The Dentist’s Diary – 510th

AMAZINGLY, QUITE AMAZINGLY, ITS ALL TO PLAY FOR AGAIN!!!!!!!!

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Sport never ceases to amaze does it? Last weekend it looked all over bar the shouting, but now Friday has become the biggest game of the season, after of course ‘The Special One’, and yet conversely it’s DOUBLE TROUBLE if we fail!!! Win and the ‘hub cap’ is ours and we have a home semi- final, but lose and a third place finish beckons with probably an away play-off game at Wigan to follow!! It’s certainly going to be another tense old night for all of us!!!!!!

If it’s the hope that eventually kills you, then it’s your sports team tying you in such knots that, in the meantime, completely buggers you up!!! But wow after what has gone before isn’t it bloody great!

Who’d have thought it eh? This last weekend the drama wasn’t at Wakefield or indeed that much at Warrington, great though the spectacle of that mighty encounter was, but it was rather in the outcome that those two contrasting games threw up for next weekend. Despite one being a sloppy, listless, barely workmanlike affair and the other a great exhibition of grit, determination and stylish rugby, (I’ll leave you to decide which is which) both played their part in setting up a magnificent finale to the regular season. It was all certainly pretty unbelievable when at 10-00pm last Friday the two points we somehow managed to rescue from Thursdays game of mistakes, brain farts and near calamity became so, so significant. It was I think simply written in the stars.

The RL and Sky lads couldn’t have arranged it any better had they wanted to! They’ve got the two top teams in the competition all year creating a rematch of that brilliant Wembley final and bashing it out on the last weekend of regular rugby in the best Stadium in the competition, all to win the League leaders plate. No helicopters flying about with the ‘hub cap’ this time guys, because all the drama will be played out at the KC!!!

SO THIS FRIDAY IS GOING TO BE MASSIVE!!! As the excitement packed 2016 campaign for Hull FC that keeps on giving, just goes on and on and on!

Boy…..what a blooming wonderful season this is!!

Welcome once again to another edition of these ram shackled, yet (I hope) companionable reads, which have become even more difficult to write since the dust settled on what was the most amazing day of many of our lives. But now amazingly it’s all to play for again, as a simple twist of fate brings us to the threshold of another dream which has been presented to us in the most dramatic of circumstances. What has gone on since Wembley has certainly been a bit like existing in some sort of bubble and nothing I have watched out there on the field since that famous victory seems to have registered much at all for me, until that is, last Friday night, when I realised that it was all back in our hands and there was more ‘cup final’ rugby to come; for, make no mistake about it, that’s what this next game is!!

Last week’s heartbreaker against Wigan made Thursday’s match a real must win game which saw the pundits and the bookmakers making us massive favourites and nailed on for the points; but no one told Wakefield who made a real game of their 2016 swansong at the sadly dilapidated Belle Vue Stadium. There, around 1200 Hull FC fans in a pretty pathetic gate of 3400, fretted, stressed and craned their necks throughout a game that was at the time perhaps memorable for its ‘un-memorability’

After Catalan, Warrington, Saints and Wigan in successive games it was back to the rattle and hum of a more run of the mill ‘bread and butter’ fixture, at a ground that I have always loved, but that now seems to get more and more dilapidated with every visit!

I have a great affection for the old place and while I stood there amongst the FC Faithful in my shirt sleeves, some great memories came flooding back, none more so than the chat we had at half time about the great Wally Lewis/Peter Sterling debut game in the eighties. But boy it’s a mess now and the segregation they have introduced is just ridiculous. For years and years, we have stood at the end with the Wakefield fans and had some great crack, but this time we were only allowed on the West Terrace where it was impossible to see the whole pitch. In fact, in the end, I resorted to watching large chunks of the game on the big screen, something I though afterwards, that I could have done at home in Beverley in front of the telly.

