The Dentist’s Diary – 487th

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……and it’s one I’ll remember for a long time!!

That was without a doubt, the best showing so far this season because Saints really, really wanted it and I was proud to be at Langtree Park to witness an epic battle and a pretty amazing spectacle as once again our battered and bruised hero’s came back from ten points down to grab another superb Super League victory!

It was simply a massive effort and every one of the 17 on duty played a part, but we were also treated to as good a performance by an FC second row forward as I can remember. Gareth Ellis, AKA ‘The human wrecking ball’, was amazing and we all lost count of the number of crunching hits he put in; but come in they did, thick and fast, sometimes as frequently of 3 and 4 a set. The man is just an enigma and Amor will certainly have had some nightmares after the battering Gareth gave him, while McCarthy–Scarsbrook will still be shaking his head to see if his ‘marbles’ are intact! At 34, to make 99 tackles and 245 metres in only eight days is just incredible!! However, on Friday that victory wasn’t just about Gareth Ellis, because everyone who played was a hero.

A massive FC following, particularly for a Friday night in Lancashire, saw 1045 in the away stand and another few hundred in the seats and in that last ten minutes we all ‘made every tackle and caught every ball’ before everyone went ballistic at the end. By then most of us on the terraces felt as if we’d played 80 minutes ourselves and after the final hooter you could literally ‘taste’ the emotion all around you. Once again there were tears of joy in what was a sea of smiling faces, as the players sang and danced along with the fans.

There will be harder times, heartbreaking reversals and no doubt more disappointments ahead, at Hull FC there is little doubt of that and just how bashed up we are after that 3 game effort, only Friday will tell!! However for now, as long suffering supporters, it doesn’t get much better than it did on Friday, does it?

I had actually toyed, on the way home, with not writing a Diary this week at all, simply because for me it was almost impossible to do credit to a game about which I was still buzzing on Sunday morning. It’s one of those rare occasions when words fail you really and it’s difficult to describe the drama of it all, even when you’ve witnessed it yourself first hand.

If for any reason you couldn’t get to the match, as I know many of you can’t, this one was an absolute cracker and the effort everyone put in was exemplary. The atmosphere in the away stand at the end was more akin to winning a Cup semi-final than to just winning away, 9 games into a season. We might have loved the Derby and marvelled at that comeback, but this was no 20 minute miracle (the like of which Mother Teresa would have been proud), this was an 80 minute war of attrition against a quality team who showed a lot of pride, who never gave up and who threw everything but the kitchen sink at us to get a win! Few teams this year will nil Saints at home in any half, but somehow we did in the second 40 minutes on Friday!

Earlier on, the journey over to Lancashire had been anything but easy as it was stop/start all the way from Bradford to the M62 west of Manchester. I left at around 2-00pm but didn’t arrive in St Helens until around 5-20pm. I had intended to go into Oldham to look for the site of the old Watersheddings Ground where I had experienced some dour games in the 70’s and 80’s but, if the truth is known, as the traffic ground to a stop near the Oldham junction, I daren’t come off the M62 for fear of not being able to get back on again!! I pressed on and despite a poor weather forecast before I set off, it was dry as I arrived in my usual car park at the centre of St Helens.

The journey home was much better and I was back in Beverley by midnight but that was all pretty academic, because it was one of those rare occasions when it wouldn’t have mattered if it had been light before I got home; so buoyed and elated was I after the game.

In Weatherspoons beforehand I spoke to several Saints fans who were happy to chat, but decidedly ‘none plussed’ with their club’s progress thus far and it appeared to me that unless they were above Wigan in the League, they would never be satisfied. We of course know all about that one don’t we? One guy said that they all fancied Warrington to beat Wigan so everyone was looking for a massive effort from their heroes as they attempted to catch ‘The Pies’ in the table and save some face. He added that the players and the Club had made it perfectly clear in the media that it was a ‘must win’ game and nothing but that outcome would do. This declaration of intent had rendered the Saints stalwarts very optimistic and I left to walk to the ground hoping that we could raise our game again but also in my heart of hearts fearing the worst as well!! Years of disappointments have rendered me impervious to optimism at such places as St Helens!

