The Dentist’s Diary – 491st

Wow that was close but it’s another two points gained and against what is probably the best side in the competition.

Yet some still persist in playing it down, simply because we scratched about a bit at times and lacked cohesion for periods in the game. Quite frankly I don’t really care what the local media, the RL press and indeed our Coach says about that performance, because winning these games in those circumstances is what good teams do and despite all the doubt around the ‘process’, in the end it was breathtaking, enthralling and so, so dramatic.

Those of you who went to the game have to agree that you were, in that last ten minute, on the edge of your seat (again) and indeed who wouldn’t have been absolutely devastated had we in that last set dramatically missed out? It’s not the first time we have been under the cosh with a slender lead and the clock ticking down, nor will it be the last time either. It was at the time almost unbearable. However isn’t all this brilliant for those of us who have for so long tipped up every week, just wanting to be entertained, as once again on Friday a close encounter saw our hearts in our mouths as we simply couldn’t take our eyes off the match for a second.

We started well, but there were periods when we were far from great. However sheer guts, determination and passion once again somehow got us over the line, just as it did against Rovers, Warrington and at Saints! For me, last season, we would probably have lost all those games as we would have this one, but although we are playing at times below our actual potential, somehow, from somewhere, we keep finding a way to win.

Whether you side with the protagonists who play down our performance or with me, still buzzing after another great night at the KC, we should all agree, I believe, that in another glorious ‘heart pounding’ performance, we all got our money’s worth last Friday.

Bringing us our second Super League double of the year, Friday’s win did not come about through quality rugby or persistent flashy passages of play, but it was about never giving up and never giving in. We can look for all the classy stuff once we are in the battle of the Super 8’s but for now it’s about getting the W on the fixture list and moving on. We set out needing to somehow accrue the points necessary to firstly stay in the top 8 and to then attain a position by round 23, where we can compete in the final run in! With 10 games to go, for now at least, we are the games official streak busters: Warrington: won 7 then lost to us. Wakefield: won 5 then lost to us. Catalans: won 7 then lost to us!! And that’s quite amazing!!!

For those of you reading this in warmer climes, if any indication is required about what sort of day last Friday was weather wise, then sufficient to say Mrs R and I had stew and dumplings before we set off and it was certainly a ‘two pairs of trousers’ gloves and hat sort of evening!! The best laid plans of a fan zone in West Park (which I said a few weeks ago would have been better suited to the Saturday we play Saints at home in that double header), where literally blown away and relocated to the Arena and as well as the weather problems, there were access issues too, as Spring Bank was shut completely after a double traffic fatality. So the ‘Big Night Out’ didn’t exactly start too well at all really!

Because of the potential traffic issues and the local media talking of the City being ‘in total gridlock’ we left home in plenty of time but didn’t have that much in the way of problems at all and so we were in the Stadium good and early. There we experienced the full gambit of pre match singing, flashing lights and banging music however the highlight was without doubt seeing that FC Voices had succeeded in getting Richard Whiting out on the field before the kick off (rather than at half time as was originally planned by the Club) and what a reception our iconic ex player got from the FC Faithful!

He’s some guy is Rich and how he’ll be remembered. He’ll certainly be forever a hero of mine and when Catalan went 8 points down and restarted with that short kick off, everyone round me said “Rich would have got that!” For defusing short restarts was just one of his many fortes! What a player and a servant he was and a big ‘good luck’ should go to him from all of us. So, enjoy the rest of your career Richard and thanks for giving us the chance to wish you well.

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Taking time out to acknowledge a mate! I’ll miss Rich Whiting!

Once the formalities and goodbyes were over it was, as games go, a very serious business indeed! This was a crunch match that presented a chance to consolidate our position near the top of the table and it was one that was contested between what were quickly emerging as the competitions two in form teams. Between us both, just one defeat had been shared over a combined total of 14 matches! We’d lost at Leeds while Catalan had gone 7 games undefeated!! So, this was the second week running in which we had faced an opposition on top of their game and in the midst of a good winning streak. However yet again, after lots of adversity and some periods of grinding one up rugby, not to mention the stress heaped on us lot watching, in the end the test didn’t faze our heroes on the field and again we managed to secure two more precious points.

