name who played for the Club, he’ll do for me!

Possibly because they knew that it would be looked upon by some as a backwards step, on the same day we put to rest the worst kept secret at the Club this season; that Danny Washbrook has returned to the fold. Firstly let me say that Danny is certainly a filler rather than a thriller! Having left the Club in 2011 he has become a real fans favourite at Belle Vue. But why go back? Billy Joel once said, “Then the King and Queen went back to the Green but you can never go back there again” and in general in life I have always thought that it’s not a good idea to go back once you have moved on.

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Back in the fold again 2012 Man of Steel ‘hit man’ Wishy Washy!

So, why have we signed him? Well he just 29 and has a wealth of experience at Super League level. He can play several positions loose forward being the most common, while he can get a gig at half back and hooker too if needed. But although I think myself that he brings a depth to the squad, his attitude on and off the field was the factor that made our club bring him back. He certainly won’t be a top earner but when compared with some of our ‘fill in’, fringe type players his application and attitude is ten times better. He’s certainly dedicated and I’ve seen him dozens of times at Total Fitness doing extra’s on his days off and putting in additional training in pre season.

There however is for me the rub, because there are a few players on our books who have the same level of skill as Danny but with his arrival I expect one or two who have proved to not be able to hack it mentally to go. So now, with recruitment over, the departures from the Club will take centre stage in our thoughts as fans, because with the signings we’ve made, something has to give!

There was certainly an outcry among the Wakey supporters when he announced that he was leaving. As one hardened Wakey fan said, “Whilst the competition is weak, Danny is clearly a strong contender for our player of the season. Good player and a good bloke to have around the dressing room by all accounts. I wish him all the best” While I had to laugh at another Wildcat’s fans comment when he said, “Admitted he’s been our best player this year (though that doesn’t say much). Thanks for your efforts this year Danny, you have shown players like Craig Hall what it means to have a spine and guts”. So, he brings some application if nothing else, he’ll only be a bit part player really and he is I guess, for me, still a bit of a strange appointment, although the more I think about it the more I see the reasoning behind it. Talking to him over the years he does love the Club and will be relishing a return to the KC and although never a world beater he is at least made of the right stuff! Welcome back Washy!! Now let’s see whose off, shall we?

Well it was hardly a surprise to hear that Sentimata Sa was leaving the Club at the end of the season. It had been rumoured for some time that Widnes were showing an interest in our out of contract centre or second row, who I have to say has hardly improved his chances of staying on at the KC over the last couple of months. Pretty injury prone and rumoured to have ‘very fragile’ knees, he has been out of the team more than he has been in really and when he has played I have certainly been unconvinced by his performances. He’s another really nice guy and a great clubman both in the community and to work with on the training pitch, so I’m sorry it hasn’t worked out and of course wish him well, but for Sentimata it is a case of ‘we don’t want to lose you but we feel you have to go’.

What was interesting was to read the guff that the poor old Widnes fans were being fed on their Club’s website which reflected almost exactly the rubbish we are at times expected to believe. Past master of the art ‘Spinmyster’ James Rule is of course now at Widnes, so it was not really a surprise to read a ‘few fairy tales’ when head coach Denis Betts was interviewed about it. He said, “Sa is a fantastic signing for us. He is someone that we have coveted throughout this season and that we have thought highly of over the past couple of years. He wants to play as a back-rower and that’s what we were looking for. He also has the ability to pass and play having spent time in the halves at Catalans Dragons. He has got a great strike rate and is very tough physically and signing him introduces another international class player into our group”. So Denis, can we perhaps hope to see Sentimata playing in the half’s next season!!!! I don’t think so myself but, hey guys, who knows? It’s certainly all a bit over hyped and pretty farfetched to me, but it’s a funny old game and who knows Mr. Sa might just prove us all wrong; but I don’t think he will!! Good luck anyway Sentimata and thanks for your efforts whilst with the FC!

It would seem logical that with our recruitment done there’ll be no more Whiffs in the near future…… or will there be?

Of course there will, I mean can you see a Hull FC with no rumours for 6 months? There are always stories about and often ones that I discover have some ‘legs’ too. We all have to realise that rumours are often just tittle-tattle, but sometimes they do have a deal of credence, only often for the Club to then change direction at the last minute. Inu is a good example of that, we had him all but signed before we changed course at the last minute. Last week I confirmed it was Manu that we were to sign, even though names had been ‘mentioned’ to act as decoys, because of another Clubs interest and 5 weeks ago I told you we had signed Washy, but that said as I say, circumstances dictate that you can’t always be right in the end. However here’s a couple to be going on with in the form of questions. Firstly, which high profile player at the Club who is reported to struggle a bit attitude wise off the field, would they perhaps consider a cash bid for where one forthcoming and secondly, can we expect a new Assistant Coach coming into the Club in the near future? Oh boy…those Wilf’s whiffs just keep coming and coming don’t they!!