I also mused on the fact that the ticket I bought in advance from Hull FC should have had ‘obscure view’ stamped on it; £21, you’re having a laugh! Still the advantage of open terracing means that you never know who’ll you’ll be stood with and I was joined by Mike Stanley and all his pals and their company and that of others stood with me made it all worthwhile. In the end we all went home happy, but it was a win which was only to be realised as being so significant come Friday night and that fabulous game at Warrington.

So, it’s fair to say that Thursday was tough both on and off the field. The stadium, which was up until recently due to close, has been rescued and bought by a consortium headed by the 88M group and so the rugby league club are now staying on whilst praying the new owners make some promised improvements; and quick! Otherwise the Club revert back to ‘plan B’ which would see them moving their operation to Dewsbury, to Ground share with the Rams.

The place is certainly crumbling and I spoke to several home fans on Thursday who said that ‘Developer wise’ they had already been there a time or two before and were certainly not holding their breath at all! Looking around it was painfully apparent that the new guys certainly have a job on their hands!

Although played out under a full ‘Harvest moon’, on one of the barmiest nights on which I have watched summer rugby, the quality of our performance last Thursday certainly didn’t live up to what was a glorious evening; but wasn’t it all so significant in the end? There is little doubt too that at Wakey it didn’t stop with the weather either, because much of what we did as a team was pretty barmy as well, as we tried our best to lose a game in which we spluttered and stuttered and coughed up the ball at regular intervals.

Add to that a referee that would have been better off auditioning for the next ‘Carry On’ film and a Wakey team who put in a massive shift and could perhaps feel hard done by and you have what was in the end a real car crash of a match.

None the less it saw us reach 40 league points for the first time for ages. Plus, it also provided us with our 15th ‘come from behind’ win of the season and brought us two precious points that set up a dream finale to a campaign that is already destined to live long in the memory. Three games to go and two more trophies to try and win is all pretty unbelievable isn’t it?

As for the game at the Wildcats, well we simply had to win but you wouldn’t have thought it at times if you were there, however as Lee Radford said afterwards ‘a win was a win’, but I don’t think he would have been quite so forgiving of such a woeful performance, had we not got the two points. He talked of the fact that handling was affected by the heavy dew on the grass, but in the end as much as we in the crowd were still all ‘star struck’ by Wembley, everyone realised that it was, in anybody’s book, a pretty poor showing. Some Wakey fans told us at the end that this game and the last one that they played at home against Catalan were the best they had played for months, but that was scant consolation for the ‘FC Faithful’ that made the trip. We needed a win and we got one, but we had to suffer to get it and it was painful to watch at times. So I guess in the end its fair to say that with the exception of Fonua’s heroics and a couple of really strong showings up front, there was precious little else from which to take much heart.

Still, I thought that everyone gave it a real go and no one could be accused of slacking at all, but it was the mistakes we made, the way we let the home team dictate the speed of the ruck and the way that we took the wrong options on several occasions, that in the end was almost our downfall. Look for instance at when we were 6 points up in the dying minutes, a draw was no good, so we needed to stretch the lead just in case Wakey got a late try. The forward knew that and drove hard to set us up brilliantly for a drop goal that would seal the game. After the fourth tackle we inexplicably went right to be tackled out wide so that when Sneyd got the ball on the last it was under pressure from a long pass returning from that wide play the ball; that saw Mark rush his effort and put it wide. Earlier we had seen Shaul break free and race down the right to brilliantly create a ‘two on one’, but instead of passing to Michaels who was on ‘a walk in’, he went himself and was held up! Then there was losing the ball three yards from our own line on the first tackle with three minutes to go! But finally, as a great guy I stood with quite rightly pointed out to me, why, in the first half when trailing 6-0 and a bit under the cosh, didn’t we take the two from a penalty under their sticks.

That is simply poor game management as we ignore a chance to score 2 points that would not only have quietened things down and reduced the arears, but also in a tight game, kept a buffer between us and the opposition when they came back at us in the second. Then, it would have kept us at 8 points clear in those frenetic last few minutes. All ‘brain farts’ of the first edition and issues that left a game, that should have been put to bed a lot earlier, in the melting pot right up to the home team losing the ball on halfway with seconds to go! A draw was no good to us, so that’s how close it was, but it shouldn’t have been that way at all and yet in the end and in the conundrum that is sport as a whole, that scratchy, lucky win was so bloody significant!