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Plenty to smile about!

It was without doubt a gripping and dramatic encounter against the best team in Super League at present. Sat there in the East Stand I was living every tackle and making every pass, I couldn’t even watch Sneyd’s penalty that in the end won us the game, choosing instead (to pretend) to go to the lieu and after Shaul had knocked on at the death and put the whole game back into the melting pot, I was completely and utterly wrung out by the sheer drama of it all.

Some say that we should have put the Frenchmen to bed well before that and of course had we stuck to the plan and the aggression we showed early on we would have blown them away. However they are a good team and although restricted to only visiting our 20 on the back of the usual stupid penalties, when they got down there, they were lethal in their finishing. Every time they got near our line the alarm bells were ringing out around the stadium and for good reasons. They tried to match us down the middle but at times when they couldn’t they reverted to some thuggish tactics and some reckless tackles flew in. That said we allowed them to bully us a bit at times too, but as I said, they are a very good team whose game plan is pretty identical to ours.

We have without doubt a lot more to come and Naughton’s try which featured a massive breakout run by Watts, great hands from Frank Pritchard and a great finish from Curtis, was just a taste of what we are capable of. But, we tended to again go off the boil at times and when we did and the Dragons swept forward, you could feel the anxiety both on and off the field. However in the end, as the ground rocked to chants of ‘Come on You Hulllll!”, we just got home and as the hooter went and the ball was kicked into the crowd, the wave of relief that swept across the field and out onto the terraces was tangible; you could almost touch it.

There were however some concerns too and there’s certainly plenty to work on in a long 9 day break before our next season defining game. Once again, as last week, we almost relinquished a good first half lead that had seen us looking to be well in control. The watch word has been to start games fast and strongly, but we can’t seem to sustain it and our letting the opposition back into things has been a worry. And, then there is our first half right edge defence! Last week at Wakefield Ashley Gibson enjoyed a rewarding afternoon when exposing our right flank, while Pat Richards did the same on Friday. Out there we are struggling when it comes to decision making and I watched it closely against Catalan. For me, there are issues around moving Naughton from the left (where he had looked at home) to the right where he is unfamiliar with the way that Mahe Fornua plays the game, but I think the main issue is the fact that Pryce is guilty of ball watching in the line and once that happens the outside defenders are pulled in to cover him and the damage is done. However that’s something that can be put right on the training field, but for now it’s certainly a concern.

One thing’s for sure we now officially have the best pack in the British game at present because we held a strong Catalan 6 generally considered by the pundits to be the best around. Watts and Taylor were massive again. Watts had an absolute stormer, producing a peach of a pass for our first try and a great break to set up our second, whilst Taylor’s return in the second half saw the whole team raise their game again. He is becoming a massive signing and was simply unstoppable at times. Bowden although subdued in his first spell exploded in his second and bashed the heart out of the Frenchmen’s middle as well.

Houghton had another great game. His attacking play hasn’t so much improved as been complimented by all of a sudden support players appearing besides him. 160 tackles in three games and none missed; he’s having a fabulous season. In the second row Manu had his best game for us thus far and was certainly vying for my man of the match, while Frank got another knock but not before he’d bashed the heart out of the Catalan forwards. He’s a massive plus for the team at present too. Washy got through a mountain of work whilst off the bench I thought Thompson had a stormer, but Green although doing his bit, was less effective because of his short game time and Hadley struggled a bit at times too. In the backs once again Yeamo had a good game; he set up the first try, while a couple of sickening big hits came in from him towards the end just when they were needed. One bell ringer of a tackle made the crowd around me wince. Naughton worked hard while Talanoa got through a mountain of work both on the wing and down the middle where his ability to always beat the first man is still quite amazing. He had the most carries and yards on the night and probably saved the game with that last minute interception.

