The Dentist’s Diary – 601st

“I’m Glad it all Over” sang Captain Sensible back in 1984 and never had the title of the song been more pertinent for every FC fan, as the final hooter went on Friday night.

For once, we didn’t look as if we felt sorry for ourselves and put in a really good shift, which brought a bit of positivity back as the curtain comes down on 2018.

It’s been a disastrous conclusion to a season that at the outset promised so much, but in the end it delivered just frustration and heartbreak. We needed some hope from our final game and despite only having 17 fit players to pick from and 11 first team starters missing, we got a bit of it last Friday. I’ve never been one to sign up to all this ‘We need a performance more than a win’, stuff because I just want us to win every week. However, this time around I guess I got that bit completely and as we got a passionate showing from the lads it at least sent us all into the closed season with a bit of positivity for the future.

There’s is always a lighter side to everything as well and Lee Radford does have the ability to be a class act at times with his quotes. This week’s post-match Press Conference was one such occasion. After 11 weeks of living in the vacuum of being safe from falling into the Qualifiers, but not close enough to crack the top-four, Lee was as relieved as all of us as he joked, “It’s been an unbelievably challenging time when you know you’re playing for nothing; you’re a double glazing salesman selling poor windows to people who don’t need them in the first place”. Before going on to add, about having so many stars out injured, that it was like, “Having a Ferrari at home, but getting the bus to work every week.”

At least we can laugh, for we aren’t those poor Widnes fans are we?

However, as supporters, we go into the closed season battered and bruised and glad that it’s come to an end. We are still loyal and I’m sure, like me, all still aiming to be back again next season. That’s simply because we have longer memories than a season that has seen adversity followed by bad luck, followed by more adversity, followed by more bad luck; all at levels unprecedented in the modern era. Of course as fans that’s what we do, but to finish with 12 defeats on the trot, whatever the circumstances, is hard to take, even for the most rose tinted spectacle wearer amongst the FC Faithful. So as we faced a resurgent and in form Wigan team, playing at one of the toughest grounds to visit in the game, it didn’t look good at all did it?

Morale on the terraces before the game was at a pretty low ebb, and on a thread entitled ‘Halleluiah its almost over’ someone last week commented on RL fans that Wigan would still win if they included 5 or 6 juniors to which someone added, ‘They’ll win if they field 5 or 6 players!’. That was very harsh and of course the poster was proved wrong, but the lack of any sort of critical response after it was posted did provide an indication as to how low everyone was feeling and how the end of the 2018 campaign couldn’t come quickly enough. The fans who made the journey deserved a good showing to round off the year and that’s what they got in the end, but the Friday night traumas of the M62 led to some of my pals not getting in the ground until just after 8-00pm, which was not a good start for them at all!

We set out with 11 men missing and 11 defeats beckoning, but began the game at a good pace with a lot of energy which seemed to catch Wigan by surprise. We certainly looked more like contenders, than make-weights in the first quarter, as Faraimo made a great break from an interception before he was caught by Clubb, when he should have gone on to score. But we were not to be denied and Carlos Tumavive scored after a great leap by Connor to palm an Abdull kick backwards. It seemed quite unbelievable, but with a conversion by Jake half way through the first half, we were 6-0 up. Connor and Houghton ran the game for us and were causing all sorts of problems for the opposition. Then Jake set up Hull’s second try with a neat inside kick for Shaul, who had his best game for ages. He picked up to score and the small but vociferous band of FC Faithful behind the posts couldn’t believe what they were witnessing. Connor made no mistake and we then led by 12.

It was quite unbelievable really! The energy and passion we showed in the contact was so much better and with Jake Connor no doubt backing himself to get into that England team and looking majestic in the halves, everyone rallied around him. Sadly, as has been the case of late Wigan hit back almost immediately, with Hamlin steaming onto a short ball from Josh Woods to grab a try against the run of play. As Woods converted the hosts only trailed by six but although we gave much too much ball away at times with daft options and mistakes, come half time in a game against the form team at present in the Super Eights, we were quite amazingly in front!!

