The Dentist’s Diary – 563rd

“It’s the hope that kills you”, said the BBC Commentator and indeed it was, but in what became the Battle of Brisbane, England came so close and played so well, yet once again it was ‘Heartbreak time’, but we’re not that far off are we?

However, being not far off doesn’t win you trophies! Just as we have seen in the Super League and the Challenge Cup finale’s in the last two seasons, it’s the teams that can find a way to win the war of attrition in such crunch games that usually come away with the spoils. We did it in two semi-finals and two Challenge Cup Finals and Wigan and Leeds did it in the Grand Finals, whilst in the World Cup, Australia did it…. Again. Nevertheless, in the cold light of next day and watching it back again, it now looks to me like Saturday was a massive missed opportunity.

With O’Loughlin and Hodgson missing it was always going to be a big, big ask, but the lads did England and our domestic competition proud. Still the record will show another win to the Aussies and I guess that’s that! With Brown largely ineffective and Gale taking poor options near the line when we had all the pressure, we went so close. In the end our playmakers execution just let us down at a time when the Kangaroos were flagging and a massive chance for England to become Champions of the World went begging. The Aussies were out on their feet and ‘flying on fumes’ but we simply didn’t have the guile to get over the line and it was certainly very painful to watch the player’s reactions at the end. But, with an intensity akin to State of Origin and a massive effort from every player on show, what a great match it was!

Back home however it’s certainly again been a quiet week on the FC front, but that at least gives me the opportunity to share a few thoughts about our owner Adam Pearson and what makes him tick, I’ll also have a look at pre-season training and how it’s going and expand on my feelings about what’s been happening in the rest of the Rugby League this past 7 days.

As good as it gets for an Aussie. The kiss that says, “Well done Dad you won!!!”

As the final hooter went in Australia James Smailes at the Hull Mail tweeted, “Brilliant final, great Test match, but a missed opportunity too. Gutted” and who could really argue with that? So a big well done to our lads on Saturday and hard luck, perhaps next time eh?

So onto Hull FC and what brilliant news it was to hear how all the Clubs marketing, reminding and cajoling has paid off, as back last Tuesday we were told that a new Hull FC membership record could be in sight with over 8,000 fans already signed up for 2018 ahead of last Saturday’s reserved seat deadline. Looking back at the Diary, I noticed that at this time last year, we were told that we had sold over 6,000 memberships for the 2017 campaign, with that target now total blown away, already this year.

How good is that in the current state of the game? How do we compare with others? Well those folks who go on and on about Castleford being the new saviours and ‘future’ of the sport at Club level might be interested to see that they were rightly celebrating this week as they reported a 12% increase on Season Tickets sales at their ‘Early Bird’ stage of the process. Yet they have only sold 3,770 which is only just over half of what we had recorded at that same point. As for the others, well information is pretty sketchy but although both Leeds and Rovers are doing OK, Wigan are struggling as are Huddersfield, whilst from what I can see, Salford and Wakefield are both reluctant to talk figures with regard to the progress they have made so far. Worrying times eh?

With such a good take up at our club, 10,000 tickets for 2018, (for the first time since the Stadium opened), is although pretty unlikely, certainly not out of the question. But, could we at least be on course for the best pre-season sales at the KCOM ever? Well, it’s hard to gauge, because the club always keep their cards close to their chest on the exact final total, but looking back in here, in 2011 I hailed what I believed to be the highest so far, as sales totalled just under 8900, a figure we attained by the first game in February that year.

Yet we as season ticket holders are without doubt the main factor that makes our Club, (who get the same as everyone else from TV payments etc.), financially stable and better off than most of the others. It’s the money that we shell out for our memberships that’s the icing on the cake for Adam and Co. We would therefore hope that our investment means that he can continue to build the infrastructure of the Club and indeed build the team year on year.

