The Dentist’s Diary – 645th

Win and Were in!!!

Thus came the battle cry from Lee last week as we approached the biggest game of our league campaign in what was, he said, the biggest challenge of his coaching career!

A strange sort of start? Well, I left that headline in, for I picked it before the game when I was sure that this time the team would get the importance of the fixture and the real FC would emerge and do us proud.

We said all the right things beforehand and as fans we all knew that if we could just play as we did against Warrington in that semi, then we would have a good chance. Instead we witnessed a game where the West Riding team out-enthused us throughout; whilst our heroes simply collapsed to slip out of the five for the first time since April.

The effort might well be there, I won’t call that, but the attitude is all wrong and for me, it smacks of disinterest and a lack of caring. I now believe from being in the running for second place three games ago, the season is over. With results going against us and our fate now out of our hands anyway, it will take a miracle next week to get us anything but another scalping and despite everything that has been said, we seem to have learned nothing from the end of last season and it’s Groundhog Day for all us fans once again!

As the final hooter went I was heartbroken and bloody fuming in equal parts, for there was little to be positive about and for me the departing Mini and Manu, after all they had done for us, deserved better! That said the feeling of helplessness and the futility of it all doesn’t eat away at me for days anymore, as perhaps it should, for I’m becoming ambivalent to it all, but more of that later. 

That said, how could anyone who truly loves Hull FC be anything but inconsolable at the end of that game? Even after a couple of hours struggling with this edition of the Diary, I couldn’t sleep, I was just so chewed up and upset. Cas. simply had more energy, more drive and more wanting than us. They swarmed all over us from the off and we were easily knocked out of our stride to lose our way completely. Since that Challenge Cup semi-final reversal, we have been unable to match the oppositions appetite for the fight and our execution and option taking has been woeful.

It’s been like this for too long now, and its bloody heart-breaking to see the indecision that reigns in our line and the lack of enthusiasm that often prevails in defence. It was a night for leaders, yet those that should have led us, couldn’t!

 Sneyd was pretty ineffective, Houghton tackled everything but got tied in knots at times, Shaul was quiet again and the only exception in our spine was Kelly, who had a real go. Ellis gave his absolute all and tackled himself to a standstill in the second half, but little of that rubbed off on the rest. I’m not buying any of the stuff about too many players leaving at the end of the season influencing our performances, because for me, it’s been some of those who are not leaving that are showing the worst signs of intransience.

We hadn’t done much of late to inspire much hope in the supporters. It was therefore not surprising that like many others I still, deep down, feared the worst, but of course, once the whistle went I was 100% behind our boys, (always have been and always will be), but again sadly the players’ commitment was not to match mine and that of the thousands of other FC fans watching at Cas. and at home on TV.   

I’m sure that Lee Radford and the players were more than aware of the magnitude of the task in hand. Scott Taylor certainly came out with a stirring call to arms on Tuesday in the Mail and indeed in general I thought the ‘noises off’ from players and Coach’s alike, were pretty positive and that’s usually a good sign, but Cas. were desperate and we were unpredictable and that combination was to make it a big ask!

In the bigger picture as well there was a need to do something to try and bring some faith back to all those disenchanted season ticket holders who had sat through the last two home games and who were about to be approached by the club to renew for 2020.   

If some sort of positive impact on potential future customers was to be made, it had to be done quickly and preferably on TV, as both time and games were running out. So, for Hull FC, there was a lot more than our progression into the play offs hanging on this result! Of course the performance we produced for those cameras was laid bare for all to see and will doubtless now have completely the opposite effect. The thing was with all our big guns back in the side, you would have thought that we had given ourselves the best possible chance of success and for the players as well, the prospect of having to beat Saints next week and then hope, can’t have been a pleasant one at all. 

None the less Cas. were even more in the last chance saloon than we were and to do them we would have to turn over a West Riding team that had themselves failed to impress much this season, but who have always been hard to beat at home. Lee said it was the biggest league game he had coached and I wanted to be so loyal to him at that point in the proceedings but, if I’m honest on that score, after the last two games, I was in my head posing the question “Well, haven’t you brought the significance of this difficult game upon yourselves anyway, with those two defeats?”

But, we’d got ourselves into this invidious position and now the pressure was on us all, the fans, the players and the coaching staff to get us out of it! Those in attendance would have to do their bit, but man the pressure was on, because we just had to win. I remember thinking at about a quarter past seven, “If some heads are not ‘right’ for this one”, then they never will be!’  