By the end if those Saints fans were not disappointed with their hero’s efforts, they certainly would have been frustrated with the eventual result. The fact is that ‘The Entertainers’ could never have expected to come up against such a battling FC side that despite being second best (just) in the first half would hang onto the home sides coat tails and go on to eventually break the their resolute intent (and their fans hearts) in the second. Nor would any of us lot out there marvelling on the terraces have expected Hull FC to do it in such dramatic fashion.

Make no mistake about it, this was a major indication of the level of our fighting spirit and as I said earlier, a new zenith for the current campaign. These are the performances that set the intensity that we should be performing to. We now know what we can do and just need to ensure we continue to do it. I guess with three really tough games (as tough as they probably ever get pressure wise) in 8 days, you could have forgiven both teams if we had seen, as I had predicted, a high scoring game with lots of open rugby and a distinct lack of intensity. How wrong I was to be proved!

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Over 1000 in the away end!

By kick off time, the away end was bouncing, which created a brilliant atmosphere with about 200 rather ‘juiced’ fans taking up position at the back of the stand to lead the singing. Even before we started, their chanting drowned out any efforts the home fans could muster and was quite inventive too at times!! I was up there in the stand just in front of the ‘glee club’, but after two pretty incredible Easter victories I was still nervous about the possibility of a repeat of what we saw after our last ‘purple patch’ following the Catalan game away. Then we slipped backwards over three games, because I think we believed our own publicity too much. However, I need not have worried and although we were trailing by 6 at half time, we all agreed then that we were already getting our money’s worth this time around.

I worried a little that Washy had failed to shake off an injury because he has been a real hit thus far this season, but I thought that the inclusion of Manu, Pritchard, Fornua and Carlos as ‘Fresh legs’ was a plus, however in the end it was the ‘old warriors’ who had battled through all three of the previous Easter games, that were the real heroes of the night. Don’t get me wrong all the Polynesians gave a great account of themselves and Frank came on just ten minutes before half time but still managed to grab the most yards in the forwards on the night. However it was that man Ellis, aided and abetted by Houghton, Yeaman, Shaul, Michaels, Watts and Taylor that really stood out for me.

They must have been drained after the previous two games and it’s at times like these when you really have to respect the absolute bravery and commitment of the loyal professional rugby league player who at times doesn’t automatically grab the headlines. However no one could deny Ellis a headline or two and Paul Clarke of the Daily Mail said, “At present he’s playing more like a superhero than a regular human being” and few who were there on Friday will argue with that!

But it was a group performance too and with 30 tackle busts in total, everyone wanted to get through the line and get in on the act for the FC.

Tight games like Friday’s ebb and flow with many twists and turns, but invariably when you look back they hang on ‘turning points’ and for me, if Houghton’s try from a Sneyd kick that ricocheted of the upright was a tad fortuitous then ‘Noggers’ try just before half time, off a Pritchard assist, was immense, getting us as it did within one score at half time. We’d had to hang in a game in which the home side had thrown everything they had at us. To go in 10 points down would have meant that it would have only taken a lucky ‘broken play’ Saints try early in the second half to see us perhaps too far behind. Then however, just before the half time hooter Ellis of all people threw out a ridiculous pass, they intercepted and we had to ‘lay on’ after scrambling back to make a desperate tackle. They however missed the simplest of penalties and the chance to stretch the deficit to 8 and on such crumbs of good fortune are games often decided.

As the second half started we piled on the pressure and battered their line. But, as the match wore on it all seemed to be to no avail, until suddenly Naughton beat three players before off loading to Yeamo, who went in from 20 yards out. Kirk was immense again, he really was, but you could almost see the fear on his face when he found himself running such a great line that the try line was suddenly open, but still 20 yards away!! He had to accelerate through the hole and muster all the speed he had. Kirk motored forward with the ball extended in one hand in front of him as if to indicate that he might need to stretch over as the cover zoomed in, but sheer will and determination saw him outstrip the much younger chasers and grab the try that brought us level. He’s in his best form for two or three years and that bit of magic was to prove another defining moment.

