The Dentist’s Diary – 597th

Hull FC the Record Breakers!

The biggest score against us in the history of the Club, for the second time in a month, and boy did those 80 points in 80 minutes make for a truly woeful evening for us all! Some of our players simply couldn’t be arsed could they!!!

Even after three days I simply can’t seem to get my thinking about the game in any sort of order, although Adam Pearson’s intervention on Friday night certainly focussed my thoughts!! I’d already written this season off, but as for Thursday night, well I can’t remember a time when I have been so matter of fact and un-moved by it all, particularly when I should have been bloody fuming! It seems however that bloody fuming was putting it mildly as far as our owner was concerned and strangely enough that’s a rather heartening fact.

Well done to James Smailes for getting that interview with the owner on Friday, but in the end Pearson had to move to say something, because our current predicament is becoming intolerable for many fans particularly after two seasons when we thought such disasters as Thursdays were at last consigned to the past. Adam said after Huddersfield in that disastrous play-off game in 2013, “There will be no more capitulations like that one” yet here we are again and this time in been duplicate in the space of a few weeks!!

I see that the ‘Radford Out’ brigade are sharpening their knives again and of course everyone is entitled to their view, however there won’t be any of that from me for a long, long time yet! I’ve done all that in here in the past and by the end of Lee’s second season I was on that bandwagon with the rest of the protagonists, before his selection of targets to bring in, his passion, his love of the club, his tactics and his inspiration saw him lift that cup and made me look an idiot, as he provided this fan with not only the greatest day of his life, but also the biggest slice of humble pie I have ever had to eat!!!

Nor will Adam be making a change of Coach any time soon either, for his patience paid off back then and he’ll believe that it probably will again, although he also accepts that these are tough times. The main concern for the Club was I’m told, that born out of abject frustration, Lee would decide to ‘walk’ himself, however he’s a proud man of principle and not that sort of quitter either. However, that said as Pearson intimated in his long diatribe about the state of the Club, the players have a lot to answer for, although for me Adam and Lee have to put their hands up too, because they have made one massive mistake in signing up all our current senior players en-block for next season. At least I think they recognise that now, although what they can do about it remains to be seen.

David Doyle Davidson said in the Sports Mail back in October 1976 that he expected every player to, “Go out there and perform as if his life depended on it, whoever and wherever he is playing”. That was, he said, “What the fans of Hull FC had every right to expect”, and all these years later those words of wisdom from a great motivational Coach, still stands the test of time.

For me since those contract extensions have been confirmed (with the exception of Taylor, Houghton and perhaps Fairamo), we have looked a team full of quality players who couldn’t be arsed and who looked altogether too comfortable and resigned to it already being the end of the season. In fact, perhaps we have witnessed a few players who only play when they want to and those are the ones that Pearson is after. Yeh, we are low in confidence, but that is no excuse for their tardy attitude to our remaining games. I’m not happy with that mind-set at all (and thankfully neither is our owner) and nor will be those loyal fans who made sacrifices and battled to get to the game only to be beset with road closures and diversions on the way home. They were shown no respect at all by some of the players and they deserve a bloody medal!!!

In recent weeks, injuries or not, we have been humiliated, twice, we now have the worst attack and the worst defence in the top 8, our injury crisis continues to escalate, the fans are pretty resigned to it all and we are playing some of our worst rugby of the Super League era, all of which has conjured up the perfect storm and the sooner the season ends the better. However, true to type, perhaps out of sheer frustration, perhaps out of fear about the number of season tickets we wouldn’t be selling, Pearson stepped in and made a big statement of intent; now as the FC fans wait on his actions, he has to deliver it!!

I’ve said it for the last 4 editions and I’ll say it again, thank goodness we are not in the Middle Eights, because had we been down there, then with such performances, we would have been odds on for relegation.
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The next 5000 words or so have, I think, to be an exercise in not over reacting, but it seems that is a task that would prove hard for even the most placid and loyal FC fans at present. Even the Coach was shell shocked afterwards when he stated in the Mail, “It’s not going to be easy to get over, there’s five games left and it will be the longest five weeks of everyone’s lives”. Of course there are only four games left and so even Lee wasn’t thinking straight after that showing up!

My old mum used to say, “If you don’t expect anything, whatever happens your never disappointed……” and so it was for me last Thursday. I had gone into the last few games always hoping for some success, but slowly as time has worn on and the defeats have piled up, I’ve just got less and less confident and more reticent, so by this game came around, I expected nothing much at all really. True to mums words, I got nothing, but so resigned to it all have I become that I wasn’t that disappointed either!

