The Dentist’s Diary – 545th

Friday’s was a poor performance in a game that we should have won! Yet I guess we never deserved to get the points because we simply weren’t good enough, particularly when it came to retaining possession, being creative and keeping our discipline. AND, in all those failings it’s not only the youngsters that are the culprits either.

You know, I could have cut and paste that introduction from any of the last three Diary’s really couldn’t I? I don’t like to be negative in here but I fear that I’m about to be, because at present we have no right to be in the top four, simply because we don’t deserve to be there. Quite frankly it looks to me now that the Cup is our best, if not our only chance of silverware this term, but more of that gloomy hypothesis later.

At Headingley we were certainly dominant in the first forty minutes, in that we controlled Leeds and kept them contained despite losing possession at regular intervals, but we couldn’t get more than one score on the board and were then nilled in the second half, when just one try would have got us home. Defensively we were great near our line, but shoddy in mid-field as once again we struggled to find anything in attack. There is little doubt too, that for the second week running it was a match that was there for the taking, against a team that were no great shakes themselves.

We know what this team is capable of and yet at present we don’t look like we can deliver at all and a Leeds team disjointed and disrupted by injuries beat us on a night when we could so easily have reversed the ‘Headingley Hoodoo’ to gain a psychological advantage for that semi-final. What a disappointing trip it was for the hordes of FC fans that made the journey to the West Riding and who, on the way back, must have been wondering just what Doncaster holds for us in two weeks’ time!

I might have to eat my words after a few more rounds and I hope that I do, but playing as we have over the last few weeks, I’m finding it hard to contemplate us winning anything at all this year. We are totally devoid of any attacking ideas and as far as discipline is concerned, too many penalties conceded and too much dropped ball is, ever week, our undoing. I have to say as well that as for our prospects going forward in 2017, for now at least, I’m worrying a bit, I really am! But hope springs eternal and a big win over Huddersfield will sort a lot out, however unless we improve significantly it’s getting that win that might prove a little difficult.

We always have that hope though don’t we and you know often as I write this drivel, I wonder if you’re feeling the same as me, or whether when I come out with the rather wayward thoughts that seem to permeate from this tome from time to time, you scratch you head a bit, have a good laugh and/or shake your head in disbelief and move on! However, by and large if writing this diatribe for 12 years has taught me one thing, it is that when we step back from it all, although we all think we are different, as supporters we really ain’t and by and large we all lament, curse, rejoice and have the same theories pretty much as one.

2017 has been a strange season for me personally and of late on several occasions I have stopped to consider my overall demeanour as a fan and how I’ve sort of changed my whole rationale this year, particularly towards losing.

There has never ever been a time in the past that I wouldn’t be ‘filthy’ (as the Aussie players say) for days after a defeat at Leeds, particularly a narrow one in those circumstances and without doubt the reality of three reversals in a row would have seen me permanently wringing my hands in anguish. I’m sure that regular readers from years past will remember those days well and its true to say that yes, I was pretty gutted at the end on Friday, but even after feeling pretty dismayed by it all, I sort of shrugged my shoulders and got on with it. The thing is that I used to take it all so bloody personally, berate everything and everybody to do with the club if I felt that they could in some obtuse way be to blame and generally feel despondent and frustrated. However now, that’s not quite the case anymore.

I thought a more philosophical outlook was a temporary state and wondered if perhaps everything would change once the rose tinted specs were off and we’d lost a time or two in pretty unforgiveable circumstances, but we’ve been through all that now and strangely my demeanour hasn’t changed at all. Even on Friday I was disappointed, but not as totally flattened as I would have been in the past. Let me say now before I go any further that I still have a permanent obsession, nay love affair with my Club and that love burns just as brightly as it has always done and I certainly enjoy winning and hate losing as much too, but if we don’t succeed or things go against us, I’m somehow not so vexed or downhearted anymore.

I don’t know if this is making sense, but I did wonder if this changed outlook was because the ‘Unwise men from the East’ are no longer in Super League and the pressure is off from the dick heads you meet in the street and as you go about your business, but I soon discarded that one, although they did always wind me up a bit! Then I wondered if it was just my age and this is what happens when you become a doddery old git. However, in the end I decided that this new rationale towards the state of my Club can only be down to one thing, namely that often used phrase about us getting a ‘Monkey off our Backs’ with that Challenge Cup win. Whether it was the relief, the retribution or just a case of the foreclosure it brought, as that final hooter went in the sunshine at Wembley I was somehow freed of a great burden and being a fan is for the most part now for me a slightly changed experience; I enjoy it all more and even seem to get over my despair so much better these days.

