The Dentist’s Diary – 642nd

Oh dear, what a shambles?

Well it’s hard to say much else really, for on Saturday we probably squandered the best chance we will have of getting a home draw in the play-offs, in a league that is probably as poor as it will ever get.

It was a massive game that we should have been so up for, but again we looked disinterested and this season is quickly descending into the one that got away! It will never be easier for a workmanlike team, that is just a bit consistent, to get to Old Trafford, but the last few weeks have proved that we are neither workmanlike nor consistent. Wigan on Friday night really, really wanted it, yet with us, to have so much to play for and yet to not turn up for long periods of the game, is simply criminal for me.

We were clueless at times and people won’t pay to see what we all sat through on Saturday much longer, for our 2019 home form is now verging on a disaster. This was our most inept performance since we played Huddersfield in the Magic Weekend jamboree, if not, perhaps, our poorest of the season. The tragedy is that Salford although adequate and disciplined in their execution of a simple game plan, were not that good either.

They were brilliantly led from scrum half by Hastings, but otherwise 5 of their scores came from us either making mistakes in our own 20-meter area or from us giving penalties away in the same zone. But, some of our lot appeared to be simply going through the motions, they’ll deny it and perhaps I’m being a bit harsh here, however, in the end that’s how it looked to the scores of people who were streaming out of the ground with 10 minutes to go.

Last week in the build-up to the game we knew it was a massive chance to go 2 points clear in second, surely you have to want that? Surely that must motivate you to at least give your all? Surely it’s your, defining moment of the season so far? Well we mere mortals might all have thought that, but from a shambolic looking warm up to the final hooter, some of our lot simply lacked any sort of wanting or passion at all.

I love my club and I can take defeat, I can take humiliation and even disastrous outcomes and do it with pride, but only if I’m convinced everyone is giving their all for me; on Saturday I’m convinced a lot didn’t!!! It’s simply in the end all about playing for the FC, for the shirt, the badge and the fans, yet I saw precious little of that on show at all. In fact, in the end, Salford came out worthy winners. I’d like to say it was heart-breaking, but for this season at least, I think I’m past that now!

So, here I sit in the early hours of Sunday morning still in my Hull shirt, still sober, still scratching my head and still experiencing a feeling of being let down. The Salford game was always going to be a tough one, particularly with the visitor’s recent record, as they have quietly climbed the table on the back of a real battle against adversity. The showing at Wakey got us two points and kept us in there, but if we’re honest it gave us little as far as hope was concerned and an improved performance was certainly needed if we were going to get anything from this season. You know a five o’clock kick off is fine for the ‘let go out boozing all afternoon brigade’ sat to the left of me, but it’s a strange time for the rest of us and I don’t know why but, it’s always hard for me to get up for such games when compared with a Friday night or Sunday afternoon fixture. Still being buggered about fixtures wise is what every RL fan has got used to over the years, isn’t it? The truth is, I suppose, on Saturday I went along expecting little and therefore I guess I wasn’t too be disappointed.

I wasn’t impressed at all with our apparent lack of energy and verve in the warm up, which looked shambolic at times and so I just hoped that it was down to the warm sunshine that was streaming across the ground and into the East Stand as we all got ready for the off.

The involvement this week, across the organisation, of the young fans, was commendable and great to see, but even that pales into insignificance when such a worrying display is served up by their heroes. Sadly, the tone of the game was set as early as the 3rd minute as Salford made the most of being gifted possession on a plate deep in our territory. You just can’t do that, but we didn’t learn, repeating as we did the same mistake, in the same place, another 4 times in the game. All those mistakes led to Salford scores. For that first try it was so simple really as the visitors worked the ball right and Sio was free to cut inside and touch down before Inu converted from out wide.

Salford were making mistakes as well though and we were soon given a chance ourselves, from a knock-on close to their line, which then saw Taylor burst through a gap untouched to score with eight minutes gone. Sneyd, had brilliantly manufactured the hole for Taylor, who ran a superb line to touch down.

