The Dentist’s Diary – 463rd

Well, after a week off, the Diary is back and I’ll try and keep it going if I can throughout the closed season. I can’t promise the same amount of content every week but then again some of you reading this might just be pleased about that! However from now on I will try to do some digging, be objective and hunt out some stuff that interests me and hopefully you that will keep us all going through the cold dark days that see us heading towards the 2016 campaign and a decisive year in our long and distinguished history.

On Saturday the grand final was a superlative finale to a great season end and like them or not, Leeds deserved the win and are now a truly iconic team. Oh and thank goodness fairytales still do happen! While the last few weeks have been great to watch and packed with twists, turns, excitement and endeavour, it’s just a pity that our own FC campaign ended with such a flat feeling. But next year…….watch us go!!

There’s certainly been a bit going on, but with the Diary 10 years old in just three weeks time, for me the past few days have been a time for, if not reflection, then at least for assessing my own personal feelings about that journey and a time to examine too, a bit of reticence and dejection that has crept into my supporting of late.

In the East Stand my friends and comrades of many, many years seemed despondent and removed from it all by the end of the campaign; while one or two have been missing from their seats altogether. Yet, I have to conclude that the state of our Club at present dictate that at the very least, as a fan, I need to once again bite the bullet and rally round the team I love!! Where it ever so eh?

However more of the retrospective stuff later, because I was so pleased with our two bits of good news on Saturday, with the announcement that over a third of last year’s season tickets have already been sold (around 2,300 I would estimate) and the confirmation that the Club are to definitely take part in a 15 round Under 23’s Competition next season. The season ticket sales stuff is good news because the discount period has been stretched by 5 weeks and moved back from the end of November (as it was last year), to the start of January 2016. Better still, we are told that 25% of the fans who have signed-up are new recruits to the scheme. There are still 16 weeks to go before the first game and 12 weeks to that season ticket deadline, but it looks like a lot of fans like me have decided that our owner needs some backing at a tough time for the Club; let’s hope those sales levels continue.

The fact that Lee Radford has agreed the fixture format for the new Under 23’s league is also great news and pours cold water on the rumours that were circulating, concerning us being about to withdraw from the scheme. I’ll certainly be going along to Bishop Burton again to watch the team play in what is to all intense and purpose a return to the old ‘A’ team format! It’s good too that the next step in Richard Horne’s development as a Coach sees him appointed to run the new team.

Rovers who have jettisoned a few of their current under 19’s recently, are said to be pretty miffed that we have taken this course of action, which in effect gives our ring fenced youngsters in the Academy both Under 19’s and Under 23’s rugby to play in, but for me it’s a great move and one that shows some foresight from the 7 Clubs that are taking part! There are bound to be issues and snags and even perhaps shortages of players along the way, but it sounds a good idea and one that we’ll all be able to assess at the end of the 2016 season.

Now, one of the main questions this week for me has been how do I describe Danny (Hitman) Houghton? Hero, workhorse, leader, tackling machine, player who is flogged to death, hit and miss in the passing department etc. etc. etc? Well one thing’s for sure, where everyone else at the Club has failed (miserably or otherwise) in the dream team and Man of Steel stakes, Danny has won the award of ‘Hit Man of The Year’ 3 times in the last 5 years and made a full 300 more tackles this year than his nearest rival the celebrated and acclaimed Mr Roby. But for me he is most certainly a bit of a mystery, a puzzle and even perhaps an enigma!

SPORT with James story 18-1-15 Hull FC's  Joe Westerman and Danny Houghton wrap up Ken Sio  during their derby friendly against Hull FC at the KC Stadium. FC lost the match 22-28. Picture: Simon Renilson Derby Friendly KC STadium Prints can be ordered at www.thisisphotosales.co.uk/hullandeastriding or telephone 08444 060 910

SPORT with James story 18-1-15 Hull FC’s Joe Westerman and Danny Houghton wrap up Ken Sio during their derby friendly against Hull FC at the KC Stadium. FC lost the match 22-28. Picture: Simon Renilson
Derby Friendly KC STadium
Prints can be ordered at www.thisisphotosales.co.uk/hullandeastriding or telephone 08444 060 910


As tough as they come!