First of all, I have to admit now that I watching the game at home on TV, simply because I couldn’t face the battle over the Pennines and back, for a game which had absolutely no appeal to me at all. I know no one likes a smart arse, but I had already in the past few weeks seen something endemic in our attitude and performances that I didn’t like at all and that was by its very nature not going to change any time soon. I feared the worst and on the evidence of the last few weeks, I believed I knew what would happen and I got that one spot on, although I wish I hadn’t and in fact the magnitude of this recent reversal, taking into consideration Warrington’s circumstances, surprised even me!

At Hull FC, we have less to play for than we have had for years, but even with that said, I can’t remember watching a game when I was so reticent to the dross that was unfolding in front of my eyes. Luckily Adam Pearson saw all that too, he gets how the fans are feeling and has now pledged to sort it out!

A few years ago I would have been screaming at the TV on Thursday but this time around, I didn’t even resort to going behind the settee! After the game our Coach admitting that some of the players are at present, “Overjoyed when they’re not selected” which is a shocking admission for any coach to make really and those are the players that have to go for me! In addition it’s perhaps a little glimpse at the cracks that are appearing in the squad and they need to be sorted and soon.

The game was played out at a ground which I like and one that every time I visit it, makes me think that it is just what we could have done with as our own stadium to get away from the KCOM and the Allams. I have a lot of time for Warrington, mainly because of their Chairman Simon Moran who I knew as a pop promoter coming through the ranks of the music industry, when he came to the City Hall, when I was Manager there. He was a likeable bloke who I got on with well, but he was also a shrewd, shrewd operator who has now risen to be a multi-millionaire and one of the top music promoters in the Country. He always loved his Club and even though back then he was just another fan on the terraces, he was never short of a bit of banter about Rugby League when we met, so I wasn’t surprised when he bought the Wolves.

Since then he is certainly to be congratulated for he has built a good team by never being afraid to have a good clear out, sack coaches when change was needed and splash the cash sensibly but in the right places. There are I believe lessons there for all of us!

He has also provided a brilliant Stadium when compared with their old stamping ground at Wildespool which was a bit of a dump. It’s a great place to play and watch rugby and creates a great atmosphere even though on this occasion the ranks of the travelling FC Army were certainly thin on the ground, as thin as they have been there for many, many years and who can really blame those of us who stayed at home. Well done to all of you who went though, you were let down, but were the real heroes and if there was any justice in the world some of the players would refund your admissions!

So as the game kicked off it was certainly a case of into the unknown, as we all wondered how that heart breaking defeat for the Wolves at Wembley just 5 days earlier would affect them. The fact is of course teams have, in the past, invariably bounced straight back after Wembley defeats and played well, (the last nine have all won the following game), which is often more than can be said of the teams that have actually won the Cup!

We had to get straight at them but the worry was on the bench where we fielded a very young four with Matongo at 22 the oldest amongst them. Warrington started strongly and we struggled to restrict their meters as our first end of set kick was poor and in the next Warrington possession Charnley breezed in at the corner. So it was that the score board read 6-0 to the Wolves after just 3 minutes and as Mrs R commented, “That’s the thing about Hull, they don’t waste any time do they?”. Griffin then kicked out on the full and we looked to be panicking already. ‘Why was he kicking at all?’ I asked myself! Still we managed to get on the scoreboard with what can only be called a fortuitous try as for once we actually challenged for the ball in the air and that paid dividends.

Again we gave away a soft penalty through Hadley and presented them with possession just after we had got level. Then the inevitable happened as a great kick found Toby King who just had to fall down over the line and we were behind again. No one in the black and whites took responsibility for actually catching the ball and King did, simple as! It used to always be ‘Penalty, Penalty try’ but these days with Hull FC its, penalty, try, penalty, try! Disastrously we then conceded straight from the kick off and a drubbing looked on the cards with Warrington leading 18-6 and scoring a point a minute. We all knew then that it was already all over.

Talanoa then twice saved our bacon with a knock down and a great catch and we made space before Abdull got caught in possession in the 6th tackle play, which was a massive boo boo and cost us again. It sounds harsh but quite frankly I would grant his request for a release and move on, for he never looks to me as if he’ll make it. On the back of Abdull’s mistake they then came back down the field and ghosted through a big hole as Faraimo was left stranded after bad option taking by defenders inside him and they breezed in to score again and so it went on at a point a minute.

