The Dentist’s Diary – 615th

Heart-breaking in the end? Yes, but passionate, valiant and packed with heaps of endeavour too; for we certainly had a go!!

You can’t always win, but all the qualities we as fans ask for where there is abundance on Friday. It was a loss at the toughest of places to be defeated, but the hope of better things to come still burns on for another week at least.

Rovers were playing at somewhere around their first choice roster, but we have much more to come. Despite a Derby loss to start the season off, with the heartbreak that brings, the depleted ranks that took to the field, played with pride in the fans and the badge and should be proud of themselves. We could ask no more as spectators, for it was a fine effort against all the odds and it almost came off! With only 8 tackles missed in the whole game it was a tenacious performance and when you take away the heartbreak of that finish, if we’re honest, it probably still ended up a lot better than any of us thought it would!

But at least it’s out of the way and we escaped with our pride and credibility intact! You know, this week Jurgen Klopp said, “I can never ever enjoy being involved so closely with the Premiership title race”, probably I would guess, because he is so anxious, stressed and involved in it all and indeed in the weight of expectation it brings. And you know what? I get that completely, because I’m afraid these days, I can’t ever truly ‘enjoy’ a Derby game either and I doubt I ever will again!

Perhaps once in the dim and distant past I used to be able to go along, enjoy the spectacle, revel in the occasion and appreciate it for what it was; just another game. However, just like Mr Klopp, for me that’s all changed. I can survive it, just about, and enjoy the result if we manage to win and if we lose, I’m disappointed, but strangely relieved that its all over as well! In fact, all my analogies of watching from behind the sofa or through my fingers, really are, for me, completely authentic and truth be known, most of the time I’d just rather not watch at all!!

That said, I did watch and I have to say I was heartbroken at the end. However, that’s a feeling that only lasts as long as the circumstances that surround it, allow it to. Once I’d stepped back a bit, I realised we actually almost prevailed against all the odds, the heart and spirit was quite amazing and with a bit better discipline and a couple of creative players back to help the over-worked Sneyd, we would have won.

So for this fan its onwards to Thursday!!!

Watching the match on TV engenders the temptation to get straight at it after the game, but it’s no good trying to write this stuff then, for I’m still too emotionally involved and wound up and let’s face it, it was by any stretch of the imagination a tragic finish. However, when I got a modicum of sobriety back it was also an encouraging performance and so much better and closer than I’d expected.

Putting those final seconds aside, this was almost a full strength compliment of the great unwashed, on their own cabbage patch and yet we fought and fought for each other and almost pulled off what would have been a famous victory and one that would have ranked up there with the ‘Come-back kids of Caravan Park’ in 2016. Our structure was a bit one dimensional at times, but it was bound to be. To keep it so close with so many missing took a great effort and when the dust settled there was much to be commended but also a bit that could be put right too.

Walking through Beverley on a snowy Friday morning, I received the usual banter with a couple of Rovers fans desperate for the game to be on and an FC fan who was hoping against hope it would be cancelled!! That was where we were, after what had been a funny old week.

The announcing of the two Derby squads last Wednesday was made to coincide with the new ‘Pre-Match Press Conference’, which was a new departure being staged as it was, at the recently opened Tribal Sports Bar and Grill in Kingswood and what a great idea that was! Of course as a venue it’s owned by best buddies Adam and Hudge, but taking place almost on the boundary between the East and West, it brought some zing to the proceedings and I hope it’s something that continues for future cross city games.

Derby week is a strange one at best, particularly when it falls on the first round of the competition, as it did for the first time this year. For us lot who anticipate these games and yet can’t wait for them to be over, (particularly when you approach them weighed down by injuries), it’s all just happening around you. However, in the bigger picture, such events as that press conference, along with the previous night’s fans forum on the radio, are the sort of thing that hypes the game of rugby league up. That’s just what the game needs because I think that it lacks a bit of that AFL razzmatazz, that the kids love and the yanks do so well.

