Oh Dear, don’t you just love Derby’s?
Well you all know I certainly don’t!! But I quite enjoyed the game, even when we were behind and although it was a bit stop start at times, unlike the FC performances in past pre-season derbies, we really wanted this one and that was a massive plus. After what Radford said about him and the players understanding how vital these games are to the fans, I still had some doubts, but this was the proof of the pudding as most passed that test with flying colours.
It’s only very early days, but these are games that I always want to win, so it was job done and there is little doubt that as pre season games go, like them or not, it’s the most intense hit out you can have! In whatever shape they come Derby’s are important to the fans, so afterwards it was good to hear Radford saying the win was important to him as well. It’s only the start, but writing this, as we drive through the long faced red and white as they trudge home down Argyle Street; that’ll do for me and after two disappointing displays, we seem to be back on track for the opening game.
However on the downside, do you remember in the good old days and the brilliant build up there was to the Boxing Day and Good Friday spectacles, how we all looked forward to them and talked them up for weeks, before packing both grounds to the limit? Well for me, despite a distinct increase in the antagonism and perhaps even hatred, that unique and very special rivalry has now been devalued, with the two ‘manufactured’ Derby’s (pre-season and Magic) taking away the impact and splendour of those iconic league occasions. Still, we’ll all take a win against them lot and the performance in an entertaining game was far better than we have seen thus far this year and that alone was a big relief.
Firstly let me say I loved that victory, pre season games are meaningless, unless they are against Rovers and then, however we try and dress it up, in the end only a win will do!
I was greeted with yet another dismal morning on Sunday as the rain poured down and I fretted on how we would play in the conditions, while pondering the thought of getting soaked at another ‘contrived and unnecessary’ Derby.
I had considered in the week past how these pre-season events only transpire these days to do two things; make loads of dosh for the two owners and heap heartache and despair on one set of fans. Initially there is little doubt that the others relish the victory before in the cold light of day, they conclude that it’s a meaningless exercise made all the more frustrating if you get any injuries. However as I say even when we were behind it was, for a change, a pretty enjoyable game, and both Clubs had spells when they had their youngsters out against the other side’s senior players. We struggled in the first half when Rovers bombed their chances and then benefitted in the second when we took ours! It might have been meaningless, but it’s always great to hear the Rovers fans on the radio afterwards frustrated, whining and looking for excuses.
As Mrs R drives home, having the lap-top with me in the car once again offers me the opportunity to put down my thoughts before my judgement is coloured by what other people say. So here goes;
My initial thoughts are that yes we dropped ball and the pitch was slippery but we did a lot right in difficult conditions, particularly when you compare our performance last week to this one. In Jordan Rankin we seem to have found someone who is an organiser with a good kicking game and a great sidestep. He certainly talked and organised all the way through the time he was on and that was good to see. He actually looks to be a bit of a leader. Ben Crooks is still a real predator and only needs a sniff; both his tries were typical smash and grab scores and I also feel that Talanoa is going to be a really exciting acquisition, because he looked very aware and a real handful, particularly when you consider that he has only been in the country a week. “Not bad for a bin man” said Lee Radford afterwards!
Yeamo too looked rejuvenated, running hard, defending well and pulling off a great out of the line crash tackle late on, he had a spring in his step and looked to be on his way back to some form. Micky Paea was immense in the front row and Watts did well too, while Feke continued to impress, before he was withdrawn after pulling something in his groin. Best for me though was Gareth Ellis who I thought had a massive game driving the ball in well, playing like a man possessed and running free like we only rarely saw him last year. Lineham improved but still ran too much across the line for me, but Miller hasn’t really cut it at all yet in the three games I have seen him play and that’s a worry. He threw one brilliant pass, but Horney again showed that it’s likely to be him and Rankin that start the season, although whether they are too alike in their playing styles only time will tell. Incidentally Horney pulled off a fabulous tackle on Ben Cockaigne by the corner flag to stop the Rovers winger scoring early on. It was a magnificent effort. As for Jamie Shaul at the back, well there is little doubt for me that he is going to be a great player, he ran the ball really well and one take with a wringing wet ball, under pressure on our 20 meter line, was simply brilliant.
Westerman looked a bit uncomfortable at times and I can see how some sat around me were disappointed in him, but he looked to be playing in a much more creative, down the middle, traditional loose forward role. The Tyson-Wilsons, who both did well and Bowden continues to impress and for me the latter could be working his way into a bench spot for our opener, he’s one tough hombre,. Whiting too made some good breaks and looked good in tandem with Ellis. On the wing, young Stark (who only looks about 14) did really well and would not be bullied, although I have to say that Danny Houghton who laid on two tries with brilliant short balls, produced some passes that were decidedly wayward and looked, (what he was), a bit rusty on his first outing of the season.
