The Dentist’s Diary – 614th

Here Beginneth the 2019 Season!

This is it, here we go and it all starts again on Friday and at the most difficult of places to play. We all have to get right behind the boys, be we watching at home behind the settee, in the seats at Caravan Park watching through our fingers, or stood there braced against the elements in the Beirut End of the Land that Time Forgot. It’s a massive test of a weakened FC team, but make no mistake about it, we have to be up for it because the game is so important to us as a Club!

Like it or not and play it down if you will, but I’ve gone out of my way to speak to dozens of fans over the past few weeks and just about everyone agrees that this is a watershed season for the Black and Whites. What’s more, with so many out of contract players this year, not to forget the whole coaching staff seeing their deals expire at the conclusion of the season, for everyone inside the club and out on the terraces, a good start to the campaign is an imperative. We have all stumped up again for our passes, but confidence amongst the fans is probably best described as wobbly at present.

Even with a fully fit squad it would have been difficult, as we have to navigate a torrid looking start to the season that combines beginning with a Derby on the road, with games against sides like Castleford Tigers, Wigan Warriors, Huddersfield Giants and Leeds Rhinos, all of whom have big ambitions. So, not only is a good start needed for the players and those soon to be out of contract coaching staff, but it’s also important for us lot, for the club has now to inject some self-assurance and belief back into the Faithful.

A win on Friday would do so much!!!

No one is panicking after the end of last season and there is a fragile calm amongst the supporters right now, but boy it’s going to be tough and we all have to do what we can to get behind the players, to give them our support, rally around the team and hope!! We all know that this squad has it in them and we have to do what we can to bring it out!

Sometime, in life, it’s not what you achieve, but what you overcome on the way to achieving it, that can really make you great.

So at last, it’s time to get away from all that jawing, both between the different Brexit factions and that gloating crowd in Europe and the much more important widening chasm between the Super League and the RFL, as at last we’ll get some rugby to watch. Someone commented to me this week that watching the recent Brexit debates in Parliament is like watching the East Stand at Caravan Park and I could certainly see what he meant!

The weekend fixtures offer three top class televised games and both Sky and Mr. Elstone and Co. will be hoping for bumper viewing and attendance figures. It’s certainly an attractive round to start things off. However, when you get away from the commercial and marketing hype of it all, there’s no denying for us lot, that our first ‘doomsday’ has come early this year for the FC fans!!!

Come Friday it all starts over again, but the excitement of the new ‘revolutionary’ season is somewhat tempered for us lot by who we are playing, for we take on the dross from over the river in the first of our three most stressful games of the year. Rovers resurgent with new signings and sporting a reasonably clean bill of health, face the famous Hull FC, low on confidence after last year and missing up to 7 players due to injury, with now our best player having a ban hanging over him. It’s hard to believe that we haven’t even started and yet, after the end of last season, it all seems so familiar!

Last week, hardly a day went by without some player or other reporting to us in the media, about his injury. But as the Dobbins fans rub their hands in anticipation, we’ve all got to try and have some hope, let’s get behind the boys and in exchange for our passion, let’s pray that we get some desire, hunger and grit out of our players, for we need a strong will to win, whatever the odds. We shouldn’t be too surprised by our misfortune so early in the season, because as fans we know that at Hull FC it’s the constant roller coaster ride between the adversity and the glory, that make us what we are. For those in life who haven’t experienced the first of them, will never truly appreciate the second.

That said, although the club are keeping their cards close to their chest, we’ve had a lot of bad luck already, with Albert Kelly just one such case of fact. It seems we won’t know if he’s playing or not until Friday, but after he went on Twitter with his arm in a sling to announce he would be out for up to 6 weeks, the Coach then said he had an outside chance of playing. Is it just gamesmanship or has he really got a chance? Well, it wouldn’t be a Derby without a bit of kidology beforehand would it? Information wise, the place is water tight and so we’ll just have to wait and see, but my gut feeling about Albo is that we shouldn’t hold our breath on that one!

Then on Friday we hear about the Jake Connor ban! This is a two sides thing really because on the one side Jake should learn to let his playing do the talking and keep his trap shut, whilst on the other, then if the official was so aggrieved, why didn’t he send him off at the time? Had that been the case we would all have accepted a ban and got on with it! Perhaps it wasn’t that bad in the first place or as the Saints match was a Friendly game and a trial, perhaps the referee deemed it just that and gave him ten minutes to cool off. If that was the case, who has now decided he should get a bloody ban?