We don’t want it to stretch to gimmickry and cheap thrills, or bands of parading scantily clad cheer leaders marching through Bransholme (do we?), but at least the hyping up of big games as real occasions, must be what we are all aiming to do in the wake of the plans for the future of Super League. So, for me it was a good move. What we really need now is a Footy Show type thing on Sky!!!

Last Wednesday, the ‘Wizard that Was’ looks pretty smug but it looks like there is plenty to think about for Lee??

As the big match approached I watched the Thursday night game and really enjoyed it. The referee was largely anonymous, the game flowed, it was exciting and certainly noticeably faster and as for the shot clocks etc? Well, the game finished at exactly 9-33pm which has to be an improvement! Plus, despite a sticky wet pitch the Steeden ball stood up well which meant there weren’t to many stoppages anyway! The whole thing was marred for me however by Eddie Hemmings and his endless inane cliché’s, however I guess when at the very beginning he described Wigan and Saints as the biggest Derby in the game, it was bound to get my back up from the off!! Friday with him missing, was so much better.

So, that out of the way, the scene was set for our game, but as the squads had been announced and the 7 men, plus (daft lad) Connor were missing, I have to say that to name a team without two of our three recognised first team half backs and not include Hakim Miloudi at all in the 19-man squad, was a bit of a mystery to me. But, in the end what did I know. He could have been the difference, he could have thrown it away, because much of what we did was based on a very, very structured approach to things built around ‘Steady Eddie’ Washbrook, and Hakim doesn’t do ‘Steady Eddie’ at all well does he?

A poor start to the match saw us fail to catch the kick off which didn’t bode well at all, before a ridiculous mix up between Dawson-Jones and Shaul saw us forced to drop out. We charged downfield and Shaul nearly scored after taking the wrong option, before Sika Manu somehow showed the form of 2016 and got in. He was looking really fit as he crashed over in style. We had started a bit on the defensive, however we stuck at it and the benefit of having Sneyd out there showed up again, when he kicked well before Washy produced a great grubber and the lively Dawson-Jones went in. At 12-0 and to the chants of, ‘They haven’t won a Trophy since 1985’ we might not have been safely out of sight, but we certainly played as if wanted it. We looked to be on the front foot when Faraimo, typical of last season’s profligate demeanour, couldn’t keep hold of it and Rovers were back on the attack, that was the point we had to push on but we couldn’t get the ball back at all.

Sneyd had the chance to stretch it to 3 scores, but missed the penalty and even then leading as we were, you sort of thought it might be a really significant moment. And sure enough back they came as they got an extra scrum when a dubious call went against FC and Tomkins was in. We had to stop their resurgence and wrestle the momentum back, but they scored again because Houghton (2) and Paea (1) gave away stupid penalties before another misdemeanour, saw the Dobbins go in leading 14-12 at the break. I’d have taken a two-point half time deficit before we started, but the way we again, just like last year, handed them possession and thus failed to stop their momentum must have seen Rovers confident of motoring on in the second half to blow us away.

I pondered at half time that although they had worked so hard, for guys who only really work on the front line for 80 minutes a week, we still seem to be unable to ‘keep our hands in our pockets’ and give away needless penalties. It’s so simple to put right, but it still persists in our play as the legacy of last season continues and quite frankly, it just baffles me, so it must frustrate the hell out of Lee Radford!

Buoyed by their success, Rovers rolled on into us from the kick off. Captain Houghton again conceded a penalty for a high tackle and it was pressure, pressure, pressure again as a video referee decision awarded a goal line drop out as we faced three sets in a row against us, but we somehow survived.

The effervescent Shaul was everywhere and it was he who got us out of jail on our line before Sneyd produced a great kick to get us ‘head and feed’ on their 30. That’s how to break the momentum and although he was really overworked, you still can’t beat Marc went he’s on it and seeing him under the cosh and still executing plays just shows what a great player he is. We looked to be holding them well, but when we got down their end we looked clunky and disjointed in attack, whenever anyone besides Sneyd was on the ball. But then, Thompson went high again and it was more possession to the Dobbins. We looked better and moved forward well once we got the ball back, but then a speculative back handed pass by Tumavive saw the ball sail into touch.