Lee was certainly animated on Thursday morning when he said, “It’s best foot forward, let’s not dwell on being out of form, let’s not dwell on not being at it for the past month, let’s get the job done”. No doubt he had done his best to make sure his enthusiasm and wanting rubbed off on his wards. But would they listen????? (apparently not)

Faraimo was dropped and after his recent positional mishaps perhaps that was understandably, but against a team who have only conceded 10 points in their last three games we would need all the attacking edge we could get. However, with Kelly, Mini, Griffin and Ratu back we looked better balanced across the field.

At first it was set for set, but then a breakout from Watts sent Rankin away and as we tried to regroup our line defence we were pulled out of position and Blair stretched out to score. Then, before we could catch our breath we conceded again when Albo and Manu bought a dummy and the mercurial Trueman, waltzed in with some ease. It’s an oft used phrase, but to me, even at that early stage, they just looked as if they wanted it more than we did.

We needed a response and Ratu almost got it, but after a blistering run he was forced into touch as the opposition swarmed into every tackle and left us few options. We watched on as Trueman then shot through our line untouched to score, as Cas simply ripped us apart. We had started ponderously and couldn’t handle Cas’s pressure at all and our offence just carted the ball in, whilst the West Yorkshire outfit fought and battled and bested us at every play. An Ellis penalty stretched it to 20 points and they were out of sight already. Failing to get to the half way line in just about every set we were stifled in everything we did, as the Tigers fizzed and buzzed around the tackle and we just couldn’t get away at all.

We had to get in their 10 sometime and the first time we went down the field on the back of a penalty, we scored when Kelly gave Matongo a short ball and he was in under the sticks. Why he has been omitted from the team just lately I don’t know because from his introduction he certainly made a difference, as did Satae who almost scored the next time we got down field but he was held up. He’s going to be good and made more yards with the ball than most.

As the hooter went we were trailing 20-6 and already out of it, as after 30 minutes of poor, poor play we had seen just ten minutes when we actually got into the arm wrestle and into their half; only to squander our chances. One thing was for sure, we had to score first in the second half to have any sort of chance at all. 

Within a minute Matongo had lost the ball and we had conceded!! It was 26-6 and we were back where we were on the back of yet another mistake. It was just atrocious stuff, as Sneyd put the kick off straight out. Back they came from the penalty at half way to score again, but luckily the video referee ruled it out and at last gave us something to cheer about, in what was becoming a cheerless night. We got the ball back but Houghton immediately knocked on as the nightmare continued. Our end of sets where throughout, jumbled and disorganised. We were devoid of ideas and after we had a short spell on their line Rankin, broke from a loose ball and Shaul was sent to the sin bin for holding him down.

With the game lost and us down to 12 men we seemed to be at last putting the effort in, as Ellis tackled like a man possessed but a great position was lost when a slipped pass from Sneyd was dropped and although a great tackle from Kelly got us the ball back we immediately dropped it again!!

Then we saw a bit of magic as Tumavive stopped a kick through with his foot, acrobatically caught the ball and released Logan, who went 80 yards to score a great try. Kelly was trying everything he knew and we were at last battling, but too far behind and anyway our end of sets were still poor. Indeed on one occasion Ellis ended up with the ball on the sixth and had to kick downfield. It was chaos. Ellis and Minichiello were trying hard in defence, but we were all over the place and time was running out. We gave a penalty away under our own sticks and at the end of the next set James Clare walked in at the corner and that was that.  Rankin got another and Cook yet another and surprise, surprise Connor got ten minutes for abusing the referee to cap the night off.

Players were arguing with each other already and after his dismissal Mini was furious with Connor, whose attitude is just all wrong, he thinks he’s above it all, or at least appears to think he is!! His attitude and body language is just all wrong. He is a talented bloke and some coaches would temper his attitude and petulance and magnify his ability, but lately the latter has receded and he just looks like a petulant school boy at times. 

It was a thoroughly depressing showing and by the end I was frankly numb. There is no other way of describing how I was hurting really, for I just felt let down. I have been around long enough to know when we have been valiantly defeated, or even short-handed, or out skilled; I can recognise that and accept it, however this was different, this was a team full of first choice players who resembled a group of strangers at times and it was hard to watch my team performing like that! I can’t talk about it anymore, for it was a disaster and yet strangely deep down, what I expected all along. It’s hard to say, but for me some of those players should have a long hard look at themselves whilst one or two should just be ashamed.  