There is little doubt that the effort was exemplary and when we did make mistakes the rest of the players ‘covered’ their team mate’s back’s and really got us out of jail at times with some amazing last ditch goal line defence, but we certainly can’t carry on like that next weekend and that’s a fact!!!!

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Once again the Game-breaker.

Performance wise there was little to choose between several players on the night. For me our stand out performers were Fonua in the backs and Watts in the forwards. I also thought that Houghton as usual grafted hard and tackled superbly, Ellis ran himself to a standstill as did Seke Manu and Taylor and Washy also did well. Sneyd tried his heart out to get us moving while Michaels had another big game and Green put some hard yards in and did well too. On the minus side however, in my opinion, Hadley would have been a better choice for the bench in place of a tired looking Feke and I’m sorry but I’m still not convinced by Carlos at half back. Why do I say that, well it’s hard to explain really, except to say he doesn’t look the part and seems to run when he should pass and pass when he should run! But I’m not being negative because we have come so far as a team (indeed we were last year at this time exactly where Wakey are now) and it’s still all to play for, both Plate and Grand Final wise.

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Guess who put in another big shift!

In conclusion on the game, I would also add that although painful for me at the time, I’m sure the standout moment for many in the crowd was when a booming touch finding penalty from Sneyd hit me smack on the head (without dislodging my glasses)!!! Thanks for your concern fellas and don’t worry I have 8 days to recover and I’ll be taking the head test so I shouldn’t be in doubt for the Warrington game!! Oh how they all laughed!!!!

The pouring rain on Friday morning prompted me to have another look at the game through the eyes of the Sky camera’s and I was immediately taken by two things. Firstly, I noticed that the referee was indeed as crap as I’d thought he was in ‘real time’ and also once again I was totally pissed off by how anti Hull FC the commentators appear to be. Is it just me? Earlier in the season we were a ‘a flash in the pan’, later ‘we would fade once the business end of things came about’ and now our elevated position in the league appears to still infuriate Stephenson and Clarke to the extent that our success is apparently now down to the fact that Super league is of a poorer quality this year. Yet guys, we have won the Challenge Cup and are now poised on the threshold of winning the plate!

With Rugby League we have a fabulous product. OK some games are, like Thursday’s, all grunt and grind and the bread and butter stuff, but by enlarge it’s an all action ‘something happening all the time’ sport that makes for good TV, if it is presented properly. Fridays spectacle told us all about that!! However, we totally under play our glorious game by first selling our souls to Sky on a long term contract and then allowing them, as the sole broadcasters of our domestic competition, to employ a team of commentators who would be better suited to the ‘comedy store’ rather than the commentary box! They really are a set of buffoons at times and for me (along with the quality of refereeing) they are one of the two things that really let us down as a sport. I believe that we will never really thrive until we sort out the officials and change that lot on Sky!

So to other things and it’s hard to believe that there are only two or three games now left in a campaign that has produced such rich rewards for all the fans of Hull FC. However, the end is now nigh, as we will have completed what will be an amazing 37 or even 38 games (including friendlies) in just two or three weeks’ time. That means of course that on 25th September, the day after the last regular Super 8’s weekend the gentlemen (and women) of the national press will be releasing their Dream Team. Voted for by journalists across the country I’m told that from Hull FC, Shaul, Sneyd, Fornua, Taylor, Houghton and Ellis are all up there in the fore front of the voting and that we could, in the end, have several players featuring in the acclaimed list. However, it seems that Danny Houghton could just miss out on the Man of Steel Award again this year although he should be on the shortlist out today, but on that one insider news is still pretty sketchy and we will just have to wait and see.