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Yeamo scores and we’re about to go level!

Then the action and the ‘turning points’ switched to the other end when in the last 10 minutes we saw Michaels and Fornua saving our line twice in the left hand corner with massive tackles and then of course we witnessed as good a 45 yard angled drop goal as you will ever see. That was pure drama! The ball left Sneyd’s foot, it rose majestically, hung in the air for what seemed like an age and then as the whole FC Army ‘sucked in’ it just dropped over the cross bar in front of us and the place exploded.

From then on it was down to game management as we played out the action in the Saints half. On two occasions we ended our sets with our 5th play the ball in their 30 and then, first Sneyd and then Houghton placed ‘slide rule’ grubbers into touch at opposing sides, with each finding the sideline just a yard from the corner flag. This meant that with the clock ticking down, Saints had to twice start from a scrum on their own ten yard line. That was it, job done, as we just tackled and tackled and they had no answer.

So complete was the performance that I could write a paragraph about every single player, however Shaul was great from full back and made 17 carries for a massive 172 meters while to the chants of “Stevie Michaels, he’s having a party”, the very under rated winger had his best game thus far. As for Fornua we’ll he’s like a runaway truck when he gets going. Yeamo playing his 350th game scored that try, but also got 123 meters from 19 carries and tackled everything out there on the left, while outside him Naughton had a great game again and is making the wing spot his own. Sneyd was simply awesome in everything he did he’s running hot at present isn’t he? His field kicking was superb at times and a kick over the top and chase in the second half almost saw him under the posts to seal the game. Tumavave also showed up well and surprised me with some big hits in defence but also gave away a couple of daft penalties at crucial times.

Up front Watts (37 tackles in total) and Taylor started so strongly and ripped into the Saints defence while Houghton was not too far behind Ellis for man of the match as he just ran himself to a standstill. For a hooker to play 240 minutes in 8 days is unheard of and to make 128 tackles in that period is just unbelievable. Add to that the fact that it was his effort to get out of the line that did enough to put Fages off as he attempted to drop a decisive goal to level things up. He’s another machine. Ellis threw one real panic pass as I say which could have been costly, but we’ll forgive him that I think as he was simply imperious and Manu had a better game and worked really hard in short spells. On the bench Thompson made his mark with some strong running, Bowden kept up the good work and rotated with Watts, while Frank had a great game which featured some barnstorming runs and hard work in defence.

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Frank on the rampage!

Finally Hadley was really good again and will take some shifting. He is a no nonsense player that just gets on with it and gets through a myriad of work. There were no ‘April Fools’ in our ranks on Friday and at the end the scenes were amazing as Danny Houghton conducted the crowd and Fornua treated us all to a dance!

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Wow!!! Guess who got Jamie Shaul’s boots!

After a real celebration the team eventually started to leave and head towards the tunnel, before a chorus of ‘Old Faithful’ brought them back and they all to a man sang along with the supporters who had throughout the game completely out sung the home crowd. However performance wise some things never change and one of those is James Childs! Nuff said there I think but he was unfathomable at times!! But otherwise a great night and a great atmosphere with the only blight on it for us Mark Minichiello leaving the field with a re-occurrence of his neck injury.

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The main man!

If reports afterwards are to be believed, whoever was sent out to Tesco’s to fill a couple of trolley’s with beer for the players coach ride home did a good job and believe me the lads deserved every mouthful of it!! From -135 degrees in a Cryotherapy chambers to a few beers after a job well done; don’t you just love Rugby League?