However, although our recent success is a big factor, I also think that our stability as a Club and our faith in Pearson as our leader, has a psychological part to play in such a display of loyalty. We have confidence in our owner and coach and so invest in that and if the fans are doing their bit to get behind the club then, when you stand back from it all, Adam has proved over the years to be an absolute god-send. With us stagnating as a Club and perhaps even going backwards as a team under Hetherington, Agar and Rule, he was most definitely the right man at the right time, as he moved in to take over the Club from Auntie Kath on 22nd July 2011. Wow that seems ages ago now doesn’t it, but what a significant date it was.

How much of a saviour is he? Well just compare him with the Allam’s at City, who came into that club as one-time messiahs too. They are now overseeing what is best described as a husk of a once great club, its fragmented and split as a community and the owners disingenuous actions have seen all but the most irrational of fans lose faith in them altogether. Oh boy we might have issues from time to time, but it could all be so much worse couldn’t it?

It’s not just City either, because if I’m honest I still think because of those Allams, Adam and indeed the Club would find it hard to continue if we ever lost our place in Super League, but in such positive times let’s hope that isn’t something we ever have to consider.

One things for sure, Adam came into Rugby League not really knowing what he had bought into and looking back I guess it was a strange sort of career move for a man who had always been a football entrepreneur and a very successful one at that! If you have read this rubbish for years you’ll remember that I wrote to him after he left Hull City the first time in 2007. I thanked him for some great years working together when I was on the Council and we were opening the Stadium, before I concluded by adding the light hearted comment that I hoped one day if he was looking for an investment that he would consider Hull FC. He replied saying that was very unlikely and that he would always be a football man, before he went off to Derby County to try his hand in footballs ‘fresh fields’. I thought that was that, and so, as I told you all at the time, no one was more surprised than me when he decided to buy Hull FC.

I am so pleased he did, but he certainly came in a bit blind, spent tons of money (as you do in football), took some bad advice and did a bit of learning the hard way. In the early times he had several clear outs on and off the field, but then despite the protestations, he stuck to his guns coaching wise, before we won the Challenge Cup at Wembley for the first time ever, he became a legend and then took us back to the national stadium and won it all over again. Whilst all this was unfolding he also experienced what everybody else involved with the sport experiences as he simply fell in love with the game and with Hull FC. Now he’ll tell you he wishes he’d got involved years ago.

Adam Pearson will go down as the embodiment of success in the history of Hull FC, just as Roy Waudby did. He deserves the support he is receiving from the fans who have bought season tickets in their thousands and for now at least it’s onwards and upwards! Thanks to Pearson’s stewardship, Hull FC are in a good place at present.

When you step back from it all he’s done a quite amazing job really!

We have to do our bit as well of course and as we pat ourselves on the back for snapping up season tickets in such big numbers, we also have to remember that this year our amazing away support can help reap more benefits for Hull FC as well. In 2018 and as the best travelling support in the league, we will, for the first time, be getting 50% of all ticket sales for away games bought in advance from the Club shop at the KCOM. So, if you travel away its imperative you get your game tickets from there because they can now really be a big earner for us.

However, if much of our resurgence can be placed at our owner’s door, Adam always has his feet on the ground and is nothing if not honest; So it was interesting this week for our owner to echo my concerns, almost word for word, with regard to the start of next season and indeed that trip to Australia.

Even without our antipodean jaunt, it’s a bloody challenging start to the season and no mistake, but as I said three weeks ago that trip could tip us over the edge in a season that is going to be so, so, tough. I’m sure there are all sorts of financial and prestige reasons for going Down Under, but although it will be great while its happening, I don’t know how it can help us at all in the bigger picture of the actual season ahead.

We start the 2018 campaign at home to Huddersfield Giants on Thursday 1st, February, in what is without doubt a must win game when you see what follows thereafter. Next morning, we will be boarding a flight to Australia with a round two league fixture against Wigan in Wollongong eight days later followed by a clash with St George Illawarra Dragons, in what is nothing more than an exhibition match. Then it’s back on the plane and five days later we’re off for a ‘nice easy game’ at Castleford and with Warrington at home and then a testing home game against perennial bogey team Leeds, the first five weeks of the new campaign represent a challenge unlike anything I think we as a team have ever seen.

