The 500th Dentist’s Diary

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2016 Hull FC 4 Dobbins 0

“Defeat, falling on your face and your arse are the only things that really teach you how to win!”

That quote from Kevin Spacey was used as the final words of an Andy Murray documentary two years ago and was all about searching your soul, digging deep and using past adversities to strain every sinew and get a result which, as they say, gets you ‘back on the horse’!

That’s what good sportsmen and good teams do and that’s what we did last Thursday! Now that display must be the vehicle which takes us onto that semi final in two weeks time. However for now I’m still basking in the afterglow of a great win because like most of you reading this I really don’t like Rovers at all and so it was a great night to be an FC fan.

We’ve done the Derby business this year now, we’re the best and as the chant at the end of the game went; the City is indeed ours. We’re the top dogs in Hull and Rovers are down in the middle 8’s again but, as I say, it might have been their ‘Cup Final’ but now we have to move on, we have bigger fish to fry, that match against Wigan is looming and it’s the game of the season thus far. However for now, let’s be content in the fact that what we witnessed on Thursday was a fabulous show of strength, power and a real lesson in how to bully a team into submission and then take them apart; so well done to everyone involved.

That aside, this is, the 500th Diary’s and after 11 years of this rubbish perhaps this week I’m allowed at least a bit of self indulgence!!! This edition is different in that there’s a lot about what’s behind this weekly stuff and indeed you’ll find for a change some reflections from yours truly, some home truths, a bit of looking back and a couple of things that have happened along the way that I’ve never told anyone about, before today. Plus throughout, there a just a few of my favourite pictures from the last decade of this rubbish!

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What a place to be when the Stadium is bouncing!

As always I found it hard to watch that Derby and I was really nervous at half-time knowing that in these games, 18 point leads are never quite enough and I fretted as to whether we could continue to dominate as we had done in the first 40 minutes. However, this team is a bit special and they care a bit too! Last week they had knuckled down, trained hard, left the rhetoric in the build up to Cockaigne and Co. and let their actions do the talking on the day, as we showed the RL world that we ain’t finished yet this season. The uninitiated have described it to me as men and boys and I loved it!!

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Hi guys remember me; Scott acknowledges the Dobbins fans!

It was ‘another bloody Derby’ and I was nervous as hell on Thursday. We’d hit the buffers a bit of late and consecutive defeats for Hull FC always used to mean that we would go back into our shells and at best try and fiddle a victory. A must win ‘Cup Final’ of a game for the Dobbins meant they were really up for it and nothing short of the return to the power and control we had seen against Catalan three weeks earlier would be good enough. Could we muster that after the disappointments of the Leeds game or would we fall flat on our arses again?

As I said last week the veneer of confidence is spread very thin throughout the FC faithful and we all knew that if past history was anything to go by we could well have been in for a heartbreaking defeat! However no one told the players as they did a great job to answer ‘that one’ quite emphatically with perhaps the most powerful and compelling performances we have seen from this team thus far.

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Mini had a simply brilliant game and looked a real class act.

As a group of fans we still don’t do Derby’s very well do we? And you know I still honestly believe that the RL and Mr Pearson have to realise that 4 or 5 such fixtures in a season of around 30 games is simply too many. It devalues these great spectacles, makes us weary of constantly meeting Rovers and fed up with the pages of regurgitated ‘news’, ‘sensationalism’ and rhetoric that these games generate in the press.

The Clubs, I think, should now abandon the waning pre-season friendly and the RL should change the Magic format to make it fairer because we are the only two Clubs who play a Derby there these days. Why should they do that? Well folks are voting with their feet and I think the attendance on Thursday showed that don’t you!! Had there just been the two regular season fixture I’m pretty confident that a gate of 25,000 was nailed on, but with less than 17,000 there the ‘battle fatigue’ of the fans after 3 Derby games already, was there for all to see.

Still we played them, we all worried beforehand and yet in the end if the term ‘blowing the opposition away’ was ever to be used, then it was never more appropriate than on Thursday night! I was so proud at the end of the game, proud and relieved, because it was all an FC fan ever wants and it is at moments like that, as the final hooter goes, when we are all as fans, as one together in our passion and delight; but more of that later!