The piece in Thursday’s Mail about Dean Hadley was certainly an insight into the character and make-up of ‘the quiet man’ of our squad. Dean has had a mixed year because, after being given an extension in his contract to 2019, it all got a bit tough. With our clean bill of health in the forwards mid-season he got few chances to play before he was unfortunate to lose out on the final 17 for Wembley. Then in the Wigan game last week he was the villain of the peace when he lost that ball in that tackle near the end and we subsequently lost the game.

However, in that article he spoke of how he had got through all those issues and was going about his business as usual. He said how (Scott Taylor like), he grew up on the terraces as a fan and how at times he found it all quite incredulous as to how he was turning out now at the KC for the black and whites. Yet another product of Richard Horne’s old Hull Academy (Don’t get me on that one again!), Dean is certainly a player who will get even better and I like his attitude too, I really hope that he gets his chance next year and then kicks on to become another local ‘fixture’ in the team.

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One has to wonder with that face what part of Deans anatomy the tackler has hold of!!!!

The news of the formation of a Ladies team at the Club sees our first ever departure into female rugby and what a great idea it is. The success and indeed popularity of the Union Ladies 7’s in the Olympic Games has certainly helped develop the female game in both codes. With that acting as the catalyst our new team has emerged from what was a hugely successful female rugby league camp for girls aged 12 and over at the Youth Performance Centre and run by our Foundation. The importance of sport and developing an awareness of it, saw Active Humber and Hull University supporting the sessions and over 20 girls from all across Hull attended the camp. The aim we are told is to provide a pathway for girls into female rugby league where participation is growing across the RL heartlands. I think it’s a brilliant move and I hope that it sees the new team do well.

You know hardly a week goes by that we don’t hear of a supporter or indeed a player who has moved onto that great ‘Boulevard’ in the sky and it’s a sad part of this Diary when I try to reflect their loss to the great family of Hull FC. The Club each year pays tribute to these lost heroes and ahead of the Warrington game, they will use the big screen to show a memorial video of fans and ex-players who have passed away in the last 12 months. Fans can send their photos and messages for the loved ones they have lost in the last year to info@hullfc.com and they will appear on the big screen before the kick-off.

Then on Sunday 25th September, two days after that game, a memorial service will be held at the KCOM Stadium at 10-30am which will be led by club Chaplin Reverend Tony Cotson. Tony is a top bloke and always does a great job on this one which is pretty sensitive stuff as it is usually attended by several families who are still grieving after the loss of a friend or family member. However, the event is open to all fans and this year I guess most of us have thoughts for a loved one who has passed on over the years before they had the chance to experience what they so much craved; that amazing victory at Wembley. Get there if you can and particularly if that Wembley victory made you think of someone departed who you wished had been there, it’s a great idea and worthy of support I think.

It’s funny what gets you thinking isn’t it and this week I was thinking about next season when we head over to the Leigh Sports Village and when we will all be able to check out a 30ft bronze statue of John Woods, the former Great Britain stand-off who was a massive star and well-remembered by all us FC fans who were around the Club in the early 80’s. In fact, we almost got his signature just before we signed Dave Topliss and went after him again shortly after that too, but he stayed at Leigh before ending his career at Bradford and then Warrington. The £30,000 statue was unveiled last Saturday ahead of the Centurions’ home clash with Batley Bulldogs and it will take pride of place outside the stadium’s reception.

Woody racked up 2,492 points for Leigh in 349 appearances after making his debut for the club in 1976 and then scored another 1000 or so for Bradford and the Wire. In fact, he captained Leigh to the League Championship in 1982. He was always a thorn in our side and I have related in here before that incident when he even scored a try at Hilton Park after the ball had bounced back into play off the perimeter wall. He was a great player and a real character too! So now we have the heroes outside Wembley and that vision of Kieron Cunningham that meets you when you arrive at Langtree Park. However, although the fans chipped in to give us a memorial to the biggest hero of all Jack Harrison, what about honoring our current idols like Horney and Yeamo who both put their Club before money and medals to play out their careers at Hull FC? Let’s face it Newcastle have just erected a statue to Alan Shearer for much the same reasons? Well, it’s unlikely to happen any time soon isn’t it and anyway if Johnny Whiteley has not been so honored I expect Rich and Kirk may have a bit of a wait on their hands too don’t you!!!!