Good work by Sneyd who was playing well at this point, saw us move ahead as he took them on and weaved his way close to the line, where Danny Houghton’s quick pass off the ground from acting half fed Paea who crashed over under the posts from close range. Sneyd potted the conversion and made it 12-6.

It was all going well as a timely cut out pass from Sneyd and quick hands from Josh Griffin presented Faraimo with Hull’s third try as he cut in from the left to crash his way over with 21 minutes on the clock. We were cruising and a good team would now just take control and draw away.

But some players appeared to ease off the pedal and the slap-dash stuff began, as our error-strewn theme of last week continued and we gave away possession once again, which made it easy for Mossop as he forced his way over for Salford’s second try. Inu’s easy kick reduced the arrears to four points. But then, as we argued amongst ourselves and started to visibly fall apart, Sio with his second try, levelled the game up at 16-16 five minutes from half time. Half time came and already most around me believed that the game was up, as the same slap dash, mistake ridden, approach that we had seen at Wakefield continued, but the only trouble was that Salford appeared to be a bit better than the West Yorkshire outfit were last week.

I mused on the fact that were have the days gone when a good bollocking from our coach at half time could change things around after the break? However, predictably and as has been the case of late, instead of getting better, things just got worse. Salford opened the scoring early on when Bibby stretched to touch down and Inu’s third successful kick made it 22-16 to the visitors. Another FC knock-on led to Salford’s fifth try shortly after, as Mossop grabbed his second, Inu adding the extras to make it 28-16 and it looked like we were sunk. A glimmer of hope appeared but Connor knocked on a big up and under when all he had to do was catch it and fall over the line and then Griffin was held up on the last tackle as at last we showed some sort of fight. This new found resolution was rewarded with Jake Connor’s clever offload short of the line, as his pass presented Lane with an easy try.

Sneyd’s kick brought us to just 6 points adrift, but sadly the game was soon up, for as with 20 minutes left, that was as close as we were to get.

Mistakes and running down blind alleys saw us make little progress as Shaul, Connor and Sneyd ran backwards and forwards across the line without making a yard of forward progress and soon Salford stretched their lead once more when Inu made a brilliant one-handed catch to a high kick from Hastings and as Taylor and Connor went at it behind the posts, the scorer’s fifth conversion made it 34-22. Then with less than 10 minutes to go the visitors wrapped up the game when Hastings went over after Kris Welham had intercepting a pass from Sneyd and most people had just had enough.  

In fact, when Inu added his second try and kicked his sixth goal to make it 44-22 late on, the ground was almost empty and we looked a well beaten side. It was then that I did something I hardly ever do and left before the final hooter. I was just so furious that we had let a golden opportunity pass us by with such a poor attitude radiating from a lot of our players. Being bested by a team that is better technically, I can take, but when it appears my team is showing no desire much at all, I find that really hard to stomach.

It was all flawed from the off for me. It became apparent early on that Carlos was carrying an injury and thus the inclusion of Buchanan on the bench, which weakened our rotating forwards substantially, particularly when we play Fash in there instead of Masi. We certainly missed the big guys grunt on the rotate. Westerman who wasn’t named in the 19-man squad just went through the motions as although his feet were in the KCom, his head is already I think at Wakefield. Shaul’s form continues to worry me as well, as he has lost all his penetration and as for our new signing Satae well he was brought on for 10 minutes and then five at the very end; what is all that about? Why didn’t he get a few minutes operating with Taylor and why when he was on the pitch did he line himself up for the ball on several occasions just to be ignored by the feeding player; that happened at least three times.

The Coach, it is said quite rightly I think, can do nothing about it once the players enter the field, but for me he also has to get the team up for every match and instil in them the importance of such games. If they really want to be at Old Trafford and really want a final hurrah before they leave, as some say they do, then they should be on fire by kick off, yet from time to time against Salford, several just couldn’t be arsed at all. Throughout the game our commitment was poor and our ball retention shocking and as I have said in here before this season, for some, to me, it all looks too cosy and comfortable at the FC.