As we drop ball and blow our chances I’m still pretty upset but not as gutted as I used to be! Am I losing my edge or indeed my marbles? Well only time will tell on that one, but last Friday I feared the worst when we went to Leeds, I think we all did, but I was strangely resigned to our fate and moved towards the game with a demeanour that was more rational than the furrowed brow, anxiety heavy, ‘teeth in the steering wheel’ approach I have had to such occasions in the past. So I was I guess, reconciled to accepting the game and its eventual outcome whatever it threw at me, but if as a fan I can do that, still basking a tad in the reflected glory of last season, the players certainly can’t, but perhaps, just perhaps, at times they still are!

Why am I saying all this? Well perhaps because I feel myself that this new found approach to watching the team I love makes me more rational and less reactionary in my views and perhaps too it allows me to be more objectionable about just how poor we are at present, at least when we compare our performances with what we glimpsed in one or two outstanding showings earlier this season and what went on throughout most of last year. The fact is, we can look at excuses all day, but with us having 48 less play the balls and losing so much possession, against Leeds we are really under-performing. That’s not through a lack of effort, but more because week in week out we make the same errors and conceded the same penalties and it is the same people (and invariably those who should know better) that are doing it.

As I watch and we continue to major on a constant effort to outmuscle teams, I am starting to ask myself exactly what progress the Club have made this season, with Albert Kelly perhaps the only shining star to come out of it. For me, this 2017 campaign is now on a knife edge, as we see that Cup semi decidedly in the melting pot and already, even if we experience a real renaissance in our form, our only chance of a shot at Old Trafford is looking to be a trip to Leeds or Castleford in the play-offs to visit a team that has had a week or two to rest players beforehand. With still 8 games to go that’s certainly a bold prediction I know, but one that is borne out of a cold appraisal of where we are. With us able to field an almost full strength team at present and indeed having faced a Leeds team with injuries and playing with only two bench men for most of the game, it is honestly how I see our current situation in the cold light of Saturday morning.

Headingley, is a difficult proposition at any time, but Fridays visit was certainly an important game for our Chief Executive James Clark, as it marked his 300th consecutive game of watching the Club and well done to him for that! However, I wonder what he thought about all that at the end, for if it were a memorable game for him then for most of us lot it certainly turned out to be memorable, but for all the wrong reasons.

In all fairness Leeds were pretty poor as well, but there is always a certain superciliousness around Headingley which, in the case of their record against us of late. is something that is perhaps understandable and also something that we have to grudgingly accept. It’s certainly something that the disproportionate amount of Rhino’s visiting the Hull FC RL fans board afterwards bore out; cocky gits! It would certainly be really good to stuff them on our way to a second successive Final, but that dream for me is a long way off and in my view a lot has to change and quickly for that to even be a possibility.

It was always going to be a hard night wasn’t it? However as was the case last week, we should have won, no question! The game however saw us continue where we left off in Lancashire with the same short comings and issues on show and in fact in the end it was only the weather conditions in which the game was played that set it apart from the previous week’s debacle at Saints. No blaming a wet ball this week!

The days of Blacklock steaming down the wing towards us to score the winning try at Leeds are now a distant memory and since then we had seen a procession of narrow defeats and unlucky reversals intersperse with a few good old fashioned thumpings! The call of ‘we never win at Headingley’ was certainly on the lips of the fans I spoke to last week but this time around it was our own fault and down to our own shortcomings in attack and us time and again failing to keep hold of the ball in our own twenty. I guess you could say we are not that far off it, but in effect miles away from where we need to be in the same instance.

After their unlikely excursion into the middle eights last time around, the Rhino’s have quietly flown under the radar this year, but have then, in the last couple of weeks, stepped up a gear until sitting second in Super League, they were certainly licking their lips at a chance to get one over their cup rivals, just two weeks before that big, big clash at Doncaster. We should have relished it too, but we are in a rut and even struggling to do the basic things that made us so great at times less than a year ago.