So to other things and this week at home it got a bit interesting too. Last Monday evening, just as I was getting over the disappointment of that Huddersfield debacle, we received a call from Brad Fash as part of the club’s latest initiative to ‘Thank the fans for their support this year’. I felt a bit for him, because I thought it must have been a hard one to do. I had a good chat with our young prop, but when he asked me how I felt about things this season, it was hard not to tell him the truth. After I had outlined how tough going witnessing the recent decline was for all of us out there on the terraces, he commented. “Well, I don’t think we are in a bad place at present”.

I suppose I was a little aghast with that bit and I had a go at explaining how we felt and how that really wasn’t the case as far as I was concerned and from my angle we might possibly be in ‘something’, but it wasn’t a good state! It was unfair to say much more as I realised that others he’d be calling would be giving him far more of a rough ride than I was and we had a good laugh together. It was a brave thing for Brad to do and strange timing, unless it was a penance, or an attempt to make the players realise how much we are all hurting, anyway as I say I was quite honest and he was quite …brave!!!  Nice bloke Brad!

Of course, although Brad denied it with a laugh, the call was all part of the build up to our launch of next seasons season tickets, for which the club apparently have high hopes. At the last fans get together at the Stadium, I’m told James Clark indicated to those in attendance that the Club had set a target of a record 10,000 season tickets for 2020, predominantly on the back of those exciting new signings.

However, you have to ask how that will be possible, with those recent home performances still in the minds of the upset and downhearted fans. Yeh, we go really well away, usually, but that’s not where the majority of the fans watch the team. When you look back we have won just 17 games in our last 40 at the KCom and Martin Lewis would struggle to sell that one even to us lot in the ‘any kinda weather brigade’, never mind to the intenders who come from time to time and might upgrade to a pass next year, if they feel it is worth it.

Our home form is affected us all, with, after Castleford, some real stalwarts even considering their investment for next season. It’s not a cheap past time and if I’m really honest with you all, even I’ve recently transferred to direct debit for the first time. Not just because as the sales pitch tells us, its easy, its manageable and it just happens every month, but more importantly for me, because if I feel as I do at present, then I won’t be faced with considering whether it’s economically realistic for me to shell out £500 in cash in November, to watch what might just be more of the same next year. Now I just pitch in every month and look happy!!!!

Still, the fact we have won just 5 of 13 at the KCom this season doesn’t seem to worry Lee, as only last week he stated that winning was most important and it doesn’t really matter whether its home or away. Of course his assertion was completely rugby based and certainly not coming from a commercial angle, because if it doesn’t worry him, you can bet your boots those turgid home showings will be worrying Adam and James Clark!!

When asked about this very thing by my pal in the Mail’s FC  Question and Answer last week, new FC correspondent William Jackson didn’t think it would matter, ‘as gates have held up well this season’; but for me that’s just naïve. People invested in faith back in November 2018 and in addition that average has only been gained on the back of some clever marketing, ‘Kids for a fiver’ and discounting and William obviously doesn’t really appreciate the despairing dynamic of the fans currently sat fretting and fuming on the terraces. That’s why the Castleford game on TV should have been such an important marketing tool for the 2020 sales pitch. It’s going to be what the marketing boys call ‘a bit of a hard sell’ next season.  

Now, I was thinking this week about the difference between the current FC team’s performances (and their up and down nature) compared with those of 2017. Last week in an article I read, that a luminary of the media, wrestling to explain what we have seen this year and indeed last, identified the fact that the current team isn’t that different to that of 2017, personnel wise. Shaul, Griffin, Carlos, Sneydy, Albo, Connor, Houghton Bowden Taylor, Ellis, Mini, Paea, Manu and Westerman, although all a bit older, were none the less still featuring, yet they have not performed that well consistently since then at all. So what I thought, has changed?  I guess the only thing that hasn’t been cited is the fact that in 2016/2017 Gareth Ellis was captain he retired and we have since had Danny Houghton in that role.

What got me thinking about this was the way that things have changed drastically over the last two seasons. In those great years we had a never say die attitude, but if you manage to watch the game on Thursday back again (if you can pallet it) just notice how the Captain, Vice-captain and many of the senior player’s heads go down after we go 12 points behind. Mini, Manu and Ellis are still animated, but the rest appear reticent to our demise and even look to be feeling sorry for themselves. At times like that someone should be getting all the teams heads up to fight for the cause!! 

I have often used in here a conversation I had with Kirk Yeaman years ago about Gareth when he said. “When you walk out behind him you feel just that bit stronger and a foot taller” which stuck with me, for although Danny leads by example in a brilliant way, Gareth not only did that, but it seemed that everything rotated around him both on and off the field. As a captain he was a great leader as well, and although some would say one goes with the other, I’m not so sure every captain makes a good leader and every leader makes for a good captain.