I could just go on and on but the final word on a wonderful night and an extraordinarily good game, goes to Diary reader Richard who travelled up for the match from London and said afterwards, “That 42 yard drop goal went over in slow motion sucked over by the faithful and that was awesome. 16-17 almost a repeat of the same game in 2006 (*when we won 26- 27 and Yeamo scored at try in that game too)………… and we all know what that led to!!”

Now to other matters and we have certainly started to see some good things happen this season and none more than the news that Mark Minichiello has signed a two year extension that will probably see him end his career at Hull FC. What a smart player he is adapting from game to game and even during matches to different scenario’s in both where he plays in the line and how long he stays on the field. However the sight of him walking gingerly off the field against Rovers looking really concerned about what we later found out was a neck injury was for me a real worry. To then see him struggling with it again at Saints only compounded my concerns!!

Peter Sharp once said in an interview about Richard Horne getting an injury against London Bronco’s, “You never quite know with necks” and that’s stuck with me! We as fans take a lot for granted when we stand there watching our heroes and we do, I think, sometimes forget just how dangerous a game it is to play. Mini said in the Mail last week, “I got caught in a pretty bad position against KR and I heard a couple of cracks. You just want to lay there and let things settle down a bit at that point,” .The physio and the doctor checked it out and I knew pretty quickly I was going to be okay.”

He went out and played on Friday and now it appears to have gone again and so I hope it’s investigated properly this time around. Most of the time players spout a load of ‘same old’ rhetoric in their interviews but sometimes one or two things really hit home and “…a couple of cracks!!!” certainly did for me. It’s certainly a tough job isn’t it and sometimes I think we forget how in an instance your career could be over and how important it is to be cautious with such injuries. No wonder Mini described it as ‘a worrying situation’ after the Rovers game and perhaps it still is and I’m so pleased that the Club acted to get him off against Saints. Get well soon Mini!

“Well at last someone’s rumbled that crap French video referee; you know the one who’s either going blind, is totally incompetent or just plain bent!” So said a keyboard Warrior on the internet this week and although most of us would think that a tad harsh, I think we all knew who he was talking about didn’t we? However when Ben Thaler took the same Mr Alibert to task during a recent game he was soon shot down in flames by the RL and demoted to the Championship for one game. Now I’m no fan of Benny boy, in fact I think he likes the sound of his own voice too much and as a real ‘look at me referee’ he thinks that the game is about him as much as it is about the players we pay to watch but he’s not on his own there is he?

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However having said all that from what I’ve seen watching the Catalan games on Sky on a Saturday Tea time Mr Alibert is certainly a bit of poor official too. Not because he’s a big head or a show off, but more because he simply doesn’t seem to know the rules and often appears to make them up himself! It’s not easy to win in France but he makes it even harder for the visiting teams, however now It wouldn’t surprise me if some of the other officials don’t decide to stop sending decisions to the VR in France choosing instead to just decide themselves; which would do for me!

As for the RL well they managed the usual bland statement when they said, “We have now expanded our full-time squad of match officials. This provides competition to perform which in turn raises the standard of officiating. The performance of each referee is reviewed following every round of the First Utility Super League and games are allocated based on merit. The referees are held accountable for their performances by Steve Ganson and the natural consequence of a poor performance, which includes proper use of protocols, would be reflected in the following week’s fixture appointment” ‘Protocols’ my arse, that’s just code for don’t go question our judgement in having the same French bloke week in week out as the video referee at Catalan home games, when everyone else has a rotating video referee.

Which brings me onto a question for all those of you who have Premier Sports and watch the NRL that is, “What do you make of the Bunker” For the uninitiated the NRL have introduced a video referee system for every one of their games, which are all televised anyway and spread over 5 days across a weekend. This sees a panel made up mostly of ex players sit together in a room with simultaneous access to several camera angles of the game. This facility is located well away from the stadium in question in a central location. For me, well it wouldn’t work here because more than one game is played at the same time. But the principle of involving ex players and having a panel watching a myriad of screens really does speed up the deliberations. The crowd in the stadium not only get a split screen view of four or six of the camera’s on the ‘Big Screen’ but can also hear the deliberations of the panel. I don’t think there has been more than a couple of decisions that I’ve seen which have taken over a minute and most take around 20/30 seconds.