I had a quick chat with Lee Radford last Tuesday who told me he was very, very frustrated with how we were playing at present but added that he placed great store in the players we had recruited so far and he hoped they could produce a top 4 finish. I felt that was a bit ambitious really, particularly after Castleford, but I guess he has to keep hoping but I was reminded of that chat next morning, when I read the Mail headline, “Scraping into Super 8s won’t be acceptable in 2016 says Lee Radford” You bet it won’t Lee!!!

In those circumstances however I have to say that I wonder if you like me sometimes wish you had your own Tardis, Time Machine or even a car like Doc Browns in Back to the Future so that you could travel to the foyer of Morrison’s in August 2016, grab a Daily Mail and read the sports news on the back page? Will it read, “Hull hit the top 4 just at the right time” or “Scraping into Super 8s will be unacceptable in 2017 says Lee Radford?” Or worse “Middle 8’s hold no fear for us says interim Coach Kirk Yeaman”. The fact is who knows what will happen? I think I do, but then again my expectations are so low these days all I can do is hope I guess. But one thing is starting to become clear and that is that Adam Pearson is giving it one last throw of the investment dice with some stonking signings for next season and I join him in hoping it will be enough.

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Two years and two FA rulings on, and still the stupidity continues!

Well the subject of creating a new reserve grade has been on the agenda in the sport for some time now and I’ve followed the possible introduction of an unofficial ‘A’ team type competition in here over the past few weeks. Wigan Warriors and Warrington Wolves, in particular, are vocal advocates of bringing back such a competition, because the current Under 19’s rules see older players waiting in the wings or having to play duel registration away from the ‘community’ and ‘play book’ of their own Clubs. At least in the past, after A team’s disappeared, senior squad members – either returning from injury or unable to force their way into the first team – could gain game time in the then Under-21s reserve grade as over-age players, so they were guaranteed at least some football. So several Clubs are to run their own competition next season although this week surprise, surprise League leaders and Challenge Cup finalists Leeds, have come out against it.

Wigan and Warrington have admitted that, given they are unable to vote any official change through, they are instead deep into plans to organise their own supplemented fixtures next season on top of the Under-19s competition and it appears that the RFL are willing to help facilitate it, as the likes of St Helens, Leigh Centurions, Salford Red Devils and Sheffield Eagles are all now thought to be ready to take part as well. Last week when the Yorkshire Post asked Garry Hetherington why he was so against this move he said, “I am a totally, utterly, committed supporter of the reserve grade and we’ve got a terrific one – it’s called our academy. I think it is delivering everything we’d hoped it would – outstanding players like Ash Handley, Stevie Ward, Liam Sutcliffe, Josh Walters and Robbie Ward are all coming in and getting an opportunity in our Super League team. We’re now delivering a pretty strong academy – better than we’ve ever had before – and to supplement that with another team would actually significantly weaken that going forward, and also weaken the Championship, too.”

Other Chairman however argue that clubs have voted against a reserve grade competition for purely financial reasons and players past the age of 19 who have yet to fully mature could now be lost to the game entirely. This week too Warrington head coach Tony Smith labelled the current system as leading to “Mediocre League rather than Super League”. He cited the absurd ruling that saw Super League clubs needing to decide by July 24 whether players would stay on dual-registration for the rest of the campaign or return to their parent clubs. Essentially, that meant some fringe players recalled, perhaps for fear of potential later injuries to first-team regulars, may not feature anywhere again in 2015.

But Hetherington insisted: “That’s a minor issue. You’d like to think the game in its wisdom can come up with a solution. But the RFL has a problem as it’s been torn. They are the governing body and have to do what is in the best interests for the sport.” For me that says it all and he’ll be doing all he can to outlaw the new reserve league or the creation of one that allows some open age players. Let’s face it he thinks he runs the Rugby league anyway and many inside the game would indicate that, by and large, he does. There is a Reserves Championship currently in operation, but it consists purely of non-Super League teams – Leigh, Dewsbury Rams, Featherstone Rovers, Sheffield and Keighley Cougars – many of whom are already showing a great interest in being involved in the Wigan/Warrington plan for 2016. As for us well the new Academy will mean I guess that with a limited number of players actually on our books we won’t be getting involved at all…so no surprises there then.