Look at that brutal and dangerous head high tackle in a recent Leeds ‘Friendly’ game, that Dan Tomlinson animated so well this weekend, that got ten minutes, but no ban, because, as always, inconsistency reigns! Once again those looking on afterwards, have made a controversial call! Why? Well, just because they can!

Last week I talked about the inconsistencies in the refereeing and disciplinary processes of our game and the damage they are doing to the sport and here we are, we haven’t even started yet, and we’re off already. The Club are to appeal and we’ll see where that gets us, but in the mean time after the previous paragraph on Albo’s predicament, there is little sign that our luck has changed much from the end of last season, is there?

It was interesting to read this week a great insight in the Mail into the workings of the current duel registration set up between ourselves and Doncaster. There was certainly stuff in there that I didn’t know about and in many ways it was quite an eye opener. I had always suspected that there had to be some sort of cash hand over from the South Yorkshire Club, but I presumed it was a sort of case of quid pro quo with them getting quality players to boost their squad and us getting valuable game time for our youngsters. Players like Miloudi, certainly got a lot of benefit by playing in South Yorkshire last year and came on leaps and bounds!

However, to hear from Chief Executive Carl Hall that the Doncaster club had spent most of their financial allocation on a contracted month by month deal with us, was a surprise. Its certainly good business for Hull FC and sees a lot of our fringe players earning their corn, but it’s a sad reflection on the amount of players coming into the pro game and through the ranks these days, that Clubs can’t afford to find their own talent and instead are dependent on paying a senior Club to supply it. The expression ‘Feeder Club’ certainly comes to the fore again when you consider this situation and its certainly an indicator of the state of the game down in the lower reaches of the Championship and in Division One.

Having been totally shafted by the other Super League Clubs on the Reserve Grade issue, Hull FC were left with a real surfeit of players which means the contract we have signed with Donny features 16 players being available, although of course the you can’t play them at the same time. This will I’m sure work well for us and the players concerned and hopefully it will really benefit Doncaster, but it’s a rum do when it has come to this isn’t it. A properly constituted and scheduled reserve grade would have reduced that number considerably and hopefully encouraged clubs like our duel registration partners to look for their own local talent, so as to eventually increase the overall talent pool of the game. Instead as their Chief Executive, said this week our players out on week by week ‘loan’ to them are their main hope of success on the field in 2019.

He said, “We have distributed a significant chunk of our budget to Hull FC. That’s contracted now and it guarantees us a certain level of player in a game. So we are paying for that. Hull have 38 contracted players this year because they thought there was going to be a full-on reserve grade. The Super League reserve grade loss is our gain. If you talk to anyone around Doncaster they all want to know which players we are getting from Hull.” For me, it’s a good deal for us, pretty handy for Donny, but a ‘poor do’ for the game!

Now, a lot has been made of the new rule changes for the coming season, but one difference that has gone largely un-noticed is the end of the Rhino Ball, (which we have had since 2014) and the return of the Steeden to replace it. Teams have been using the new balls in training and pre-season matches since 1st January ahead of Super League’s big kick-off this week.

Castleford’s Adam Milner had a bit of interesting stuff to say about the switch this week, when he commented, “So far so good, but we have had a pretty dry run with the weather. We will get to see how different it is in the games, but there should be no excuses with these balls now. Better handling makes for more exciting rugby. I have seen a bit of criticism of the Rhino balls and they weren’t too bad in dry climates, however, as soon as the balls got wet they were like a bar of soap. People are saying it is the greatest game, but you can’t be playing the greatest game with a bar of soap”. From our point of view at Hull FC, after Saints last week, anything that helps the FC hang onto the ball more has, for me, to be welcomed.

And now for something completely different …..

Every year about this time I have a holistic look at the Club we all love and where we are as a whole. In years past I have been nothing short of scathing about the way it has been run and some of our people (as long term readers will remember), but since around 2015 things have got better.

To successfully see where any business is going forward you have to consider where it’s been. No one can deny that under Adam we have seen a real renaissance in both the Clubs fortunes and the way our owner and administration is viewed by us lot the paying customers, but what exactly is behind that change?