If, as I said earlier, Adam has evolved into the saviour of our club, then he also has his head screwed on and as a realist he’s always a bit wary of the unknown and he certainly agreed with me when he actually came out and said that our trip to Australia is a risk. There is no doubt at all that with all those FC fans going, there will certainly be a deal of ‘mingling’ and a great atmosphere through the two weeks, but I worry about this trip I really do. I just don’t know how much two long, long plane trips, two massive games and all that socialising, will take out of a group of players who are having a fragmented pre-season build up anyway. Our Coach has already hinted that he also has a feeling of foreboding about it all and it must be a worry.

This week as if to justify the risk Adam said, “We are aware the Australia trip could cause us some problems, but this is an important trip for the club. What we’re doing is backing the depth of the squad to cope”. However for me what this jaunt has done is highlight the need to, next year, get off to a good start at all costs. Looking at the fixtures, beating Huddersfield is imperative, because it will set the tone and see two precious points in the locker which should take the pressure off everyone heading to Australia. As Adam continued, “We’ve a really tough start and with Australia factored in too, we need to get points on the board early on”.

Adam then went on to look at the bottom of the table and to talk about the middle eights situation and suggested that it was likely that two Super League clubs, depleted and/or knackered from a long season, could very well make the drop. It’s going to be the most competitive Super League season yet and history dictates that one of last season’s top four could well be down there again this year, so it’s an absolutely crucial campaign for all the clubs. You really don’t want to be in the bottom four and Pearson bore that very fact out in his Hull Daily Mail interview when he said, “I’m expecting Leigh with the parachute payment allowing them to rebuild and strengthen to come back up and with the squad Toronto will put together and the home advantage they will have, the bottom four will face a tough test. You have to make damn sure first of all you’re not in that bottom four”. I said when I mentioned this before that perhaps it was just me and I was worrying too much about all this, but having heard what Adam had to say I have to admit to feeling that my concerns have been somewhat vindicated by our owner.

Next year is not the year where you would want to find yourself in the bottom four in any shape or form. Believe me, it’s going to be a really tough season for us lot at the KCOM and the key could very well be us winning as many of our home games as possible, but I’m already convinced, looking at the schedule of fixtures, that any sort of bad start will be hard to claw back.

Now for what must be the most unlikely nomination of the week if not the whole off season, as we heard on Thursday that Josh Griffin has been shortlisted for the Sportsman of the Year at the Oxfordshire Sports Awards. Griffin, who was born in Oxford before moving to West Yorkshire, certainly seems a strange choice doesn’t he? I’m not belittling Josh at all but for me they must be pretty hard up for sports personalities in Oxfordshire!! Griffin only scored three tries in all competitions in his First season with us, but he still showed up well at times, making well over 2000 metres. OK the former Salford Red Devil played a part in Hull’s Cup success, which saw them retain the trophy for the first time in their history and he only missed one round of the road to Wembley, but Oxfordshire Sportsman of the Year nominee …..what’s all that about!.

Oxfordshire’s Best?

It’s pretty obvious to me that the staggered and stuttering return to work of his wards, brought on by the World Cup, is causing Lee Radford and his team to constantly revue their preparations and how best we can be ‘game ready’ for that start of the season in February. The number and detail of pre-season games is being announced much later than usual and that and the latest news of the abandonment of a warm weather training camp (with the club possibly turning to a new initiative to put the squad through their paces), shows a deal of uncertainty in our camp at present. It had been said Hull were considering a January camp in the south of France which would have concluded with a game against Catalans Dragons but that’s been scrapped now. This is because of the disadvantages of a trip to France (to accept Steve McNamara’s invitation to a joint camp) coming only two weeks before that sojourn to Australia. I’m told however that they might be spending a few days in a British based camp with another Super League Club in the run up to an open numbers practise game behind closed doors.

