The Dentist’s Diary – 419th

It’s:
The most wonderful time of the year.
The one day in a Year when you and all your friend are happy!
The one day that peace and joy is everywhere!
And, the one day that its brilliant to just be there with the whole of the family!

 

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OH, AND ITS CHRISTMAS AS WELL!!!!! 

You know the further in time I get away from that glorious day in August, the more I marvel at just how good it was. What a memory eh? I just have to look at that lot and I’m enjoying it all over again!!

For once at Hull FC everything seems to be going really well and the Club is thriving. Everywhere the players and officials go the Challenge Cup goes with them and what better Christmas present could we all have than the fact that the amazing Trophy that we craved for so long, is with our club for another 8 months….at least?

The cash is flowing in and everyone is really up for the forthcoming campaign. In fact, everyone seems quite content with our current status, both at the Club and on the terraces. That won’t last long of course, because at Hull FC it’s never plain sailing, but if any indication of our demeanour of late is required, then look no further than the fact that with days going by on the RL fans message-board without anyone posting an at all, it’s just so quiet, even as far as the grumblers are concerned!

For rugby league fans in general it’s a strange old time of the year really when, come mid-December, everything seems to follow what has gone before in the past. This year there’s Bradford repeating their usual woes with the official receiver and thousands of their fans going through the mangle…. again, there’s another team suing an ex-employee, his new club, the rugby union and anyone else they can find, as another star chases the money and there’s Redhall telling us all what great shape everything is in and how well the Super 8’s is going; while two Clubs have to reduce their wages to ensure their players continue to have a job and another has to play their home games 25 miles away in Wakefield because they can’t find a ground in a City the size of Sheffield.

So, despite it being the season of good cheer, in Rugby League we’re in a bit of a mess all round and I guess the big question for those who dwell to the East has to be that, with the Eagles moving that distance, Halifax cutting those wages, Toulousse commuting backwards and forwards to France, Bradford in their usual terminal decline and London playing at what is little more than a glorified greyhound stadium, will the Dobbins have anyone meaningful to play at all in the Championship next season?

Then of course on the national stage this year we lost in the 4 Nations… again and have an England team containing players that the National Coach said if he had his way, would all be playing in the NRL. You couldn’t really make that bit up could you? So it seems at this time of year, as with Mrs, R’s Christmas presents, few things that we are presented with have changed much at all since last year, they are simply just ‘wrapped up’ a bit differently!

Still at least some things are different in that for once, all seems well at Hull FC and the Challenge Cup is on the rounds of the schools in good old Kingston Upon Hull, whilst nationally, instead of just creating a couple of new clubs feted to struggle in the heart of Rugby Union land, the RL have really gone the whole hog this time and accepted the latest addition to the British senior rugby league scene, a team that is based 3500 miles away in bloody Canada!!! Things may be all fine and dandy at our club, but it’s certainly never dull elsewhere is it?

If I’ve learned one thing after writing this for so many years, then it’s the fact that when things are going well at my Club news, or at least talking points, are pretty hard to come by. However, this week it seems from what I’m hearing that one-time bad boy Albert Kelly is really tearing it up at County Road and is in the best condition he has ever been in. Albert is best mates with our fitness supremo Paul Hatton and he’s really taken to training and is impressing everyone with his fitness levels. We had to make a statement of our intent as a club when we signed him and he does I’m told, understand completely that this is as far as he is concerned his last chance. He has taken that on board and as one of the lowest paid players on our books, he will tell you if you ask him why he signed, “I have a point to prove to a lot of people in Hull” He is certainly making a sacrifice and taking a hit to his pocket to make that point and, good on him for that. I’m getting quite excited about seeing him this season now.

Everyone who I have spoken to that met Kelly in the Club shop was impressed with his persona and as one guy said to me last Thursday, “He was nothing like what I had expected”. In fact, for the launch of the away shirt he arrived in the shop half an hour before the other players and left last after spending all afternoon talking to the fans. So, I guess it’s so far so good and he is about to form what is a real mouth-watering partnership with Marc Sneyd. There, his off the cuff game will certainly complement the more structured kicking based play of last year’s Lance Todd Trophy winner and Dream team scrum half. That combination if it clicks, could be very exciting to watch don’t you think?