Taylor had a real go on the pitch and at his colleagues, Paea had a good game as did Houghton, Lane did well and Sneyd until his colleagues up front were simply swamped, tried hard, but at 16-6 up we should have been well on the way to walking into second place.

We are pretty crap at home, simple as, and no doubt we will as fans be again blamed for that. Meanwhile, after our players get everything they need including regular cryogenic chamber sessions, trips out and a brilliant training facility, with lesser resources and abysmal gates the fans owned Salford Club showed us how it is done on Saturday and well done to them; but does anyone else think that somethings radically wrong here, somewhere?

So on to happier things and it’s another week and another signing, as last Thursday the Club announced the signing of Ligi Sao and although welcomed, it was a move we had all expected for quite a while. Lee Radford, hinting at our recent lack of mental tenacity, again reiterated the basic requirements of all his new signings for 2020 when he stated, “Like all our new recruits, he fits the bill in terms of character and attitude which has been a big factor in our recruitment this year”. Those certainly appear to be the qualities that we need moving forward. Auckland born Ligi who is certainly a talented lad of massive stature, can play prop, back row and loose forward and began his senior career at Manly Sea Eagles in 2013, before joining the Warriors three years later.

He is another excellent signing and a good age for a forward, and when added to the other 4 we have signed for next season, our pack is certainly going to look a lot different moving forward and it certainly needs to. I think that more will come in, but they will mostly be developing players or back up for the Reserves grade. However, if we are to get another high profile addition for 2020, then I hope against hope that it is another prop, for that is now the position in which I think we are a bit light. One things for sure is that if there are to be more players arriving they will have to be British, because cap wise, unless the rules change dramatically, I think that’s it.   

Even with seven new players arriving into a strange environment and in some cases a strange country, it is going to be hard to handle for both the club and the individuals and it is certainly going to be all change for the core members of the squad who are retained as well. Mahe is coming home, but otherwise, come the start of pre-season training it will be a strange situation at first, and that is why, I think, so much emphasis has been placed on the attitude of the players we have signed. I had a chat with James Clark last week and it became apparent that these signing come at the culmination of over a year’s hard work at the club, most of which fell at his door.

Amazingly so far, we as a Club have got exactly the players we wanted and three were identified as targets as much as 18 months ago! That dedication and effort and many late, late nights on the phone to the Southern Hemisphere has got our Chief Executive all the signings that were our first choice for 2020. With, of course, the exception of Mahe Fonua whose willingness to return came a bit out of the blue, but was too good a chance to miss. Again in that case, the opportunity to bring an old hero back was grabbed with both hands.

Even Mahe’s signing strengthens our forwards, as it releases Griffin to the pack and with Jones, Sao, Ma’u and Satae plus the inclusion of a fit and fresh Savelio and the switching of Josh to second row it will certainly give us a lot of options in the pack going forward. If it clicks it should give us, with Tag, Danny H, Matongo and Bowden, a superb forward line for the new season although as I said earlier, I guess if it were possible, with the rigours of a 30 match season, I might just like to see another prop in there, but with salary cap restrictions you can’t have everything can you?

Signing wise, I was ready to write in here that I thought that was it, but Lee certainly put the cat amongst the pigeons on Saturday when he stated, “There might be another one, two or three.” But its certainly all exciting stuff and as I often say in here everyone loves a good signing and all the hope it brings, don’t they?

One things for sure I now expect to see a lot of fringe arrivals of amateur, junior and lower division players coming in to populate the reserve grade team for next season and whether they are signings of true potential or ‘make weights’, will again be interesting. At this point I have to say that the big signings we have made should certainly sell plenty of season ticket and help the club commercially as we move towards the 2020 season. The menace and almost mystique of Ma’u and the love we all already have for Mahe offers a couple of real ‘poster boys’ and there is little doubt that their signings are a massive coup for the commercial staff. I just hope that pre the 2020 season the fans back the club and buy those tickets to reward what has certainly been a massive recruitment drive which could well spell some exciting times at the club as it did the last time we made such a move back in Autumn 2015.            