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Now that’s what I call a video referee facility!

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Some would say our Video referee needs some improving!!

The whole set up in the NRL is so much better and setting aside a faster more ‘happening’ game that is all action and much cleaner around the ruck than ours is, the commentators have a completely different attitude to both the match itself and indeed their customers the viewers. They are not patronising or talking down to the armchair fans and when they attempt to be humorous, which isn’t every two minutes, they are actually usually very funny. In addition, their knowledge of the rules and what’s going on out there on the field is first class. On Sky our sport, when compared with the coverage that channel gives to say Football and Rugby Union, is almost treat as a ‘fill gap’ light hearted aside for the viewer. In Australia every game is a real occasion and something that is hyped as a couple of hours not to be missed.

More to the point (and as is the case in his country) in Australia there are more and more flat passes emerging, but when the commentator thinks it is forward they just say “That looked a bit forward” and get on with the game. I don’t think I have once seen a replay of a disputed forward pass that has not been given as such because they just get on with the game and there is none of that ridiculous ‘momentum rule’ dissecting of the move and the pass and harping back to things ad infinitum that you get on Sky TV. It is, rather as is the case with the bunker idea, an altogether more professional approach to the game and the way it is presented to the fans at the stadiums and at home. We can certainly learn a lot from them!!

The NRL are always looking to improve the game and another talking point emerging for us is the drama and sudden death element of the Golden Point in Australia which came to the fore again this week. Almost five months after their memorable Grand Final clash, North Queensland Cowboys and Brisbane Broncos were at it again last Friday as they served up another golden point thriller for the TV viewers across Australia. In the match Jonathon Thurston looked to have broken Brisbane hearts yet again when he crossed in the corner during overtime, but the try was ruled out for a knock-on in what has been the most controversial decision made by the video bunker so far. Anthony Milford then slotted a 40-metre drop goal with seconds remaining in the first period to exact a small degree of revenge for the Broncos. Golden point has certainly proved a hit in the NRL, producing some dramatic finishes. But, should Super League follow suit?

There is no doubt at all that the golden point brings more excitement to the game but do we really need it? With 50 games already played before this weekend, we have seen just one of them drawn. So do we need another Gimmick or do we stick with the traditional format of wins, draws and losses being tallied up at the end of the season to decide your final position? Personally I like a draw myself, particularly if you fight back to draw level in a game you were not expected to win and then fight a hard rear guard action to hang on. Should the GP come into Super League then the old expression of “We deserved a point at least” will disappear altogether and for me the drama of drawing level and somehow hanging on for a draw when all looked lost still has its merits, but I’m an old traditionalist anyway and what do I know, but I do think we already have enough gimmicks in our game over here as it is, don’t you?

In the Dog and Duck on Saturday I was still full of Friday nights exploits and so was Gordon Henderson life-long fan and someone else who was there to witness the game. We talked of Ellis and how good he is and he asked me to feature the one second rower he feels was even better than Gareth, I say second rower but he could actually play anywhere in the back three!!

So this week in Codgers Corner, I thought I’d oblige and look back at probably the greatest character I have seen play in a Black and White shirt. We’ve had some real “Stars” when it comes to off the field antics and indeed, some real jokers on it, but few if any can match this week’s featured hero who Gordon simply loved when he played for us. This player was one of the most talented I have ever seen in the famous hooped shirts, and yet he drove coaches and supporters to distraction with his antics and by frequently going ‘missing’ for sometimes weeks on end.