However, in a game that we all expected to be a bit of a rout the guys were really battling and a Rovers crowd who were expecting to win at a canter where strangely subdued. The Hull try, when it came, was a superb piece of half back play by Sneyd, as he took the ball wide and to the line before a cut out pass found Faraimo with a bit of room. He ran straight at and over the hapless Drinkwater, to score in the corner. We looked to be playing it out well again, before Washy dropped a ridiculously easy pass and again we put pressure back on ourselves. And back and forth it went as we looked pretty settled as we attempted to play it out, before we were absolutely done in the last play and that was it.

We lost because we gave far too many penalties away! Otherwise we played really well with so many missing, but we were somewhat unluckily done at the last. Its disappointing for us lot, but at least the game of rugby league got that dream start to the season, because after the Saints v Wigan, edge of your seat stuff, at Caravan Park it won’t ever be any closer than that! The game finished at 9-35 and so the new stuff worked again, but all that was scant consolation to us lot, yet we came out of it with our heads held high. No one including me gave us a prayer and yet we almost pulled it off!! The losing run goes on, the dicks beat us, but there is plenty of hope there, the question is of course how will it hurt our resolve and effect what must at present be a tissue thin confidence.

I thought he did OK!

Sneyd had a great game and was my man of the match, perhaps he wasn’t the best out there for us, but in the chaos his organisation burns so bright as he looks to be someone who at least understands the plan. He’s a good player and his feign, run and pass to Faraimo was brilliant to watch. A fit again Manu was tough and strong in the second row channel and Washbrook, thrown into the half back role, assisted with two tries and although he’ll never be a starting 6 in normal circumstances, his savvy and game awareness got us out of plenty of holes. I was also pleasantly surprised with Dawson-Jones who had a real go and was better than I remembered him. Shaul had one of his best games for ages, he has a fantastic engine and looked really sharp and had Connor played, I think we might have scored a few more tries and won the game. Tumavive did well too and constantly took the ball forward whilst Griffin put himself about a bit in fact, our three quarters looked better, but needed more service than the over worked Sneyd could give.

Still, up front we matched them and Houghton worked his socks off. But, in a none stop dynamo of a performance he tried too hard at times and in doing so, gave away too many penalties. He needs to steady down a bit, but he’s enthusiastic to lead from the front and you can’t fault his commitment. Taylor ran himself to a standstill and in Masi Matongo we seem to have a player who has taken a step up, he looked really strong going forward and did well. We perhaps needed a Tom Briscoe like effort by Faraimo at the death, but they only happen once in a life time and it wasn’t to be. We got beat by just two points and the spoils go to the dicks, but well played to the FC who almost pulled off a famous victory.

So all around a better than expected showing and a defeat in just the last play of the game, but defeat it was and so we move on to our first home game with the pressure starting to mount on us to get a win, somehow! On the plus side we are still two points clear of Wigan, however there is little doubt in the world of the RFL, that they’ll win their appeal on that points deduction anyway.

So to the rest of the week and the last one before the season kicked off was marred as early as Monday, when we found out that Jake Connor had been banned and would have to appeal before the beak for making derogatory comments to an official, who at the time thought that it just warranted10 minutes in the bin. As a club, we certainly did everything we could to get Jake off and he made a personal appearance and plea on Tuesday tea-time, but it was to no avail as we all knew it would be! So, thanks to a ridiculous comment by our England star and an even more ridiculous intervention by the officials long after the game and Jakes ten-minute punishment was over, we lost another player. Funniest comment was one wag who said that Jake only got one game for ‘calling the referee a Tw*t, which was abusive, but in his defence the penance was kept down because he was factually correct!’