Shaul was battered and brave! He is a real talent but was well watched by the opposition, something I think he’ll have to get used to. Meanwhile, Fornua still doesn’t look fully fit but works really hard while in the halves we perhaps were not quite as potent as we can be. I wonder if Sneyd isn’t as good when he is paired with Pryce, because he was well watched and probably had a less effective game, however he still looked to be real class at times, although Pryce still seems to run down a lot of blind alleys that leave his team mates a bit exposed at times.

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Fast developing into the hero of heroes Scott Taylor was absolutely massive!

However all that said the over arching memory of that game will be the way we battled and battled to hang onto the two points. Rarely in recent times have we seen an FC team that fights for each other, that is so together as a unit and that wants to win like this lot do! Once we string 80 minutes of quality rugby together we will be unstoppable! I loved it on Friday…..particularly when it was over!

So in a week when an Australian man admitted himself to hospital after a venomous red backed spider bit him on the penis (“Please can you take the pain away but leave the swelling?”), thousands of rubber ducks appeared overnight on the streets of Bognor Regis, Lidl recalled all tinned herring from its branches because the labels don’t warn consumers that it contains fish and The Hull Daily Mail did its bit for the fight against obesity with an article entitled, “Where are Hull’s best all-you-can-eat buffets”, let’s have a look at what’s been happening at the equally crazy world of Hull FC.

Billed as ‘Hull and Proud Week’ the last 7 or 8 days have been the busiest and most interesting for the ‘FC Faithful’ for ages. I can understand the reason for giving Lee Radford a new contract as it appears, despite many of us having reservations and frustrations over the first two years of his tenure, we are now on the right track. Our signings and team building has been good since we got rid of a lot of players that were overpaid and under skilled and indeed when you look at what we are getting for the cap now compared with what we were getting in say 2014, you can appreciate what a renaissance we have been through under Lee’s stewardship.

He has ridden the flak, matured visibly as a spokesperson for the Club and, if you talk to any of the players, developed a great respect from all his charges in the squad. I’ve not always been the biggest fan but as a paying customer that’s my right, but I can see the sense in this move if only because with his acquisitions on and off the field Pearson is obviously looking for some continuity and stability. After all those signings at the start of this season the thought of having to start again to get a new coach’s ‘team’ in place, must be real nightmare scenario’ for the owner.

Firstly for me, I guess that it’s a good sign with regard to Adams continued tenure at the head of the Club when we see that he is looking as far ahead as 2019. That has to be good news for all of us and offers some stability and continuity right at the top. As for Lee, well he’s certainly matured and developed as a Coach, he’s commanding a great deal of respect from some big, big characters in the squad and at present at least he’s getting the results. I would personally have waited a bit longer to see how the season develops and I would have been inclined to keep the extension to one or two rather than three years, but that is simply my thoughts on the situation.

. I like him as a bloke and I get on with him really well, he’s not averse to texting his views on what I say in here, nor am I to contacting him with mine, but throughout a tough two and a half years he has kept his council, taken the flak and at times kept his head down and just got on with it. He gets it, he really does love the Club and he’s a bigger fan than many you’ll meet on the terraces. He didn’t for example agree with merging the academy’s, because he gets the rivalry bit, but as an employee he had to understand the financial reasons behind it. He’s matured too and understands he can’t always have everything he wants; as the situation with Danny Brough proved recently.

If I’m honest, as I try to always be in here, I’m still not sure he is the man to realise our latent potential and capitalise on a massive supporter base that craves success so much, but he’s doing OK and now with that contract he’s all we’ve got and we all have to therefore get behind him.