The highlight of the first half according to the Wigan Observer was, “Watching Jake Connor, a motor-mouthed of great talent, managing to somehow wind-up half the Warriors squad!” Jake was on fire.

They were going to come out fighting in the second half and sloppy defence from us saw Manfredi unlucky not to score, but as they got another penalty the Warriors knocked on and despite us making errors, Wigan didn’t seem to have that cutting edge to capitalise on our transgressions. However, we continued to make them and it looked like sooner or later we would concede. Jamie Shaul copped a really bad hit pulling off a great defensive tackle and at that point I concluded that it was a good job we had Miloudi, who wasn’t expected to play, on the bench. Jamie however soldiered on after attention and we were doing OK until once again Talanoa knocked on two yards from our line. That saw another set of six close in and Williams send over a great kick for Sargienson to get them back into the game.

At 10-12 with our noses still in front we looked better than of late when it came to finishing off our sets and we were still giving it a real go. We had all worried all week that it would be a massive loss at the hands of the form team, but a mixture of them being a bit complacent and us playing way above what we have seen of late as far as intensity is concerned, saw the two teams going toe to toe. We were on the back foot field position wise for most of that last 40 minutes of the season, but we stuck in there and defended well as the Wigan fans, expecting an easy ‘blow out’ to end their League campaign, started to get restless.

Wigan got a penalty thirty yards out and decided to not go for goal to draw level, instead opting to run the ball and poor discipline and some weak tackling near our line saw Wigan go in. Craig Mullen was held up inches short before Gildart made sure by forcing his way over and we were 14-12 behind.

The final conclusive try caught in a great picture but we should he stopped it!

However, the FC, constantly re-organising and regrouping with the usual walking wounded across the park, still stuck at it and we showed great effort and great energy particularly after what has gone on before, at Warrington and Wakefield. In fact, a casual observer would have noted that, in a scrappy game, Wigan, much fancied to win the Grand Final, were struggling against a team that had lost 10 on the trot!

Still we battled on and a great break saw us surge up field through Tumavive, before Sargieson lost the ball over his own line, after another great Connor kick. Quite amazingly we started to turn the screw on their line as we pressed and pressed, but as has been the case so often of late, mistakes did for us. Carlos lost the ball in a great position after a good pass from Fash and, just as we had the opposition rocking, that led to us losing the impetus in what was a third successive set.

Danny Houghton, who had tackled everything in sight and also dropped back to loose-forward at times, conceded a stupid penalty when we had just put in a big tackling stint as again brain farts at stupid times put us under the cosh. Wigan were the better side in those passages of play as crucial mistakes (particularly by Talanoa) at key times constantly handed them the ball back.

Then almost amazingly Craig Mullen knocked on straight from the scrum and back we came as with an unexpected and pretty skilful off-loading Fash almost got us over the line. Brad in fact was having a much better game all round. After scrambling well for the whole of the half, as the hooter approached we were again the better team. It was the FC that were asking the questions without actually looking too much like getting over for the winning try. We just couldn’t score and Griffin again made another costly knock-on with just over a minute left as in the end errors and conceded penalties cost us what would have been a very unlikely win. Defeat has been a familiar theme for weeks now, but at least this time the passion and energy was back and we gave it a real go.

So it’s over for us and as we look towards winter, snow, Christmas and no doubt another bloody pre-season Derby against the Dobbins, it will soon again be the Pantomime season. That said, many reading this may feel that we have been in it already, with a run of games that quite frankly and even despite all the injuries, buggers belief! On our abject lack of hunger and desire over the past 10 games, Lee Radford may say “Oh No We Haven’t” but most fans will reply “Oh Yes We Have!!”.