However, Jakes actions had resonating implications on that defeat on Friday and he has to learn that if he is going to be one of the best players in the world, (which is well within his grasp), then he must think a bit more about what he is doing and what the ramifications of his actions are likely to be. Sledge the opposition all you like Jake, but don’t do it to the officials! If he continues to do that, then he will be ‘spot balled’ and join a parade of past daft lads who could have made it big, had they learned to keep their mouths shut!! I think he’ll learn myself, but last week us lot the long suffering fans just had to get on with it; however he now owes us one against Cas.

I guess, the start of a new season is a funny old time anyway, but when it is compounded with an immediate clash against the old enemy, it really does take on a life of its own. It certainly brought out some strange stuff, starting with the Mail featuring an article with super loyal Vice-Captain Scott Taylor making a strong point about how all the team was right behind Lee Radford who had, he said, come in for some stick. Scott said, “There has been unfair criticism, but all the boys are right behind him. We are with him all the way”. Which smacks to me of an implication of a big movement amongst the fans to get rid of Lee, which is, as far as I can see, totally unfounded.

I and thousands of others continue to support Lee and I hope our Coach appreciates that, whilst always understanding too, that when you’re boss of any team, particularly in the melting pot of Rugby League that is the City of Hull, there will always be critics somewhere in the woodwork, even if you’re a geriatric Australian with a ‘little brother’ phobia.

Even after we had won the magnificent victory at Wembley in 2016 there were still one or two on RL fans doubting our coach, but that, as I say, is what goes with the territory. However, those comments by Scott did seem to indicate that the Coach already felt under pressure and quite frankly talking to loads of FC fans before the Derby this week, I really don’t think he is at all! Well not as yet anyway! Someone has to say it but I think, in general, the spectators have been extremely understanding.

Fans always look for a scapegoat and the Coach is always the first point of call, usually followed by a couple of players that through form, attitude or whatever else causes prejudice against them, are also spot ball.

But despite 11 defeats on the trot last season, I think that the supporters have been extremely mature, loyal and if you like long suffering. We’ve had a taste of glory, repeated it, enjoyed it, had an awful 2018, sucked it up, got on with it and even backed the club and the Coach with our feet, as we all tipping up in amazing numbers for those season tickets. There is a different rationale about in many fans since 2016 anyway. I think as spectators we have been pretty resilient and even tried to understand a current injury situation, that for many clubs and their fans would have been, at the start of a season, completely unpalatable.

As I always say, as supporters we have every right to have a go, we pay’s our money and thus buy into the passion and hurt when it goes wrong. We’ll all be having a right grumble in the East Stand if it’s all going ‘mammeries skyward’ come three quarter time on Thursday, but as I always say …

“….. you can’t expect people to buy into the dream and not scream a bit when it looks like becomes a nightmare!! “

Come Easter if the wheel has really come off, then everyone including Adam and Lee himself will be questioning what’s happening and what can be done to put it right, but that’s a way off yet. However, Scott saw it necessary to back Lee before a ball had been kicked in anger and I just wondered why? That said, knowing the bloke, who is a thoroughly good guy, something must have been bugging him! One things for sure, our likeable Coach’s future is only ever in the hands of his players and in the end he’ll stand and fall by them!

Perhaps Scott was trying to motivate the guys, maybe he had received stuff on social media himself, or perhaps it was a throw away comment jumped on by the media hungry for some pre Derby sensationalism, but I just feature it because I was a bit baffled by it all. There will always be the protagonists, but in general I think the fans have been really understanding and patient; how long that will last of course at Hull FC is always a matter for conjecture and once again in the hands of the players! To compare these times with say the last year of Richard Agar reign of Terror is ridiculous. Craig Murdoch this week hit the nail on the head when he said that things were in the melting pot a bit, particularly when you are relying on a team that were good in 2017, when everyone else seems to have stepped up a rung or two, but we have to hold the line trust the Coach and hope!

The piece in the Mail about Jordan Thompson on Wednesday was an insight into once again how tight the culture is at our Club and how much he is pleased to be back the FC after a year away at Leigh. I mentioned in the last book how disappointed some players were to miss out on the 2016 Wembley Final and for him to also miss out again in 2017, meant that you could quite easily see how he felt his future might just lay elsewhere. He was bitterly disappointed to miss out and reacted to the decision to omit him from the Wembley squad pretty badly.