Still, despite what had gone before, on Friday, in a gate of 16,000, there was as usual a great turn out of FC fans. In fairness too we took it to them early on and put some promising pressure on their line when Seke Manu was just held up over the whitewash before Scott Taylor got in near the posts with a barge over try on the bounce which looked all too easy. He was for me our best forward last Friday, but that was it, the sum total of our scoring, try wise. That should have been the signal to kick on and the shape of things to come, but instead Marc Sneyd who for me again had a poor game, made a blunder and dropped the ball to put us back under intense pressure. We had to stop that sort of thing, but we couldn’t and the writing was for me on the wall when we appeared complacent when letting a big kick bounce instead of attacking the ball as it came down. In fact, only Parcell losing the ball over our line saw us keep our lead intact.

On we went but we kept making mistakes and the error count grew as we gave up so much ball and our only real saving grace was our tackling, particularly near our line as we constantly put pressure on ourselves, instead of on a poor Leeds team, that was misfiring and severely disrupted by losing players to injury. With a completion rate of less than 30% in our own twenty, our mistakes put us under intense pressure and cost us the possibility of a much bigger lead and although that was a superb drop goal on the hooter from Sneyd, as we trudged off in the lead by 7-0 it was never going to be enough was it?

The tipping point as no try is given.

In the second half we started as we had finished the first. We spilt ball and gave away penalties and following one indiscretion from I think Downs and Matongo in the tackle, Hall scored a good try, which was disappointing because all we had to do to kick on was to right the wrongs of the first half, but we couldn’t do that at all and they were in. At that point it became obvious what the outcome would be, as the same senior players again made the same mistakes in what was a close and intense war of attrition. But still our goal line defence stood firm and was nothing short of phenomenal at times. But, bugger me if we didn’t keep putting ourselves under pressure with those stupid mistakes.

On the game went and as the Hull crowd struggled to watch and Leeds poured on the pressure, we couldn’t complete a set for love nor money and so it was that we invited Leeds back into the game time and again. Talanoa missed a great chance when he couldn’t catch Sneyd’s pass but then Leeds produced a bit of magic with a kick and took the lead. At this point the tide of a game in which we could have been out of sight was turned against us, we had battled well and tried hard; but perhaps at times a bit too hard with ball in hand. Again, we just kept on spilling the ball, just as we had done at Saints. But, while we were just one score behind there was always hope as the game wore on and with ten minutes to go we charged downfield before Griffin who had a much improved game was unlucky to end up in touch.

Then as the game drew to a close it looked to me as if Fonua was in and his reactions certainly indicated that he thought he was as well. However, although the referee and the touch judged deemed it a score the back line judge ruled it out, but let’s face it we should have been out of sight by then. There were just too many senior players making what would have been, last season, totally uncharacteristic errors, but ones that are now par for the course for our displays of late this season. It was all simply not good enough….again.

We were beaten not so much by the opposition but more by our own dumb rugby and poor discipline with ball in hand. Too many times we tried to force the play in our end and made mistakes while our passages of attacking rugby were so slow and pedestrian. There were few dummy runners with most of the time no one actually running onto the ball at any sort of pace, in fact it seemed that at least once in every set of six someone took the ball standing still. Lee Radford said afterwards that perhaps we need to go back to basics as we did last season after that Widnes drubbing and I for one think he is right, but at a time when we should like our rivals at Leeds, Wakefield and Saints be kicking on and raising our game for the end of season challenges ahead, everything seems to be falling apart. It’s certainly going to be a big game on Friday now against Huddersfield if only to sort some things out for the following week on which increasingly our season hinges. Still as I said earlier, let’s be positive as it is without doubt time to look forward rather than backwards!

So to other things and I never thought Albert Kelly would play on Friday did you? I can’t remember ever seeing someone pull up so obviously as he did at Saints and then not be subject to at least a week out, if not for them to be out a lot longer. He was never going to be risked as we move towards what is fast becoming our last chance for glory this year in less than two weeks’ time. Although he has proved to be a bit of an ‘in and out’ sort of performer, we really miss him when he is not there and he’s an interesting study in the advantage that is gained if a club can employ a ‘maverick’ star, as opposed to the stereotypical RL player that conforms to all the parameters set for the job.

By the end of the season Albo is in danger of being the Hull FC player that has made the most mistakes but who has scored more tries than anyone else as well. He flits in and out of games chancing his arm, but is always capable of winning them in the most amazing of circumstances; in short, in sporting terms, the mans a ‘freak’ really! However, the teams that actually win things invariably have one player who can do the impossible and who really needs watching by the opposition and I’m sure we have that in Albert.