It’s been that sort of season though hasn’t it and our demise goes right back to pre-season and the late arrival back in camp of so many players, followed by that trip to Aussie that our conditioning staff will admit, when pressed, was a really challenging time, when it came to keeping players match ready.

Since then it has incrementally got worse and it is only our early season home form that has seen us avoid the middle Eights and what would have been for me, a sure fire drop into the Championship. This team, with those absentee’s and playing as they have of late, would not have survived that sort of examination and the pressure it brings, and it’s hard to see how a catastrophe could have been avoided. Fact is, its more than just injuries that we’ve had to worry about of late! What about a lack of any sort of application too?

It’s hard to say as a fan but you have to be objective and it’s a fact that at the latter stages of the season the team both individually and collectively have simply not been good enough irrespective of those much publicised injuries. Too often the Coach has been publicly disappointed with the attitude and tackling and players not sticking to what they do in training. It’s a reoccurring theme and the handling and basic skills on show and indeed the level of discipline and our general demeanour out on the field, has been poor. The trouble is that nothing seems to have got better as the season wore on. The Coaching staff despite their lamenting, seemed powerless to reverse that demise and you just have to hope with a cleaner bill of health and a new season, things change big style.

Quite frankly I think the fans have been remarkably patient but there is always a down side to such loyalty which sees a lot of supporters experiencing an eroding of the general goodwill which has been built on strong foundations over the past few seasons. In short it’s pretty obvious, looking around the terraces, chatting in the pub and talking in the street that many fans have, as the season drew to a close, been running out of both interest and patience.

Many of us never lose that completely though, because we’ve all been there so many times before and patience really has become a virtue. However, it’s tough in such situations not just for the fans but also the players, as Leon Pryce animated last week when he said, “Hull FC’s predicament is the exact reason you keep your circle small in life. Win at Wembley for the first time in club’s history and do the same the year after people are loving you and praising you! Get injuries have a bad year and those same people first to slag you off. Sport is fickle!” and so it is in sport in general and we all have to just try and understand, look for the positives and get on with it.

However, it’s simply imperative that we get off to a flier next year because many fans will not put up with any repeat of what we have seen of late, the feel of the crowd and the demeanour of those in the stands at the Catalan game was worryingly reticent to the point of being distant and stand-offish. First up of course, we have to somehow sell some season tickets and that’s now, I feel, a massive task for the Club. I hope that everyone will give it another go, if only on the back of those two great seasons which came before the car crash that has unfolded this year, but with no main line signings possible after the re-signing frenzy of current players, even I worry a bit! Still, all we can do is exercise our passion and loyalty and get behind the boys and buy those season tickets because when next season kicks off, we all need to be there again rooting for them.

Of course everyone has a theory as to why it’s all gone ‘Mammeries skyward’ in 2018 and how we can put things right. Buying our way out of it seems to be favourite at present, but with the Club having signed up just about every senior player on their books, (that was out of contract for next season), ‘wiggle room’ on the salary cap is almost none existent. We simple don’t have money for a big name signing unless of course someone is let go, and no doubt curtailing their contracts will now cost a fortune in compensation. Some I meet marvel at how we are therefore still being linked with several young players and have now signed 4, yet they all still cost cap space. These folks say, ‘why not put all that money towards one big signing’, but I don’t think that’s possible.

Perhaps there is an explanation as well, because I believe that behind the scenes the salary cap regulations have been changed and some players are now becoming exempt from being included under it.

I base that assumption on something that Karl Fitzpatrick the Warrington Chief Executive dropped into an interview this week about recruitment when he said, “We’re certainly active in the market. We’ve been reviewing our options for some time. There’s been dispensations introduced, where if you’re 21 and under, you don’t count on the salary cap. Those kind of players are invaluable to our squad. It allows us to go a little more top-heavy if we have those players who can come into the squad and play a couple of games here and there without taking up that salary cap space”. That sort of indicates that at last the Super League Clubs have come around to thinking that incentives to develop more of our younger players in the first team environment will help expand the talent pool, which has to be a massive step forward.