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One of the best tries of the season!

Perhaps as a generalisation on the negative side and to get it out of the way quickly, I still worry about the yards we have let team’s make on us in the last three games. In the Cup game we brilliantly managed the oppositions go forwards and stopped Catalan in their tracks, but since then we don’t seem to go and meet the opposition enough and so we give up too many yards on defence. But hey, we won and we won in absolutely fine style and so for now at least, who cares?

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It all started with lots of passion, but we were just a bit off it and found ourselves bombarded by a Rovers team that obviously set their stall out to hit us hard early on and to try and get a lead. However if the first 7 minutes was all the Dobbins, thereafter it was all Hull FC. We had to weather a storm, but somehow that early backs to the wall line defence increased our steel and determination as we grew in stature and the rest just followed the script of so many games this season. How good it is these days to be able to say that, but our pressure and strength was simply awesome at times and as we ground the Rovers pack down, it was men and boys for much of the game! I still worried and still found it hard to watch, but then again I always do.

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Celebrating again!!

There’s a real debate at present about Mr Marmite Mahe Fornua, because some fans like him and some don’t. For me he’s still relatively young and on the negative side of things, his ball security is weak at times, as is his defence, in fact with the latter failing it seems some teams are targeting him, but that is the nature of the beast; and he is just that….a beast. As a ‘maverick’ player he can bounce players away with relative ease and he certainly shows incredible strength. But it is that X factor with the ball in hand and an amazing deftness with those one handed offloads that singles him out as a bit special. For me we should persist with him and in a few months time he could well be unplayable! With those two off loads for the final tries in both of the Hull based Derby’s this year he has shown that he can be a real match winner, so I’m for keeping him in myself.

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That looks a fair tackle!!

Another player that I must mention from Friday was Jordan Abdull who had a tremendous game. Out of contract at the end of the season, Jordan took his chance and what I like about him is that with all the half backs we have, he is the only real foil for Sneyd. Marc is a plotter, a ‘dancer’ and a brilliant play maker whilst Adbull, unlike Tumavive, is a natural runner at the line and when compared with Pryce he has a lot more grunt in defence, so for me we might just be seeing the start of a great partnership there. Let’s hope Jordan can keep it up!

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In addition Danny Houghton was again superb, I must have watched his try ten times since and I still can’t stop marvelling at Sneyd’s kick and the line that Danny’s ran, what a score that was, and although it looked so easy, hours of practise goes into that sort of execution and they must get a tremendous buzz when it comes off. Minnichiello was also quite brilliant and what an engine he has for his age. His feet for his second try where just amazing as he left three defenders for dead and cantered in. Up front Watts and Taylor were massive and if I was to offer Rovers fans a tip it would be; if you want a ghost of a chance of beating us, then don’t wind those two up!! I also felt that Bowden was superb coming off the bench and Thompson had a fine game as well. As for Michaels well his work rate and strike power was simply amazing and I think that we need to try and keep him.

For Rovers ‘Pink boots’ Kelly looked scared to death at times as we pummelled him in possession and the shout near me of “Hey Kelly why you got your Mothers shoes on?” was a classic! However Cockayne, (who said that when he scored on Thursday he would produce a ‘Rankin like’ salute to celebrate), got what he deserved from Yeamo on a couple of occasions, quite apt I thought for a player who proved once again that he is little more than a ‘twopenny halfpenny’ thug!! Plus, if that was Tilse’s best game of the season by far, he must have been pretty crap for the rest of the season!!

Another interesting instance was when, to break the tension a bit at half time, I went for a walk on the concourse of the East Stand and had a chat with my pals Lorraine and Jeff. There as I looked out of the back windows towards Argyle Street, I amazingly saw at least a dozen Rovers fans heading home!!!

In the end of course it’s just so good to beat that lot in all 4 games of the season for the first time since Super League began. Although we all strained and fretted on the edge of our seats for at least 60 minutes of the match, to the casual observer it was an easy win for a much better team and on a personal note, what a game to bring down the curtain on the 500th Dentist Diary eh?

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Jordan Abdull, what a game!!