There is little doubt that Hull and several other Clubs that have players tied up with the World Cup have a conundrum and are struggling to find the best way to have their players ready for action for the start of the 2018 campaign. Some already accept that their players may be under cooked, while others worry that they might start well, but the problems of a curtailed pre-season and thus some rushed conditioning, issues might come to the fore as the season wears on. I was told this week that a lot of time is being spent and a lot of head scratching is going on, in an effort to get that balance just right.

For many there simply isn’t enough time to get the strength and speed bit right whilst trying somehow to pay full credence to the tactics and skill side of things. Usually it’s clear cut and its strength and speed before Christmas and skills practise, games and tactics after the festivities. But all that has been fudged this time around by the World Cup and with that taking up in effect 7 weeks at the end of the season and the Clubs not being willing to reduce the games played in our 2018 season and in the case of two clubs, even agreeing to travel on an exciting adventure to Australia to play a round there, it has thrown everything into chaos for the coaches. It’s all going to be really interesting isn’t it?

So after that wonderful final the four yearly international jamboree is over again and when you look to the peripherals of what went on this last 6 or so weeks, there are certainly some lesson to be learned from the World Cup and no mistake. From the off, as the tournament stuttered a bit, PNG in Port Moresby took the meaning of passionate crowds to another level, but as the competition unfolded there was so much more to marvel at. Take for instance Fiji who have been a real shining light, alongside fellow Tier Two nation Tonga. Figi battered the USA, Wales and Italy in the group stage before they beat Tier One side New Zealand in the quarter-finals, as they continued to make history, before sadly ‘The Bati’ undersold themselves badly against the Kangaroos in the semi-final.

Fair enough, they weren’t expected to beat tournament favourites Australia, but they didn’t play like they had done in the previous weeks which was a disappointment but they had a great World Cup just the same. It was a shame to see them not put the Aussies to the test, but the sight of them singing a hymn to their vanquishers as all 34 players and the officials linked arm around the centre spot was just so heart-warming to watch. They have helped take sportsmanship and International Rugby League to the next level on the back of this World Cup and well done to them!

Then of course there is Tonga where there is a huge appetite for Rugby League and the semi-final against England clearly showed that the sport has something special alive there in that particular Pacific Island and something needs to be done about it. Like Fiji, Tonga have made the World Cup this year really entertaining and possibly even saved the competition. Every neutral watching their games seems to have been in awe of just what they brought to the party. They have proved that world rugby isn’t just a three-horse race and they played fantastically well. Their fans were again amazing and the fact that their brilliant come backs coincide with the fans starting to sing hymns on-mass from the terraces, is no accident either.

The passion a small nation showed that day was huge, the King of Tonga was present at the Semi Final and there were those hymns being sung by fans in the stands! In a bizarre atmosphere on and off the field that saw Raging Bull meet Songs of Praise, those games actually I think went a long way to bring back my faith in the international game. The love, warmth and passion oozing from the terraces was perfectly match by the tenacity, sheer power, determination and yet humble honest endeavour, that the team brought to the party every time they entered the field, and I loved it! There were over 25,000 Tongans in attendance at that game against England and every one of them ‘got it’ completely! The Rugby League International Federation needs do something to bring this forward more often, because we need the warm ‘glow’ those teams bring to the game. And, incidentally, when you have a minute just look how small Tonga is on the map!

However, as always in rugby league there has to be a fly in the ointment and the rumblings about the chaotic end of that last Tongan game went on all last week. The excitement waned to disappointment and then turned a little bitter as the Aussie officiating powers closed ranks around the referee and on the Tongan front, Lawyer Nalesoni Tupou petitioned RLWC organisers and the Rugby League International Federation in a bid to get Tonga’s agonising 20-18 semi-final loss to England reversed. In his letter to the organisers, Tupou pushed for a quick outcome so Tonga could prepare, he said, for the final in Brisbane, which was never going to ever happen was it? His letter said, “Therefore, an immediate remedy needs to be delivered urgently, taking into account, the failure of the referee to refer the matter to the video referee, the mental health issues of the referee, past and presence, [and the] previous history of disciplinary actions against the referee in his inability to avoid mistakes ”

It looks like Mr Cecchin’s been in trouble before doesn’t it? Nevertheless, I have to say I thought all that was a bit strong myself! Not however as strong as what one NZ journalist said on Tuesday morning when he accused the referee of ‘unconscious racism’ which is of cause just plain stupid but it just went to show that over there in the Southern Pacific not only are they passionate about their rugby but it doesn’t take much to see their patriotism run riot, but great folks just the same!