Since then he has probably matured a tad, received a bit of a culture shock along the way and perhaps realises when he was well off. He now has a massive chance to re-establish himself and to prove his worth at a time in his career which sees his last chance to establish himself in a Super League team and stay in it as an automatic choice. That is certainly going to be a big challenge for him and in fairness when I look back I was always reasonably happy with his omission from those 2 cup finals, simply because I didn’t think that he was a first choice starting 17 player in that team.

Perhaps there is more to come now and his progress on that score will be something that will be interesting to follow in the forthcoming months. It appears from him at least that he departed on good terms which made his pathway back a smooth one, but if he can be quite resilient when on the field, he is certainly a forwards who can do long minutes and one that will be useful following the rule changes on substitutions. The jury has to be out for now, but it’s up to Jordan to prove his doubters wrong and rise to the challenge. We shall see!

Now I don’t know about you but that article last week on Tuesday where Neil Hudgell had to actually go into print to refute the claims that he was too pally with Adam and indeed too close to Hull FC, was a right laugh! Does anyone really think that we are getting too cosy with the Dobbins; and who the hell cares? From what I can see, both sides and their fans still hate each other with a passion. Talk about a storm in a tea cup, hyped by the press in desperation to whip up some aggro between the two groups of fans and what a load of twaddle it was.

In fact, when Hudge went on to insinuate that there has been a growing feeling of us drawing together among some FC and Dobbins supporters in the past 12 months, I started laughing out loud. He insinuated that fans thought the rivalry between the two clubs has been diluted at boardroom level following the formation of a joint City of Hull Academy and a growing friendship between the club’s respective owners.

For a start both owners sold us down the river with a joint academy and if they thought that wouldn’t send hares running amongst the fans they were both very naïve! It certainly rubbed me up the wrong way, because both sets of fans should, if they really care about their respective clubs, draw the line at a combined bloody team; whatever it is!

Comments like, “People close to our club have been offended with some of the comments that have come out of there, like their ‘little brother’ jibe”, are just so hypocritical, particularly from a bloke who is chairman of a Club that has ranted at their neighbours, “You’ll never win at Wembley” day after day week after week for 4 bloody decades! And him being himself a man who has publicly stood up in pubs and sang it!!!!

Lee Radford used the ‘offending’ expression as a throw away analogy once in 2017, but it’s bloody rich, when an owner can’t take such an off the cuff comment himself, it defeats his argument and just smacks of actually being small minded!!! Ironic or what????? We have had to take that chant for decades and the fact that they can’t sing it anymore really does bug them!! So, Mr H if you can’t take it, you shouldn’t dish it out mate!

As it happens I know few if any FC fans who worry that Adam is getting too close to Hudge and if its bothering the Dobbins fans then perhaps they are acting like worriting ‘little brothers’?? However, maybe it was all just an attempt to sell tickets for Friday and hype their players up, in fact for a guy with such an important position in life, I hope that’s all it was!! As I say storm in a tea cup …get on with it!!

Now, as an escape from more difficult times, this week in Codgers Corner I want to take you all back to Brian Smith’s first season with the club in 1988/89. I have some fond memories of that era myself and this week we go back to 5th February 1989, for a glimpse of life in those first few months that Smithy was with us as his renaissance within the club was just gathering pace. That day we all made the trek to Salford having gone 8 league games without defeat, but having been knocked out of the Cup by Cas the previous week, in a low scoring game at the Boulevard. Personally it was not that good a trip because it was most memorable for the fact that we returned to our coach after the game, to find that some well-wisher had slashed both front tyres and we had to wait 3 hours in the cold, before we could set off home!!