So to the weekly history stuff and before we have a look in Codgers corner at a famous old game I remember well, how’s this effort for Heritage week! The picture below shows regular reader, ex fanzine editor and HISA chief and top FC fan Steve Roberts in front of his FC shed. This wonderful edifice (that probably needs planning permission) is his personal homage to Hull FC and no doubt him realising, like most of us, his life time ambition on that wonderful day just 3 weeks ago.

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Here we see Steve sat in front of the shed on his old seat from the Threepenny’s with an artist’s impression of the Boulevard above his head. On the right there is model of that same famous stand that even includes a burning Rovers scarf in the rafters and also incorporates a piece of wood from the old place as well. The bowl of grass in front of the hoop top fencing is made of a sod of turf taken from the pitch on the last night at the Boulevard and the replica Challenge Cup above it is covered in the silvers streamers released from the confetti cannons after the final whistle at Wembley. Incidentally I think the carpet slippers are from Marks and Spencer’s but Steve didn’t send me details of those!!! However seriously what a blooming great effort by a fan for whom the FC is just everything!! Well done Steve can anyone beat that???

Well it’s funny what springs to mind during the week and I was only musing on how great this season has been and scratching my head to remember other such periods in the past. There is little doubt when you do, that your mind certainly goes back to the halcyon days of the late seventies and early eighties or “The Golden Years” as we often used to refer to them in the days when the Drum and Monkey was open and we would debate them at length. However, between the great years of the late 50’s and those wonderful Bunting years there were many false dawns and years in the wilderness before we actually started winning trophies again.

The first such period to raise our hopes, was probably ten years before that great era dawned, back in the 1969/70 season, when things started to look a bit brighter for the club and for us long suffering supporters huddled on the Threepenny Stand. During that season we beat Featherstone to win the Yorkshire Cup, our first trophy for over 10 years, in an exciting final that I covered in here last year. You will remember that it was the one where Clive Sullivan overshot the try line and put the ball down in the dead ball area! Despite that embarrassing moment we went on to beat the Colliers at Headingley 12-9, to the delight of all the Faithful who like me journeyed to Leeds for the match. That season was certainly a lot better in the bigger scheme of things and that cup win coupled with a win and a draw against the Dobbins and only losing 15 of our 42 games, made for a big improvement in our fortunes, well it did compared with what had gone before, when for years we had lost more than we won! OK we went out of the Challenge Cup in the first round, but it was still a welcome improvement on what had been a bit of a bleak decade.

Back then as has been the case over the last decade, Leeds was the team to beat. Between 1968 and 1973 they reached the play off final four times and were crowned Champions twice but always struggled to beat us especially at the Boulevard. They had some great players back then, including a top halfback pairing of Seabourne and Shoebottom as well as having the great Bev Risman in their ranks. The game I remember best from that season was played on 24th November 1969 at the Boulevard on a cold, cold night in front of 7,500 spectators. The visiting “Loiners” provided us with a stern challenge having lost just once in the League in 14 games. Hull on the other hand, (and this will give some readers a chance to place the game in question in their own minds) were in turmoil with the players in dispute with the Board over pay and threatening to go on strike. On top of that two of our top performers back then, Dick Gemmell and the great Arthur Keegan, (the latter then in his benefit year), were both missing through injury. We had actually already beaten Leeds on the way to that Yorkshire Cup triumph so we all hoped against hope for another upset. I watched the game from the Threepennies that night and although only November there was frost in the air. At that time in our history the Boulevard looked really run down, and although they were well out of date by then you could still hear the Batchelor’s crooning “Diane” and “I Believe” out of the crackling tannoy speakers around the ground at half time. If, that was, the speaker near you was working at all.