Now, it’s always good to learn stuff about our new signings and the one that has seemed to fly under the radar the most is Nick Rawsthorne who joined us a few weeks ago from Halifax. That low key demeanour is to be expected though because he does seem a pretty quiet bloke who wants to let his actions on the field do the talking.

He was certainly a bit overawed by it all when he signed and in a rare interview for the West Yorkshire press he said that he felt just a bit out of place at Hull FC when he was first picked up by his teammates in their ‘flashy motors’. His move to the us in September saw Rawsthorne make the transition from part-time training to a full time regime where he rubbed shoulders immediately with a host of international players who he’d only ever seen on TV.

The former Halifax player admitted that he is reminded every day about the enormity of his move, when he compares his car to the rest of those in the team car park. Rawsthorne said, “Griffo has quite a nice Audi, Jake (Connor) has a Mercedes ‘A’ Class, then there’s me with a little one litre Ford Fiesta. A lot of people I know have asked me what Hull FC are equivalent to in football, and I’ve told them Man United. It’s all just been a bit surreal. I went for the kit promotion day and had never done anything like it before. I met Josh and Jake for the first time, when they gave me a lift over. I’m used to watching them on Telly, but then there I was in the car with them. As I’ve said to the fans who contacted me on Twitter, it’s all very exciting but pretty surreal as well”.

I’m hearing from a lot of people what a personable and pleasant young man Nick is and that, although still a bit raw and unused to the rigors of full time training, he has that certain X factor that few players possess. Let’s therefore hope he blossoms into a top pro, gets a first team place and is then able to get a new car!

Now to another Nick and having put my daughter through university in the last few years, one that I don’t have a lot of time for at all, but he doesn’t seem to like Rovers much does he? Here is the perfectly normal inside of his Christmas card this year: –

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But, the front indicates that perhaps in Sheffield they are not looking forward at all to the Eagles taking on the Dobbins next season !

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Oh dear Mr. Clegg, not only are you not too popular with us lot who had to shell out for the increased tuition fees, but your obviously not going down too well in East Hull or with the RSPB either!

As I said earlier although there may still be people out there who want to criticise the club, at present they are certainly pretty thin on the ground and any way it’s hard to find fault as things move forward. It’s great to see that not only has the Club got things together on the field by adding to the squad, but we are thinking to the future as well with the investment we have made in youth and all the new equipment in the gym. However, as an organisation in general we have grown as well and we’ve also show a deal of compassionate with the way that we look after ‘our own’. If evidence of that was needed, then look at the fact that not only have people like Lee Radford, Andy Last and Richard Horne been encouraged and developed as they evolved into top class staff in their fields, but now we see Feke and Kirk Yeaman also being offered the opportunity to further their post playing careers at the Club.

I asked of some of his colleagues the other day at the Club how it was going for Kirk and it appears he’s really settling into his new role and so it looks like his transition could be yet another success story, while Feke is hailed by everyone at Hull FC as doing a great job with the player’s welfare side of things. I remember when Andy Last was appointed Assistant Coach he said at the time that he would do it to help Lee but that he hoped to return to the coaching of our younger players when he could, because that was where his heart lay. Now, a few years on, he’s blossomed into one of the best Assistant Coaches in the game.

The owner persisted with Lee Radford when many of us wanted a change and saw in Feke a quality that the club were able to capitalise on when they brought him on board too and so it goes on. That’s all really great to see, but training people from scratch is not a cheap option, however despite the cost, it seems that Hull FC have certainly put a lot of emphasis on looking after ‘Their Own’. I think that much of that is down to the compassion and caring of both Adam Pearson and Lee Radford myself and they should be commended for that.