Back then Smithy was just starting to find his feet and was putting together a team that would eventually get to the Premiership final that year, only to be defeated by Widnes. The team sheet showed a makeshift outfit with new Aussies like Colman and Moon mixed with old hands like captain Dane O’Hara and Andy Dannett. We had a bit of a hooking crisis that day, with Lee Jackson out and scrum half Phil Windley, was drafted in to take the roll. Salford were doing well and had a good team, so as we took our places in the most atmospheric of Stands the old ‘Shed’ it was with a slight air of apprehension. The place was as hospitable as “The Willows” ever is and to a deal of antagonism and threatening chanting we took over the centre of the stand with the Salford fans squeezed out to the margins.

Incidentally that day we also had to draft Steve Cooks into the prop position following more injuries to our front row and David Boyle having to go back to Aus. From referee Holdsworth blowing the whistle, the game settled into a real slugfest with both packs having a real go at each other. Salford’s scull-cap clad, mercurial full-back Gibson (Remember him) seemed to have the longest legs you had ever seen on a rugby pitch and he constantly linked with their winger Bentley to cause some early problems out on the left.

Still we held out and started to play a bit of open rugby ourselves. Gary Pearce had a great game at off half and he soon started to put our outside backs and second rowers through gaps with that excellent delayed passing game he played so well. Twice Jon Sharp broke through to be hauled down and Wilby, playing in the second row, lost the ball as he set off to dive for the line. This FC pressure eventually told though when Kearns nearly pulled Dannett’s head off as he drove forward and Pearce notched the penalty. Then from a similar position Salford were awarded a penalty only for Smith to slap Pierce across the face as he got up and with the referee reversing the original decision, (they did that back then) our portly off half landed another penalty goal.

There was then a period of Salford pressure which resulted, after a Moon knock on, in a try for Salford’s Kearns who converted to make it 6-4 to the home side. Just before half-time great tackling from the FC saw Salford hemmed in their own 20 after Gibson had drop the ball, and Blacker, quick as a flash, fly hacked the ball ahead, collected and triumphantly went in under the posts! ‘Porky’ kicked the goal and we went in at half time leading 10-6. It was a first try for Brian who Smithy had just signed from Barrow.

After a mammoth trek to the other side of the ground to get a Bovril from the old caravan parked in the opposite corner, the second half started with Salford being caught off side from the kick off, although we couldn’t capitalise on the penalty and soon we were then subjected to more Salford pressure. However, a couple of penalties pinned them back and a rash kick out of defence under pressure from the Salford centre, saw Gary Divorty brilliantly take the deflected ball, only for Moon to drop his pass with the line open and a great chance was lost. A great “ball and all” tackle from Wilby then saw Gibson crash to the ground and lose the ball, another flashy handling movement then followed as makeshift hooker Windley came more and more to the fore. His darting runs from acting half had the Salford defence at sixes and sevens time and again and a great break of about 40 yards by Wilby took us back into the home teams half.

Then Windley sold a great dummy to Kearns and put Rob Nolan in the clear. He outpaced the defence and scored his first try for the club and indeed his first in first class rugby. From an acute angle Pearce banged over the conversion and we were on our way!

Bentley was a superb winger and he was still causing us problems, indeed he would have scored had Dane O’Hara not crashed tackled him from behind, but as the flagging Wilby was replaced by a young Paul Welham, we held firm and the game was all but won. Salford got more and more frustrated and a high tackle on Nolan led to another Pearce goal which made the score 18-6. The Chants of “Yorkshire Yorkshire” were replaced by “Tatty Bye, Tatty Bye, Tatty Bye”, as the Salford fans made for a quick exit and when the hooter went we just about had the place to ourselves!!! We invaded the pitch, but we always did back then, before we went back to the coach and those slashed tyres. We had a long wait but spirits were good and it’s a good job we had won!!

On Look North the following night we saw David Watkins present Jon Sharp with the Man of the Match Trophy and an interview with Brian Smith proved him to be at his outspoken best. When asked if Hull FC were good enough to win the Championship. Smithy just said, “No”, there was a long pause and then the broadcast switched back to the studio!! That was Smithy a man of few words at times, but what a coach and what a great era his two and a half years at the club was!!!! Great memories eh?