I worried about that a bit and whether this big edition for yours truly would fall flat on its arse with a defeat to that lot, but the lads didn’t let me down! In fact I was talking to both Houghton and Yeamo next morning and they were still so pumped and so proud and as Danny said, “It’s a long time since I’ve played in an FC team that’s so together and united” That for me as an ordinary fan, is all I want to hear really!

As for the Daily Mail, well they sank to new depths just 36 hours later when that Charlie Mullen guy produced an article entitled, “Allan Agar recalls Hull KR’s 10-5 win over Hull FC in 1980”; Is that pathetic or what?? He’s just like the rest of ‘em…..living in the past!

So a great and proud night for us in an FC season that continues to defy the pundits and now on to other things and to the rumour mill this week. As the new Huddersfield coach was saying he was intent on retaining his services, Jake Connor was sat with Motu Tony in the West Stand on Thursday, watching the game and soaking up the atmosphere as he realised no doubt what he would be missing if he decides to stay at the Giants. I was also hearing that our other two new signings for 2017 were there as well, as the word from the West Stand was that if we are to be compensated by Huddersfield for Connor, then we’ll just have Danny Brough!

Meanwhile over at Salford it appears Coach Ian Watson’s last Super League game at the Club will be against us next week, as it’s said that he is to be axed at the end of the current middle eight’s campaign. Meanwhile the headline read in the Daily Mail, “Jason Netherton delighted as City of Hull Academy rated outstanding”. So that would be the same impartial Jason Netherton who told one of my mates lads who at turning 16 signed for the FC recently, that he “Must be barmy to sign for them”? Believe me, my thoughts on that set up under Mr N have never changed and the sooner we get our own academy back at Hull FC the better!

Meanwhile I had a chat with Frank the Tank last Tuesday and he was telling me that he could be back for Salford but was definitely targeting the Wigan game, adding straight away that all the lads realised just how important a game it is for all the fans. I hope he makes it, however he was still limping a bit a week ago when I saw him!

So, I’ve finally got to the 500th editions of the Diary and I guess you appreciate that this episode of this continuing weekly rubbish is a massive milestone for me. It’s one that leaves in its wake over 3 million words, just short of 200 different players, 4 different Coaches, two owners and one very difficult stadium operator! That, plus countless trays of soggy chips, regular Derby heartbreakers, perennial soakings at Headingley (and Odsal), many infuriating post midnight Friday detours on the M62, a few periods of imprisonment in the Car Park at Salford, some brilliant times (and chips) at Castleford and the odd bout of street fighting in Warrington, which just about covers the full gambit of what the long suffering FC fan accepts as just a normal existence. That and of course the occasional magnificent victory and lots and lots of disappointment, distress and tearing out of hair!!

However there have been some great times, lots of abuse, a few threats aimed at me as the writer of this drivel, plus some really good, valued and new friends made, which all make up for hours and hours of writing, head scratching and re-writing. Even now researching, writing and changing the average Diary takes around 15/16 hours a week, however back when I started, I couldn’t even write a shopping list and so it took much longer. So, what motivated me to take 11 years out of my life to do it? The answer to that is…..probably the response I get from readers and the need to do SOMETHING to help the cause. But I guess today on a personal note I’m really quite proud of what I’ve achieved and that the Diary’s actually got this far.

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The unfortunate creasing of a T shirt caused a laugh or two in 2013!!

Looking back I guess it was the afterglow of ‘everything Cardiff’ that was the catalyst that initially got this weekly journal off the launch pad. That cathartic experience one Saturday in sunny Wales brought liberation and invigoration to every FC fan that was there and I remember most of all how I never ever wanted it to end! In fact once it was over I became more and more obsessed with writing a book to chronicle the journey that had seen me, an ordinary raggy arsed back street kid from Hessle Road, blessed with the privilege of being part of the most amazing set of rugby league fans in the world. That, and also how it then all came to such an amazing crescendo and perhaps finale in, (would you believe) Wales!!

However if I were to try and write a book, there was one snag, in that I really couldn’t write anything much at all (some would say I still can’t) and it was only in an attempt to learn to communicate through the written word, that with 35 readers and about 500 words, the first edition of the Dentists Diary was launched at 10-50am on 19th November 2005, just three months after that life defining day at the Millennium Stadium.