However 3 years is a long time and a worry, not because I question Pearson’s judgement, because I’m not close enough to the decision making process to do that, but because I know what ‘can’ happen! If it does then the stumbling block could be the amount of compensation that would have to be paid out to sort the severance of his contract. Still, Adam (and his wallet) knows the problems that circulate around dishing out deals that are too long when things then go sour down the line doesn’t he? So our owner must have taken that into consideration when awarding Lee a contract that is as much a nod to rewarding his efforts as it is to stability and a deal of longevity right at the heart of the organisation. It’s been a tough and at times uncertain grind for Lee and so why shouldn’t he and his family have a bit of employment stability?

So as a Club we all move on into a new era and another three years under our coach. If the improvement in the next 3 is comparable with that in the last 3 then that will do for me! From personally painting and decorating the new training facilities and persuading Big Frank to sign on the dotted line, to overseeing a gradual but now escalating improvement, that if sustained, will bring the fans back to the KC, it’s been a ‘colourful’ sometimes bemusing and recently enjoyable journey but one that in past times has not been without some abject frustrations for the fans.

However it’s done, but no one can now rest on their laurels and should the wheels come off then Lee and indeed Adam should be under no misapprehensions about the fact that we’ll be ‘at them’, because as I said earlier, we are the fans, we are the stakeholders and WE ARE THE CLUB and our loyalty in good times and bad brings with it the absolute right to our say!

So, let’s be positive, Lee’s here to stay, we should embrace it and we should hope that the next three years will be exciting and rewarding and that they re-establish our Club back up there at the top of the game in a period that could also be a great ride for all the fans; let’s face it, more than anyone around the club, we deserve it! We have I believe to trust the integrity and vision of our owner which although tested over the last two years, has come through well, in a tough period of rebuilding. Good Luck Lee, I do hope you won’t need it!!

Something else we all have as fans to get on with is the loss of Frank and Seke for this weekend’s season defining Cup clash at Saints. I was fed up when I heard about it, but you have, as I say, to accept it because that’s what you get when you sign Captains of International teams. The honour of that position is surely a spur to any professional player and no doubt Lee, having been through the international wringer himself, will have been pretty understanding about it. We could have refused to release them, but if they want to play for the honour of leading their country, then what price refusing them the chance? All the Polynesian contingent are really happy at Hull at present and we want them to stay that way and to not let those two go, when it was what they wanted to do, could have jeopardised that situation.

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They certainly appreciated the release and Frank said on Sunday, “We have arrived safe ‘n sound. How grateful we are to @hullfcofficial in releasing us to captain our countries, we’re both excited and privileged to be in this position and couldn’t thank you guy’s enough. The sacrifice the club and fans have made we are humbled by. We have faith in the squad and that they can get the job done!!” So that’s, that really and although I’m glad that we haven’t done anything to upset two of our biggest current assets, I also hope that come next weekend, we don’t rue the day we did it either!!

The news that Gareth Ellis had been cited in the Wakey game came as no surprise to me once I’d studied the video. It was one of those occasions when although he might have been innocent it would have been difficult to prove it. I guess he took an early plea because with the vagaries of the system and the disciplinary panel, he would probably end up with a lot more games had he made an appearance. Perhaps too the loss of Frank and Manu to the international call made it imperative that Gareth was available for this Sunday. So taking just one match on that early plea was a good idea and although he missed out on the Catalan game, we got away with it and he’ll be back and really fired up for Saints in the Cup. What did disappoint me in the whole affair was however the attitude of a lot of Wakey fans who wanted Gareth hung, drawn and quartered…… and then some!

The stats showed that the match at Belle Vue saw us totally dominate the game, with the exception of 20 minutes in the first half when we took our foot off the gas and yet afterwards the once great Wakey fans were ‘whinging for England!’ We were constantly off-side, the referee was crap, the ‘fiddler’ on the toilet roof was an idiot (that was true at least), all our first half tries should have been ruled out and Gareth Ellis is a thug and…. so it went on.