So to something not Rugby league for a moment and this made me smile ……

On a picture of new Hull City Signing Liam Ridgewell, when playing for Portland Timbers, I noticed this guy. Now I know facial hair is trendy these days but that a bloody Toilet brush isn’t it????

Thanks to everyone whose been in touch over the past 7 days and especially to Brian in Lincoln who has just read the last book and compiled a pair of great video’s for me of the 2016 seasons highlights.

As for me, well I’ve had a bloody horrible week myself. As John Wilkin said on Friday of Hull Derby games, “…. the hatred in Hull is genuine, it’s legitimate and it makes a hell of an atmosphere”. Well Jon, in reply I would say, “I hate the Derby’s, I’m not very impressed with cold and I hate Rovers”, (and I’m not that over enamoured with St Helens either)!!! That said, I treated that defeat pretty philosophically really and I was quite proud of how I handled the whole experience, although as I say I wasn’t there, but instead sat like so many transfixed in front of the tele! However, I went to bed on Friday night disappointed but pretty proud too.

Yep, since 2016 I’m pretty pleased with myself as to how I handle such flash points in my supporting life, but even when you think you have it licked it never really all goes away does it? So it was, that at about 3-30am on Saturday morning I stirred, as through a misty, murky, Morpheus inspired haze, appeared Danny Houghton, frantically pointing his finger at the lads with 90 seconds to go indicating “one more set” and then at that moment in bed, remembering what came after that, really, really hurt! Still we wouldn’t be fans if such moments didn’t would we?

You’ll get a bit of stick this week, that goes with the territory. My good mate Joe Bennett did on Saturday when a Dobbins fan said to him, “The last time Hull FC won a Local Derby England were still in the World Cup”, to which he immediately replied, “The last time Rovers won a proper Cup, Margaret Thatcher was in power!” You’ve always got to have an answer and FC fans invariably have one!!

So, it’s over, it’s done with and we approach our first home game, so now let’s all just hope that we have some great games and good times to look forward to.

You know, there is always something really special about the first home game of the season. It’s been so evocative over the years as it holds in its hands the anticipation of new beginnings and, once more this Thursday, that occasion is upon us. Even if you’ve already played a match away, the first hit up at the KCom is always a time for new possibilities, new hopes and new dreams!

It usually has it all, typical February weather, queues at the turnstiles, ticket cards that don’t work, no hot water in the bogs, the meeting of old friends, that magical air of expectation as the teams emerge, some up’s, some downs and plenty of head scratching, a deal of watching through your fingers and perhaps even a bit of dancing in the isles. Plus of course, when its televised, a nithering half time that freezes your bits off as it seems to go on forever!! It’s about time Sky put a bloody shot clock on that one too, but that’s a discussion for another day!!

However, for all us fanatical idiots it’s a chance to at last get back in that stadium, that stand and that seat and to begin the roller coaster ride of watching THAT team!! You know the one, it’s that crowd of reprobates who have never, even in the best of times, created anything like a ‘Fortress KCom’ so that we can feel at ease when we play at home and no doubt once again, it’ll be edge of your seat stuff. Just the same the first match is always a game that months of anticipation dictates promises so much! But will it deliver!!!!!

Well we can only hope it will! Cas are really good, but Connor should at least be back if he doesn’t call anyone else names before Thursday. However, it’s now obvious that we can’t leave ourselves in a position where we are playing catch up, for we have to regain that winning feeling and try and at least keep in touch with the frontrunners. That’s why Thursday is so important, a win would see the run of consecutive losses broken and the pressure off, but it will surely grow with the media and the fans if the losses continue from 2018 into 2019.

So, let’s see this as a beginning, get behind the boys and have a real go at being that 18th man. Let’s not, when things are against us, have any of those flat calm periods on the terraces, but instead, at those times, let it be us lot that make the difference. With few players expected back, let’s roar them on to a great victory which will be, should it come, completely against the odds.

Get there on Thursday if you can and get behind the boys!!!

Keep the Faith and Keep Believing!!!

Faithfully Yours