Winning consecutive Challenge Cups is one thing, but the way we have grown as a business behind the scenes to cope and benefit from that on field success is completely another. Of course before anyone at the Club gets on the phone, this is just my own appraisal and not based on anything other than my views, it might be utter rubbish, but, as readers know I take a great interest in the dynamic and structure of how sports clubs work, what’s more, I’m a fan and allowed my say, so here goes …..

When like me you look at a lot of clubs across several sports it’s evident that the most successful teams are those that are well led from the top, structured off the field and accountable to their customers at the coal face. Oh and playing well and winning trophies helps as well, but without the former the latter is invariably a pipe dream.

So starting at the top and our owner. As you know I have known Adam pretty well since my days on the Council and so I can see how he’s perhaps the type of figurehead most fans dreamed of during the reign of David Lloyd and Kath Hetherington. I reminded him when he bought the Club that I had sent him a letter when he left Hull City the first time, which ended by saying that if he ever fancied running a rugby league team ‘please consider us’. He replied that he was a football man and so that was not likely at all. But time changed all that.

On one hand he’s a hard-nosed entrepreneur who is well respected and pretty successful, for there is little he doesn’t know about sports management. On the other, he absolutely gets it, he understands the importance of getting on with the supporters, he’s passionate and indeed a fan himself. He over promises at times, but that’s because when things are going wrong he’s desperate to put them right. Few know of the bollocking’s that were dished out during that run of 11 defeats when he was really hurting, as we were, but dished out they certainly where!! In any case by now we have all got used to a bit of ‘knee jerkery’ from Adam haven’t we?

He is in other words a decent and passionate bloke, an astute operator but one who isn’t ‘up himself’ and he’s certainly not a quitter, furthermore, looking around the owners of other sports clubs not a million miles away, I think we should be very pleased that we have him. He might not have forked out for a marquee signing this year, but past experience proves that he will do if he needs to. Fans rant and rave about the Coach, the players, the shirts, the pies and just about everything else, but everyone steers clear of criticising Adam, because I think they trust him! This year, I’m not sure at all about his approach to the squad and signings etc, but when that has been the case in the past, I’ve usually been proved wrong, so, unlike how I was in here with Kath, as a fan I’ll always give Pearson the benefit of the doubt.

As an owner he will, after Wembley 2016 and 2017, be remembered in the annals of the Club alongside Ernie Hardaker and Roy Waudby, (who also gained hero status), and he’ll certainly always be revered long after the Aunty Kath’s of this world have been forgotten. This is not a Pearson Admiration Society just what I think are the facts behind the esteem in which most fans hold our owner. As you know I had a go at him in the early days, when he persisted with Agar, sacked Peter Gentle and appointed Lee, but again what did I know and now, such is his standing, it’s impossible to find anyone who wants to have a go at him at all!

So, as we go into 2019, can I suggest any possible improvements at the top of our Club; I don’t really think I can!!!!

With new brooms come new ideas and it’s the changes under Pearson that have been so significant. He’s has been ruthless at times and in the back office that renaissance has seen big personalities and top wage earners move on and a leaner and flatter structure introduced. From a Club that was top heavy on the Admin side of things and thus too light at the business end of the operation (on the field), massive changes have taken place. James Rule was shown the door whilst John Flatman (whose legacy was a quite amazing Community set up) and Tony Sutton (a great finance Director) moved on to bigger things. Then we lost Lee Jenkinson to Leeds. Lee was a brilliant Retail Manager who really built that side of things up and laid the foundations for the operation we have today. Much of their work was then evaluated for worth and re-allocated to section heads, with the lion share of it being taken on by James Clark who has since risen a long way through the ranks to be Chief Executive.

The point being that when anyone left it was seen as an opportunity! It was a chance to evolve and reappraise the whole operation as Adam downsized considerably the senior administration, whilst the introduction of changed and more streeamlined systems saw the Club’s back office perform even better. The plan has always been to have a lean structure that is focussed on making money to sustain an increasing commitment to the playing side of things. Now James Clark heads things up and he’s assisted by Nigel Hansford the Finance Director, Sarah Wilkinson the Commercial Manager and James Price the Head of Hull Foundation.

All this change has certainly refocussed things, its hurt a few people’s feelings, upset a couple and put a few noses out of joint, but the end product sees an organisation that is light on its feet and that continues to evolve and change as circumstances dictate. With the leviathans of the past gone, a lot more attention is focussed on the supporters needs and our retail and ticketing staff are some of the most genuine and approachable in the League, they care and they communicate well at the customer interface end of the organisation, which has developed a deal of good will with the fans.