Mick Crane was as elusive on the field as he was on it! I remember when he first signed for the club on 4th December 1970. We lost away at Cas that day, but then went on an unprecedented run that saw us lose one, draw one and win seven of our next nine games! That run included a sweet and memorable win at the Old Caravan Park on Boxing Day! Mick came from local ruby at a time when things were going from bad to worse at the Boulevard and when any signing was welcomed. Money was really tight back then, and so to sign a local player, who was hailed as a potential international centre, was something at least for the long suffering Threepenny standers to look forward to. I do not put our winning streak back then down to him, but then again anyone who watched him play would agree that he was always a bit of a lucky talisman when included on our team sheet.

In his first season at the club Crane played most games from his signing onwards and scored 3 tries playing in the centre. Even back then he was a languid sort of player who always seemed to be able to have more time on the ball than any of his colleagues, he would also have a habit of popping up in the line anywhere but in the centre! However he looked lazy at times, although he got through some work, little did we know, back then, what was to follow.

He soon gained a reputation off the field too, because he hated training and he was not worried who he told about it! In fact he much preferred to sit it out with a “trade mark” fag in his hand. Yet if he could have mustered up a modicum of total commitment, he could have no doubt gone on to play for Great Britain and become a household name in the International game. But then, had that happened, I guess that he would not have been the player that became the legend that we look back on with such affection.

When he moved to loose forward we all quickly realised that here we had a talent that was at the very least, something special. The position gave him a licence to “officially” roam the line and Mick seemed to have the ability to transform a game in a split second with something that was so simple, and yet so well executed that he left the opposition totally mesmerised. Both on and off the field Mick was a gambler. Many were the time that he risked something audacious, like a short kick over the heads of the defensive line whilst still in his own twenty, and yet more often than not he would amble through and gather the ball. His grubber kicking from hand was a real revelation too at a time that the ploy was not seen that often.

In his first spell at the club he gained an off field reputation that was second to none. Dick Tingle will tell you a great story about how he experienced Craney’s antics first hand back in the early 70’s on a trip to play in Cumbria. The bus stopped at Preston for a pre match lunch, paid for by that great character, our then Chairman Charlie Watson. Mick gobbled down his lunch and then shot out to a nearby betting shop to place a bet. With everyone back at the coach, there was still no Mick, and Charlie decided that he should be the one to go and tell Craney it was time to go. A few minutes later he returned to the coach with a red face and his famous pipe resembling a chimney on fire. He was asked if Mick was coming and replied “Yes, in a minute, when the next race has finished”. That was the character that Mick was!!!

He certainly defied all the rules and textbooks about being an athlete. Back in those days too, I remember that his fellow players nicknamed him “Dreadnought”, (after a famous submarine of the time), because he was the absolute master of getting a “sub” on his wages from the then, and usually very prudent secretary, Cyril Fowler.

Mick’s first spell at Hull ended in 1977 when he was transfer listed after failing to show up at Central Park for an away game against Wigan. Leeds swooped and signed him for a then record fee for the club, of £13,000, and we all thought that was the end of Craney at the Boulevard. How wrong we were all proved to be.

His spell at Headingley saw him play a part in the Loiner’s Wembley Cup winning team of 1978, but then, as was his wont, he disappeared (again) for several weeks, was transfer listed, (again), and joined the Dobbins for a fee of £9,000 in November 1979. After a couple of seasons at the old vomitarium, highlighted by his usual antics rather than his on field conquests, he returned to the Boulevard for a similar fee in 1981, and thus started his most memorable spell at our club. He was no different though, and I remember well that when the first of our New Zealanders to arrive, Gary Kemble, got to the Boulevard he wrote a letter back home to Dane O’Hara who was yet to set off for the Boulvard. It stated, “One of the best players we have here smokes cigarettes, not just after games but before them and even during half time”

Our Chairman at the time Roy Waudby said in the Wail that this transfer back to the Boulevard was a gamble but Mick liked a gamble and again rose to the challenge.