An average of 45 tackles a game through-out the season is simply phenomenal; that goes without saying. However Danny still has some question marks against his performances, with his pass accuracy and selection the main bone of contention for many. Scooting from half back against a tiring defence there are few better players in the world than ‘Mint’ and believe me several Clubs would pay to secure his services. He’s brave too, something that was shown by the way he played with a busted sternum for the last two months of the season, however at the end of the day we need to see more, attacking wise, coming from a player who is probably called on to produce so many tackles simply because of the amount of times his colleagues have given up possession.

It’s great to have the top ‘hit man’ and I congratulate Danny for that but in the bigger picture, for me, Danny got his award simply because he’s usually found desperately papering over the cracks created by some of his colleague’s shortcomings!!

The thing about Houghton, like Horney and Yeamo before him, is that he just loves Hull FC and, like the other two, that’s his downfall too, because he’s another classic example of being ‘a prophet in his own land’. It’s a strange one, but it happens at all sports Club where a player becomes a ‘fixture’, because it’s then that they find every facet of their game under the fans ‘microscope’ while new arrivals are welcomed warts and all. I am personally proud that he is an FC player, but I think he is over played and a priority should have been signing a second hooker with a contrasting style to play ‘against’ him, just as Heramaia did for a season. Then I thought that Danny looked great, but fatigue must play a part in his inconsistency with ball in hand, however I guess our coach doesn’t see it that way and so I guess Washy will be the back-up if Mint is injured and we’ll see more 80 minute stints of heroic battling from an increasingly ‘knackered’ Houghton again next season! Well done Danny, it will be a long time before a player does what you have done so consistently over so many years in the British game and we should all be proud of you for that!

So, next up its the question of, is Westy ‘Off’ or isn’t he? Well an online ‘buzz’ started to spread last weekend that he was leaving with both Warrington and Leeds showing interest in a player who Pearson said just a few weeks ago was not for sale and in fact the subject of contract renewal negotiations. Last week Motu Tony followed suit and poured cold water on the rumour … or did he?

Reading between the lines it was what he didn’t say rather than what he did and all that rhetoric about how Joe will (like everyone else) get a contract if he plays for one, could well hide a completely different agenda. Personally I think it’s still wishful thinking on some folks behalves, but before everyone starts wringing their hands as another ‘star’ is threatened, remember that this talented player, who has ‘a great future ahead of him if he just knuckles down’, has been blighted by constant references to his off the field antics, his unprofessional behaviour and his Cas/Vegas exploits! Perhaps therefore any other Club chasing him could well be wary of taking a punt on him but in turn perhaps we shouldn’t be all that despondent should he go. Let’s face it, at any club the fact is that the administration can either handle a players temperament or they can’t and if the latter is the case it usually ends in tears, one way or the other.

However I digress, but if the Club have changed their stance on letting him go (I have always said in here they would take a fee if it were offered and nothing including Pearson’s comments in September on that fact has changed my mind because I know what I was told) then so be it. However if we are to receive a fee I think all those out there dreaming of another big signing for the backs, can think again, because for me the money we get will, I suspect, be used to keep the boat afloat. Hypothetically speaking, the way that we spend, or save, any fee received for Westerman will say a lot for our current position and will be, I think, a ‘litmus paper’ as to where exactly we now stand as a Club.

While I’m on players that appeared a bit wayward, Tom Lineham said his final farewells this week as he departs for Warrington and no doubt a glittering career as the resident try machine over in Lancashire. In the Mail last week, choosing his word carefully, Tom insists that he was pleased with what he has achieved in 2015 despite what he described as a frustrating campaign for the club. ‘The Flying Pig’ managed to claim 26 tries in 23 matches in all competitions last season, in what he also claimed was his first injury-free campaign. So, if he brags of such a good return health wise, why was he dropped 9 times during a season where we played 32 games? Well let’s face it most of you will say that his face didn’t fit, he didn’t get on with the Coach or that his well publicised attitude off the field was all wrong.