Serendipity always plays a big part in Derby’s, so we should have expected karma to came to the fore again, and it did because if anyone was going to score, then it was going to Micky Paea, on a crash through their line, under the posts and right in the faces of the Dobbins fans. The laugh he gave out as he walked back to the kick off and as the chants of “One Micky Paea, there’s only one…” rang around the Stadium, will be a long remembered moment. He looked good and will be a big hero.
Both sets of supporters gave, (particularly to the antipodeans arrivals of both teams) a taste of what is to come from the best two sets of supporters in the League, however for me certain sections of both fan bases let themselves down a bit again. I cite particularly our lot, for the section of FC fans who produced some dubious chants about Gregg Eden and the Dobbins fraternity for the idiots who let a off a red smoke bomb during the second half!
‘FC Reject, FC Reject!” Hall was always trying to get things going and certainly succeeded with the fans.
Still it was job done, first blood to us and a chance to smirk at a few Rovers fans on the way out of the ground; on a wet January afternoon you simply can’t beat that can you? I enjoyed our third Derby victory on the bounce and when I heard some opposing fans complaining on Humberside about Jamie Shaul celebrating in front of them it finished things off nicely. Have they got short memories or what? I well remember last year in the same fixture when you would have thought they had won at Wembley!
But if I’m perfectly honest, now the dust has settled a bit, I still don’t like Derby’s! I tolerate them as a necessary evil during the normal season, dislike them at the ‘contrived’ Magic weekend and simply detest them as ‘Friendlies’! The latter simply because it’s the classic paradox because there’s never anything friendly at all about playing Rovers! If in the past some coaches have approached it as a necessary warm up game and a step towards the season, on the terraces it is seldom anything but all out war, but even that edge is fading somewhat as we just play each other too often these days.
With the announcement of the Magic Weekend fixtures this year we will again be playing them at least 4 times; doesn’t anyone realise that once the warm glow of stuffing the other ‘Dicks’ has passed, at both sides of the City many supporters are sick to death of us meeting each other. If that’s not bad enough, something has to be done next season, because with the Magic weekend continuing and both teams having top 8 aspirations, we could end up (if those hopes are fulfilled) playing Rover 5 times, excluding a possible clash in the Challenge Cup. We’ll be in effect playing Rovers on an average of once every 7 games and that for me and thousands of fans at both sides of the river is just overkill! Still on this occasion we take a meaningless win, enjoy the moment and move on!! Good stuff!
So to the week gone by and last Wednesday, when there were 420 people in the Kingston Suite to greet the panel for the latest fans forum to be staged by FC Voices. The free pie’s on offer on arrival went down well and it was a really entertaining night, with plenty of questions from the floor and great performances from Aaron Heramaia and the new ‘darling’ of the fans Jordan Rankin.
It never ceases to amaze me how well the young Aussie players speak in public and JR was no exception as he had everyone amused with his quips about the game and his obvious sincerity towards his new challenge. His use of profanities as very effective adjectives was hilarious and in fear of OFCOM intervening, it was suggested to me afterwards that the next forum should be broadcast after the 9-00pm watershed and be entitled, ‘A Gentlemen’s Evening with Jordan Rankin’.
When challenged about whether he wished he had got more of a break in the NRL, he said much of that was because he didn’t get on with his Coach over there and anyway he ‘Didn’t give two Sh8ts about the NRL’; he was he said, “Here to do a job”. As for Aaron he was his usual entertaining laid back self and it was interesting to hear a throw away comment about him currently being in negotiations to extend his contract. He emphasises how settled his wife and family are here, which is a tad strange, because it was only 8 months ago that he was re-signing for one more year before ‘definitely’ returning home. I really admire him and I’d snap his hand off because he’s always a 100%er for me, so let’s hope he does stay with us a couple more years, because working in tandem with Danny Houghton we have a great partnership that certainly complement each other.
It was at times a predictable evening, but when you look beyond the words there was some interesting insight into what is happening and in fairness once again Lee Radford really impressed me. As for Adam, well there was some very intriguing stuff about the parlous state of the SMC accounts to which Adam Pearson commented, as far as Assam Allam was concerned, “Don’t worry I’m watching him, I ran the SMC for 7 years and every year it made a profit now its losing money hand over fist, but there might be some accountancy issues there”. Bad news surrounded season ticket sales, which it was reported had sunk by 900 this time around to 7300. I had been led to believe that the barometer on the Club site was right and showing around 8000 but after enquiring I found out that actually also includes corporate booking. I apologise if I misled anyone but can only repeat what I’m told.