The big positive at the FC this week was the news that Joe Westerman has signed a new deal and is staying at the Club for at least another year. I was so impressed with the way he performed when he re-joined us and his no nonsense style of direct play, really suited our game because as a player the opposition find hard to read and legislate for, he almost immediately made an impact and sorted us out down the middle. With Sneyd operating at one side, Kelly at the other and Houghton and Westy in the middle we looked a potent outfit with the ball and it was down to his influence I think that we beat Rovers at the Magic Weekend; he had a bloody good game that day.

It won’t be a massive deal, but he seems happy to just be back with us and that will do for me. On signing he said, “I’m really pleased with the deal and now I can just get my head down and focus on preparing for the 2019 season and just getting fit in general”. I’m pleased he’s on board because firstly, with our battering, ‘enforcing’ type of game, we can use all the ball handing players we can get and secondly because I think we’ll need all the help we can get next season.

In addition, on a busy Thursday and probably under that cap easing I talked about earlier, we have signed four players all of whom I know little or nothing about. I have seen Danny Langtree mentioned a lot in the papers, because at Oldham he regularly gets on the score sheet, but the others are a complete mystery. Andrew Bulman and Charlie Graham are from Onion and in honesty Levy Nzoungou (another spelling challenge for Wilf!) can’t even get in a very average Salford team. So, we’ll see, but one things for sure, it all goes to prove that we must be aiming to run a Reserves team next season, which has to be a good thing all round.

Now for a case of ‘You’ve heard it from the rest now hear it from the best’ and indeed ‘Don’t believe the Hype’. Lately much has been made of that ‘record breaking run’ of defeats billed as “The worst losing run in the History of the Club” in all the local and RL papers. However, bad though our run is, all that, I’m told, is a fallacy for this ISN’T the longest losing run in Hull FC’s long and eventful history. Bill Dalton, the bloke everyone should go to before they start spouting that sort of rhetoric, has this week been politely putting everyone right.

There is nothing the official Hull FC historian doesn’t know about the Club, I’ve been privy to his amazing records and he’s helped me so much over the years. This week he contacted me and said, “With regard to the comments in the Mail recently that stated, ‘a current run of 10 consecutive defeats is also the club’s worst in its 153-year history’ Well it isn’t. The team lost 13 consecutive games from 31 August 1963 to 23 November 1963. In addition, a combined Hull-Rovers XIII lost 10-23 to Australia during that period. On 30th November Hull managed a rare win away at Keighley, before the club then lost a further 8 consecutive matches. They really were bad times. I know because I was there at every one of those games”. And so he was, so well done Bill Dalton, the only real ‘statto’ there is when it comes to Hull FC, the media had better be checking the facts with you in future mate.

Well enough of our problems and its good to see the Clubs not letting the grass grow under their feet as they get on board with the new format for 2019 which seems to please at least 90% of the fans I’ve met this week. However, a few do say, “But, you have to agree Pete, its certainly been exciting down at the bottom this year”. I have I guess to agree as that Leeds v Toronto game was certainly entertaining and the Halifax v London game fast and furious, but I would never concur with the small minority who continue to say that the Super Eights etc. was the best thing since sliced bread. The thing is should we all have been wondering whether in the case of Toulouse and London, they actually want to get promoted right now? If so, then do either Clubs have the facilities Stadia wise to compete in Super League and if not will they be bringing them up to speed in time for next season if they get promoted?

We have, as I said a few weeks back, all been ‘taking part in a bit of ‘Rugby League Rubbernecking’ as we watched on as the middle eights battled it out with our minds on who will fail more than who will succeed. The reasons for it being exciting for some FC fans are quite straight forward really; Rovers were still under threat up until the last game and we all loved that bit. As for the Championship clubs involved, well the fact that with the potential of up to 3 or 4 of them coming up for the last time, has it seen them raise their games markedly for what was in effect the last chance saloon, so desperation ruled. The amazing feats of Toronto, London and Toulouse in the penultimate round, all against Super league opposition, animated that fact completely.