Since that game loads of readers have asked me, “Do I think the referee made the right call regarding the knock on?” Well, the answer to that is I’m not really sure myself! However, to those of you who asked, “Do I think he was right to not refer it to the VR”, Well no, I most certainly don’t think he was right. He would have most likely have gone to Mr. Thaler with a “no try”. I cannot see how that call would have been overturned and instead of all the trouble there has been that might very well have been the end of it. Of course the added intrigue would have been that having decided Mr. Cecchin was right, the conspiracy theorists would have been queuing up to point out that Thaler had clearly favoured his national team. Sometimes you can’t win whatever you do. Personally I believe that neutral officials are the only way forward if we are to avoid further controversies at future international matches.

One solution I read about in the Aussie press regarding the Video Referees, would be for them to review EVERY try. I’m not a big fan of the on-field “Try/No Try” rule anyway and would like to see them get rid of it and let the VR’s make the decisions cold, having been asked what to look for. Perfectly obvious tries would take seconds to review and even the difficult calls could be dealt with a lot more quickly. In the NFL every touch down is reviewed but in most cases it only takes an instant.

What Mr Cecchin’s brought into focus is the question as to whether it is best not to leave the decision to go to the screen up to the official but rather to fully embrace and rely on the technology available. That might at least minimise the chances of getting it wrong and in doing so we cut down the risk of causing controversy. For a team that have performed as well as Tonga to go out under such a hullabaloo of controversy is a shame and the almost embarrassing days that have followed could well have been averted, even under the current rules, with a show of no try and a referral to the Video Referee, But, of course he knew best and that is perhaps the root of the problem.

Still let’s not let all that colour our judgement because it shouldn’t in any way eclipse the great warm feeling we all felt when the South Sea Islanders played in the World Cup and how great it would have been to be in those crowds watching their games. I have to say that it reminded me of how I felt in that amazing 2016 season at Hull FC, when Big Frank led ‘The Brothers’ and we were treat to smiling faces, baby cuddling, sitting with the fans in the stand when injured, selfies, handshaking and giving their kit away to the kids at the end of the game, plus of course those amazing Car Lot Karaoke moments on Facebook with Frank and the boys singing and ‘dancing’ in the car on their way to training on a Monday morning; great times indeed.

Playing with a smile on your face eh, what a massive plus those South Sea Islanders are for our game on the international and domestic scene. They are fantastic people, who display a fantastic fervour and I have to say those Polynesian lads and their fans really did set the World Cup alight for me!

Trawling through the lesser known Aussie papers this week the fall-out from the competition could however spell problems for the British game. As owners over here in Blighty look for some extra income, British players from the World Cup are attracting a lot of interest from cash rich NRL clubs and it goes a lot further than Jermain McGillivray, who is wanted by just about every NRL club. Look for instance at Canberra Raiders who appear to still be desperate to sign Wigan Warriors star Micky McIlorum for next season, as they need a replacement for England hooker Josh Hodgson, who will miss the first half of the season with that ACL injury. Hodgson’s current understudy, Kurt Baptiste, is wanted in Super League anyway, so it’s not certain that he will be there next year, while third-choice Canberra hooker, Adam Clydsdale, announced his retirement last week.

Hull Kingston Rovers player Danny Addy has caught the eyes of a number of clubs in the NRL and New South Wales Cup as well, all due to his impressive performances for Scotland, whilst a couple of NRL clubs are keen on bringing Huddersfield Giants back-rower Oliver Roberts to Australia for next year after being pleased with what they saw at the World Cup. The 22-year-old was a stand-out performer for Ireland and he has revealed that his agent had already received enquiries as to when he is off contract in Super League.