Add to all that Tony Cotson, who is a thoroughly good bloke and a brilliant Club Chaplain. He’s always there to support the club and the fans both practically and spiritually and he’s certainly held in high esteem by the lads. Plus, there is also the great Bill Dalton who is the Club historian and who spends hours and hours keeping the Club records and doing it on a voluntary basis. Even when ‘the sun is shining’ and we are doing well, it’s still so important that we appreciate our past and where we have as a Club come from, and that’s were Bill comes in. It is as I said earlier to remember where we have come from as we try to move forward.

Gone too, is the ‘mushroom management’ of the previous decade. With now a good level of information coming out of the club (although they only tell us what they want to tell us, which is never enough for some, but that’s a general issue with most sports teams). None the less our communication output is good, as is the access they give to the local media and so is the marketing and publicity. In this area again we remain one of the sport’s leading clubs, offering a good TV service of game coverage available from FC TV as well as online, social and traditional media content, being pumped out on a regular basis.

However, in these areas we can’t complain too much about an organisation that has been ranked as one of the top 50 sports clubs in the country for its media interface.

Money wise, I don’t think we are flush by any stretch of the imagination, no RL club is! However, Adam’s financial input for 2016 and 2017 was said to be minimal, so we can now balance the books when we have a good season and our subscription level and customer loyalty is still really high in 2019, despite the disappointments of last season. However, we have struggled cap wise for the last two seasons after that big influx of new players at the start of the 2016 season, because you can only really pull that sort of wholesale change off, by back loading contracts, which is what I suspect Motu did. If that’s the case that always impacts in the following seasons when salary increase promises have to be kept. But we are still doing OK and we certainly aint ‘on the bones of our arses’ by any means.

However, before you think I’m over the top here and the Diary is on the pay roll of the Club, everything is not happy days, because a massive minus for us is the fact that we don’t own our own stadium and pay through the nose for the one that we play in. I don’t know if we can do anything more to change things there, but the deal is restrictive and inflexible, as it appears are those who operate it, (let’s face it we have had to play all our pre-season matches away from home presumably because of cost). Ideally we could do with our own Stadium but that is a pipe dream and a massive financial issue even if the land could be found within the City boundaries. It’s been a consideration over recent years I know, but in fairness, there is probably little we can do about that at present, yet it would be nice to think that we could address it one day.

However, despite us not owning our stadium and the ability to buy against it’s worth that allows, we continue to major on with limited capital resources and grab opportunities when they present themselves. For instance, the club’s head office is now no longer in the Stadium, but next to the KCOM in a newly constructed Community Hub in which our admin is based, whilst a number of other facilities, all linked to the Club, are based in Hull and the surrounding area. In addition, over Christmas we have been running three retail out-lets and just opened a new one in Savile Street.

That quick look at the off field side of the club might not all be correct, I might have missed stuff out and I apologise if I have any of it wrong. Nor is it a love fest about Hull FC, for we can always improve and if we go the other way I’ll be on it!!! None the less in the end we are in a good place off the field, particularly when you consider the mess we were in not so many years ago. However, its just as I said, how I see it, as the organisation continues to evolve around the changing demands it faces, indeed above everything else the one main factor to success is still always the ability to do well on the field.

None the less as a fan that loves to win and hates to lose but above all wants a team to support for the rest of his life, I think we are in pretty good nick at present and will be, as long as we are in Super League and Adam is at the helm.

Of course there is always a fly in the ointment, and ours is apparent when you start to look forward into the next decade. Our lease for the use of the Stadium is a 50 year one from 2002 and its pretty water tight, excepting for two issues. Firstly, it has a review period on 25 years (around 2027) which could, should the current SMC and its ownership continue, be a real issue for us. Then there is the clause that states, if we were ever to ‘drop out of the top tier of the professional game’ (be relegated) we have then to renegotiate our deal with the SMC, and that could well be a massive concern as well. Although with the new structure at least the threat of relegation has receded somewhat for all Super League Clubs. But none the less, all that said, someone has to go down!!