Next year only one Championship Club will come up, whilst this year three were still in the running at the end of round 6 in the now doomed middle eights. I see that the Super League Clubs have already made a tacit agreement that Widnes will get a parachute payment which involves them coughing up around £500,000 to the Cheshire Club, but what if another two SL Clubs had gone down? Where would their payments come from? They would probably all have only got £160,000 each, because the senior game is in enough of a financial mess at present as it is!

If that number of Clubs had ever come up (and the form of some Championship Clubs dictates that although unlikely it was just possible), then where would those fledgling Super League clubs get their players from, if those going down were using their parachute payments to retain the best they had? Indeed, would the new club’s inclusion dumb down the quality of the senior completion as a whole? The system was in real danger of becoming unworkable and thank goodness its gone and we are back to something a bit more tradition for future years. The fans, the game and the clubs can cope with one in twelve changing every year, but it can’t cope with up to a third of it’s teams changing on a regular basis so the traditional method of one up one down is much more suited to such a small division of teams.

In the wake of all that I see that the Super League Clubs wasted no time at all in getting together just a few days after that extraordinary general meeting to see what they could do about improving the product and spectacle of the game. The structure of those contentious loop fixtures was top of the agenda but I’m told that a whole host of other suggestions were discussed. These included the reduction of the number of interchanges from 10 to 8 next season and shot clocks were talked at length about too.

One suggestion was that they could be audible with an announcement of 30 seconds 20 seconds and then a countdown from 10 to 0 so as to over-come the issues of introducing clocks and video time pieces at all 12 grounds. However, that could get on you wick a bit for me. I also got several pieces of correspondence from readers who stated that they didn’t think it was a good idea at all to introduce the muted, ‘golden try’ decider in the event of a draw simply because Sky games go on too long as it is, without additional extra time being added at the end. As I said to them perhaps we should look at shortening those game times in any case, by introducing a BBC type video analysis system where you hear the deliberations of the video ref, get on with it and cut out all the inane cackle that goes on with Cummins and Co whilst the process drags on relentlessly on the Sky Broadcasts. Getting rid of the free play would speed up games too, but more of that later.

Most interesting though was the suggestion that there will be a change to the way that the Magic Weekend fixtures are sorted so as to ensure that the pairings are fairer and less contrived than they are now. How long have I banged on about that one? It was proposed that based on finishing positions this year, the 12 teams would play alternate teams with 1st playing 3rd, 2nd playing 4th, 5th playing 7th, 6th playing 8th etc etc. That for me would be eminently more sensible for not only would it be fairer but it would also guarantee, as far as you can in the following season, that the best clubs play each other, but more importantly for us and a couple of other Clubs, it would mean that we don’t have to play an extra Derby that dilutes the impact of the two main stream games.

For both Hull Clubs that should ensure that the value of the original 2 Derby games is increased, rather than being watered down by this contrived fixture which no supporter at either side of the City relished much at all. If it comes off that should help build the gates up again for the Hull based fixtures.

In addition to all that in a flurry of activity over the past two weeks a rules meeting has also been held and some laws of the game are up for change. Nothing has been announced at all but it appears we are looking to align the game more with what goes on Down Under and that has to be a good thing. Can you imagine the FIFA allowing differing rules to appertain in different countries?

Apparently as well, two referee’s (to clean up the ruck) is in the offing and the free-play law, (as I said earlier) that is used here but not in the NRL, may be set for the chop as well. It elongates the game and even slows things down when we have to go back and set a scrum sometimes after play has gone way down field before an ‘Advantage’ move breaks down. It’s exciting to watch but it’s the hiatus it causes that is a problem, scrums can take up to a minute to form after such plays and I’d get rid of it and just have the scrum after the transgression, perhaps timed by a shot clock, to move the game on.