Of course it wasn’t long before the restructuring debate came to the fore and it seems everyone was totally confused about the minutia of the plans for next season, because although most understood the bare bones of it, the specifics were still baffling for many. Step forward Tony Sutton Finance Chief and Operations Officer, with a spread sheet presentation on a screen. Tony started well, with the bits most of us grasped already being re-confirmed, but soon he seemed to get a bit tongue tied, everyone in the audience ‘glazed over’ and we moved on, with most of the bemused onlookers still not convinced.
On that subject though Adam was his usual forthright self indicating how concerned he was about the unholy alliance that has sprung up between Leeds and Wakefield (citing the number of players that had moved from Headingley to the Wildcats) with Widnes just behind, hanging on their shirt tails. He thought that meant that Etherington’s now controlled effectively three Clubs and concluded that when you add Bradford and London, who are both ‘in trouble’, it wasn’t hard to see where the bulk of those electing to support Uncle Gary’s Grand Plan came from. He said it had been a very close vote but that we all have to get behind the plan now and make the best of it and I guess we do!
He also welcomed the new sponsorship for Super League which was, he said, a definite step in the right direction.
At the same event Fetuli Talanoa was described by Radford as being a massive man with a tattoo as big as a dinner plate on his neck. He had, he said, turned up in pretty good shape, before Clarky referred to his previous occupation to which the retort came, “You can call him a dustman Clarky, I certainly ain’t”
After several more questions from the floor Adam finished with an almost ‘Churchillian’ diatribe about how much he backs our new Coach and his staff. He was very honest and pretty passionate when he said he had never ever trusted a Coach as much as he does Radford. He then added that usually this is a worrying time for an owner but that he was approaching the season (unlike the last) looking forward to enjoying some rugby. Let’s hope he’s right.
Afterwards I had a good chat with Lee Radford, while some other folks reported that after most of us were long gone Adam stayed for over an hour chatting to the fans and doing his reputation as far as the supporters are concerned, no harm at all.
However next morning we all awoke to a strange interview with the boss in Thursday’s Mail, where he talked about how we had to go out and smash Rovers yesterday and, after a measured and careful show from our Leader at the forum the night before, it was quite a surprise to read an interview that was almost ‘Hudgellesque’ in its content! For someone who told us in the Kingston Suite that we were making every effort to fly under the radar, just a few hours later it appeared we had crashed into it!!!
Still I have seen nothing to make me suppose that our leader doesn’t know exactly what he’s doing as he laid it on the line saying that in his opinion the days of Rovers’ players wanting to win the derby more than we did were a thing of the past and that he was eager for that to be shown on the KC pitch. I guess he only said what most fans wanted to hear and that he was just responding to Neil Hudgell’s comments over the last few weeks about Rovers now having a ‘top-five’ squad. With comments like “Neil is saying it’s a top-five team and I want our lads to go out there and smash them to bits, it’s as simple as that” it appeared that although the two protagonists might be singing from the same hymn sheet on all matters concerning the state of the game, they are at opposite ends of the ‘diocese’ when it comes to being best buddies!
Or are they? It was a bit out of character for Adam and I would have worried a bit about it looking like a man under pressure had I not witnessed, with 400 other people, his relaxed and confident attitude at the Forum just 12 hours earlier. I could, when I read it, only really put it down to ticket sales being slow for a game which initially commanded a massive gate when it was started several years ago for Richard Horne’s Testimonial. If I needed confirmation of that, then Hudgell’s ‘Calm Down and Learn Old Faithful’ repost in the Mail on Friday did it for me; it was all tongue in cheek and a put up job. On Thursday they had still only sold 5000 tickets between the two Clubs, so Adams action and Neil’s retort could be understood to be nothing more than a calculated sales pitch.
On a more serious note though, the gloss has certainly worn off this pre-season money spinner and in my mind should we be facing the possibility of playing Rovers up to 4 times in regular season matches under the new structure for 2015, then next year the ‘Friendly’ has to go! It was interesting to hear Pearson saying that Micky Paea had indicated that one of Rovers prime motivators before Derby games in the past had been the mind-set that we were arrogant. Listening to some of the rhetoric coming out of Caravan Park this year it now appears the boot is firmly on the other foot. However, I have to say the tone of that Pearson interview although bemusing was for me strangely invigorating too” For the first time we got down and dirty and appeared to stoop to the same low level of ‘banter’ as our unwashed neighbours. It’s about time we gave ‘em some stick back, don’t you think? It was, as I say, all a put up job for me though!