In the bigger scheme of things, the fact that most Clubs don’t have one and the value of those ‘maverick’s’ to the clubs that do, is probably a sad indictment on the modern game. Those who watched rugby in the eighties and early nineties will tell you that, back then, just about every Club had one such player, despite the fact that they were usually a handful to manage off the field. Perhaps the fact that such exponents of the ‘off the cuff’ stuff are often the ‘bad boys’ of the game (Kelly, Brough, Chase etc. are point of fact these days) indicates that with the exception of those rebels who won’t be told, we have coached any sort of ‘extrovert’ flair out of the game.

That’s a shame really, because those afore mentioned players are great to watch and good box office, but I guess in the end modern rugby is all about control and structure and yet how interesting it is that Lee Radford still gets Albert into the team whenever he can, often when we the fans might wonder why he doesn’t use the less flamboyant but much more structured option of Jake Connor! It’s as if the establishment of present day Coaches recognises the showmen and the value of the ‘surprise package’ but are still loathed to celebrate or indeed encourage their role in the modern game. Interesting isn’t it?

So once again the whole structure of rugby below first team level seems to be in chaos as already the new Under 23’s structure is under threat of disappearing beneath a cloud of hard up clubs and apathetic commitment to the principle that several clubs originally signed up to. Last season was the first instance of a return to the reserves format and although it was in its infancy, it was clear the top four clubs in the Super League from last year were the only ones to take the new structure seriously and in general honour their fixtures and they certainly therefore appeared to benefit from having an under-23s side. It’s not bloody rocket science is it? The fact is, that the most successful teams in the 2016 season were those who ran these second string teams and it’s something that our Coach has cited numerous times since the schemes inception.

This season however a lot of Clubs simply couldn’t afford to run the size of squad needed to sustain a second string and that has meant that the competition simply hasn’t kicked on and has actually gone backwards. As a Club Hull FC have suffered a lot from not only the small number of Super League teams involved, but also by teams like Wigan (last week) cancelling their commitment to a game because they couldn’t or wouldn’t raise a team. This week Halifax picked up the fixture and credit to the West Yorkshire Club (who let’s face it ain’t the richest around), for soldiering on and trying to at least honour their fixtures and indeed picking up other more wealthy clubs responsibilities. The whole format has been an absolute shambles really and now we hear that Hull FC are to scrap their commitment to the competition after the end of this season, simply because they have run out of patience and no doubt are fed up of throwing money down a black hole.

I know that Adam Pearson and Lee Radford were totally committed to the need for the Reserves format but who can blame them for finally ‘throwing the towel in’ when all we have is a half-hearted competition, which doesn’t compel all Super League clubs to take part; quite frankly it’s just become a waste of money.

Yet we have to have some means of bringing players through don’t we? There is little doubt that those of us who have been around the game for years understand through experience that youngsters develop mentally and physically at different stages. Some, a talented few, are ready to play first team rugby when they are 18-years-old, whereas others of the same group need a couple of years more to reach their true potential and sometimes front row forwards are in their middle twenties before they are at the top of their game. That being the case the other Clubs who either don’t take part in the Reserves League or indeed can’t afford to do so, are left with no other option than to enter a dual-registration partnership with another club, likely to be in the Championship. This seems to be the only option and even Wigan, St Helens, Warrington and Hull who are in the Under 23’s League are partnered with Swinton Lions, Sheffield Eagles, Rochdale Hornets and Doncaster respectively in a belt and braces approach to developing their fringe players.

It can’t however be ideal for players to play for a different club one week and another the next, not to mention playing under different playing styles, tactics and drills. For me we will never be a great game as far as the public at large are concerned until we have a full blown reserve league that is competitive instead of the games currently being little more that ‘friendlies’. That way, youngsters who aren’t quite ready for the first team would be able to play for the reserves and still have a chance of playing Super League in the long term rather than having nowhere to go and so taking a part-time contract in a lower league or even giving up the sport all together.

At Hull FC, when you add to all that the new combined academy which has failed to inspire the fans of both Hull clubs, or the young players in the City and that I suspect is being ‘used’ by certain parties to their own ends, rugby below the level of the first team in Hull is in danger of being almost none existent. The close working relationship that Richard Horne still has at the Club, even though he is officially designated as Head Coach at Doncaster, smacks to me of a closer duel registration scheme almost stretching to formal feeder clubs, let’s face it for our owner it would certainly be more acceptable financially. It remains to be seen whether a reserve set up is part of the League re-structuring talks that are currently going on behind the scenes as the clubs look to re-instate a 14 strong Super League, but at present the game is pretty much in chaos below first team level and whilst a whole swathe of players across the game kick their heels and see their development stifled because of a lack of competitive game opportunities, British Rugby League is failing to sustain any sort of progression through the ranks at our senior Clubs. Where do we go from here? Who the hell knows really!