However, if it’s an interesting time for the initiated and devoted fan, we’d all agree I think that two referee’s, axing the free play or reducing the number of interchanges could speed up games and make them better to watch, but it certainly won’t prove the catalyst to attract new or lapsed supporters. We are just fiddling around at the edges, it’s good stuff but it ain’t enough. Of more concern for the more visionary in the game are unpopular kick-off days and match kick-off times, matches being moved by the broadcaster after the fixtures have been announced and even at short notice, too many games against the same opposition in one season, the lack of national media interest and the decline of the Challenge Cup etc. etc. etc. They are perhaps the major nettles that the new leaders of the game have to grasp if we are to see real change. But at least things are moving and no one after the structure changes seems to be resting on their laurels.

Of course none of these initiatives are fact yet and I pass them on to you just as stories I got from other Club’s officials and those in the media about what went on at those initial meetings after the changes were decided. However, at least the new set up seem to have their fingers on the pulse of some quick hits and that has to be good for the game going forward doesn’t it?

Mind you this last weekend there was again an indication of some of the stuff that makes the uninitiated scratch their heads about the way we carry on as a game and make that make us all realise the power Sky TV have over it. The broadcaster demanded that they televised 3 of the Middle Eights games on consecutive days simply because Sky, like everyone else, had lost interest in the top 4 and the Super Eights. There was plenty at stake and most teams had something to play for, the problem was, through no fault of their own, but instead because of the hold Sky TV have over the game, some had an extra advantage of knowing exactly what they had to do before they kicked off. The clamour for live TV had sovereignty when surely all such future defining encounters should have kicked-off at the same time?

It just wasn’t fair at all really. You could have had a Super 8’s game on the Friday, all the Middle Eights games televised simultaneously on red buttons etc. on the Saturday and the Aussie Grand Final on Sunday. It would have been great for the supporters and just imagine how it would have been on Saturday as the 3 games unfolded with the fans on the terraces checking scores elsewhere as we have seen in other sports, it could be just so exciting, but more importantly it would have been fair to all. But as usual with our game Sky call the shots and Rovers for example knew exactly what they had to do by they kicked off on Sunday. Can you see that happening on the last weekend of the Football Championship season? No I can’t either! When the next TV deal is up for grabs we have to try and etch it in the theme of a partnership that operates for the good of the game not a dictatorship that just suits the broadcaster.

On that subject Bill Stratford wrote to me this week lamenting the fact that we have so many nights and afternoons that games can take place these days and he wondered when we first switched our game day from a Saturday to a Sunday. Well Bill, I can do better than that and I can repeat the report of that game I featured in here a few years ago.

The first game we ever played on the Sabbath was at home to Huddersfield on 20th October 1968. The game was certainly a success as far as the Hull club was concerned and reflecting on the actions on the field the headlines of the Hull Daily Mail next day described it perfectly when they stated ‘Sullivan Try Highlight of First Sunday Game’.

That day a good crowd of 8,600, (who paid £2059), stood clasping their match day programmes, (which they had purchased at an inflated rate to compensate for the fact that it was illegal to sell tickets for any sporting event on a Sunday), and watched a bit of history being made at a sunny Boulevard. On the car park before the game we were greeted by several people from the ‘Lords Day Preservation Society’ who stood sentinel like holding up banners that announced, ‘Keep the Lords Day Sacred’ and ‘Repent ye the Kingdom of Heaven is nigh’. We just queued around them, as we made our way to the turnstiles. It was quite ‘tight’ standing on the Threepenny Stand that day, with the most memorable aspect of that tradition breaking afternoon the first try after just five minutes by Clive Sullivan, which the local paper referred to in that headline.