You can’t be soft in sport or business but what these examples prove if nothing else is that when you look closely at the make-up of the Club off the field, it sees us not only retaining ex-players but actually turning them into top people in their various disciplines. They have not been parachuted in from Australia to run the team or come from another Super League outfit, they are locals who absolutely ‘get it’. Of course Yeamo and Feke will still be learning and no doubt as with those other, now senior members of staff, that process will take time, but it augers well for our future that we have persisted with loyal servants and they have responded in such a way. That has got to be applauded and says a lot I think about our owner, who despite a sometimes tough exterior, actually really cares about people.

Everyone is saying that we have made some good signings for the next campaign, but it also has to be said that they have some big boots to fill as well. In addition to being great exponents of the game on the field when you lose players with the grunt and determination of Feke, the persona and off the field presence of Frank the Tank, the experience of Leon Pryce and the passion and will to win of Yeamo you also lose 4 real leaders off the pitch.

Having retained two of them to work at the Club is great, but they are still very big players to replace on game day even though Feke and Prycey only played what were perhaps cameo roles last season. So in particular, both Griffin and Kelly have to really step up this year, while Connor and Rawsthorne have to ensure that they put pressure on the players already considered as first choice, so we develop the sense of competition for places even further. We still have Ellis, Houghton, Taylor, Manu, and Minniciello in the leaders group and that is as good as you’ll get in the Super League at present, but 2017 will as always see changing times and there are certainly some questions to be answered once we get going. However, I have to say I can at present see nothing but a bright future for the Club myself!

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There were some wonderful pics this last year, but I still love this one; #welldonebrooksy!

Well now, as pre-season ambles on and on, the retail operation at the Club is really flying, with us expected to gross more this year than ever before. Stuff that was ordered for February and March launches has been brought forward to meet the demand, as the ‘FC Army effect’ (being the best fans in the League) and our success on the field last season is really reaping benefits. It’s hard going for the retail staff though and they are at present working tirelessly to satisfy the queues of people who regularly form at the tills. That away shirt is really proving popular and it’ll certainly be handy if we get stuck in roadworks again on the way back from Widnes next season, because at least we’ll all be able to get out and stretch our legs a bit whilst joining the highways agency staff for a chat! From what I saw last year at one o’clock in the morning you don’t need to do any work but rather just wear a fluorescent shirt and walk about with a phone stuck to your ear!

But seriously you all know my views on this year’s shirts but what the hell do I know, because the away one is now, behind the Steve Prescott purple offering, the second best-selling away shirt and the home one is the second best-selling shirt ever; And long may that continue.

However, they all have to be sold! So at this time of year it’s worth sparing a thought for those unsung heroes in the retail staff, who work in both the Hull FC stores, because by now some of them are just about out on their feet, having worked long hours at a time of unprecedented demand, that comes at the end of what has been a wonderfully successful year. As I said the shops are heading for their most successful period ever, which is reflected in the crush there’s been every time I’ve visited them of late.

Nevertheless, whatever the pressure they are under, the service is always exemplary, an example of which I experienced first-hand just this week. Last Monday I went into the Savile Street store hoping to buy a hoodie I had my eye on, but I’d dithered around too long (it’s an age thing) and the size I wanted was no longer available, I just commented in passing of my disappointment and was told that they wouldn’t be getting any more in. I put it down to my own intransigence and indecision and the lady concerned went on with her serving as the queue grew in length again.

I didn’t think any more about it until I popped in for some gift tokens on Thursday to be greeted with a Hull FC carrier with my name on it that contained the hoodie in the size I wanted. The same lady just said, “I remembered you wanted one and so when out of the blue we got a few more delivered, I put one by for you” That wasn’t any sort of preferential treatment, but just an indication of a dedication to the quality of service ‘beyond the call of duty’ that you get in there from all the staff. So well done to the ‘Unsung heroes’ of the retail department, they all do a great job, but I bet by Christmas they’re absolutely buggered!!

In the mean time that rush to buy merchandise shows no sign of abating before Christmas either. If you haven’t been down there lately go and have a look because there’s still some great stuff available and a few real bargains to be had too. In fairness I’m told that next door the Rovers shirts are flying off the shelves as well and although I’m not one to grumble, it’s about time that Humberside Police did something about such appalling levels of shop lifting!

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The moment of the year? Definitely!