Of course however good we are off the paddock in the end everything depends as I said, on our fortunes on it, because even the best supporters in the land start to get a bit twitchy when things go awry, in fact as a fan I’m not quite so comfortable with that area of our operation at present. Speccies are fickle and yet their belief and the financial input that engenders, is crucial to the success of the operation. We have as I say, since Adam arrived, majored on spending the bulk of the fans investment on the playing end of the operation, which is spot on!

Hull FC have certainly made massive strides over the past 5 years on this front and now everything is geared to developing the team and maximising the support they get as individuals and a group. If you get to know players in professional sport, you’ll also know that they are never really happy and like a good moan, but no one can deny that Hull FC now offer them some of the best facilities afforded to any player in the game in this country.

The slimming down of the back office has made developments in training facilities and increased player numbers possible more quickly. Country Road North is now a state of the art facility envied by many and despite the fact we lease the training ground from the bloody Allam’s, which is once again a bit of a concern for me, it does feel like home and is the centre of things between games as far as the players and indeed the fans are concerned. Everything is geared to give our heroes the best possible chance of improving and staying fit, and the gym, video and classroom facilities there are second to none.

Coaching wise I believe Lee deserves a good go at it because of the life changing experiences he has given us thus far. However, I’m sure he knows that Adam, although incredibly loyal, is always looking at what’s best for the Club, and thus his investment and that keeps the Coach on his toes a bit too. But in both his media presence and his personality Lee has evolved over the past few years and no one can doubt his commitment to the cause. He and all his staff are up for contract renewals this season and so Adam keeps his options openwhilst on the other hand there is another massive incentive for them all to do well there too, isn’t there?

As for those support Staff, the owner has given Lee most of what he wants although for me, internal promotion and loyalty to existing staff has seen something of a ‘comfortable’ set up in place and many fans I know feel that another specialist Coach, brought from outside the Club, might have helped a bit. Brett Hodgson was nailed on to come in, but gave back word and since then with Ellis coming on board, we seem to have a full complement of loyal FC men in place. They care, they get it they work tirelessly and they love the Club, but if I’m honest, with my old managers hat on, I guess that I do tend to air on the side of wanting to see an outsider brought in to change the dynamic a bit.

However, when all that is in place the final question is, how do you spend the money that is available for team building. Do we have a big, big squad that covers every eventually knowing that to do that, under the current cap regulations, means some would have to be ‘cheap and cheerful’ fillers, like perhaps Wakey and we have done this season? Do you cut to a much smaller squad with some good new players coming in to boost your core personnel, but risk injuries severely handicapping you later on, like say Hull KR or Huddersfield have done? Or do you ‘massage’ the salary cap, in every way you can and have a big squad with loads of expensive players and the odd Marquee signing as well, like ….well I’ll leave you to decide that one! But before you come to the obvious conclusion, let me say that I bet, if we did that, we would be the ones to get caught!!!

Injury wise, we got ‘burned’ severely last year and so you can understand the path we have chosen to take this year and already the need for a big compliment of playing staff is being vindicated by our current injuries. However, whether teams like us with such squads can match the smaller but higher quality rosters early on, when most of those clubs have pretty fit squads, is a matter for conjecture? Although later in the season when others get bitten by injuries we really could reap the benefit! No doubt the Club see that and after last season have gone for a calculated risk? However other question marks remain about how, after such a long break since our last game of 2018, we still have so many players injured and out for our first match this season?

As fans we have every right to question our club and what they are doing, and that’s my own take on where we are as an organisation. It’s easy to forget the really hard times at the FC and what it was like back then (remember when rather unfairly we sacked John Kear, with not a word coming out of the Club for more than 72 hours?) and to also overlook where other clubs are with their owners, their facilities and their business models. Yet, its only when you compare these things that you realise that, at Hull FC we ain’t really so badly off at all.

As I say, I just want to enjoy my rugby, safe in the knowledge that I’ll have a team to support until the day I die and at least at present Adam, Clarky, Lee and Co are delivering that! Threats?? Well for me the biggest three that effect our current situation are another poor season leading to our subscription and supporter levels dwindling. Then there is the implications for our leasehold and our tenure at the Stadium, in the event of relegation and of course the narrow minded attitude of those who run our home at the KCOM. But it wouldn’t be Hull FC without a couple of caveats would it?

Why do this every year? Well perhaps some will remember how we felt back in 2011, when we were genuinely worried about the very future of the club, the motives of those running it and their end game finance wise. Perhaps we should just appreciate how far we have come. Just my views as always and probably all totally wrong but I hope they give you some food for thought!