I see that discussions are taking place at present with regard to which players Paul Cooke wants at Doncaster on duel registration this season and it looks like he might well be planning to field up to 5 in most games. In fact the South Yorkshire Club are to sign recently released second rower Ryan Wilson and Centre Alex Starling on one year permanent deal’s to increase the FC contingent further. Both did reasonably well in the Friendly game at the Keepmoat, but they are obviously surplus to requirements and Cooke sees it as an opportunity to get another 2 FC player on the books over and above the 5 he is allowed to field at any one time on duel registration.
Both player were full time last year and there were already doubts over their ability to break into the first team at the end of last season, but Radford promised everyone in the squad a chance to show their worth in pre season this year and he has been as good as his word. They have a lot of potential but with the current restrictions impose by the Under 19’s situation these two, being over that age, didn’t really stand a chance of any game time. If ever there was a good example of why we need an Alliance or ‘A’ team competition back, this is clearly one such case. They are both good players and could well be ‘late developers’ and who know someone else might yet get the benefit of all the money and time we have invested in them, but that’s the risk you take I guess. Someone at the Club once told me that for every 100 youngsters we take on at junior level it was likely that only one or two could ever get near a permanent first team squad place, so it’s a massive job really.
I wish them both well because it’s always sad when players leave, but as I often say it’s also very unadvisable to have fringe player’s that ain’t likely to make it, kicking their heals to get a game and blocking the path of younger players. It will be interesting to follow the duel registration scheme as it unfolds and to see how our youngsters go, in my opinion having seen Donny in action I’m a bit concerned as to how many will actually get in what looked to me like a very competent side.
It’s a different matter in the case of James Cunningham who, in his second year as a full time professional player, has gone to London on loan for the full season. With both Houghton and Heramaia in front of him in the number 9 pecking order, it’s a great deal for a kid who is intent on returning to Hull ready to challenge for the shirt which is currently worn by our Vice Captain. Our Club have protected their own interests too by having a one month recall clause in place, just in case we have any injury worries. Under Sean Long, who knows the youngster from his time at Hull, he will get the chance of regular weekly game time in Super League which is just too good an opportunity to miss.
It’s a good deal in so many ways for a player who was expecting to be spending a deal of time this season at Doncaster on duel registration or even on a year-long loan at the Keep Moat. Lee Radford has re-iterated that he has a big future with us if he continues to improve and how fortuitous it is that a player who is behind two such seasoned number 9’s can now play in Super League on a regular basis, but still be our man. He has certainly got something but for me personally Cunningham has so far looked like a player grabbing at the limited chances he has had to impress and a steady week in week out experience at the top level could well benefit him greatly. I wondered why he played against Bradford instead of Houghton or Heramaia and now it’s pretty obvious; it was so that London could have a look at him. Good Luck James!
In the bigger scheme of things last week with those two players leaving and Cunningham’s extended loan, we were provided I think with good examples of how we seem to be constantly monitoring and assessing what we have coming through and if players aren’t up to it, how they’ll be moved on to accommodate and bring on the breadth of talent we have in the level below them. Since Pearson arrived the renaissance in the youth set up at our Club has been quite amazing; however as always in the end its winning Super league games that matters and until we are doing that consistently most of us won’t truly understand how far we have come in the youth development stakes.
Now, as I said last week, I do hope that everyone who can get to Featherstone on the weekend will do so for what should be a great game, for a very worthy cause. In addition, the new Richard Whiting Testimonial Brochure will be on sale around that time too and it’s packed with pictures and some brilliant articles about the player who has become loved by everyone and rightly claims the title of Superman. This is our chance to show our appreciation for his efforts and it’ll be great to see the famous old ground packed out!
In the ‘bits of news department’ this week I see that as the Pearson revolution continues James Clark and our marketing Dept have moved out of the KC and into new office accommodation in the City Centre, where they will operate as an ‘arm’s length’ business. Quote of the Week this time around has to go to Look North who ran a piece with Craig Sandy Cock on Tuesday night which started Hill Kingston Rovers are expecting a big crowd at their local Derby game at Craven Park on Sunday when their new Stand will be used for the first time”…..wrong in so many ways guys!!! With Fetuli Talanoa hanging around outside the Club shop last Monday another good one was when one wag walking by commented to me that, “It must be Blue Bin Day!”