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Another gem from the past and look who’s talking now, well they were 8 months ago anyway!

Cardiff 2005 still remains for many of us; the 80 minutes that define our lives. Those are the rare times during which the sports fan comes within touching distance of the impossible dream and when you know paradoxically that it’s all the depression, futility, frustration and anger that has gone before, that actually makes those instances so significant and in turn, all the hardship so gloriously worthwhile. I for one just hope that I see another such occasion in my lifetime, but as the years go by I somehow doubt I will.

Since then a blog that was just a learning curve for me, has grown legs and taken over much of my life and I hope that in that time I’ve managed to reflect the views of an average fan who thinks he’s seen it all and yet is still amazed as to the occasional heights of ecstasy and depths of despair to which he can be taken by his beloved sports club. Well at least I’ve done my best! It’s all been in here at one time or another over the last 11 seasons and yet no doubt like you, although unpredictability abounds every week at Hull FC, still, as an FC fan, these days little seems to surprise me!

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Probably the greatest tackle of the last 11 years?

Bearing the name of the first great hero I ever had at the Boulevard, Wilf Rosenberg ‘The Flying Dentist’, this blog has been a continuing work. It takes up lots of time and completely dominates the weekly calendar in our house and is still going, long after both volumes of my life story had been published, bought and indeed condemned to the shelves of the charity shops, or to the City’s pulping plants.

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I often look at it on the East Stand concourse and it’s still my favourite remembrance plaque!

Throughout the Diary’s life time, I have written it down as I see it, even at times of absolute turmoil and disappointment when I would, no doubt like many of you, have rather crawled away to grieve alone. However week in week out your loyal support has been simply amazing and although it’s wrong to single anyone out, as just two examples, readers like Brian Chapman in Spain and Uppo from RL fans illustrate well the hundreds of new friends and contacts I have made, many of whom have been with me right from the early days. The former is always supportive and gives me an invaluable view of the exiled supporter, miles away from the KC watching on TV or listening to the radio, who is just as emotionally involved as I am sat there in the East Stand. Good old Uppo, who I’ve only met a handful of times, will send me long diatribes that served to remind me that I am actually still a fervent fan, although in reality I’m acting like a manic depressive and harbinger of doom, he helps no end, particularly when I need a reality check as the rhetoric of the Diary reflects my personal feelings of abject despair and disappointment.

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Great times and my favourite Drum And Monkey pic of the last 11 years, but sadly the night after Peter Gentle got the push.

But depression has for too long been the staple diet of the FC supporter hasn’t it? And whether you record your feelings every week as I do, watch from afar or just turn up on the terraces, the ride since that glorious day in Cardiff has certainly been a wild one, full of exasperation and at times abject frustration.

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The Diary always brought you the top bargains!

The opportunity to start this rubbish back in 2005 was given to me when I was asked to include ‘a few words every week’ on a new RL fans related site at blackandwhites.com! Since then it has had a varying readership, but Rover’s fans STILL read it and it STILL gets right up their noses (which after all these years continues, I find, to provide a very rewarding outcome!), exiled FC fans enjoy it, some use it as a life line to home as they reminisce about times gone by, many others read it and sympathise with the author’s demise, some don’t agree with the content on a regular basis and others inside and outside the club contribute and send me ‘whiffs’ on the ’QT’ that have over the years proved both enlightening and invaluable.

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Happy days! Jacob Miller thankfully from the back!!

Comments over the years have ranged from “It’s the only thing that gets me through Monday mornings” to “Don’t bloody worry I know where you live you Twat!” (the latter was obviously from a Rovers fan, as in the originally E Mail he spelt Twatt with two t’s!!!) Every week I hear from at least 20/30 ordinary fans who just want to share a thought or two and I always try and reply. James Clark once wrote, “You have absolutely no idea do you?” whilst Adam Pearson’s ‘doesn’t read it’ but yet seems to know exactly what’s in it and the readership also includes, several players wives, two ex coaches and apparently the Daily Mail and Radio Humberside. What you don’t know is that in 11 years I have received just one letter threatening me with legal action the source of which had better remain nameless and so bizarre is it all at times, that it’s being read regularly in Alaska and the Falkland Islands and I’ve even had a fans print it off, read it and then leave it on the train when he got off; just to spread the FC word. Now with around 2500 readers every week, it still amazes me why you all bother, but I’m eternally grateful that you do!