In those two great seasons Gareth had all the limelight and perhaps our more consistent form was down in some part to his presence as skipper. Danny is the best Club man we have, I know him well and that’s a fact and no one is more passionate for the FC to succeed and he will be beating himself up big time about where we are as a team. None the less when you look at the difference in performances from 2017 to now, little else has changed at all. It’s certainly food for thought I think.

Still on our wish as fans to see the Club back where we were on the field at the end of the 2017 season and it seems that most of us think that one of the issues is the fact that we have been decidedly clunky in attack of late. That has raised the old issue of the need for an attacking Coach at the club. The Mail took up that theme this week and asked the Club if an addition to the coaching staff was on the cards. Some fans have certainly called for it, but the Mail stated that, “Hull will not be looking to add an attacking coach to their backroom staff, a fact we have had clarified by the club today. Radford is confident that when his strike players are fit and available, FC have enough to compete with any side in the division”. Well on Thursday with a full complement out there, it didn’t look much like that to me! 

That is all a bit strange really, when only about two years ago Brett Hodgson was all signed up to do just that, but gave back word when he received a chance to go back home to Australia for a similar position with Wests Tigers. It was in our minds then, but it isn’t now? Well for me that’s disappointing really because I don’t think as a team despite the tries and points we score we are exciting to watch. Our attack is pretty one dimensional often relying to end our sets with a high kick to the corner and looking devoid of ideas to do anything else. I think we should bring in an assistant not just for that reason, but because in time any management team in any walk of life tends to get stale. What I mean by that is that as I often comment about the players being all mates together, it could also be a bit cosy within our coaching ranks as well. What do you think?

I love Yeamo, Radders Horney and Lasty to bits and there is always a place for them in the ranks of the coaching set up for me, but some new blood, with new ideas, new thinking and most of all with an outside eye wouldn’t go amiss. When you are a manager, in whatever lie of business you’re in you are always conscious of getting the balance right between in house promotion and bringing in new blood from outside. One gives continuity and sees everyone settled and getting on, whilst the other might ruffle a few feathers but does ensure the status quo is challenge and new ideas are voiced. Just my thoughts of course, but for me attacking wise particularly of late at home, we look devoid of new ideas and a bit of new talent on board might just be what we want.     

On Tuesday the news broke that, despite some disappointing displays for their club side Hull FC trio Scott Taylor, Jake Connor and Jamie Shaul, had been included in the 29-man Great Britain Performance set up. All three have been involved in the England squad this season and it seems despite our pretty poor form of late, they have done enough to receive Great Britain recognition.

In addition, they will be joined in the train on squad by Josh Jones, for his first international call-up as a result of his fine form for Salford Red Devils. He is of course is linking up with FC next season, but quite frankly, Jones’ call up is very deserved indeed and I get Taylor’s inclusion as well, but I feel that both Connor and Shaul are a tad fortunate to still be in there because, for me, their form has been decidedly scratchy of late. Perhaps both would have benefited from a bit of time off and a full pre-season, because invariably after international call up players always turn up late for the start of proceeding in November.  

Now he might be leaving the Club this closed season and I haven’t seen him enough to pass comment on whether that is the right decision, but Levy Nzoungou will stay in my memory for a long time after that selfless act of charity that we heard about last week. He spotted a homeless man at the road side as he drove around the city and then jumped out of his car to hand him a jacket and was delighted to find he was still wearing it when he returned to check up on him the next day.

Describing how he came to meet the homeless man, Levy said: “Everyone was typically walking past him and ignoring whilst shopping. I step out of car, grabbed a jacket that I had in the boot of my car, went over and gave it to him. I honestly couldn’t believe how happy it made the guy. So, this morning after training, I went back again to give him some more clothes and shoes. He was actually wearing my jacket. I went and sat with him for a while, he told me his life story and it was very painful for me to hear. If you’ve got some clothes you don’t wear please give them to the homeless or people in need, who sleep on the street”. 

Fine words indeed and I had to include that interlude from this week because for me that’s top stuff from a really considerate guy and just shows that you might not quite be a massive star in the team, but that doesn’t stop you sparkling and shining in life! Well done Levy.