At 34-6 at half time it had been as bad a half as we have seen since the Agar days. The youngsters tried but looked clueless whilst it was the performance and general attitude of some of the ‘first team’ players on show that was most worrying. As someone text me at half time, it looked suspiciously like ‘cue on the rack time for 2018’ as the players tramped in. As Pearson gesticulated to the players from the Directors Box we looked tired out and not at all like the team who had just had a week off!!!

We had performed like a bunch of amateurs and perhaps that’s an insult to amateurs.

Sent out early like bad lads at school, the second half was only two minutes old and they were in again! I couldn’t believe it and ironically I thought, it was just like watching us at Huddersfield that fateful night that Peter Gentle lost his job. Griffin got what was I guess a good try, but by then I had glazed over. We certainly had a bit of a go but we don’t look like a unit at all at present, we lack direction and leadership on the field and don’t appear to be a motivated and focussed outfit either, for we were clueless at times. Warrington went a bit off the boil, but we still played some dumb stuff, despite showing a deal more spirit. Masi Matongo received the mandatory knee injury that someone gets every week, but at least continued, but we started giving away penalties again although Warrington thankfully continued to make errors the likes of which we had not seen in their first half performance.

I thought that Harris was trying his best to get us going and once the forwards at last showed some fire he produced some good stuff but his half back partner Abdull failed to impress me at all. We at least looked to be getting through without an injury before a really ineffective Griffin limped off grasping his groin and it was business as usual. Then we gave away another penalty and Philbin went in, before Charnley made monkeys of our line defence with another try as he slid in wide out and it was simply excruciating to watch.

The problem for me watching on TV was that I felt no emotion really I was just numb to it all as the Warrington players danced through our defence and over the try line at will. Ratchford was having a field day and showed what we miss from a full back who can both break and then pass. He ran us ragged down the middle whilst a depleted Warrington pack bashed us out of sight through the centre of the field. In the end it was back to ‘one-way traffic’ as they scored in every set towards the end and the hooter couldn’t come quickly enough. Injuries or not we were simply embarrassing but as I say I just looked on and took it all in with little emotion at all, a lot of those players looked as if they couldn’t give a toss and it was without doubt an awful experience that left this supporter numb!

What can you say really? Well in such situations long suffering fans like me always accentuate the positives but what do we do when there aren’t any; for I can’t find a single one from Thursdays debacle at all. Luckily we have Adam Pearson and his response was swift!

If ever there was something that animates the damning issues surrounding the Super Eights, then it is the feeling that is around the FC Faithful at present, we love our club, and what’s more we appreciate the wonderful nature of the 2016 and 2017 seasons. However, in the end sports fans demands are simple really, because all they want is some passion and something to get excited about, if their team isn’t doing well (and we certainly ain’t) they want at least to have some hope, a bit of coming and going in the transfer market and perhaps a bit of interest in what is happening around them in the League.

At Hull FC we currently have none of these things to spark our enthusiasm, on the field, off the field or indeed in the competition as a whole. Pearson I think, by his actions, realises that, but it’s really tough for the Club to know what they can do, as season ticket time comes around, for game on game the inertia within the fan base gets worse and yet they have to get us engaged again. Many of our senior players simply look disinterested! We are still loyal to the cause, but we’re all becoming disenfranchised by what is happening on the field and at the RL and with so many extenuating circumstances compounding the disinterest that surrounds our final few games, it’s really tough at present.

In addition, the player’s attitude has again seen the name of our great club devalued, as it was a few weeks ago at Wakefield and that’s twice now that they have really let the fans down. No one minds losing but it’s the manner of the losses that is unforgiveable at present.

So, an unprecedented levels of injuries, a lack of form, the vagaries of the current structure, the lack of any potential big name signings and the player’s poor attitude to the situation has all transpires to create an atmosphere of gloom and despondency with every fan I seem to bump into these days.

I hate to be like this, but as I always say, I can only write how I feel and at least when I was finishing this match bit on Friday Adam waded in and agreed with my frustrations. If I don’t do that in here and instead tow the happy clappy line that some in high places would have us follow, then there is little point in writing this at all. I am thoroughly fed up at present, but also as I said earlier, a little concerned as to how none plussed I am about the whole situation too. That’s not me at all and two years ago the TV would have been heading out of the window and into the garden last Thursday, instead half way through the second half I looked to see if Emmerdale was still on the other side. We need a clear out and thankfully Adam realises that, but we also need a response on Friday!