Sport for James Smailes - 28-7-13 Challenge cup semi final match between Hull FC and Warrington Wolves at the John Smith Stadium, Huddersfield. Pictured is Tom Lineham.    Final score Hull 16 - Wolves 8 Picture: Peter Harbour

Sport for James Smailes – 28-7-13
Challenge cup semi final match between Hull FC and Warrington Wolves at the John Smith Stadium, Huddersfield.
Pictured is Tom Lineham.
Final score Hull 16 – Wolves 8
Picture: Peter Harbour


My favourite Tom Lineham moment which I’ll remember forever, thank goodness I was there to see it!!

Perhaps it was a bit of all those things, but how many tries would he have scored had he played every game and would he now be top try scorer in the competition. Indeed how many of the games that he didn’t play in would have been won instead of lost, had he been on the wing in his usual predatory form? It’s all hypothetical of course, but all I will say is that if you have 30 odd blokes that all earn their living running at ‘brick walls’ for 80 minutes a week, then every Club will have characters that don’t quite fit the mould of ‘model professionals’. However, top clubs are probably classed as such simply because they sort that out!!!

Let’s face it this year’s Man of Steel is hardly a glowing example of either good character or strong moral fibre is he? Yet Leeds recognised his latent and natural ability, kept their heads in the face of widespread recriminations both inside and outside the Club, stuck with him, sorted his head out and moved on!

So was Tom dropped because he was a ‘bad lad’, because we knew he was on his way out and we needed to blood other alternatives, or was it just about the £140,000 we got from Warrington? We certainly seemed to purposely exclude him from a lot of the official end of season ‘Goodbye’ stuff reserved for Paea and Rankin and yet if Tom wanted away, then that was little different to the other two’s situation, because they wanted to move out too. One therefore has to presume that, as he scores tries for fun, then his attitude and/or his face simply didn’t fit!

One thing’s for sure unlike Broughy, Ben Flowers, Hardacker and many other ‘difficult characters’ across the game, at Hull FC we didn’t persist with Lineham, perhaps because we simply couldn’t handle him, or did he just feel enough was enough and that affected his attitude? Well who knows, but top clubs make sure players that they value who get itchy feet are looked after and retained. Let’s face it that’s how Leeds built the dynasty of players that have seen them excel this year. They weren’t all docile ‘nice guys’, neither were they offered loads of money ( it’s always widely acclaimed that they are on less at Leeds than top players at other Clubs) but the administration at Headingley kept the culture right and them happy, because they were their major assets. At Hull FC in a team that is next year heavily weighted again towards the forwards, it’s hard to see how a player that scores more tries than the number of 2015 games he played in can be surplus to requirements, isn’t it? Still what do I know?

It’s a few years since I was absent for the Player of the Year Awards, but circumstances this time around dictated that I didn’t attend, although for me the final outcomes were if not absolutely inevitable, then pretty predictable. I was a bit surprised however that Masimbaashe Matongo was voted Under 19’s Player of the Year. I know I have banged on about him in here as I have watched just about every Under 19’s home game this season, but there have been some great performances from all the youngsters and this one was a hard one to call. Players like Jansin Turgot and Jack Downs have been real cornerstones of the team too, so it must have been a tough call for Richard Horne to make. However when I step back a bit I guess that Masi shaved it, not so much for his form throughout, but more for the amazing progress he made over the season and the way he grabbed his almost fairytale debut at Wigan with both hands.

He is certainly a dedicated kid and a really nice young bloke who is desperate to succeed. I was privy through a third party to the new deal he was offered and it wasn’t that much ‘dosh’ wise and one could have understood had he decided to take up his University place to study accountancy. But, he wanted to give professional rugby a shot and I for one really do wish him well. He’s got a long way to go, but he’s one to watch I think and if there was a prize for the first player to have his own dedicated terrace chant after just one substitute appearance, he would have won that hands down as well!!!!!

Otherwise the POTY Awards were pretty predictable. The voting for the Fans choice was almost a straight head to head between Mini (winning with 48% of the votes) and Wattsy; no one got near them and that of course was reflected when the big prize was announced.

Hull FC v Warrington Wolves
Sweeping the Board at the Awards night, what a player Mini has been to watch this season!