Much is made these days on the importance of half backs but few in the modern game can be called real ‘generals’, as one or two standout players were referred to back in the day. This week, in Codgers Corner I want to look at a game that a real diminutive general starred in back in March 1980, when we were building a great team under Coach Arthur Bunting. Back then we were just completing a hectic ten-day period, brought on by the bad winter weather, in which we had played four games (including away at Saints and Bradford), which were to reap a reward of 8 points. On 23rd March that year the visitors to the Boulevard were a Workington Town team who were fighting desperately against relegation and who were famous for their massive pack of forwards. We made seven changes and had Knocker Norton, Charlie Stone, Paul Woods, John Newlove, Ronnie Wileman and Trevor Skerrett on the side lines either rested or suffering from injuries, it was our second game in three days and several ‘A’ teamer’s were drafted in by Arthur Bunting to fill the breach, including evergreen Keith Hepworth, who, at 38 was a real General and to be our leader that night.

Coming up the following Saturday we had that famous Cup semi-final against Widnes at Swinton and the physio staff were busy behind the scenes patching up players ready for what was to be a game with historical implications for our club. Workington were struggling in a season that featured a player’s strike over pay, but now they were playing well and had won three of their last five games.

From the off it was clear that the Cumbrians had come to the Boulevard to slug it out, with their massive Props, Beverley and Hurst featuring heavily in the first few sets. Billy and Bobby the Pattison brothers, who made up the visitors second row, combined well in the seventh minute, and George Robinson (at full back in place of Paul Woods), pulled off a great tackle to just hold Billy short of the line. However, Lazenby was then penalized for a foot in at a play the ball and using the wind to his advantage, Lyn Hopkins put the Cumbrians ahead 2-0.

From the re-start, the big visiting forwards made good progress down field before we got the ball back and great play on the left from Walters saw him take three defenders out before popping the ball out for Graham Bray to scoot in for our opening try. In fact, after 14 minutes the winger almost repeated the score after some fine work from Captain Vince Farrar had sent him off on a forty yard run to the line, only for the play to be brought back for a forward pass.

At 3-2 up the FC were going well, with much of our good work down to the excellent service our backs were getting from Keith Hepworth. Heppy was everywhere, belying his years by first taking the ball left and then right, and mixing scoots with both short and long cut out passes. He was a master of the short kick in the muddy conditions and from the scrums at times the Workington half back pairing of O’Loughlin and Lauder simply couldn’t handle him at all.

The visitors decided to solve the problem ‘scientifically’ as Harry Beverley swung a massive punch towards our pivot in a standing tackle which Heppy ducked away from just in time, only for Towns Hurst to go down like a sack of potatoes as his team mates fist connected with his jaw; The Threepennies loved that.

After 25 minutes we went further ahead as Alan Varty was penalized for jumping on Keith Tindall’s arm whilst he was on the floor. From the penalty we resumed play around 40 yards out from the visitor’s line and great hands from Lazenby, Boxall and Dennison saw the latter, our GB colts international, held up just short. From the play the ball Heppy again wove his magic sending out a dummy one way then the other, before going himself. He fed loose forward Charlie Birdsall who crashed over under the posts which in turn sent referee Stan Wall stumbling to the floors as Charlie took the official who was too close to the play, over the line with him. Dennison converted to make it 8-2.

Workington pressed in the last few minutes of the half and for the first time seemed to gain some advantage from the strong wind that was at their backs, but all they got for their trouble was a converted penalty by Hopkins after a high tackle by Evans and as half time arrived we were leading 8-4.

Kicking off the second half with the wind behind us we took the game straight into the Workington 25 and more great work from Hepworth saw him involved 9 times in the first two sets. In the pack stand in hooker Crowther was shoveling the ball out against the head, probably because Workington’s number 9 Banks had left the field in the first half with a suspected broken arm after a crash tackle form Farrer and Birdsall. The pressure of possession soon told and we were awarded a penalty this time for off side, which Dennison dispatched to make it 10-4.

It was now all Hull, as Heppy pulled the strings as Dennison came more and more into the game as a foil. As the rain started to pour down and many of the 10,000 plus gate ran for cover in the well we pressed the line. Bray evaded two tackles and was just caught inches short by Full Back and Workington ‘Man of the Match’ Charlton. He then got to his feet played the ball to Boxall who turned a full 180 degrees before selecting Tindall from four ‘dummy’ runners and Keith crashed in for our third and decisive try. With the wind now at his back Dennison landed a great touch line conversion and with the score board showing 15-4, and the rain continuing to make conditions difficult, it was all but over. Two more Dennison penalties brought 4 more points as we put the game to bed.