Soon he appeared in two Wembley finals, and featured from the bench at Elland Road against Widnes in the 1982 final replay. He suddenly seemed to take the game more seriously, and even made a Test Appearance for Great Britain later in 1982, when he played against Australia. This followed one of his most memorable outings for our club when he played in that mighty effort by an almost Hull “A” against the Aussie “Invincibles” that same year. It was a game we lost 13-7 and one that I highlighted here in the Diary back at the start of last season. Craney took the man of the match that cold night with a real hero’s performance that was even more spectacular when you consider that he was playing against one of the greatest ever Aussies, Ray Price.

Of course it was too good to last and after basking in the reflective glory of an international call up, he went missing again soon afterwards. Once again, he returned but after dipping out of several training sessions he was listed at £25,000, however this time no one was willing to take the risk anymore, so then completely in character, he buckled down again, and made 40 appearances that season. At the end of the 1984 season however, yes you guessed it, he disappeared
again for the last time, telling me shortly afterwards, in the Punch Hotel in Victoria Square, that he had officially retired. He was such a likeable bloke though, and were he to be around the game now we would no doubt brand him as being totally laid back in everything he did. On the pitch too, he ran with a lazy stride and seemed to do everything in slow motion, but he was still a great player. Of course, he returned again two years later in 1986 to make 18 appearances in his last season for the club. Although he had slowed up a bit his brain was still there, and he developed an amazing dummy that saw him just ghost through defences time and again! But come the end of the season, that was then definitely the end of his career, and Mick retired as a real legend in the eyes of the FC Faithful.

He will be remembered for all those off the field antics, something that is born out by the fact that every fan who was around back then, has a Mick Crane story, but we should never forget his playing career either. In all, despite the tantrums, disappearances and transfers, he made an amazing 359 appearances for the club, and was, in fact, I guess, a great servant to the black and whites.

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What made him so great that I and many other fans, will always remember him? Well first of all we all love a character, we always have at the FC, and if you get one that can change a game with just one touch of the ball, it is indeed the stuff that true fans favourites are made of. Craney could come up regularly with something in a split second, that many players could only dream of doing once in a life time, and in turn it was usually something that opposing defences had never even thought of. His unpredictability was an enormous asset, and what is often forgotten is that he was also a real hard worker, often, in his prime, making 3 and 4 tackles in the same set of six. For someone who went into a sweat at the mention of training, he had boundless amounts of energy and graft in him too.

The modern game and the physical attributes needed to play it, means that later generations will perhaps never see the likes of Craney again. He was under rated, often not taken seriously, but he was a class player. Peter Stirling once said of him, “If this guy did not drink and smoke you cannot imagine how good he could be”. Believe me, the history of our great club and the game in general would be a much less colourful one without the character and skill of players like the great Mick Crane. Perhaps in fact they just come along once in any supporter’s lifetime. I count myself lucky that Craney came along in mine as does my pal Gordon!

So, I’ve tried again to tell it how it was and thanks for sticking with another diary. We now move on to the game on Friday and I really do hope that lots of the stay away fans come back and watch what is turning out to be an exciting and really hard working FC team. The games a real banana skin because not beating the bottom Club, undoes a lot of the hard work that has brought us 6 points over Easter and these are the sorts of games that the Wigan and Warrington’s of this world have the mentality and strength of character to win. Yet at the end of the game on Friday there were some bruised and broken bodies out there and you have to wonder too if we can recover from the battering we’ve been subjected to following our recent super human efforts. We might see a lot of changes and if it has to be like the Wakefield game, then so be it, because it’s all about getting our heads right this week to get the two points; we can’t rest on the glories of the last 3 games.

This is a big test for us and one that requires the fans to create an atmosphere like the one we experienced at Saints, while it’s a game that the players have to approach as if it’s Wigan that are back in town!! Will they do that? Well despite what we saw over Easter this is Hull FC we are talking about here and let’s face it anything can happen and often does!! Let’s just go out and get two more points and keep the dream alive. As always with Friday night rugby at the KC it’s bound to be a great night!! Try to get there if you can!

Keep Believing

And

ComeOnYouHullllaaarrrr!!!!

Faithfully Yours

Wilf