They appear to have changed a lot following their bit of success and although I didn’t mention it last week, I actually experienced it myself at the North End at Belle Vue when a muscular looking guy in his twenties to my left shouted out, “Someone should F*ckin punch Ellis” When I turned round and smiled he threatened the same sort of thing to me…a blooming pensioner! I just smiled again and moved a few yards further down the terracing, but there was a feeling around me amongst some of the Wakey fans that it was their right to win it and that’s a big shame! Several beforehand complained to the Stewards that Hull FC fans had been let into ‘their’ North Stand behind the sticks, as they wanted the ground segregated to separate us from them. Of course it’s just a minority and most of them are still good people I’m sure of that, but Wakefield fans have been such great compatriots over the years and its one of the reasons I always like going there. They have a lot to be enthusiastic about this term as well, so why have they changed so much in such a short time. Perhaps a bit of success goes to some folks heads, but I think I liked the old Wakefield fans best!

The hot news on Thursday was a rare triple signing announcement, as all the worries we had about interest from Wigan and the NRL were dispelled as Josh Bowden was joined by Chris Greene and Dean Hadley in signing up until 2019. This is a massive step forward for us and comes about as there is a massive belief in the camp that things are really happening at Hull FC and such is the togetherness and team spirit that everyone wants to be a part of it. Bowden has been the find of the season for me and his form has been such that he is pushing Wattsy and Taylor all the time.

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Three of the best and here till 2019!!

As for Hadley well I have expounded just how good he can be in here before, while Green has a bit to do for me, but is still a major ‘carrier and yard maker’ for us. All three have big futures and now they are our men until the end of the decade. Of course as I said on RL fans, their addition to the squad for 2017 means that there is little room left under the cap to bring players in. I can see us pushing the boat out for a half back, but otherwise I honestly think that will be it. Last week saw Abdull going to Featherstone for some much need game time while I’m hearing that Jack Logan might be joining him there on loan once Carlos is fit too.

Contract wise, we still have to make a decision on Yeamo and Abdull, Feke, Michaels and Pryce. However Pryce is off and Feke will probably retire. Abdull has a lot to prove as does Yeamo, who has to continue in his current form, while what we do about Michaels is an interesting one as well! However we now have a strong local nucleus of players and a great spirit in the camp. With Ellis on board for next year too, that’s the Captain sorted and how good it was to see Paul Clarke in ‘The Mail’ confirming that he has re-signed for less money than he was getting when he first came. He loves the place as well! We are as a team in good shape at present and we just have to hope that as we evolve that continues.

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Reader Mike J sent me this one from the preamble to the televised Huddersfield v Leeds game with the comment, “Which beach was Minniciello on Bondi or Withernsea!”

Well Mr Koukash, many would say that last Monday you got a strong indication that although flawed and much criticised, the system actually does work, as the RL at last ‘grew some’ and dished out a fine and 6 points deducted for doing what we all knew for ages the Manchester Club were doing! I ain’t going into the details because it’s not that long ago since we were caught out ourselves and therefore I guess it’s a case of ‘let him who casts the first stone’ The fact is there have been 7 such fines and points deductions in Super League with the last in 2007 (we got done in 2003). However all those deductions have been of two points and yet here Salford get 6!

That seems a bit unfair but it’s pretty apparent that the other occurrences came about because of the poor monitoring scheme and the Clubs lack of knowledge or ability to keep track of how much they are spending on player wages. Most of these instances were down I believe to ineptitude rather than people thinking they can blatantly ride roughshod over the system. This instance is, I believe different, because to all intense and purpose it appears that Salford and their owner knowingly went out to fiddle the system…allegedly!

However as always in these cases and indeed the ‘points deducted for going into administration’ issues that have become more common in latter seasons, it’s not the Clubs hierarchy that I feel for because for me they control their own destinies and have some control of what goes on. I do however feel deeply for the fans at Salford. They are the ones who pitch up every week, hoping against hope that those at the top of the Club have the same commitment and passion to the cause that they have and trust in them to look after the Club they love with the same loyalty and integrity that they show on the terraces.