Now, today’s quote of the week has to go to Ralph Rimmer the beleaguered head of the Rugby League who said of the blanket coverage that the Catalan exclusion issue had received in the media “I don’t think it was a PR disaster; we launched the cup yesterday, we’ve a new sponsor and the reigning champions are included.” Not a PR disaster Ralph ….well it certainly did a good impression of one!!! Still at least we have got Coral on Board with a lucrative sponsorship deal just in time for the first round taking place last weekend.

In the same interview Rimmer spoke of how closely he works with Elstone and the Super League Club and said, “After all the RFL are the governing body of everyone”. However, he then went off to the RFL’s launch of the new season, featuring the Championship and Division One Clubs; with the Super League having their own launch two days later on Thursday! I firmly believe that a split is coming and quite frankly after the way that the RFL have carried on of late, who would be surprised??

I heard this week from Club historian Bill Dalton who had lots of great stuff to say about the Bill Kerr Ladies team that I featured in here a few editions ago, with those Pathe News pictures of the Boulevard in the early 1920’s. He had looked into the conundrum of when the game was played and between which teams and said, “I have looked at some footage of Pathe concerning the history of Dick Kerrs team and I think the brief BBC effort the other week was a bit misleading. In fact the footage at The Boulevard makes reference to a game against Yorkshire Ladies. The game attracted 10,000, and raised some £200 for War Charities. The grainey footage seems to confirm the Threepenny Stand being full, and assuming there were 5,000 in there would easily confirm 10K in the Ground. There was another big fundraiser at St James Park against Harry Weldons team. His wife, Fay, kicked off and, again, there was a big attendance of 30,000. As the BBC said, the FA banned Women’s Football from their grounds in 1921, which would explain why Dick Kerrs team played on Boulevard”

In addition Bill also shared my own grief at the passing of Wilf Rosenberg, saying “Just to expand on Wilf Rosenberg. A superb ability of the great wingers in the game’s history was one of being able to approach the Full Back and ‘Stand him up’. Wilf was the best exponent of that art that I have ever seen. Sully just used sheer pace”

He continued, “Wilf would come along the wing (as in that 70 yarder in his first game for us against Bramley that you featured last week), he’d feign to step off his right foot when approaching John Wilson, and at the instant Wilson moved to his right to counter him, Wilf swerved back on his outside to score. Brilliant, and the only example I can think of by another Hull winger was Dane O’Hara at Cas on 17 March 1982 when he did for Geoff Wraith, the Cas Full Back. Plus there was James Leuluai’s effort in the 1983 Semi-Final on Darren Coen which was similar. although he was playing in the Centre”.

Brilliant stuff that Bill and thanks for getting in touch.

A big thank you as well to everyone else who has been in touch this week and to the evocatively named ‘Sausage Fingers’ of the RL fans board; I’ve sent you a PM on there mate!! Plus, it was great to chat to Harry, Kathy, Dick and Fred Gresham in the pub last Saturday, Phil in Morrisson’s and Bill in the cinema last Tuesday. If you’ve stuck with me thus far this week, well done and thanks for that as well and I hope I didn’t go on too much about the Club, but it’s just something something I try to do every year a week before the season kicks off. I hope you found it a change from referee’s, rule changes and Challenge Cup Bonds!!! The Codgers Stuff will be back next week I promise!

So on Friday, no doubt to the accompaniment from the FC fans of a chorus of, “Down with your floodlights, you’re crashing down with your floodlights”, we are back at the cabbage patch again and facing the old enemy. It’s certainly not ideal, but Friday isn’t about the past, or 2016, 2017, or 11 successive defeats, nor is it about those players who are missing, or Castleford next week or Wigan the week after that, for what has made us great at Hull FC, is the fact that we are bigger than that and we are more than our scars. It’s not about the shortcomings but about the here and now, it’s about those loyal fans standing there being harangued on the terraces and it’s about defeating the worst of the lot, The Dobbins! Let’s go out there, fight till the death and show them what pride in the FC shirt is all about!! I’ll be there with you, if only as I watch from behind the settee, but good luck to everyone who is going, your medals are in the post, try and enjoy the game and stay safe!

Let’s do the Dobbins …

And ………

COME ON YOU HULLLLLLAAAARRRRR!!!!

Faithfully Yours

Wilf