We were still all discussing the strike threat when one of the greatest goal kickers the club ever saw, John Maloney, kicked us into a seven-minute lead and slowly but surely the confident Leeds outfit started to buckle under the threat of a well marshalled Hull pack. Players like the soon to depart Jim Macklin, Mick Harrison, Alan McGlone, Joe Brown and Chris Forster ripped into the Leeds pack whilst the newly signed Terry Kirchin mesmerised the opposition’s tacklers by always being able to sneak the ball out to a colleague before the tackle was completed. It was almost a challenge for the tacklers to stop it, and in one incident he was surrounded by no fewer than 6 Leeds players, but still managed to stay stood up and hand the ball out to Ken Huxley to start another attack.

Next up in the game, Clive Sullivan sped in at the corner, right in front of us, following a superb pass out of the tackle by Kenny Foulkes. Back came Leeds to pepper stand-in Full Back Owebridge with high kicks, one of which he eventually dropped. Quick Leeds hand from the ensuing scrum saw Bev Risman sending Mick Shoebottom flying away for a converted try. So we went in just behind on the scoreboard!

The second half was just as intense as the first, and Hull went back in front with two more Maloney penalties one for a foul on Kirchin whose magical ball skills in the tackle were by this time just getting on the Leeds players wicks!! As the clock ticked on, Leeds suddenly seemed to realise that they were about to lose only their second game in the League and so cranked everything up a notch, but try as they may they could not break our defence to score. In the end they had to be satisfied with a try far out on the right by Atkinson after a last ditch effort by Alf Macklin just failed to nail him. Risman could not convert and as the final whistle went and with the sound of Old Faithful ringing through the rafters of the Stand, the scene befitted a great and famous 9-8 victory for the FC.

It was a fabulous night and a great “backs to the wall” performance, that saw our Directors and Charlie Watson, (who was soon to be our new chairman), out on the pitch at the end. As we jumped the fences and chaired the players from the field, we all thought that, following the Yorkshire Cup final win this game had really seen us turn a corner. However as always seemed the case back then, it was another false dawn, and we fell away badly at the end of the season, with coach Johnny Whiteley being sacked as a consequence.

My favourite sports quote this week came as I was trawling through the media and found a real gem in the weekly edition of the Nottingham Post. They printed a picture of a tweet from Mansfield City Football Club, who posted an urgent message to fans that said, “Clairvoyant Trisha will not be appearing in the Kevin Bird Suite tomorrow night, due to unforeseen circumstance” Brilliant!

Meanwhile my tweet of the week came from Humberside’s David Burns who bore out some of my suspicions of late, when he said on Saturday, “This time last week my whisper was Paul Duffen may be a player in the hull city takeover game, this week I’m going for Adam Pearson. #hcfc”

Boy oh Boy, despite all my talk of being happy to have just won the Challenge Cup it would still be great to do it this Friday wouldn’t it? In the first place it would be superb for that same long suffering Adam Pearson because I hope it will then encourage him to invest further and to set us up for a prolonged spell of challenging for the top honours. For me however this could also be our one big chance because I think that some teams are starting to get the measure of us, whilst others are already strengthening for next year.

Some Coaches have unpicked our game plan and found bits that they can exploit. Even Wakey succeeded in slowing down the ruck speed with great success and we are only half the team we know we can be, if we don’t get a quick play the ball. When we bring on Watts, Ellis and Taylor for their second spells their strength is still enough against the Wakefield’s and Widnes’s of this world but the big teams who have some grunt as well, are learning how to counteract that (as Wigan did last week) and that will continue until we start to find out whether we can adapt our style to move forward. Truly great teams learn to evolve and re-invent themselves as they move on, they have great coaches who can see and plan for that and great players that can adapt to meet the demands of that need to change.