Adams outburst and statement of intent was unexpected but certainly needed. He’s a passionate bloke but James Smailes tweeted after he had interviewed him, “Have to say, known Adam a long time and interviewed him many times and cannot remember him being more angry and feeling more let down than he was today. He’s seething and feels some players are not paying back the trust and investment the club has given them. He’s come out swinging”

So we may be in for an interesting Winter. This all goes back I believe to the rumours of unrest that circulated as far back as the Australian trip and if there are as is reported splits in the playing staff, players too comfortable and some wanting out like Abdull, they have to be addressed, the central characters in the unrest have to be removed and replaced with players that get the principles of the Club we all love. One things for sure, I’m confident that now he has intervened and publicly outed the issues, Adam will sort it out, but how he’ll do it will certainly be interesting.

So to other matters and the debate rages on as to whether we should let Toronto in to Super league should they win the Million Pound game or even finish in the top three of the Middle Eights. I found the comments of Super League Chief Executive Elstone after his visit with Rovers to their game over there in Canada very interesting indeed and although some say they will bring nothing to the competition except problems, we should all note that their crowd for that game was bigger than five of the six matches featuring Super League teams at home that weekend.

He was impressed with the set up and clearly very keen on Toronto, but also aware of the challenges clubs face having to travel there and back (which any League 1 or Championship club could have pointed out to him). However, we could get over that with one suggested structure, if the Super League format were to feature 13 clubs with each club’s free weekend falling after their away trip to Toronto, to give a longer recuperation time. Although that would mean the Magic weekend concept would have to go and let’s face it with its current contrived fixture list where we have to play ‘you know who’ whilst everyone else avoids Derby games, would probably be an improvement anyway.

I see that one Championship owner in a bit of a ‘sour grapes’ frame of mind said they shouldn’t be let in because they have a synthetic pitch, so Widnes had better be packing their bags already I guess! That’s where the problem appears to be, in the Championship, because an agreement which is now in place between Super League’s new chief executive Robert Elstone and his RFL counterpart Ralph Rimmer, that the game’s top flight will return to a system of automatic promotion and relegation, seems to be the format for next season and that principle appears to be generally agreed. But, the key word is ‘generally’ because as I say some of the Championship Clubs are not happy at all.

After a year of debate, the Super League Club’s bar one, have a plan for the future which brings little if any impact to this season, but going forward it features a 12-team competition with just one side relegated and a five team play off for Old Trafford. However, as for the lower tiers, questions marks remain at a few clubs, (no doubt whipped up by Hetherington), who are reportedly unhappy with the new proposed structure despite the fact that the Super League Clubs have agreed to give them a really good cut of the TV money (which those Senior Clubs alone earn). Plus, they are offering to do it well after the 2021 TV deal is renegotiated, and despite the fact that Adam Pearson and several others feel that the senior Clubs are being too generous, the Championship Clubs
are still not happy. I just hope sense prevails and it gets sorted this week.

My comments in the last Diary about the Challenge Cup saw one of the biggest responses I have seen from FC fans to a Diary for years. Everyone agreed that we needed to do something about revamping the great old competition and most agreed with my proposal to move it back to May or June. We have to stop wringing our hands and talking about down scaling it and moving the game up north and instead celebrate it and develop it back to where it should be; the game’s greatest trophy!

Last Saturday we all looked on as the oldest, most famous rugby league competition in the world entered a new chapter, being won by a team that isn’t even from Britain. But, while some got behind such a historic achievement by the Catalans Dragons, that was played out in front of a crowd of just over 50,000, there were, because of that attendance, a lot of people claiming that the Challenge Cup has lost its magic, and in the letters pages of the RL press some were even calling it a Mickey Mouse Trophy. They banged on too about the Grand Final, as apparently, that’s the most prestigious prize there is to win in the sport here!

What a load of rubbish that is, seeing the Challenge Cup called a Mickey Mouse Trophy made me think that it’s an insult to a competition that’s absolutely imperious and a comment that is totally unwarranted. Just try telling that to the Catalans Dragons staff and even more, try telling it to the Warrington Wolves players who have now suffered the pain of defeat on the biggest stage of all, twice in three seasons! Yes and as far as the rest of the game internationally is concerned that’s what it is, the biggest stage of all!!