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What was then an exclusive and the best ever protest, marking as it did, the removal of the Johnny Whiteley pictures in 2013.

Most of all however The Dentists Diary has brought me some of the most wonderful and long lasting friendships that I could ever have. Many of those ‘mates’ I have never ever seen, but each week we talk, we disagree, we rejoice and we lament, we laugh, we cry and we cling to the one thing that we all have in common; our undying love of Hull FC.

It’s just one big family and whether its standing in Morrison’s and hearing a Victor Meldrew like ‘Un..b…lievable” coming from three isles away as the great David Doyle-Davidson questions the price of beef burgers or bumping into my old pal Barry King in Asda on Saturday everywhere you go the FC family is all around you! David actually came to my house to thank me for including him in the first book; why wouldn’t I, he’s real hero! Last Saturday I’d raced from Beverley to Asda to pick something up, but once I saw Barry we were there for half an hour talking the game and everything FC, from Noel Cleal to what a thug Mr Cockayne is and from what good ‘box office’ Frank Pritchard is to how, although seasons come and seasons go Gwilym Lloyd is still a bloody pain! Don’t you just love being part of it all?

This Diary is of course on a site that is a subsidiary of RL fans and suffers for that at times and perhaps I should add here that without the patience help and understanding of Joe Bennett this weekly diatribe would simply not happen. Again he is another guy I didn’t know from Adam, who has over the years become a great friend and indeed a real sounding board and mentor who drops everything every Monday morning, to post this diatribe for me. He’s a top bloke!

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The ubiquitous Joe Bennett; always a sense of occasion!!

That message board is a typical on line community and like all such groups thrown together by their anonymity and passion, it contains several colourful characters and one or two who quite frankly beggar bloody belief. However there are a lot of great fans on there too, and none the less be they antagonists, buffoons or just plain mischief makers, everyone cares, everyone has a view and everyone has a right to an opinion, which, just because I write my own opinions down, has never ever meant that mine were the right ones either!

Over the years as supporters we had all cursed, fretted, sweated, strained, made sacrifices, lost friends, been elated, frustrated and deflated and taken all ‘that crap’ and done it all…..together. Since that day in 2005, in general, it’s been a procession of all that stuff, week in week out and there have been very regular and long periods of ‘pain’ for us all.

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Unforgettable highlight?????? Kirk in Lycra!!!

However here in 2016, we at last seem to have perhaps a glimmer of hope that we are getting somewhere, or have we? My inborn FC scepticism dictates that for me, unfortunately, the jury is still out on that one! But I hope…. boy do I hope!

If you need one indicator of what being a fan is all about then look at the end of a ‘Big Win’ as the best example. As the final hooter goes then that’s it, the glorious zenith of ‘fandom’ and a magical moment when you know exactly what everyone around you is feeling because you feel it yourself. It is at that moment that players and fans, Directors, boot men, shareholders, tea ladies and owners, young and old, rich and poor are, despite their different circumstances and social backgrounds, all as one, welded together in their happiness and that is just so special. In hard times I often envy the train spotters and stamp collectors, but then again, they really do miss out when it comes to those magical instances don’t they!

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Miles off side and another great moment!!

However the main difference between all us ‘committed fanatics’ and the players we adore, is that we have put in more hours, more seasons and more years than they have. We don’t get paid and can’t walk away or sign for another Club; we’re stuck with the one we’ve got. That’s why even after 11 years have passed, for us lot 5-00pm on Saturday 27th August 2005 was a seminal and life defining moment that actually suspended reality itself and why I wanted to write the book to encapsulate all the emotions, personal tragedies, fun and heartache that my life as a fan had entailed. I’m no author and probably won’t write anything else, but I just wanted to leave a book on the shelf of the British Library in the hope that one day in the distant future when all sport is virtual and no one leaves their home to frequent the terraces anymore, someone would take it down read it and ‘get’ what supporting Hull FC in the last part of the 20th century was all about; for it has been an amazing ride for us all!