This week in the Codgers Corner spot I want to go back to the 1976/77 season when after several years in the doldrums we final got promotion back into the First Division, for one year at least. That promotion season under David Doyle Davidson we won 14 out of our last 17 games losing two and drawing the other one. With 6 games to go on Tuesday 6th April we all went off to the famous little Crown Flatt ground at Dewsbury to face a home team who were just five points behind us in second place, but who had two games in hand. More significantly too it was a time when we were suffering because our right flank wide was certainly vulnerable and prone to leaking points. Recognise anything there? It was always a great trip to Dewsbury and so we all took the afternoon off and travelled by car. We got there at 5-00pm and had a few pints in the Royal Ensign before making our way to the stadium, which was at the top of the hill in the little West Yorkshire ‘Heavy woollen’ town.
The pundits in the media gave us little chance of winning because Dewsbury were unbeaten at home that year and had put together a really handy team. In fact they had amazingly only conceded 6 tries on their own ground all season. In addition our cause was not helped by having five players out injured but as was often the case with sides coached by ‘The Doyle’ we rose to the occasion in what was a nerve tingling battle. We kicked off in front of almost 3000 people as young stand in half back Peter Hall lofted the ball towards the Dewsbury line as we played ‘up’ a pitch that had a distinct slope. The first couple of sets saw the big Dewsbury forwards including Harry Beverley, Jeff Grayshon, Hankin and Whittingham tearing into our six. We stood strong though and Tindall, Salmon and Crampton all pulled off big hits to blunt the home clubs initial exuberance. Hull suffered an early shock when fast hands across the home team’s line exposed our right flank where for the first time on several occasions our cover did not get across quickly enough and Clarke and Bray were left exposed. Despite a valiant last effort from Graham Bray, Simpson got the scoreboard moving with Dewsbury’s first try. Nigel Stephenson missed the conversion from the touch line though, but we were 3-0 behind after just seven minutes.

Still we fought back and a good run through the middle by debutant Hall set up a great position from which we pressured the Dewsbury line. Boxall and Davidson were held short but then Mick Crane ran at the home defence dummied once and then twice, before releasing Clarke on a free run to the line. Marshall missed the goal but we were back on level terms and soon actually took the lead when the seemingly invincible Dewsbury defence cracked again. Bray gathered a high cross field kick brilliantly and linked well with Clarke who went to the defensive line before kicking ahead and chasing and gathering himself to score a brilliant try. Marshall missed again, but ten minutes later Chris Davidson increased our lead with a well taken drop goal and it was 7-3.

We were going well but constantly exposed at the right hand side where with just 4 minutes to go to half time we were caught again. Heggarty shot down that side and with two men outside him unmarked, he dummied, cut back inside and scored although on a bad night for goal kickers, Stephenson missed again and we went in at the break ahead by 7-6.

The second half started with the floodlights coming onto full power and the end to end frenetic battle being re engaged. Despite an obvious weakness on our right, individually Hull could not be faulted as every member of the team did his part, but for me two players stood head and shoulders above everyone else on the field. Chris Davidson worked like a Trojan as he tackled everything and everybody and strained every sinew, often chasing back to tackle and before prompting, probing and driving the ball into and through the Dewsbury defence. If Davidson was ‘Man of the Match’ then Mick Crane was close behind him. He grafted supremely hard in defence whilst causing a lot of problems with his trade mark darts and bursts, as he twisted and jinked his way clear on several occasions when better backing up would have maybe led to a try.

In the first ten minutes of the second half Nigel Stephenson edged the West Yorkshire outfit ahead with two drop goals and at 8-7 they scented victory. We battled hard though and beat back three or four concerted attacks with both Alf Macklin and Jimmy Crampton pulling off big hits on Langley and Agar wide out. Then with just 15 minutes to go Craney struck! Getting the ball on the bump from young Hall he drew three players before producing a massive ‘dummy one way- side step the other’ which threw the whole defence into disarray. Still twenty yards out he headed for the posts. Fed up, it would seem, of looking for supporting colleagues he drew full back Langley and winger Mitchell, who eventually caught up with him five yards out. Like ‘a slippery eel’ Mick seemed impossible to tie down as legs pumping, he somehow squirmed and wriggled his way over the line. Marshall at last got a goal from under the posts and two minutes later Davidson carved out a massive gap for himself with an arching run, taking the ball right to the thirty yard line, before being tackled. Hall shipped the play the ball to Craney who coolly dropped a 35 yard drop goal and at 13-8 with ten minutes to go, we were amazingly 5 points in the lead.