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The final irony of the year; unquestionably!

Last week at Hull FC, it was the players turn to get involved with marketing the club that pays their wages as we saw the ‘Players Calls’ procedure repeated again, as our heroes rang season ticket holders to thank them for subscribing again and lapsed fans to try to persuade them to renew their seats. I’m told it was a great success and many fans were called and loved it. As season tickets sales soar towards a new record, it appears that should he ever want to hang up his boots Mark Minniciello could easily get a job in tele-sales! But then again would you argue with him?

I was invited in to have a coffee with Adam Pearson the other week and our owner is certainly excited about the future and buoyed by the heroics and happenings of last season. He also listens to the fans and if proof of that is needed then consider this. The first thing he brought up when we met was what he had read in here about my views on the fact that no tickets for the player of the year awards ceremony in 2016 were made available to the ordinary fans who had in years past, when times were not so good, rallied around to fill the seats at the event. Oh no I thought, here’s a bollocking coming up!!

But no, he instead defended the right to put prices up because that was an economic factor which was governed by market forces and meant the Club made money and I completely agreed with that one, as like everything, if there was no resistance, then it was the right decision. However, he agreed too that the Club would ensure that in future the fans could go if they wanted to and he told me that I could say in here that for next year the Club had already hired the City Hall for the event, which should ensure that everyone who wants to go can do so. That’s a real result for the supporters, but also an indicator that Adam Pearson isn’t precious, considers us the paying public and that the club is willing to listen. Oh how some other sports administrators in the City could learn from that one!!

I suppose really as it’s the time of goodwill to all men then we should in this Christmas edition at least take a cursory glance across the river to the bad lands where it’s the pantomime season….all year round! Our fiends over there are busy at present acclimatising themselves to a season in the ranks of the ‘also rans’ of the Championship. As you know I have little time for them at all, but they have helped me a lot of late, because they presented me with the happiest of endings I could have hoped for my latest book about 2016. However, I’m sure that’s not just my feeling and that you are, particularly at this time of year, all full of warmth and loving for our underprivileged neighbours as well!!

However, joking apart , it has to be said that as far as dealing with the drop is concerned then you have to begrudgingly admire what they have done so far. They have assembled a squad that is good enough to get them out of there if they’re lucky, a new coach with an international reputation has come in, the sponsors have risen to the occasion and committed again and the fans have rallied around in great numbers and bought season tickets too. They shouldn’t be too surprised, because in the end that’s rugby in Hull, but it’s unlikely that there would have been such a response at other clubs like Salford, Wakefield or even perhaps Widnes had they found themselves in the same predicament. That has to be commended, but there is little doubt too that the Stadium they occupy and their tenure there has played a big part in providing the base on which to build their renaissance, because such is their lease that they could be playing in the North Bransholme Wednesday League and still, if they so wished, be playing at Caravan Park.

I know some of the ‘foot soldiers’ who work there and its clear to all of them that should they not get promoted next season, Mr Hudgell could well walk, but at present he’s steering the ship and doing so with some panache as everyone stays on board and ensures that its going reasonably well for them. Our neighbour’s predicament does though get you thinking and I guess that we just have to hope that it never happens to us lot, because we would perhaps not be so good at pulling it round.

If we were to get relegated at least 6 or 7 thousand fans would rally around, that’s a certainty and what’s more, I’m sure some of the sponsors would too, but I couldn’t see us getting much support or sympathy from the SMC and the Allams could you? In past seasons the Stadium Management Company appear to have incrementally turned the screw on us as a club and thus by stages made our lives at the KC more difficult. The removal of the pictures saga, the closing of the North Strand (or at least the charging for it to remain open) the closing of the ticket office and the removal of paying turnstiles are just some examples of this ‘buggerment factor’, that really hasn’t helped Hull FC at all.

If we were relegated I therefore think it would be hard because if I remember rightly from my council days, to protect the Clubs in times of hardship, there was a clause in the lease agreement that stated that should either club be relegated then to help them there would be some scope to renegotiate their lease. In the current climate however that situation could well be turned on us I suppose and that would hardly Hull FC much would it?