It is reported behind the scenes that the RFL are already in discussions with a couple of high-profile Super League players with regard to that possibility of central contacts part funded by the governing body, as they try to keep hold of the competition’s best talent, however instead of handing over bumper deals, why not pump that money into a serious reserve system? Perhaps we could have many more of those star players, if the Super League had a second-grade league where they could all develop at their own pace instead of it just being the top young talent that is catapulted into the top league, often when they are un-prepared for it. Look at Nick Rawsthorne as an example of a really talented young man who has hardly had the ideal season as his first taste of Super League rugby has he?

When you look around the game at the sort of players that clubs bring in from Australia there is little doubt that the British game is functioning on the ‘rump’ of Southern Hemisphere talent who are either at the end of their careers or not good enough for front line NRL action on a regular basis. With the new rules on the number of games that imports have to play before they will be allowed into the country or indeed to play in Super League, it is becoming more and more apparent that we will have no option but to look to young British players coming through the system, but instead we are stifling their progression because there is no system!

If, despite all this, we manage to bring some young talent through there then has also got to be some sort of incentive built into the British game to retain them when they are tempted to go to Australia by large wads of money being waived under their noses. The only thing up for discussion at present appears to be those Central contracts which are being considered to try and retain players, but that is fraught with issues, none less than the perceived ‘favouritism’ that prevails in Redhall over who is invited to take part. However, there is little doubt too that the dearth of good British players coming through is also down to the fact that, as I said previously, we don’t have a system in place that prepares the youngsters for full blown first team rugby. I think a ‘compulsory’ reserves league is an absolute must for the game going forward, but in the current financial climate I can’t see it happening can you?

This week saw another great player from the past leaving us as the wonderful man who started the FC Bunting revival of the late seventies Vince Farrar passed away. A massive character, who was a real gentle giant and a lovely bloke off the field, Vince played 91 games for us and scored 10 tries in a career that spanned four seasons. A Featherstone lad, he always looked to me like he had just come off shift at the pit as he exploded into games and took the opposition defences to task in the role of prop forward. He was an excellent pack leader a real workhorse and I’ll always remember him as the master of passing the ball as he was tackled. In fact, he was just the ball handling pack leader the Club needed to start their renaissance when they signed him for £10,000 in November 1977. Captured by David Doyle Davidson at the end of his tenure as coach Vince saw out three great seasons and was the catalyst that helped attract such greats as Stone, Newlove, Lloyd, Norton and Wileman join the Club. He had played for Featherstone for years and yet not made the England team but he managed that with Hull FC when he was part of the infamous ‘Dads Army’ pack that faced Australia in the third test in 1978. He remained involved with his beloved Featherstone Rovers until late in his life and up until last year he could be seen taking on the role of time-keeper for his home town club. He was a smashing player of who I have such fond memories. RIP Vince Farrar!

So in honour of Vince this week in Codgers Corner I want to feature a typical game from the Farrar era which I remember well and that took place in the Floodlit Trophy on Tuesday 10th October 1978. It was a time when ironically if we couldn’t beat anyone we always had the ability to get one over Leeds at Headingley; oh how times have changed eh? So here is an extract from my first book of a typical game in the Farrar era……

“…..the season was up and running, and despite a narrow defeat in the Yorkshire Cup at Bradford, the First Division team that actually booted us out of all the Cup competitions that season, we were to go on and never see a “L” against a fixture in the Division Two list that year.

Of course getting back up to the First Division in one season was the fans and the clubs top priority but the cup games had to be played and so it was in October that we all boarded the coach from the pub and set off for a night match at Headingley in the first round of the Floodlit Trophy. It was Leeds in the Cup again and as we drove out of the City along Boothferry Road we passed lines and lines of cars queuing in the other direction all going to Hull Fair. In those days no area of the Leeds ground was sacrosanct as far as visiting supporters were concerned, and so having called for a swift three pints in the Three Horse Shoes on Otley Road before kickoff, we took up a vantage point in the South Stand.
Despite the fact that the second half of the game was televised and it was Hull Fair back home, around 2000 Hull fans made the trip and soon the strains of ‘Old Faithful’ were drowning out the shouts of ‘Leeds Leeds’ that was the only chant the home team seemed to know. Well before they had even considered ‘Marching on Together’ Headingley was pretty devoid of chants or atmosphere back then, it was just accepted that, as the ‘Mighty’ Leeds they won at home, simple as, particularly when, as was the case that night, they were playing a team from the lower division.