But, Hepworth was loving it as he continued to taunt the Cumbrians and seconds after he had been named man of the match, he finished them off. A scrum near the Workington 25 was again heeled against the head by Crowther, and taking it from the back rower’s feet Heppy shot around the blind side, George Robinson made the extra man and a brilliantly timed pass out of the tackle saw our full back stroll in at the corner. Despite the visitor’s claims for a forward pass, Referee Stan Wall awarded the try, and that was that. Well almost!

Stand in Cumbrian Hooker Varty had by this time had enough of the abuse he was getting from a section of the crowd at the Gordon Street end of the Threepennies. It came about because they had spotted some petulant behavior after his constant challenging of the referee’s decisions and as he walked back to the try line, to great jeers, he tore off his scrum cap and threw it at the crowd. However, the game was up, it was another win and another cracking conversion from the touch line from Steve Dennison left the final score 24-4.

We all cheered the lads off the field, although the nerves were starting to build ahead of that Widnes semi-final at Station Road the following Saturday. In fact, a fantastic performance against Workington by stand in George Robinson at full back was to see him receive a late call up to play in that game, as well. As for Hepworth, well he disappeared into the background again until the next time he was called upon to lead us around the park in a time of crisis. Great player and great times eh?

Well, I guess you realise that I was unbelievably disappointed after that game on Thursday and after all these years it just makes me wonder how much longer I need the stress and hassle of being so disappointed at the end of a season. Even the two campaigns when we won at Wembley saw us trail off a bit when we attempted to go for the Grand Final, other teams raise their games at such times, whilst we simply don’t. Last year, we were told, it was all down to injuries, this year, for me, it’s down to too many players who can’t be bothered when the heat is on, or so it appears anyway!  

Perhaps as I always maintain it is all too comfortable because at this time of the season you can visibly see a difference between the Castleford’s, London’s, Rovers and Huddersfield’s of this world and us lot. At the FC Lee is secure in his job and readily refutes the beliefs of many of us who believe he needs to bring in some fresh blood to the coaching group. His tenure makes the players feel secure and perhaps that’s why too many of them are not playing to their full potential, whilst all of them seem to lack the intensity to play at a level needed for knock-out rugby.

I’ll go on Friday to give some support to Manu and Mini who have been great servants, always given their all and always played for the badge. It looks at times as if they are a dying breed at Hull FC, but they deserve a cheer and a good send off, however I don’t hold out much hope for us lot against Saints do you?

What’s more were the miracle to occur and we get two points and even get into the five, how far do you honestly think this group of players will get us? They had a second place finish in their hands and they dropped it not once, but twice and now after Thursday we are out of the five.  All the talk, all this year has been about accruing the points and being ready at the business end of the season. We have accrued those points, thank goodness, but once safe from relegation we have slipped badly. Some of the defeats we have suffered along the way and the manner of those defeats certainly put the writing on the wall for what has now happened.

I’m sorry but I just can’t find any positives this week at all and I save my last comments for those of you who have got all the way through this rubbish again and who are therefore dedicated to devouring anything connected to the club you love. For all of you, I’ll try and describe how I feel some ten hours after the game has finished.

Over the years I have certainly been more disappointed and much more angrier, more reactionary and even more despondent about our demise than I am at present. I had a look back at my second book to see how besides myself, bereft and down-right agitated I was in the days of Len Casey and David Lloyd and remember well how I felt when Agar was here, but were our demise ever to be that bad again, I doubt I would be the same anymore.

You see I seem to be suffering from a feeling of inertia, an ambivalence to our current woes and a sort of acceptance of what is happening. I guess these last two seasons have worn me down and after the ecstasy of Wembley, I’m just not that animated any more. I’ll always go, my switching to direct debit has sort of ensured against my dropping out, but I guess I’m almost at present, just going out of a sense of duty and so it’s hard to not concede that some of the passion is waning a bit. I wonder if any of you reading this feel the same? I guess in a nut shell it’s a case of if they can’t be bothered, why should I be?

That said I’ll always be black and white simply because at my age I can’t be anything else! I get upset, because I care, but I’ll never turn my back on my team, although it does wear a bit thin at times, doesn’t it? Thanks for all your support, I’ll be there on Friday, heaven knows what we’ll witness, but with Seke and Mini going it is the end of an era, although as someone was reported to have said as they left The Jungle early on Thursday, “I’ll miss those two, it’s just a pity they can’t take one or two more with them!!”

Try to Keep Believing!

At least we all had a laugh on Friday night!

Faithfully Yours Wilf