Now here’s a revelation, because I’ve had some great times in the last 11 years, got a few real scoops and done some extraordinary things in the name of the Diary, the most remarkable of which, no one outside the Club knows about, well they didn’t until now! On Wednesday 8th August 2013, three days before a Derby at Caravan Park I was invited by Peter Gentle to give a ‘no hole’s barred’ presentation to the First Team squad about just what it was like to be a fan who has seen his team defeated in a Derby. It was a bloody daunting proposition, but I agreed and stood there in front of 30 odd players at the YPI training ground. Actually I really gave ‘em it with both barrels! I told them about what it’s like at work on Monday morning after a Derby defeat, what it’s like in split families, about our noisy neighbours and being harangued in Morrisons and Boots and how they as players just ‘get back onto the horse’ for the next game, while we have to live with that one defeat for weeks, if not months to come.

I quite surprised myself when I got going, particularly as to just how blunt I could be and how colourful my language would quickly become. I noticed a lot of looking at the ceiling or the floor as a few home truths came out, but I gained a fine round of applause at the end…… before beating a hasty retreat. That weekend we went to the Lightstream Stadium and won 38-20!!! But, I’m sure it had nothing whatsoever to do with me!!

However I was really honoured and indeed blessed to be given that opportunity and indeed to be able to do what hundreds of you lot reading this would love to be able to do just once in your lifetime and to be invited to do it before a Derby game was pretty special! I’ve come across a few coaches over the years, Peter Sharp was hard to approach and Richard Agar a strange guy to deal with, however I found Peter Gentle great to talk to, he always had time for the fans and he often gave me off the record information for the Diary, but it was never stuff that was in any way damaging, for he was very loyal to his players and the owner.

Gentle also got what this tome was all about and I know his family still read it in Australia, in fact quite out of the blue and totally unprompted, a full Parramatta training kit arrived in the post a few weeks ago!! He was a good guy but not good enough I guess, as many of his players in the end just wouldn’t or didn’t want to listen. However he was a far better coach than many would ever give him credit for, he was also a blooming nice guy, perhaps too nice, but that day back in August 2013 he certainly put me on the spot!!

Rugby fans are strange creatures and often envy anyone who has done or knows anything that they have not been privy to, so it’s the first time I have told anyone about that afternoon, but looking back it was certainly a high spot of the last 11 years, although I must admit that beforehand it didn’t seem like one and it was certainly scary.

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Included just because I still think he’s great and I’d have him back tomorrow.

Lee Radford of whom I was never the biggest fan has developed now into a bit of a hero for me, I got it wrong and well done to him; at least he’s a true fan and absolutely gets it!!! But you know, if I have learned one thing from what has been a rewarding, gratifying and at times frustrating life as a supporter it is that players and coaches come and go but the Hull fans that have to sit it out and endure it all, ARE very special people!! Sports fans everywhere can list their own tragedies and setbacks, but few can lay claim to occurrences so numerous or indeed boast so many loyal and perhaps even crazy individuals sticking with their team through so many lean years. It’s that weight of fanatical support, sustained through adversity over the seasons, no matter what has been thrown at it, that makes the ‘FC Army’ truly ‘barmy’ and truly great. You are all part of that and without your individual fanaticism being ‘a part of the whole’ we would never have what we have got in the family that is Hull FC. Last Tuesday I spoke to Frank Pritchard and he said that for him, from what he’d seen, the Club, unlike any other, really felt like it belonged to the fans. We know how much we care, but it good to know that it obviously shines through to the players too.

It is also the legacy of all that has gone before, that has made periods in our history like the ‘Golden Years’ of the ‘Bunting era’, the reign of Brian Smith and that 2005 triumph in Cardiff so memorable and unforgettable and that’s why, in here features and stories come and go, scandals and sensations happen and disappear, but we’ll always have our heritage and so Codgers Corner has continued throughout.