We started badly with Charlie Stone being penalized and a penalty success to Leeds but shortly after that Crowther sent the whole of the Leeds line the wrong way with an outrageous dummy and walked in to score and put us in front. Sammy Lloyd converted and when he planted over a ‘Lloyd special’ penalty from fully 52 yards we were 7-2 up. Vince Farrar was massive in the front row as on two occasions he put the big Leeds forwards on their backs single handedly and as he led by example he seemed to inspire the FC lads around him to greater things. Two players with strong Hull connections were apparent in the next Leeds move though, when down in front of us, clever play straight from the kick off by Mick Crane sent Kevin Dick in to the right of the posts and the conversion leveled the scores. Just before half time a Ward drop goal edged Leeds in front and we were a point down at the break.

It was likely that we had Bovril and a Wagon Wheel at half time, as the bar was right around the other side of the pitch and usually packed to the doors. For those confused gastronomes reading this, Wagon Wheels were a marshmallow biscuit that you only seemed to be able to get at rugby grounds and right up to just a few years ago the Leeds refreshment stands always had a shelf full of them.

Our half back pairing of Newlove and Hepworth combined quickly at the start of the second half and Knocker Norton was twice held up close to their line. The wily skills of our veteran scrum half Hepworth were to the fore as he followed Farrar and Tindall around the field and he tried everything he could to get us moving. As the rain started to fall and with just ten minutes to go Farrar broke on the left and almost put Newlove away but the tall rangy half back dropped a great inside pass behind him. Hepworth fly kicked the ball through the Leeds defense and was just about to re-gather it on half way when Oulton stepped in front of him. It was an obvious obstruction and despite facing the elements Sammy Lloyd banged over the penalty from fully 50 yards to put us back in front.

The game was sealed just three minutes from time when Macklin sent the Leeds fans pouring towards the exits. Knocker Norton started the move; Boxall gave a long looping pass to Lloyd, who then found ‘Super’ Alf with a short outside pass that put him one on one with their winger Atkinson. He then did what he had done so many times for us over the years and turned him first inside then out to score in the corner. Lloyd’s tremendous touchline conversion broke the Leeds player’s hearts as it sailed through the posts, the final whistle went and we had won 14-8, in a game where Farrar, Stone, Tindall and Sammy Lloyd were towering figures in our defense…..”

I have said in here many times that despite often being well below them in the rankings in those days we had the ‘Indian Sign’ over the ‘Loiners’ both at Headingley and the Boulevard and this was a season when although we were ourselves outside the top flight we actually beat the high fliers twice. Later that year, in February, we were draw against them again, this time in the first Round of the Challenge Cup and we knocked them out of that competition too. Different times to those we are living through at present eh? Good old Vince, rest in peace Old Faithful!

So there we are then and what the hell can we expect on Friday eh? Huddersfield are going great guns and will be really hard to beat while we are desperately looking to ease our woes and get back on track again before we go to Doncaster. For me Leeds are not the team they were and last Friday showed that they are without doubt beatable, but we are woeful on attack at present and if nothing else that is where I think we should be looking for some improvement this week! Still we’ll see and it should be an interesting game if nothing else.

Thanks to everyone who has bought the book so far and with around £1000 already raised for Danny Houghton in the first week of sales, its certainly going well, but as I always say please spread the word as its for such a great cause! However, anyone who has written a book that celebrates 2016 as perhaps a very special season in the context of what went before and perhaps even what was to come after, could well look at last Friday and wonder if they were about to see their concerns confirmed. I certainly take absolutely no pleasure in that at all and I just hope against hope that I am wrong in the assertions I made about our future prospects earlier in the Diary. However, as I look at things from a less ‘stressed’ view these days, you’d have to be a fool to not be a tad concerned as to where we are at present wouldn’t you?

Incidentally I’ve had a review copy of the new Kirk Yeaman book ‘Yeamo My Life in Black and White’ since early last week and its great, so I’ll be reviewing it for you in here next week! Thanks to those of you who have been in touch and well done to everyone who went to Leeds, now let’s get behind the boys, give Huddersfield a real going over and look for an upturn in fortunes eh?

Try to Keep Believing and…

Come on You Hullllaaarrrr!!!!!

Faithfully Yours