Then there is also the strange case of Alex Walmsley who says he is looking to stay at St Helens, (with the club wanting to pin him down to a long-term contract when he returns), however NRL clubs are continuing to show interest in the England prop. Newcastle Knights, South Sydney Rabbitohs, Wests Tigers and St George Illawarra are thought to be interested, but it is unclear whether they have been in contact with Walmsley’s representatives or not. They will be I’m sure and those lads won’t be the last to be in demand either, I’ll wager!

It was good to see the famous Hull FC get a mention on national TV last week with a question on, ‘A Question of Sport’ directed at the captains who were asked, “Who has won the Lance Todd Trophy at Wembley for the last two seasons”

It was also great to hear this week that my local side Beverley, who are coached by Scott Taylor, have been accepted into the Kingstone Press Cider National Conference League. They were given the nod by club delegates at last Monday night’s meeting and they will operate in Division Three next year. They need to make a few ground improvements in the mean-time, but once the season starts I’ll certainly be going along to see them.

So to Codgers Corner and a question; what is so special in the history of the club about the date of Friday 17th April 1981? Well it was Good Friday and there were18,500 in the Boulevard for a Derby game and as always it saw the old rivals pitting their wits against each other in an encounter that took place almost a year after that disastrous day at Wembley that the ‘History Geeks’ across the River still talk about but now, since 2016, in somewhat hushed tones!

I have put off covering this game for years because quite frankly I am still ashamed about it. On that fateful day I settled in my place, which in those days was in the ‘new seats’ at the South end of the Best Stand, to join what was the biggest League attendance the British game had seen since the inception of the two Division format in 1973. However, what makes it’s such a significant date is the fact that it was one of, if not the, blackest days in the history of our great club. What happened was nothing short of a riot and a disgrace to the game and the City!

The match started well with an exciting first quarter. From the kick off Rovers pressed our line but it was Hull who took the lead when Tony Dean picked up a loose ball ran thirty yards and set Graham Walters off to the line after just 9 minutes. Paul Woods was on kicking duty that day and ‘Psycho’ put the conversion between the post and we were in an unlikely 5-0 lead. Back came the Dobbins with two tries from Phil Hogan on 12 minutes and Hartley three minutes later. Both conversions were missed and Woods restored our lead and pushed us further ahead with two penalties. Leading 9-6 we were at last starting to get on top and pressing forward, when on 22 minutes the unthinkable happened.

In what was dubbed ‘The Long Good Friday’ by the national press and ‘The Battle of Bunkers Hill’ by the local media, all hell broke loose at the South End of the Ground where in those days the score board was positioned. All of a sudden the unseasonal clear blue skies were blacked by a sudden hail of flying missiles as thousands of innocent supporters ran for cover. There was no real fighting just a bombardment of bricks, mud, rubble and wood from the ‘Building Site’ behind the embankment. It all seemed to me to start when 30 or so Hull and Rovers supporters stood in the middle of the South terrace started throwing missiles at the policemen on the Speedway track below. Some then descended the back of the embankment and started throwing rubble over the terracing and into the crowd. The club were going through some development work to increase the capacity of the Boulevard and the Police had been warned about the debris, but that couldn’t stop a handful of idiots leaving the terracing and congregating behind it, to launch the onslaught.

As referee Laughton took the players off the field and down the tunnel, the St John Ambulance staff led old people, children, young people and women past us along the touchline. Many had head wounds streaming with blood, others staggered from the shock of its all. On the viewing area itself many fans from both sides desperate to escape, swept over the fence and onto the pitch leaving two small factions of idiots battling it out on the terrace. Then, a policeman went by on a stretcher, obviously unconscious and elsewhere mothers shepherded their children away from the melee and out of the ground. Little did they or we looking on realise that they were all part of what was later described as the game of Rugby Leagues ‘Blackest day’

In the 14 minutes the teams were off the field 40 people were hurt and 13 arrested as the place took on the look of a field hospital. In fact I remember that the possibly inexperienced St John staff, although doing a great job, used some outlandish bandaging techniques as some unfortunate fans passed us with the whole of their heads bandaged like the invisible man, but we were just all shocked and could not believe what we were seeing. Amazingly, slowly but surely, the Police got control and shepherded the fans back onto the terraces and the game restarted when referee Laughton brought the teams out and ordered a scrum to Rovers on the centre spot.