Next season will be totally different and it is then that we will find out whether we are to see a sustained period of domination, we will have to change things around a bit and may also have to discover how we deal with prolonged absences through injury and, with minimal recruitment, if we’ve done enough to freshen things up. Next year Leeds will be back, surely the Dobbins can’t have another totally crap season, Leigh will be hungry and the big three of Wigan, Saints and the Wire will all be stronger than ever, whilst Castleford will step up again and Widnes will continue to improve, so standing still and resting on our current and considerable laurels is not an option.

This is therefore our big chance and that’s why those two points on Thursday and Wigan’s victory 24 hours later were so significant. Now it’s all about winning and doing it at all costs. Play all the fancy stuff you like, show vision and style all you want but if you don’t win in these latter stages you can ‘go home’ because its season over!!

As was so succinctly said afterwards on Humberside on Thursday when the commentator at Wakefield answered a snide remark by Mr Lloyd about it being a poor game by saying, “It might have been a scrappy win, Hull might have been lucky and it might be a worry for Lee Radford and the players, but there are still 7 or 8 coaches and sets of players who would kill to be where Hull FC are at present” and for me, that goes for the fans of those Clubs too!!

We have to win on Friday or die wondering! The League for me won’t be the same next time around and this is a massive opportunity which (although I hope I eat my words next season), may not come along again for a while!

I know already in my heart of hearts that come the end of the season if all we have to show for what has been a pretty phenomenal year, is the Challenge Cup, then I’ll be happy. It’s all I’ve ever wanted as on that wonderful afternoon at Wembley all my lifelong dreams and those of thousands and thousands of FC fans past and present came true before my eyes. But, until that ‘one trophy but the only trophy’ end of season scenario is a reality, we have to hang in there and dare to dream for more, as all of a sudden the chance to grab some more glory is back in our hands!

In the end, hope is all we have, but aren’t we bloody lucky to be where we are, as amazingly the drama just seems to go on and on and on!!

Then again when you step back from it all, where we are at present as FC fans it’s a win, win situation really, as the glittering prize is in the cabinet and everything else is a bonus, but now it appears, as another massive game looms, perhaps a bonus that is developing into a distinct possibility.

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More of this on the way on Friday me thinks!!!

Thanks one again for all your support and for reading another Diary which started on Thursday with me pretty downhearted and concerned but ended by Friday evening with a deal of hope and excitement back in my psyche! I simply can’t believe this season, because now, after dictating so much of our own destiny, fate has taken a hand and we are back in there battling for a trophy and doing it this time in front of our own fans! What a night Friday will be and what a gate we deserve. Just get down there however you can because it’s one of those ‘got to be there games’. This is your chance to see your Club in another Final! Don’t worry whether you have to drive, bike, walk, limp or crawl because your team needs you at the KC to put in another big effort from the terraces, as quite amazingly another trophy beckons!

With the Challenge Cup won at Wembley in historic circumstances in that cupboard for the next twelve months and that song put to bed forever, we are now three wins away from winning all three trophies and one win at the KC from being crowned League Leaders 2016!! Of course I’ll be the one with my head in my hands watching through my fingers, but although it was an improbable dream, now just 80 minutes of rugby separate us for also rans and glory. The fates have taken a hand and now it’s up to us to play out our destiny, can you believe it, because I can’t!!!!!

Hard work, determination, some big characters, the will to win, and now the hand of fate, makes this campaign probably the best we have seen for 30 odd years and whatever happens it’s one that we will all saver, embrace and remember for a long time. It’s iconic, it’s history making, and quite miraculously it’s still going on! Wherever you watch the game, our part as fans is just as it was at Wembley. But this time there will be tired bodies and legs out there, our heroes will be battle weary and mistakes will be made, but we have to be as one with those players to ‘catch every ball and field every kick’, to share their hopes and cheer and sing them onto realising something that is, I guess, still a bit unbelievable for all of us.

Get down to the KC on Friday, pack the place out, make some noise and strain every sinew to sing the boys home!

Immortality beckons and who knows when you will see the like of this again!!!

COMEONYOU HULLLLLAAARRRRR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Faithfully Yours

Wilf