Now away from the FC and bravo to Robert Hicks for he is a man who has gone right up in my estimation after the action he took this week to defuse a horrible situation. Hicks was the subject of a threat posted on Twitter during The Wire’s Challenge Cup victory over Hull KR in May, with the user posting that the official would be “shot dead live on TV.” The perpetrator was obviously a Warrington fan and the Cheshire Club launched a subsequent investigation and the police also got involved, but Hicks and Wolves chief executive Karl Fitzpatrick offered the perpetrator a face-to-face meeting.

After that meeting, all agreed that a suspended banning order was sufficient punishment. Man that took some balls to do and so a bloke who I have openly harangued a time or two in here and a lot more often on the terraces, has become a bit of a hero for it can’t have been easy. He said of his ordeal following the threat, “I don’t want anyone to think I’m making light of this – the incident caused significant worry and upset to my family.  But having discussed the matter with Karl and also the police, we thought we could make a more effective point by meeting face to face with the individual concerned. We did that at the Halliwell Jones Stadium, and although it was a difficult experience for all of us, I think we all left the room thinking it had been a worthwhile exercise.”

I think Robert deserves a lot of credit for that action and for his handling of the situation.

We all have a go at officials but I like to think that it is all in the heat of the game and never malicious, but this sort of action is beyond the pale. However, such use of social media is hardly unusual just ask most players many of whom are very careful to not use the medium much at all these days.

It does however open another interesting discussion around the fact that Warrington this season have been a bit edgier with their own use of social media. Their aim, they say, was to  change and raise the image and profile of the club and the Super League competition and to get their own fans and supporters of other Clubs, engaged in the banter that they at times instigate. Great idea, but dangerous stuff as well. I mean just look at the response they got when they belittled us before we played them in Cheshire in the League! If you are going to do such things then it brings a high level of responsibility to make absolutely clear that certain things remain completely unacceptable, and this was very clearly an example of that. I’m not saying that Warrington are to blame, but there has to be a certain duty of care for all Clubs towards their fans so they have to be really careful with the culture they are endeavouring to develop.

As for Robert Hicks well as I say well done to him and let his brave actions be an example to his peers and those who aspire to be referee’s in the future, heaven know the game needs them! My pal Cameron has a burning ambition to be a match official, he’s doing really well and he’s already refereeing games at the ripe old age of 13, (he refereed an under 11’s match just this weekend) but I want him to progress safe in the knowledge that he will always be respected. His decisions will always be questioned by the fans, of course they will, for that is the nature of the beast and you don’t become a referee to win a popularity contest do you?? I’m sure he knows that already but, if we want more people, boys and girls, men and women to want to become match officials, then that’s only going to happen if we change the culture through the game and make it clear that they have to be treated with that respect.

I’m not throwing stones at the Warrington fans either, because we all have a section of idiots in our midst, that I’m afraid is a fact of life these days. In fact, I hold my hands up as a supporter for as I say, I have given refs a fair bit of stick but at the end of the day there is a line and you don’t cross it! We all moan at the ref during the game but there’s absolutely no excuse for threats of this nature. Good stuff Mr Hicks!

So, at long last we finally have the details of a mandatory Reserve League being in place for 2020. I have always said that it’s a massive plus for the game having a structure under the first team competitions that encourages progress and allows players that are developing at different speeds a chance to play within the Club structure on a regular basis. It looks a comprehensive set up too and teams will certainly have to have the depth and means to sustain what will be a long campaign.

As well as all the GB based Super League teams, Newcastle Thunder, Halifax RLFC, Bradford Bulls and Widnes Vikings have all been accepted into the Reserve Grade competition for 2020. Bradford and Widnes both have Category 1 funded Academies while Newcastle and Halifax were recognised for their commitment to maintaining a reserve team and producing academy products. I think they intend to play around 18 games in the season and it’s a great outlet for all the clubs rosters to play games regularly, but also I expect to see emerging talent from the academy, local amateur hopefuls, Rugby Union trialists etc. etc.