The much-maligned decreasing attendance at Wembley may have hit a new low, but for those pessimists eager to signal the death knell of the Cup, the Dragons may just have ignited the spark of the final again with a fiery breath of change.
As well as a bit of cynicism there’s a deal of optimism of what last Saturday’s cup final can do for the game’s oldest competition too. For, that’s exactly what it is, the jewel in the crown of a sport riddled with self-doubt and unsure of what direction it is heading in. The Catalans win has certainly been a shot in the arm for French Rugby League, as the trophy was shown off to the Barcelona crowd as a proud sporting accolade gained by a Catalanese team. Tens of thousands of people will have got up close look at one of the World’s most ornate and iconic sporting trophies, won by a team that even the President of France went out of his way to endorse before the Final. It has given the Catalan people in a proud and independently minded region, their first taste of a successful rugby league team gaining silverware.

It was also a boost for the game as a whole as the new name placed on the Cup meant new life and a freshness to the competition that hasn’t truly been felt since Sheffield’s win in ’98 and our success in 2005. Although fair do’s to us as well because some would argue that our great 2016 win did a lot for the city which had a knock on effect for the sport, particularly with the manner of that famous come-back victory.

So it’s a start but as I said earlier the Challenge Cup does need a bit of a revamp to put it back in its rightful place of the hearts and minds of all rugby league players, coaches and supporters. That is the challenge the game at present needs to sort out. However, in these day of supporters wishing for a Grand Final victory rather than that cup final win, we now have to start to talk up the competition and play the final at a time whereby it is able to stand alone independent of the Super league competition! That I think is the challenge that has been set for the game by that gallant and brave Catalan victory last weekend.

The other day as our Coach seemed to be struggling a bit with the issues surrounding our club at present I got to thinking about coaches like David Doyle Davidson, Brian Smith and Arthur Bunting, who all put that little bit extra into the club and went that extra mile. They were coaches who went beyond the call of duty for the team I love. Of course, as far as going that bit further is concerned they are all eclipsed by one man who I remember seeing in Hull City Centre around 26 years ago. It was the summer of 1992 and I was still working at the Council.

The night in question we had concert on at the City Hall and as it was a warm sunny evening some of the staff and I went outside to enjoy the last of the summer sunshine. Suddenly around the corner of the Town Docks Museum came a group of around 6 people jogging across Victoria Square. It was of course Royce Simmons and his entourage, as our then coach ran the 4th of his 5 marathons to raise the cash to bring Des Hasler to this country to play for the FC. That was certainly a feat over and above the call of duty, and we all went along to the Banks Harbour pub on Beverley Road to greet him back from his final 26 mile effort.

It was a great gesture and one I will long remember, because there was no doubt Hasler made a big difference to our team back then. We were just coming off the back of a season when after winning the Premiership, we had sold our best players, finished 3rd from the bottom of the table and sacked our coach, Noel ‘Crusher’ Cleal. Hasler was a great signing, although at the club the rot continued, as Greg Mackey left for Warrington and Lee Jackson for Sheffield. Even the pace and silky skills of Hasler could not stop us from finishing in mid table that first season but it was at least as far as the fans go, an improvement!

The game I best remember Des Hasler playing in was not the famous occasion when he and most of us in the Threepenny Stand almost got hypothermia, but a game in the following season when we played against Widnes at the Boulevard, on Hull Fair Sunday! Although tipped as leading contenders for the Premiership again, Widnes had not had a great start to their season, having won just two games up to that point. However with the return of Bobby Goulding, John Devereux and Adrian Hadley they were hot favourites to beat us, as they usually did, at the Boulevard. The Hull team lacked Mike Dixon and young Jez Cassidy took over the hooking duties, whilst Paul Eastwood returned after injury to form a left side partnership with new recruit from Australia Jeff Doyle.

I watched the game with some old pals, this time from the seats at the Gordon Street end of the Best Stand. We had hardly had time to settle before Widnes got the first points of the afternoon. Steve McNamara tried to take Emosi Koloto’s head off with a high tackle. Spruce kicked the easiest of goals from under the sticks and we were 2-0 down. It took Hasler just three minutes to respond as he went over the line after a curving run through the Widnes defence that saw not a single tackler get a hand on him as he touched down near the corner flag. It was a fantastic score that I can still see in my mind’s eye to this day. Four minutes later we were back again, with Doyle and Richard Gay combining to send Eastwood into the other corner, but again the winger failed with the conversion. Widnes had a massive, but mobile pack out that day, and with Howe, Ireland, Faimalo and Koloto in great form they started to turn the screw.