Unlike Rovers we wouldn’t have a guaranteed base to work from and so we could well find ourselves homeless and then what would happen?

So, the fact that we don’t control our own ground would be a fly in the relegation ointment and no mistake. I know as you read this you’ll be thinking that any such scenario is light years away particularly after what we experienced last year, but just look at Huddersfield and Leeds before you say that any such possibility would never come to pass. It’s certainly a very unlikely situation, but one none the less, that would be hard to overcome without our own ground.

Rovers have coped with it all pretty admirably so far but as I said, it’s unlikely that a few other clubs would have done so well had they been in the Dobbins predicament and that for me is where all this Million Pound game and middle eights stuff is flawed, because instead of securing the future of Clubs and helping those beneath the Super League to prosper and build, there is perpetuating jeopardy and thus uncertainty that can place jobs and livelihoods at risk, just for the sake of a television spectacle. I don’t think that the fact that an unprecedented 4 teams in the Championship are in difficulties, is coincidental to the Super 8’s coming in at all. I could be wrong and anyway relegation will probably never happen to us, but let’s hope against hope that we are never in the position to find out!

One thing is for sure and that’s if that bleak scenario was ever to play out at Hull FC then we would get precious little assistance form the RL! Nigel Wood said last week that it was the club owners and directors, not the RFL, that are ultimately responsible for the financial state of their clubs, (as the sound of hands being washed of the situation could clearly be heard). Because of the new league structure and other external causes, the game has been hit, with a number of clubs ending in financial strife in 2016, including Bradford, Sheffield and York City and in addition, both Halifax and Workington have had to force pay cuts on their staff due to financial hardship and, that’s all we know about!

But Wood has defended the RFL’s role in the running of these struggling clubs. In an interview in the RL press he said, “It feels like we’ve had a bad run, we learnt a long time ago that you can hope and wish for really astute club management but fundamentally at the end of the day, these businesses are run by individuals and businessman who make decisions to run those clubs. As far as possible we try to put both the supportive and regulatory framework around them. But at the end of the day the people that are answerable for the performances of those businesses are the chairman and chief executives and directors of the clubs. It feels like the clubs haven’t adjusted to the revenues coming in at all. But what’s bizarre is that the more resource you kind of put in there, the more you have to go in and sort it out for them”

Fine words indeed and a lot most of us could concur with completely, but if you look beyond Hull FC and Super League perhaps the RL could have done a lot more to help. The Super 8’s set up has been the last straw for some fans who have voted with their feet and the RL certainly won’t help Bradford Bulls get sorted if they are docked 12 points before they even start next season. Plus, when you consider the last time they were in trouble it didn’t help either when their £1.2 m TV money was distributed between the other Super League Clubs and they were denied the £300,000 parachute payment when they were saved. The Clubs have a massive responsibility, but Redhall’s duty of care is to the whole game, and its OK trying time and again to sustain fated projects like the ones at Oxford, Gloucester and South Wales but the impact that losing such a club as the Bulls with their potential latent fan base would have on the competition, would be a massive step backwards for the game. It’s a tough one but in the end for me these days there is simply too much manufactured jeopardy around and the RL have to take more responsibility for the way the new structures impact on the welfare of Clubs and the interest levels of their fans, instead of dreaming up schemes and formats just to please Sky TV. For me as far as retaining old fans and grabbing the attention of new ones, gimmicks are not the answer!

One thing about living in Beverley is the fact that I seem to bump into the two Davidsons, Chris and David Doyle on a regular basis. It therefore seemed apt that I should, this Yuletide, feature in Codgers Corner a look back to the good old days when both played for Hull FC, I was just 17, Chris was our number 7 and David was playing everywhere he was needed. We were struggling a bit in the league back then and at Christmas 1967, when the Beatles were in the middle of a 7 week run at number one in the charts with ‘Hello Goodbye’ and ‘Spirograph’ and ‘Action Man’ were the top toys in most kid’s stockings that year, it was tough going.