However, if we fans had lost our appetite for the game on the pitch we had as a team lost all the momentum we had before the stoppage. We all just looked on at a surreal scene of a game going on with people still being treated behind the posts at the Gordon Street end. The incidents I describe here were I suppose a shameful blot on a game that, looking back now, had many exciting pieces of action and some nerve tingling moments. Rovers had used the break to collect themselves and tore back at us for the rest of the first half. Within seven minutes evading both Norton and Woods, Hubbard crashed in at the corner. The conversion was missed and at half time the scores were tied 9-9. Tony Dean almost got over after just two minutes of the second half and then we saw Hulls best move of the game. Dean beat Sanderson to the ball when Rovers had won a scrum and as he was tackled he got up quickly played the ball to himself and shot in under the posts and as Woods converted we were 14-9 up and in command again. Rovers International second rower Phil Lowe crashed through two tackles and despite a valiant effort from Mick Crane, scored and Hubbard landed his only goal to level things up again. A high tackle by a very young Steve Crooks on Steve Norton saw Woods edge us ahead again and with ten minutes to go it looked like we could hang on. Unfortunately, with seconds left on the clock, Lowe broke through again and as our defence came across, right in front of us, he kicked through and touched down in the corner and the Dobbins were victorious 17-16.

If the defeat was not enough, imagine the shock we all felt when the ‘riot’ was the first piece of news on the BBC National 6-00pm Good Friday Bulletin and we were there in ‘all our glory’ for the whole country to see. Next day the headlines in the Hull Daily Mail read ‘Hull’s Revulsion in wake of Riot’ and there followed a catalogue of local politicians, MP’s and all, decrying the actions of those few idiots that had brought our game, our City and my club into such disrepute. Much retribution and condemnation followed, as did a RL enquiry, but for me it’s a memory that perhaps we should all put to the back of our minds, but I feature it here as a warning ‘lest we as fans ever forget’ Not such great memories this week eh?

Now a Question for you concerning the goings on at Hull City and their half time fans involvement. They stage at every home game a contest to see if a fan can hit the cross bar with a ball. So what do you think that the prize was for the Hull City Cross Bar challenge at the Bristol Game. Was it a) – a car, b) – a holiday, c) – a city shirt or d) – a one-foot sausage rolls at every game of the season until the close? Yep you guessed it – the sausage roll!!! Says a lot for our illustrious neighbours, whose fans, only last week, were question why we should be allowed to play in ‘Their Stadium’ in the first place doesn’t it? Oh and once I had stopped laughing, it occurred to me that running a fit fan programme and handing out sausage rolls to kids might not sit well either. I’m sure the Tigers administration don’t want to be seen as Dogs in the manger but I did wonder if Greggs will be objecting?

A female reader sent me this page from the new Danny Houghton Ladies Calendar. That’s the Tiger Inn in Beverley….. and as one regular commented to me, “I ain’t sitting on that seat again!!!

So there we are an interesting few days, a great World Cup Final and a week closer to Christmas. I’ll be in the Hull FC town shop on Saturday with Danny Houghton to sign books and the ‘Ladies’ Calendars (he’ll be doing that) at 12-00noon, so I’m sure Danny will join me in saying, pop in for a chat if your passing. There are still also a few tickets left at the City Hall booking office for the Xmas Factor event on 18th December as well, but otherwise that’s it for this week but thanks as always for joining me for another Diary and for all your feedback over the past 7 days. Speak to you all next time….

Keep Believing

Faithfully Yours


And finally with this recent weather it brought back memories of simpler less complicated times at the Boulevard and what a great shot this is!

Winter rugby ….don’t we miss it????????