Usually, they need not worry because most Clubs are headed up by honest brokers that love the game and ‘get it’. There are not that many fast buck merchants around anymore, because you simply can’t make a fast buck out of the game and nor are there that many who think they can circumvent the system to gain instant recognition and success because they have the money at their disposal. Rugby League is an interesting animal indeed particularly when compared with a lot of other sport because most of what we do is down to creating a level playing field whilst other sports use the regulation of salary caps etc to limit any outlandish abusers of power.

In Rugby League that level playing field scenario sees us as probably one of the only sports where it is no longer the case that the more money you have, the more success you get. Even Rugby Union has such a ridiculously high cap which many can’t afford to spend up to and so in that game those who have the most money get the most success.

However in League its more down to allowing the Clubs to spend up to a reasonable limit and then about the quality and shrewdness of recruitment and the ability and nous of our coaches and trainers to get the most out of their wards. In Football in this Country next season our top division will see the Clubs all getting £100m from TV alone and yet come this time next year the top 6 will still by and large be made up of the richest Clubs because all that happens is that the whole ceiling of salaries will have just been pushed upwards again. The richest Clubs will still be able to pay even more to their players to attract the best.

The likelyhood of another team ‘doing a Leicester’ is a remote one and even if that did happen, the chances of them then progressing in the European competitions is almost impossible because they simply don’t have the ‘personal wealth’ behind them to pay the players they would need to do that. That’s pretty obscene for me. Although I used to like the old days in our game when a team like Batley would hit the headlines when they beat the big spenders of say Wigan, I think our game is much more stable for using the cap as they do. As for Mr Koukash well he deserves all he got but the fans of Salford certainly don’t!

He might be appealing but I don’t find him that at all!!

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With every box of Kellogg’s Cornflakes!!

How good it was to hear this week from Jordan Rankin who I follow every week in the NRL on Premier Sport. He was man of the match for the Wests Tigers this week, but still hopes to come back to play for us one day and reading his twitter account he certainly still has a great love for our Club. He said as if to emphasise this, “Hull has a special place in my heart and the Black and White family is always going to be with me. I endeavour to one day come back and pull on the black and white jersey again.” And I for one can’t wait Jordan!

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Well it’s happened again and this week Toulouse are in hot water over an alleged biting allegation. However, I can reveal that they aren’t the only ones because last week ex FC hero Richard Whiting now playing for Leigh was allegedly bitten during their win over Featherstone. The episode was put on report, but rumour is that there was some pressure for Whiting to play down the whole incident so that it could get swept under the carpet. I don’t expect we’ll be hearing anything else about it though!!

The most interesting thing to come out of my contacts at Caravan Park this week is the story circulating that a questionnaire was given to the players by Mr Peacock asking them for feedback on Chris Chester’s coaching, the week before he left the club? Pretty unbelievable that one; or is it? However I hear that Mr Peacock sailed through his first 6 month assessment at the Club. He stated in his job interview that “Within 6 months I will have Rovers on a par with Leeds” So far then it appears that he’s exceeded his expectations! Their secret forum last Thursday was interesting too, with the question of the night, “Neil, as we got to Wembley last year, do you think we should have contested the World Club Challenge”

Our great club has over the years had hundreds of good players and those supporters who have followed the club for a few decades have literally dozens of their own personal favourites. I know that it only takes someone to say something about our clubs great history for me to start remembering those fantastic characters and servants that have pulled on the black and white shirt. The other day we were talking in the Drum and Monkey about Johnny Whiteley and the fact that of all the great ambassadors in our game that we had seen over the years, John was up there with the best. However as my pal said, during that conversation, we have as a club had some great loose forwards back in the days when the position was not seen as an extra prop or a third second rower. Mick Crane, Knocker Naughton, Jason Smith and Johnny are just four such exponents of the loose man role. In fact up till a few years ago, when Jason Smith left the club, it was always seen as a position from which great handling, strong running and creativity flowed. It was by definition a pivotal role in our team and most others.