It was winter rugby of course and most players worked full time and trained when they could and, because many of them needed the money, they played whatever, sometimes on one leg, often with bad injuries, whilst on some occasions they played several games in a week. That Festive season was no different either with the FC in 1967 playing a staggering 3 games in 4 days and all of them at the Boulevard. Can you imagine that happening now? OK some folks will say that it’s more physical and intense these days, but it’s all relative because today’s pros are fine-tuned sporting machines with stamina and fitness to burn. However, back then they were ‘hard as nails’ part time heroes that we all loved just as much, if not more, than we do our current players and idols.

Thankfully at least the festive period was milder than the previous three had been, but a wet rainy autumn meant that the Boulevard pitch was a real mess before we even started and of course that frequency of games did little to improve it. But it was just the way the fixtures fell, because that year Christmas Day was on a Monday. So first up the previous Saturday, the 23rd, we played an awkward looking game against Castleford and a good gate of 6,500 missed out on the Christmas shopping to ensure that, despite an East Yorkshire Bus strike, there was a great atmosphere in the Boulevard that afternoon.

The game kicked off at 2-30 and this was to be our best performance over the holidays, Jim Neale won the man of the match award after a masterful display in the second row, whilst Keegan put in a great stint at full back joining the line in fine style. That same Chris Davidson scored a great try having been put through by Nobby Oliver who cut in from the wing, to feed a perfect slipped ball inside. John Maloney could not get the day off work, and so Chris took on the goal kicking, and landed four ‘beauties’. Willett the Cas off half kicked three goals in the first half, but tries from Terry Devonshire, Nick Trotter and Arthur Keegan saw us home 22-6.

Then on Christmas day despite, a skeleton bus service and no trains at all, 11,800 attended the local Derby against the old enemy which turned out to be a ferocious game in which there were no fewer than 7 full blown scraps and many more ‘skirmishes’ as a few old scores were settled.

A brilliant first seventeen minutes by the Dobbins in which Flash Flanagan scored, and Bill Holliday kicked 4 goals saw them in an unassailable position on what was now a quagmire of a pitch. Dick Gemmell our centre was mysteriously unavailable and we really missed him, and as the cigars were smoked and the brandy swigged from hip flasks on the Threepennies, we ended up 15-9 losers. Chris Davidson had three skirmishes with Bill Holliday the last of which saw him land a ‘pearler’ on the ‘Dobbins’ second rowers jaw but that saw Chris was immediately ordered off. It was a long walk off that day for Chris that was accompanied by a rousing ovation from the FC Faithful.

Then Alan McGlone, not to be outdone wrestled Barry Cooper to the group and after a flurry of punches, Cooper was carried from the field, and in the spirit of peace and goodwill to all men the end of the game degenerated into a real battle with fights breaking out across the pitch. Before that fiery finale, Joe Oliver pulled back a try for us, and Maloney who replaced Gemmell kicked three goals, but in the end as I say we lost 15-9. The game was summed up by one ‘hack’ who said afterwards, ‘it had promised so much but ended up a damp squib, unless you like ‘all in wrestling’.

Next day, (Yes next day) Boxing Day, there was no let up as we played our third game, but perhaps because the time of year, the two bob admission fee or even the fact that Doctor Doolittle and Cool Hand Luke were playing at the ABC Regal and the Cecil cinema’s, saw a gate of just 3000 turn up to see what should have been an easy game against lowly Doncaster. In the end it turned out to be anything but easy. Two really hard games had taken their toll and although we made just two changes, it was tough going again. The men from Tatters field certainly stuck it to us in the first half and it was 30 minutes before John Maloney got a penalty to open the scoring. Gemmell was back in the team and broke several times, but tired legs around him led to there being no backing up and several chances were lost.

Otherwise the only other player to do his reputation any good was Arthur Keegan who had another fine game at full back, but then again he always did. Devonshire and that man Davidson got tries for us and we were cruising when in the last fifteen minutes the unfancied visitors roared back inspired by the try of the game, a brilliant 75 yarder by winger James, which led to a jittery last few minutes. In the end though we came out winners 10-3. So it was 4 points out of 6, from 3 games in 4 days, but the one we lost was, as always, the only one we the fans were interested in winning. We played at Bramley four days later and lost again, but that was what the game was like back then, you have to wonder just how the players did it really! Great memories though, of a typical traditional black and white Christmas back in 1967.