The try unfolded like this. A move on half way saw Gemmell, Hancock and Davidson inter pass for the ball to go out to Clive who was well covered by three Huddersfield defenders. He swept past two of them and then hared down the touchline hugging the whitewash for about 40 yards with what was left of the visitor’s defense trailing in his wake to touch down in the corner to great celebrations all around the ground. Next up it was Dick Gemmell’s turn to go on a run. He picked up a loose ball about 30 yards out and ran for the line. He checked back inside a couple of times but by the time he got to the white wash he was met by a wall of Huddersfield defenders, that had tracked back to cover, but Dick just ploughed into them and stretching an arm out of the ruck to place the ball over the line for our second try.

Huddersfield scored next with a try for ex London Saracens RU player, John Kersey-Brown. He followed a kick through from Gordon Wallace, to harass Arthur Keegan into a rare mistake. As our full back dropped the ball, Kersey Brown kicked ahead and touched down in the corner just before the ball trickled over the dead ball line. It was only a small setback for Hull though and before half time we were on the score board again with a try that was simplicity itself. Shaun O’Brien took Chris Davidson’s short ball on the charge and shot through under the posts to reinstate our lead. O’Brien had a great game and was awarded the Man of the Match accolade, although he was closely followed by Joe Brown who had recently switched from centre to loose forward with great effect.

The second half was played in bright sunshine as the Hull team stretched their lead this time with a try by the ‘ubiquitous’ Howard Firth who somehow got in at the corner after a sweeping move involving Keegan, Charlesworth and Chris Davidson. Keresey-Brown forced Firth out of play but the touch judge decided that our winger had got the ball down and the score stood. Next as we started to take control, Keegan and Charlesworth put Davidson away. He passed to Sullivan who drew three men towards him before turning the ball back inside to the trailing Davidson who scored untouched by any Huddersfield player. Jim Macklin who was then playing the best rugby of his career at Hull, took umbrage at a loose arm and repeated his party piece by laying a Huddersfield hooker out cold. However, the referee either decided to ignore the offence or missed it completely and just waived play on.

Finally, a sweeping move involving Macklin and Edson put Gemmell into a gap, he drew the defence and passed to Firth who once again managed to beat his fellow Rugby Union convert to the corner but only just, and he received a clout on the head after he had scored that saw him have to leave the field with blood streaming down his face.

When the game was won, in the last minute, Kelsey Brown finally got in as he caught our defense flat footed and probably already thinking about a celebratory drink, and he swept down field and scored next to the posts. We won the game 28-14 to record our biggest victory of the season so far. The fans loved the idea of playing on a Sunday and no doubt some City supporters who usually watched their games down the road at Boothferry Park came along for a look too! So all in all our first sortie into Sunday rugby was a great success and bode well for the future down at the Boulevard.

Tweet of the week this week goes to James Smailes who said on Thursday, “Neil Hudgell says that the fact Hull KR are limping towards Super League safety isn’t good enough and they need to find some arrogance”. Well if past experience is anything to go by they wouldn’t have far to look for that quality would they?

At this point in the proceedings can I say that sometimes you come across things that are bigger than Rugby and that was the case on Friday when we all found out about Shaun Lunt. I just wanted to extend my hopes for a speedy recovery from what is a serious viral infection and that he is back home with his family soon. His serious illness of course comes at the start of his Testimonial year and I wish him well in that too.

So that’s just about it for this week and the Diary will be back next weekend for our last edition until November. I’ll have the rest of October off after that one and then return for the first weekend of November and go on through pre-season as we get ready for what might just be a seminal season in the annals of the FC.

We have to get back on the horse, get off to a good start and see some wins on the board from the off. Otherwise if we are behind the eight ball come Easter I can see change being in the air, can’t you? However, for now it’s over for 2018 and that’s a good feeling for this fan. Thanks to everyone who was in touch after the 600th edition of this rubbish, it was the biggest post bag I’ve had this season and I’m trying to get back to everyone. Thanks for reading this the latest offering and I’ll speak to you all again next week.

Faithfully Yours


Don’t forget either ………