Of course it was not over yet and as the home team went back to our right side again, the cover defence was found wanting and with both Clarke and Bray clutching shadows, with just 5 minutes to go Thornton sent Whittington over and he touched down, close enough, this time, for Stephenson to goal and the scores were tied. In some frenetic closing minutes Stephenson again missed with a penalty and Davidson and Crane shaved the posts with drop goals. As the whistle went there was I think a sense of anti climax from both sets of supporters but in the end it was 13-13 and a great point kept us an equal distance away from Dewsbury and still very much on track for the promotion that was soon to become a reality. It was a smashing night that I remember to this day in fact it was a great season, coming as it did after so many disappointments and problems over the previous decade. And of course it was all masterminded by master tactician ‘The Doyle’ and I have never forgotten either what a great coach he was!

So there we are what a great night it was on Friday and what a frustrating and bloody unpredictable team we all support. However now it seems, with our recruitment done, it looks like we are already into the annual game of ‘next season is the one’. I guess too that we can now look forward to an avalanche of publicity, owner appeals, ‘two for one deals at Nando’s’ and a mounting rhetoric surrounding season tickets, as we enter a phase I call ‘The beseeching months’ And it’s a period that we have endured year in year out for ages. This phase has become, for better or worse, an integral part of our year as we enter the annual Season Ticket hard sell! We’ll all no doubt make our minds up about renewing in good time and the new recruits certainly make 2016 a season that has possibilities, however it comes at the end of a veritable procession of those seasons doesn’t it? The question is I guess one of, just how low have we sunk this year and how much does the feeling of ‘here we go again’ out weight the Pritchard, Manu, Taylor and indeed Saints and Magic weekend performances, effect!

That’s the conundrum for us long suffering fans. Throw into the pot mergers off the field and a lot of abject performances on it and we seem to be left with a fan base at the lowest ebb I can ever remember, as we continue in an environment where, although usually a performance like that at Saints and these sorts of moves into the transfer market would have instilled a renewed vigour and will to ‘go round’ again, this time people are still weighing up their options.

What will happen? Well who knows? Performances like Fridays must help but that sort of effort has to be sustained week on week to eventually impact on the psyche of the fans. Will we see a surge of renewed interest now that the signings are announced, or will the resistance that has looked likely for most of the current season manifesting itself? For me, pass wise, the jury is still out but it will be interesting to see just how the Club approach it all. They certainly need a very big sell indeed; well they do if they are to convert the many hundreds who feel that perhaps now enough is enough.

Whatever the final outcome however I can see a much reduce level of subscriptions when tickets first go on sale, as this time around folks will invariably hang onto their money until the very last minute; if that is, they are to part with it at all. Whether that action will have been borne out of economic necessity, bloody mindedness or simply a feeling of wanting to scare the Club into understanding just to what depths spirit wise we have all fallen, is an interesting question. I hope things turn out alright and we have a good level of renewals, but Adam has already warned on the radio that if we don’t subscribe we could be back to ‘passing the buckets round’, so watch out next season because our main shirt sponsor could well be Wilkinson’s or B&Q!!!

Thanks to everyone who has contacted me this week especially to Brian in Spain, Sammo in Scotland, Mike in Cheshire, and Tim, Garry, Harry, Monica and Alan S in Hull. It’s been an interesting old week culminating in a very unexpected ‘plus’ for all FC fans, a win at saints, but as for the next 7 days….well who knows, but it will certainly be a tough one against Leeds, in a game I deem to feel is almost an impossible task. Well who can blame me when judged against the way they played last time they visited. However we just have to play the same sort of game as we did at Saints and Hope!!!! Thanks for your continued support!

See you at all the KC on Friday!

Faithfully Yours

Wilf!

And finally and not rugby related, here’s an interesting one I saw this week after some mindless idiot had throw a wine glass through the window of St Mary’s church in Beverley after Ladies Day at the Races. The Hull Daily Mail published the picture below, of the damage. I think whoever did it should be ashamed, but I have to admit that whether it was divine intervention or not, he does look now as if he’s blowing his nose doesn’t he?

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