Mini, Players Player of the Year, took the awards by storm and he obviously loves his life at Hull FC and recently true to form he’s been doing loads of media stuff before he takes a well earned break with his family in Italy. Watts was up there too, but I guess that it’s a sad reflection on our season, that we only really had two players in the running for the top award of 2015. However let’s face it a lot of players have had very ordinary season’s which has been reflected in the outcome of the campaign and any team worth their salt in Super League needs to have four or five players vying for the title, however I couldn’t separate the two stand out candidates and neither apparently could our Coaches, as they shared the top title.

I said last week that Jordan Abdull should, in my opinion, have got the Young Player of the Year gong and I still believe that was the case. Jack Logan was in the end successful and very worthy of the accolade because he’s undoubtedly one for the future, but he was still lucky to get it I thought. I say that because for me Abdull not only played for longer in the first team, but also played in several positions and proved a real ‘creator’, a scenario that showed a skill level way above his age and something that is still relatively unusual for young British players. Other interesting snippets from the night include Blake Solley of the RL, (who presented Feke with the Community Award), saying that there would be no changes to the Super Eight format next season, while I have to say it was certainly commendable when our Club, in our 150th year, posthumously awarded an outstanding contribution award to Steve Prescott! Well done to the Club for that!

While I’m on awards well done as well to James Clark our media and marketing supremo, commentator and game day announcer, who has been nominated for the Young Achiever of the Year award at the forthcoming Hull Daily Mail Business Awards. I don’t know if he will win, but if success was based on the hours put in and the innovative ideas you can develop with little or no financial support and few staff, then he’ll walk it!

I have said on several occasions that Jordan Rankin has been (and will remain in my memory) a real hero! It was never just about the ability or the effort he put in on the field, but more about his attitude to us lot on the terraces, his none stop effort, his love of the Club and indeed his loathing of Rovers. That was again borne out straight after the last game when Jordan said it would be a ‘fairytale’ come true if he could one day return to Hull FC and continue what he described as his love-affair with the club.

Rankin, considers himself to now be part of the fabric of the Black and Whites and believes, he said, that he still has unfinished business at the KC Stadium. Jordan told the Mail before he left (early) for home, “As they say once a Black and White, always a Black and White and you never know what the future holds, I’m going back to Australia to give it everything I’ve got and put in the best performances I possibly can for Wests Tigers and see where that takes me. If one day I come back and play for the ‘Black and Whites’ then that will be a fairytale ending to the story” Top bloke is Jordan and as I have always said one who really ‘gets it’, I’d have him back any day!

The Academy Merger continues to see changes in profusion, as I’m told that Sasch Brook has now left the Club and Chief scout for so many years Mel Harman has ‘retired’. However I’m hearing that several youngsters have been offered deals following the demise of the Under 19’s and that some of the offers they have been made, they tell me, have been pretty meagre! Callum Smith, a great prospect, has however started a Course at Bishop Burton and is eligible for our under 23’s, but our young second rower Matty Liggins has decided that the deal offered was just not sufficient to deter him from leaving for University! I’ll keep you posted on other developments as they come to pass in the coming weeks, but I still won’t be having anything to do with the new academy!

That position for this fan was further cemented when I was told that at the first meeting when parents took their youngsters along for the new merged Under 15’s team, some parents declared their displeasure after the kids had been told to stop wearing anything that was Hull FC or Rovers related, because they didn’t ‘Play for that Club anymore’. A situation that was further strengthened for me when I also heard that long time Hull FC protagonist and peddler of some awful Twitter messages about my Club, Jason Netherton, has now got a position at the ‘new academy’ too!

Now, my pal Kathy did some photo stuff with the Club last week and happened upon Scott Taylor. She had a good chat with him and was well impressed with his attitude and steady, family orientated demeanour. That persona was borne out by a good interview with the player on the Club site on Friday and he is certainly a great kid who cites his Granddad’s love of Hull FC as the major motivation for him moving heaven and earth to get to play for our Club. He’s a great talent, a Beverley kid who is certainly made of the ‘right stuff’ and I for one think he’ll be a real revelation next year!

With no games to report on in the forthcoming weeks it’s likely that the Diary will be shorter for a while, but before I launch into the closed season, like no doubt many of you reading this, I’ve been assessing my own demeanour after what has for most of us been a pretty depressing campaign. After 10 years of this rubbish it also seems like a good time for a holistic view of this fans disposition, time therefore to prepare for a bit of self indulgence and another of those ‘Tour de Force’ efforts to ascertain ‘what eating Wilf’ So, if you can’t face another one of those, then I would move on now to next week’s Diary!!!