Danny Washbrook certainly backed the new set up when he reminisced about the days when he started out in the A team, as he said last week, “I remember playing against Feka (Paleaaesina) at Wigan. He and Amos Roberts absolutely ruined us. But the one who I can’t believe played – as he’s still going now – is Ben Westwood. I remember facing him as a man, when he first went to Warrington from Wakefield. Experiences like that make it good for youngsters coming through. Then, for the older blokes, if they’re not getting game-time or coming back from injury, it’s good for them, too. With every (Super League) team being involved next year I think it will be a massive positive. This year it was a little disappointing for the boys and coaches at Hull, as it was one game here, then weeks off before the next. It was hard.”

I agree with Danny that a structured mandatory reserve set up can only be good for the game, but I do worry a bit about one aspect of the current proposal. We are being told that the current dual-registration and loan systems will remain unaffected by the new Reserve Grade with the academy competition reverting to an Under-18s set-up.

Now that’s all very well, but exactly where are all these players coming from to stock in our case the reserves and Doncaster’s duel registration needs as well? That’s certainly stretching it a bit for us so how will it be for clubs like Salford who are starting from scratch. At least Wakey and us have had a go this year and made a start on building a roster to cope with it. Plus, will a few teams for a quick fix raid the Championship and Division One to the detriment of those competitions?

Both Keighley and Whitehaven had their applications to join refused and RFL interim chief on-field officer Dave Rotheram revealed why the two bids to join were rejected when he said, “We have explained to Keighley Cougars and Whitehaven that their applications fell short in meeting some of the essential criteria including that the proposed supply of players for both clubs would have significantly relied upon recruiting players from the community game”. Quite frankly I don’t think they will be the only ones doing that myself!!

Well I was starting to get a bit concerned about how one or two players in the game were starting to mimic football in appearing to fain injuries to slow things down and even more worried about the number of players that were starting to question the referee’s decisions during games. The latter issue seems to have hit a bit of a nerve with controller of referee’s Steve Ganson. He has urged players, coaches, commentators and fans to take their attention away from the man in the middle. This came in a RFL statement released by Ganson a week after the ugly scenes in Perpignan which saw a mass brawl between Catalans and Warrington players at full-time.

Ganson added that ‘dissent towards match officials will not be tolerated and players will face consequences if it shows no signs of letting up’. In a long statement he referred to the goings on in the last few weeks when he said, “It’s been a challenging couple of weeks for everyone in the match official’s department. One specific example that anyone watching televised fixtures in the last couple of weeks will have noted, is the question of on-field dissent. We’ve seen a worrying trend emerging, where certain players seem to feel it is their right to question, to argue, or in extreme cases to engage in a running battle with match officials. I think it’s important for me to say publicly now, so that supporters are aware as well as players and coaches – dissent towards the match officials will not be tolerated. It’s up to the players – if they choose to do it, they should expect the consequences”.

The thing is of course Mr Ganson you are right and that’s the way that the game has always been conducted, with just Captains entitled to seek clarification, but you also have to accept that at times the officials are pretty naff as well. Of course our officials make mistakes – they are doing a very difficult job, and on occasions they will get it wrong and on occasions I guess it’s acceptable, but sometimes they are just consistantly crap. Look for instance at the Wakey game last week. That was the third time that Mr Liam Moore has refereed us this year and all those games have been against Wakefield. In all of them he has allowed the play the ball to be slowed down to ridiculous levels, there has been laying on, a third man regularly flopping onto the tackle and time wasting a plenty. Plus, he always keeps the skinniest of lines possible for the defending team. That spoils the spectacle and the players can do little against it.