Well, as you’ll remember, the pre festive season has seen yours truly trying to write a book about the 2016 campaign that reflects how I felt sitting there on the roller coaster that was us winning the Challenge Cup and having one of our best seasons in decades. It’s been a bit of a hard one to format, but it’s coming along and if nothing else, then it certainly made me realise just how significant that season was and how lucky we were to experience it as fans. If I can get the book out then it will be sold in aid of Danny Houghton’s Testimonial Year and after costs have been covered, everything else goes to Danny, without who’s efforts there would probably have been nothing to write about!! You know, our success meant so much to so many people and indeed many, many more had simply passed on still longing for that prize and without seeing that Cup lifted at Wembley. To get it written I have dropped the Diary to a bi-weekly offering in the closed season but we will be back to a weekly again after Christmas when this diatribe returns. So, I want to thank everyone for putting up with the fortnightly Diaries and for all the stuff people have given me for the book, whilst I really do want to thank Hull KR for providing that happy ending! I’ll keep you posted on proofing, printing and publishing in due course.

So that’s it for this year as we say goodbye to a marvelous campaign and a 2016 to remember. It was 11 year ago, on 23rd December 2005, when the first regular Dentist Diary hit the internet with around 80 initial readers and these offerings have no doubt been steadily and progressively going downhill ever since!! However, thanks to the efforts of Joe Bennett at the blackandwhites site, this journal of an ordinary, biased FC supporter has continued through good times and bad and I must thank everyone who has taken the time to read all the rants and conspiracy theories, gripes and occasional times of absolute wonderment since, for your support over all those years has been phenomenal. It’s never been a grind but at times I have wondered why I bother, but of course on that sunny afternoon in August at Wembley, it suddenly all became so glorious worthwhile.

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Back in December 2005 I guess I thought it would last a few weeks and then I would either run out of readers or things to say. But those who know me or have read this stuff over a period of time will agree that at Hull FC there is always something to talk about. Whether I get it right or wrong of course, is something different again. Sure I get it wrong sometimes, but when you’re writing for such aficionados of the game as the fans of Hull FC, you are bound to get pulled up from time to time.

However, I cannot stress enough my gratitude to everyone who reads this stuff and for all the feedback I get, be it good or bad for it all helps. I have gained some amazing friends through it and received my fair share of antagonism from the dicks, (and some who completely miss the point and should know better). I well remember back in 2010 when I got an E Mail from a Dobbins fan who said he resented the fact that I referred to him as a ‘Banjo Picker’. I replied that I would think that any indication that any Rovers fan could play anything, other than truant, should be viewed as a complement!! He didn’t reply!

So I guess I have also been corrected dozens of times which shows folks care, and even more rewarding than all of that, with sometimes upward of 2500 readers at times, I’ve been in regular contact with some of the far-flung outposts of the FC Faithful around the world.

I am just thankful that people still find the time and the inclination to read the Dentists Diary, and stick with all the aged stories and biased clap trap that I come out with, most of it is unstructured and just written as this average supporter sees it at the time! All the Rovers stuff is meant in fun, even if it isn’t always received that way, but it will always continue because that’s what Hull FC fans do! The Diary will continue as long as there are a few readers who want to read it and I can get someone to publish it!

Christmas is a time for thanking folks and appreciating what they do for you, so this I guess is me thanking all of you. Have a wonderful Christmas and let’s hope our club, the greatest Rugby league team in the world, have a great and successful New Year and we all get what we wish for!

If I’m spared, the Diary will be back on Monday 9th January 2011, when we’ll have a whole new season of hope before us.
Have a great time in the next couple of weeks, and a Merry, Merry, Christmas to you all!!!

Never Forget!

Faithfully Yours

Wilf

‘AS FOR 2016, WELL UNANSWERED QUESTIONS ARE ALL THAT REMAIN!’
….Vallon

christmas2016f

Ha ha !!!!!!!