But, this seemed a good time for a bit of navel gazing to collect my thoughts, warts and all, on where I’ve been as an average fan for the last few seasons and where I am at present FC wise. So here I’ve tried to appraise that journey in the context of another season that has ended with a whimper, as once again the ‘big’ ‘Believe’ type talk for the next campaign begins and several portents of doom are again issuing forth from our owner! When you have worked for a decade building up a lot of friends and acquaintances through writing this sort of rubbish week in week out, you do risk alienating a lot of folks with this sort of stuff, but in the spirit of always saying in here exactly what I’m thinking, I hope you’ll bear with me.

Is it really a question of get a season ticket or else????? Well perhaps it might well be!
OffSeason4
Is it? Well some, inside and outside the Club, would have us think it is, while others, like me, think it certainly isn’t…well not just yet! I say that simply because we have survived harder times than this and we will again, plus we know that if we have to go and watch them play on a school field there will always be a Hull FC and we will always be there for them. However the new anguish about our finances is serious stuff and as I said earlier I think that we might have to rally round the FC once again, because I really do fear what could happen if ‘we’re not careful’.

Over the last few weeks the ‘shrouds’ have been out and ‘waiving’ but perhaps the idea is to just scare us all a bit. Adam Pearson certainly hasn’t helped much with his portents of impending doom if support continues to diminish, slotted craftily into most of his recent rhetoric on the radio, as well as in the programme and the Mail.

But what else should WE all expect? Because as the dust settles on yet another disappointing season, we have to reluctantly admit that we are simply not the club we were!! As our days of splendour (few though they were) disappear into the dusty recesses of our memories, we just can’t live forever on our former grandeur and one of the problems we face is perhaps that as fans we still have the same expectations now, as we had at the turn of the Century! However in reality we’re a long way from the team we inherited after the merger of 2000 or indeed even the team that got us to the Grand Final in 2006! Sadly, although we probably grew in that 6 year period, we have steadily and incrementally declined ever since.

In the past I’ve found that reality hard to accept, choosing instead to think that the good times would return with an Aussie signing or two, a new owner or coach, or the advent of some talent coming through the ranks. Since those times and in fact for the ten years since this Diary started in early November 2005, I have, I suppose, tried to gloss over in my own mind what has been happening. Love, I guess, is blind and so I simply refused to see the real situation. However if not exactly claiming that now the scales have dropped from my eyes, if you stand back, your honest and you’re not emotionally involved with it all, then progressively we’ve been pretty much in annual decline.

On a personal note, I guess that I’ve simply been naive and refused to accept that it was all unravelling, because that’s what unrequited love for a sports Club does for you; you feel helpless and thus you become blind to the obvious. So, I’ve seen slumps as hiccups, quality players leaving as ‘inevitable’ or ‘understandable’, seen ageing imports as still good players and the promises of a bright future as eminently credible, and I’ve done it without much question and with a pretty happy heart! Because in the end, it all just comes back to the love of my Club!

You know, as the years rolled by I’ve accepted with glee those jam tomorrow promises, even when they came from two totally different administrations and now I guess I find myself putting all my emphasis on next season and hoping against hope it will sort me and the Club out! I think that decline and the gradual demise of the fan base, have led to both the Club and I harbouring the realisation that we face a real and present crisis. The trouble is that at least in the Lloyd years I had some fight, these days, most worryingly of all I really have to stir myself to do anything.

Of course, there is nothing like a good old ‘new dawn’ is there? So we all hoped that the arrival of Adam would reverse that year on year slide that good old Mr Agar and Auntie Kath had so ‘brilliantly’ managed. There were more promises of being a ‘big Club’, as “I’ll put Hull FC back at the top of Rugby League” were the headline in the Mail the day that Adam took over and once again I sucked it all in! Our owner, I believe, immediately gauged the views of the fans and got rid of Mr A, a coach who for me was living on borrowed time anyway and then brought in Peter Gentle.