It’s not only the players on the field who have a responsibility to the game, the officials do as well, so although I agree completely that dissent has to be eradicated and players should just get on with it, it will be harder for the Controller of referee’s to stop the paying public from complaining, particularly in games like the one against Wakefield. I don’t know what the answer is, but until it is found I defend my right as a paying supporter to criticise when the balance of decision making tips away from referee’s making genuine mistakes, to them either not carrying out the rules as they are written down, or losing control completely. Both scenarios which I believe I have seen more than once already this season.

So to our Codgers spot and after all the fuss there has been over Ratu as our new ‘wing sensation’ and after that piece last week on Steve Evans I want to talk this week, about a player that I never even saw play. In so doing I also want to honour my old Mum who passed away almost 40 years ago in November 1979 and who was a massive FC fan and influence on me as a youngster, as I recorded in detail in my first book. When other kids were hearing Grimm’s fairy tales and the adventures of Noddy at bedtime, it’s pretty likely young Wilf was receiving a nightly repeat of Mums exploits, as she followed her beloved Hull FC in the post war era. If one name came to the fore in this chats then it would probably have been that of Bruce Ryan, who played just before I was born with his 84 games spanning the three seasons between 1947 and 1950.

My research this week, in old copies of the Hull Daily Mail at the History Centre in Hull, painted a picture of a total athlete who was an Australian sprint Champion, and who as a Rugby League player complimented that amazing pace with a body swerve that was famous throughout the game. His dark hair and film star looks obviously made him an idol with the lady supporters of the day (including apparently my Mum), and in a post war era of austerity he was just the hero that the community was looking for. He was along with George Watt, Duncan Jackson and Ces Fifield, one of several Australians that the Club brought in just after the war to spice up the appeal of the game at the Boulevard, Bruce cost £1750 and is remembered by everyone who saw him play.

Reading Sportman’s Say in the Green Sports Mail, (the letters column back then), it quickly became apparent to me that although a great hero his blasé approach to training and love of a full social life and indeed ‘the local ladies’, saw Bruce probably never reached his full potential. At 5ft 10 inches and weighing just 13 stone he was certainly a big hit with everyone in the West of the City. He was also a genuine flyer, who was reported to have shunned the opportunity to represent Australia at sprinting, when he was been picked for the 1940 Olympics (which were cancelled anyway due to the war). In fact, Bruce held the Australian record for the 100 and 200 yards that same year. His reputation certainly went before him and a crowd of over 4000 stood twenty deep at the barriers and right across the concourse of Paragon Station to greet him when he arrived in Hull. It was the start of a three-year love affair between the fans and Bruce Ryan and those supporters stood on the station on that barmy of August evening’s weren’t to be disappointed.

Bruce scored a walk in effort in his first match, the opening game of the 1947 season, when Hull beat Castleford 27-15 but his famous double swerve came to the fore as he scored the only try in the next game at Dewsbury, and from then on he was a hero. Better was to come with Ryan’s try against the New Zealand Tourists a few weeks later having the whole City talking. The Sports Mail that night displayed the Headline ‘Ryan the Express’ after the winger had run 80 yards and swerved in and out through 7 defenders to score in the corner at the Best Stand/Gordon Street end, in what was then forever to be known at the ground as Ryan’s Corner. It was one of the best tries ever seen at the Boulevard.

That first season Bruce scored 24 tries in 26 appearances and the press had a field day, so much so that the editor of the Hull Daily Mail revealed a few months later that he had received a request from an embarrassed Ryan to ‘tone it down a bit’. But in such austere times everyone likes a hero!! He was without doubt our number one strike player and it’s said that Coach Eddie Caswell always finished his team talks with, ‘Get it to Ryan!’.

Off the field Bruce was a sharp dresser and fashion icon of the times, working as he did at Hector Powe the Tailors in Prospect Street just near where the old Hull Daily Mail buildings were.  My father-in-law Brian tells a great story of how he would be training for Cottingham on a Sunday when Bruce, surrounded by a bevy of his admirers, would turn up to watch from the touchline. Apparently despite wearing a 3 piece Savile Row suit and starched white shirt he would soon have his jacket off and be out on the pitch catching the muddy ball and coaching the Cottingham lads. He was without doubt a real celebrity and a blooming good player, who scored 60 tries in just 84 appearances for Hull FC.