You see, I believe that in the hierarchy of its peers, the importance and status of a Sports Club is not judged by short term indicators like its current performances, last week’s result or its present players. Instead, I think it’s measured by its heritage, its history, the passion of its devotees, the sacrifices they have made and the adversity that we the fans have been through together in the name of the Club we all love. I have always tried to reflect that and to try and capture week in week out, what I and most other fans are thinking.

For a lot of the time that certainly doesn’t suit the Club and the Diary has had to be negative at times, well a lot of the time actually, but I’m just a fan and supporters are quintessentially worriers; simple as! ‘Fandom’ is all absorbing and all engrossing and just takes over, some fans I know, who are the ‘the blessed few’, can actually take it or leave it, but like most of you reading this, I’m afraid I can’t!

So, over the years I’ve tried in here to address the question of what makes us like that, but it’s one that I have still I think failed to answer. Reporting on matches current and past is very important, but I’ve also tried to engage in the life of the FC community, the team and the players. The big thing I have learned I guess is that you shouldn’t get too close though, you don’t need to know every detail of the players lives, because experience proves that it will just disillusion you and cheapen the whole thing. You see, I have always believed that there is a certain magic in sport, very like that which exists in theatre or cinema. When, if you see how the ‘trick’ is done or what the reality of the ‘magic’ really is, then much of the mystery, fascination and intrigue is gone.

I get loads of correspondence, encouragement and complaints and for all those I thank you, because this is just all about promoting discussion and reflecting things from the unpretentious, blinkered, down to earth and often brutally frank angle of the average long suffering fan.

However for me personally this season has been really strange in some way because after years of waiting, the way we went for the first 18 or so rounds, should have had me dancing in the street and yet somehow it didn’t seem real or as if it was actually happening. And that, just at a time when I should be loving it!! Now that is a strange one!!

Perhaps its years of writing about it, examining and debating it or just a sort of failsafe mechanism in-built in me to protect my feelings, that recognises that when things turn a little sour at Hull FC disappointments are usually just around the corner. However for years under various regimes I’ve battled on in here, trying to find positives, taunting the Dobbins, being as biased as anyone can be and living most of the time on little but hope! In the end of course as I have said so often in here it’s the hope that kills you and perhaps for me personally that’s the problem! However after games like Thursdays the excitement and the hope is burning bright again, (although at half time I was so wound up that my biggest supporter Mrs R, was considering calling an ambulance)

I’ll never stop going, because I simply can’t stay away and so I’m still hooked even after all these years. I’ve done my best over 500 episodes of this stuff and I hope you have found something to enjoy and that it’s got you talking and thinking a bit, because that has always been the idea. It’s never been about me but rather about a community to which I owe so much and subsequently how that family relates to a group of blokes who are central to all our belief systems. It’s been great fun and after all these years something that I still enjoy, although I have to say I also find it pretty tying at times too and I’m thankful for the garden here at ‘Rosenberg Towers’ which is the place I escape to when the FC going gets tough!

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As for the present well, we now, I think, have to think hard about Salford, obviously try to win there, but concentrate on what’s up next, because Wigan is probably the most important game we have played since the semi final against Warrington three years ago. Wigan defend well, but struggle to score points so we have to keep Sneyd and Houghton fit and perhaps we should ‘mothball’ them this week! That cup game is a real chance and, if you like, a rare passport to getting our hands on a trophy. I just hope the lads understand just how important a win at the national stadium is to us all and that they fetch to that game the same sort of focus and intent they brought to the Saints and Catalan rounds that went before. But even if they do, it will still be really tough!

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And finally the moment we got to Wembley again!

Thanks for putting up with a lot of navel gazing and introspection in an edition of this rubbish when I have tried to be really honest! After 500 editions, perhaps the final word from me should be, here’s to the future and for heaven’s sake, let’s bloody win something!!

Hold on Tight everyone, the ride in the next 11 years is going to be just as wild as the passage of the last 11 has been, but I honestly believe that this team is just a bit special!

Thanks so much for all your brilliant support over these past years and for putting up with me!

Keep Believing

Faithfully Yours

Wilf

So, I’ll just let the Children have the last word!!!

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