A lot won’t agree with me, but I thought that things did improve under him and that he got a rough deal. Everything became more professional and Peter was undoubtedly a talented guy, but one who was perhaps a tad naive when it came to the differences in commitment and dedication that existed between the NRL players back home and the staff he inherited at Hull FC. Within the ranks of the playing staff the ‘We are a Big Club’ attitude still bubbled underneath and so the culture that was inbred into the very DNA of the Club long before he arrived and that had seen the downfall of both Peter Sharp and Johnny Kear, did for Peter Gentle as well!

Just before Gentles arrival Shaun McCrae was brought in as advisor and confidante to the owner and in effect took us lot, Adam and in some ways Peter Gentle for a real ride. The Coach was as much to blame as anyone for the recruitment, but there was an element of him and indeed Adam, being taken in by the ‘mystical smoke and mirrors’, that surrounding the reputation and judgement of the sage like Bomber! He was in hindsight the Lyle Lanley (Simpsons Monorail episode) of Rugby League. I bet he could have sold Beverley a monorail with some ease after no doubt convincing us all that we simply couldn’t manage without one!!! He certainly sold Hull FC a few pups!

However all that air of mystique and inscrutability was soon to be proved to be nothing more than a load of bollocks, but none the less Shaun did very well out of it and it subsequently cost Adam a mint in paying players off. Something, I believe, that has contributed a lot to the financial mire we find ourselves in today!

Still we got to a Cup Final and finished 6th two years running and a bit of hope sprung out of a few of our performances, but all the while Gentle seemed to struggle with the threat from within, whilst always expected everyone to be professional and loyal and focus on the big goals and the main prize and not on their personal agenda’s; sadly in the end that found him out!!

After that underlying culture finally manifests itself in a shambolic Wembley defeat and a totally unacceptable drubbing in the play-offs, Peter was fired and even when it was hinted that he had gone because of a bit of a player coupe, we all still tried to ‘believe’ it was the right thing for the Club. Personally, here in the afterglow of another disappointing season, I find myself asking “Are we any better off now than we were back then?” Those inside the Club will shout ‘yes of course we are’, while all the time they also want us to understand that Adam Pearson’s bank balance tells another story completely!

As I say, these are just my thoughts as I reflect on my own personal journey, but perhaps they ring a few bells with a few reading this too, because you see I now think that for me, despite what some fans, some of our administration and no doubt many of our players think, Hull FC are not a ‘BIG CLUB’; big clubs are not decided by the ego’s of the players, the claims of the owners or the boasts of the fans, big Clubs are, like Leeds, Saints and Wigan and simply those that win things and do it consistently!

Still on we went, Lee did his best in a steep learning curve, we were all told to ‘Believe’ again, we stuck it out again on the terraces after a 10th place finish and now, as another year comes to a close, we are expected to celebrate an 8th place finish, after a season that culminated in us winning just 4 games since the beginning of June. We made some good signings and Mark Sneyd even commented on the fact that he was joining a ‘Big Club’ but all in all this last campaign was a strange one, as all around us on the terraces the numbers dwindled, people just sat there unable to even get mad about it anymore and indifference ruled. I am, like most of you, still trying to ‘believe’, but in the face of all that has gone before, why the hell do we do it?

I’ll tell you why it is, shall I? It’s because we love the bloody Club that’s why!!! Long after we would have stopped buying faulty light bulbs from the supermarket, stale bread from the baker, Beer that makes us ill from the pub and Daz that doesn’t wash things at all, we are still coming back for more of this, because unlike most of the services we purchase and the products we buy, we don’t have a choice, we either put up with it or we walk. But the conundrum is the fact that our love stops us walking, so in the end the hope, year in year out, just slowly but surely kills you!

But despite what has unfolded over the years and all the annual shroud waiving and wringing of hands that has gone before I honestly believe that this time we are in a bit of real trouble, I’m convinced of that and all the ‘Crying Wolf’ of the past three seasons, has now, I believe, seen our owner found out, because we are struggling financially, make no mistake about that! Yet to his everlasting credit Adam has constantly reaffirmed his commitment to Hull FC and has still brought in players of such quality that one way or the other, using all the ‘wrinkles’ available, we will in fact in 2016 be spending more than ever before on player wages.