 Despite this, sadly, as is often the case with talented wingers, Ryan consistently seemed to be starved of quality ball and in 1949 the Club signed Roy Francis a pacey centre who they hoped would improve the service to Bruce, however the pair only played one game together. Ryan was injured in that game and by the time he had recovered he had been transferred to Leeds. Although at first they put up with his antics off the field, it seems the play boy image and Bruce’s dislike of training had finally got to the Hull Board. The writing was already on the wall a few weeks earlier when he was suspended for two games after missing the train to a game at Wigan, when he went, ‘To get a haircut’.

However, it is for his try scoring exploits that he’ll forever be remembered and my Mums stories of him haring down the Threepenny Stand side of the ground, holding the ball in one hand above his head, while he sped, swerved and ducked around ‘would be’ tacklers, still paints a vivid picture in my imagination. As I never saw him play, my mums recollections, passed on to me as child ‘at her knee’ were the next best thing! Although from time to time as a club we have always been plagued with players who thought they were celebrities, the difference here is that in Bruce’s case, at a time of post war doom and gloom and a hard life for many, there is little doubt that he was one. Those who saw him play were indeed privileged and it’s a pity that the sanitised state of the modern game seems to deem that these sorts of personalities and stars are no more ….more’s the pity, I think!

Now my piece on Steve Evans last week was certainly enjoyed by some of you and as usual it generated plenty of stories. One of my favourites came from my pal Kathy who back in the 80’s worked in the lottery office. Back then the Threepenny Stand was under threat as the great gates we were getting were threatening the capacity at the Boulevard and so the Board were looking to improve facilities with a new stand at that side of the ground. That really worried the fans and protests were a regular occurrence. Kathy said, “I enjoyed your little thing on Steve Evans. I don’t know if you remember but a bit of fund raising was started by fans to help save the Threepenny Stand. There were all sorts of schemes but one of the things we did was encourage the supporters to bring their old newspaper etc. And then they were collected by East Riding Sack company and they gave us money back, towards the save the stand fund. That was Steve Evans’ idea!! He came up with it and perhaps it was the start of recycling as we know it today?? It always amused me to see the little old men turning up every match day with carrier bags of news-papers. I dare not tell you where the paper was stored before it was collected, suffice to say one hoped nobody dropped a lighted fag on Carrington Street!!”.

Ha, ha, Brilliant stuff that Kathy!

My quote of the week has to go to Lee Radford for if the dog biting incident wasn’t funny enough, his response about how he managed to catch the dog was hilarious when he said, “I was saving a dog, they’re all calling me the dog whisperer outside. It got ran over outside of here yesterday so I chased it down County Road and then I got out of breath so I pinched a young kids bike caught the dog and it bit me”. That last bit made me laugh out loud, however I’m told that our coach is fine now after the bite, but the dog is struggling!!

So what a let-down that game on Saturday was! The truth is that if we hadn’t had a decent away record we would be down there with the dismal Dobbins. And playing in a brilliant stadium such as ours makes that home record a real disaster. I was so infuriated afterwards and sat here writing this I might be a bit harsh and a bit caustic, but I really do feel let down. As I always say it gives me no pleasure to be what I think is honest in such situations, but I have to tell it as I see it otherwise there is no point in doing it at all. If any of you feel that to say we were pretty inept on Saturday, is harsh then I apologise, but I write this as always straight after the game and straight from the heart and I’m just frustrated and saddened. I should know better after 60 years, but I don’t! All I can say is thank heavens we are not playing at Wembley next week!!

Thanks as always for your support and although by now I’m sure a few of you have given up on this week’s drivel, for those who haven’t thanks for staying with me throughout another edition. The Diary will be back next week when at least I can guarantee you I won’t be reporting on another defeat!! I’ll speak to you all again then!!

Keep your chin up!

Faithfully Yours

Wilf