We always seemed to be able to unearth great loose men and few have made such a big impact on signing for the club than Gary Divorty did back in 1983. Gary had toured in the 1983 BARLA youth squad’s tour of New Zealand and no fewer than 7 First Division clubs were said to be vying for his signature. As was the case back then of course it was the FC that moved fastest to secure the live wire youth International. Gary had big boots to fill, because from day one of his career at Hull he was hailed as the successor to the great Steve Norton. Knocker was starting to age a bit and in fact by the end of his first season Gary had replaced him in the hallowed no.13 shirt.

Divorty had all the attributes of a classic loose forward. He was long striding, really quick off the mark, speedy over 50 yards, a ball handler and a great cover tackler wide out. So good was Gary from the off that I remember many fans were surprised to see him omitted from the 1984 GB touring side for their trip to Australia. His rise in credibility was nothing short of meteoric when in the next season he went through the Yorkshire Colts, GB Colts, and the GB under 21 sides to make 2 full Test appearances against France. Many readers will no doubt remember the part that Gary played in that fantastic Wembley performance in 1984, when we were narrowly beaten by Wigan and Divorty came on off the bench to score a memorable try.

Funnily enough as we all looked forward to the club once again having one of the top players in the country in our ranks, for some unknown reason Gary’s progress slowed, and he never quite fulfilled all his rich promise. He went on to make 6 more GB under 21 appearances but as far as his full test career was concerned it was already over before it really began. Perhaps the expectation of the fans was too much for him to take, who knows, but Gary was, back then talked about as the new Johnny Whiteley and compared with the Drakes, who also came from the famous amateur club Heworth in York. In the end though although he did not gain the sort of notoriety reserved for such as Knocker he was still a great player, something that Leeds must have realise when they slapped in a £120,000 transfer bid and Hull, strapped for cash, accepted it in September 1989. During his two years at Leeds he had a spell at Australian club, Gold Coast, before moving onto Halifax in 1992.

As often happens in these cases, he returned to the Boulevard in 1995 where he was made club captain and he played another 3 seasons before finishing his career at Wakey in 1997. However whatever you say, in the modern game there are just not specialist loose forwards like Gary about anymore. I will remember him as a great player with fleet of foot and a good dummy. He was 6ft 2in. tall and superbly built for the role of loose man while his ‘Beach Boyesque’ good looks made him a character that it is easy to remember in the black and white of Hull FC. As for the stats well Gary played 232 games for us with 36 of those being off the bench he scored 60 tries kicked 30 goals of which 13 were drop goals and he amassed 287 points!

Gary Divorty was undoubtedly a great player and yet another that like Schofield and Crooks we had to sell in his prime because we needed the cash. But I remember him with great affection just the same.

So Sunday is next up and it’s simply a massive game. I think that the fact we have run out winners in our last three visits there makes it an even harder ask, because they’ll be waiting for us! With Frank and Seke away and a few knocks from that torrid encounter on Friday, it looks a really difficult one to me, but I’ll be there cheering ‘em on and I hope that rather than sitting at home and watching on the TV you’ll do your best to be there too. Pritchard and Manu think we can do it and we all have to as well!

Thanks for all your feedback and comments this week, well done to Salford on Saturday and to everyone in the black and white army who cheered the lads home last Friday; what a game eh? I want to make a special mention to my pal Jeff who has had a big operation, but just 10 days afterwards still managed to get along to the game and to Diary reader Sue, over in Cheshire, who has also been doing it tough of late and deserves a bit of luck!

So that’s it, bring on the Saints and let’s see what happens next!!

Keep Believing!!!

Faithfully Yours

Wilf

AND finally this made me laugh!

“Going down together

We’re bottom of the league Na na na na na na

We lost our star men

We’ve been beaten again

We’re Leeds, Leeds, Leeds”