In the Clubs defence too we have a good offer on the table as far as passes are concerned. Only last week, because I was a season ticket holder, I was able to get a couple of really good Rod Stewart tickets 24 hours before they went on general sale. However as fans we still know that even if we sign Billy Slater, Cameron Smith and Greg Inglis, there is no guarantee that the quality of the product on offer on the field will produce what we would then expect it to.

That could well be a big clue as to what’s wrong don’t you think? So despite the worry about what’s to come next season, we don’t, as fanatics who are hooked on the Club, have much choice and in the end I honestly believe that things are poised in such a way that we all have to consider going round again just to preserve our Club.

For me, if I’m brutally honest, the reason I got our passes a couple of weeks ago was because I have had a good look at the state of Hull FC (via the thoughts of employees past and present and people inside and outside the Club) and having done that I do believe we are in the mire. I ain’t crying wolf because I am, I think, just stating facts. I don’t think that Adam ‘walking’ or the Club going bust are issues that are imminent, but they are a lot more likely than they were before Shaun McCrae opened his ‘Home for Unlikely Acquisitions’ and I say that in the light of more redundancies at the Club since I last wrote the Diary.

So I decided to bite the bullet, find the cash and get a season ticket again simply because in the unlikely circumstance of everything going tits up, I wouldn’t have the ‘blood’ of the Club I love on my hands.

Unlike Mickey Paea, Willie Manu, Andy Lynch, Tom Lineham, Tom Briscoe, Jordan Rankin et al, we are the loyal, long suffering and die hard followers who can’t go anywhere else, because there is simply nowhere else TO go. As I say so often in here, just like wayward kids who won’t listen or learn, “It’s a good job we love em”.

I grumble, lament, wring my hands, despair and go on and on about it to everyone I meet, but that’s par for the course for me! What’s more worrying is that even that stuff is somehow subdued as during this last pretty baseless season, I just became conditioned to a lot of it. Yet, what would I do when the FC are playing if I wasn’t there? Well, probably wonder every minute what was happening. What would I do when we get to Wembley again? Well, probably trail back with my tail between my legs, knowing that the occasion wouldn’t ever be as good, because I hadn’t had the loyalty to see through what went before. And what would I do if my Club went bust and I had forsaken them and therefore in a small way assisted in their demise?????

So, as Ian Brown of the Stone Roses once reminded us, ‘It’s not where you’re from its where you’re at’ and for all my protestations and threats I’ll be back next season and I hope so will you, because if we love Hull FC there is precious little else we can do. I have above tried to outline my thought processes in all this, the journey where I’ve been since November 2005 and where I’ve got to now. I know it’s depressing but being an FC fan is a depressing old business at times, you might be a lot stronger than me though and perhaps you can walk away, and perhaps for that I envy you.

However I’ll still be there because it’s my club and I love the involvement, my pals and the camaraderie and because in the end I just live in hope! I’m glad I’ve made the financial commitment because now there is no going back and I can forget about all things ‘season ticket’ for the rest of the winter. I wonder if your journey has been anything like mine? One thing’s for sure I feel better for exploring it, but still pretty helpless to do anything much about it!

So thanks so much for going round again with the Diary and a big apology if you found the last bit a tad depressing, but I wanted to have some foreclosure on what has gone before and if we are all honest at times over the last ten or so year’s things have been depressing! It’s a bit like the kings new clothes really and a bit of an ongoing illusion, but we all hang in there and hope for better times….. don’t we?

For now I’ll just be look on the bright side, I honestly do think things will improve, Hull FC are a great Club (if not a ‘Big’ one) and it’s all going to be fine again sometime before I snuff it; that’s what sports about and that’s what will happen one day!! For me the future has to be bright and has to be black and white and maybe, just maybe, 2016 will be our year, but then again….I thought that last year too…and the one before that …and…..!!

Thanks to everyone who sent in stuff this week it’s always great to hear from you and I’ll speak to you all next week when we will be back to the usual weekly drivel, a whiff or too and a few laughs at the expense of the nillers; but then again who knows what will develop before then!!

Get those passes and try to keep Believing!

Faithfully Yours

Wilf