When Mark Jones was penalised, they got a goal back and then a fantastic piece of football by Goulding, where he chipped over the defence, drew Gay and sent Ruane in, saw the opposition take the lead with the following Spruce conversion. We stuck at it though, and just failed on two occasion’s to get the lead back when Stirling’s pass to his overlapping centre James Grant, saw him step in touch, and then Hasler went on a 35 yard weaving run, going to ground inches short. It was developing into a great game of rugby and we went in just two points down at the interval although in fairness we deserved to be leading.

The second half saw Widnes quickly increase their lead after Daniel Divet was sent to the sin bin for being off side at the play the ball. Paul Stirling missed Goulding’s kick and quick hands saw Myers score near the posts and Spruce amazingly miss the conversion. The game seemed, to all the supporters in the stands, to be running away from the FC, although the deficit was still only 6 points. Then the great Des Hasler again took a hand. In a flash, he scooped up a loose ball ran ten yards and passed onto Richard Gay. He drew two players and released Grant who ran 50 yards along the touchline to score in the corner. However, the usually reliable Eastwood missed, but we were just 2 points adrift again. Then Rob Danby, playing at 6 that day, side stepped out of a tackle and set off on a 50 yard sprint which saw him feed Eastwood who crashed in at the corner. We were all out of our seats dancing for joy until referee Steel said that he had not grounded the ball properly and brought the play back.

There then came as memorable a 3-minute period of a game as I can remember. After 68 minutes Stewart Spruce who was having a great game for the Chemics, stupidly stamped on Jon Sharp and was sin binned for ten minutes. Eastwood levelled the scores from the ensuing penalty before Faimolo duplicated Spruces offence and Paul kicked us back in front. By now against 12 men we had our tails up, and after great play by Rob Nolan, Divet took four tacklers over the line with him for the winning try. There was little time left for Widnes to stage a rear guard action and so as the hooter went we all celebrated a great win, which was only our second in 7 games. Above all though for me it was 80 minutes of fantastic play by a great little Australian general and half back, Des Hasler. All our coach’s effort in the marathon’s that he had run were certainly worthwhile. Hasler only stayed two seasons but for me personally, his craft and mastery around the scrum and at first receiver will remain forever a great memory. He was a great player.

So there we are, another thoroughly depressing Diary after a thoroughly depressing week.

I can only say it as I feel and I’m afraid that the losses at Wakefield, Huddersfield and Warrington only serve to remind me of the feeling I had in 1987 under Len Casey, in 1992 after Brian Smith had left and in 2007 when that great Cardiff winning team finally broke up.

Since that glorious day in 2016, we have seen some real class players leaving or retiring and they have simply not been replaced, when perhaps Adam should have taken a leaf out of Simon Moran’s book and gone out, spent big and swapped like with like. In addition, we have been ‘treated’, to some real under par performances from those who have taken over and that and some horrendous injury luck has seen us witness a season that is drifting slowly, depressingly and boringly to a close.

As a club we’ve always seemed to be incapable of sustaining any sort of consistency of greatness, unlike Warrington, Wigan and Leeds who despite hiccup’s at times seem to put their money where their mouth is as they bounce straight back from them and push on. I had hoped that under Adam nights like last Thursday were a thing of the past, and they certainly where in a team that encompassed that wonderful passion and spirit we saw in 2016 and 2017, but all that seems a million miles away now, doesn’t it? Lee Radford must stay and I believe that he and Adam will see us right and we will be a lot better team next year, but for now we just have to watch what happens and see how Adam backs his words up with actions.

Thank goodness you can still always still find something to smile about too, for instance look at Saturday when a bloke who clearly has no appetite to pull on the famous black and white shirt anymore (Jordan Abdull) is scheduled according to the official web site to be in the Club shop trying to sell them!! Even in such depressing times sometimes you just couldn’t make it up could you?

Thanks for sticking with this depressing Diary and for the dozens of E Mails, texts and calls I have had since last Thursday. Due to holidays the next Diary will be posted late on Thursday 13th September and for that I apologise, but we’ll certainly be back to normal the week after that. Try to keep believing and let’s see what sort of response we get on Friday; I bet Castleford (and Wattsy) can’t wait!!!!!

We certain live in interesting times!

Faithfully Yours

Wilf