I am sure on a much more serious note that you will all join me in sending our condolences to the family of Leslie Short a lifelong Bradford Northern and Bulls fan who was taken ill at the Friendly last week and carried from the Stand on a Stretcher. I know several FC fans rushed to his aid when he appeared to have a stroke and it’s sad to report that he passed away on Monday Morning. At times like these, rivalries are always put aside as we lament the loss of someone from the great family that is Rugby League; R.I.P. Leslie Short.
Now, last Friday in the Drum and Monkey we were talking about the coming season and soon got onto the subject of marketing the game on the back of the World Cup. Soon enough the old chestnut was raised about the games coverage in the media and more especially the way that it’s is handled by Sky TV. We got to thinking that perhaps one of the greatest spectacles there is as far as viewed sport is concerned is devalued by the ethos that Sky have for the broadcast of it. In the end we concurred that Sky perhaps saw the game as summer filler at a time when there were few contact sports around and so tended to pitch the commentary in a more light hearted and bumptious direction when compared with that of higher profile winter sports like football and Rugby Union. Most of us thought that policy was reflected in the commentary team they employ and the antics of Stevenson and Hemmings.
If there was one positive to the situation which saw Premier Sports winning the contract for the World Cup, everyone agreed it’s was that we got a welcome change from those two who generally get on most fans ‘wicks’. That situation also allowed us all to discover NZ’s brilliant Andrew Voss, who was witty without making you cringe, had a smooth delivery that was seamless and complimented what was going on and who obviously exuded a deep passion for the culture of the game.
He built an immediate rapport with the viewer, so much so that two or three games in his by lines about lunch, public transport and the British weather were as memorable as the game we had been watching and yet they didn’t detract from it. However what really struck many people I know was his obvious and genuine passion for Rugby League and his infatuation with the British way of life. Voss encouraged us to enjoy our Rugby again, as he focussed almost incessantly on what is good about it. He was sincere and everywhere he went he got involved in what was happening and the history of the location he found himself in, he knew all about the local clubs, both professional and amateur, and seemingly made plenty of friends both at the games and in sitting rooms across the Country.
His commentary was always upbeat and his delivery first class. He obviously did a lot of research and it showed as he constantly sent out the message about what a great game we all watch; a message we never seem to hear from Sky. Voss was quite simply an entertainer! His commentaries made watching games an experience of genuine enjoyment, rather than a 2 hour long pun fest featuring a constant appraisal of the referee and discussions about putting his bike and his house on some particular bet or wager. The guys on Sky always seem to me to be, (when not patronising the knowledgeable viewer), way over the top with their ‘false’ enthusiasm, which I detect might just be in an effort to please their pay masters at Sky TV. Voss simply enjoyed every minute of it, his demeanour and attitude showed that, his job was obviously a pleasure and not a task and he was very good at doing his thing in a natural way, while subliminally educating us all at the same time.
Andrew of course had great support from both Brian Noble and Daryl Halligan who were both excellent in their roles as the knowledgeable, rugby wise, sharp end type of guys and the perfect foil for the anchorman and commentator. Most of all though Andrew made me laugh, not that cringing sarcastic sort of groan that we all exude regularly on a Friday night in front of the TV, but a whole hearted guffaw. It is, you know, a sad, sad fact that I actually know several people who don’t watch Super League on Sky anymore, just because of the commentary team. So, if the game has attracted new viewers off the back of the World Cup, they might not last long when confronted with the commentary we have come to expect at the regular Thursday and Friday night Super League games. Imagine if those games included commentary by Andrew Voss accompanied by say Brian Noble and John Kear; now that would be a team befitting our great game wouldn’t it?
The midweek magazine programme Boots and All isn’t much better either is it? Sky football analysis is accompanied by giant iPad style touch screens, digital chalkboards and animated freeze frame sequences when the commentator walks you through the players in a set piece of play. While Boots and All, appearing as I said earlier to be catering for a more traditional, novelty sport, (the Cloth cap and whippet brigade if you like), just has four guys sat there, with their incessant drone only interrupted by occasional pieces of VT and the adverts.
Sky’s presentation of Rugby League is technically brilliant, but in my opinion presentation wise it’s awful and if the game is to expand as we are told it is about too, then something needs to be done about it and fast. When the RL first said that Premier Sports had got the contract for the World Cup, I said in here that it was a massive mistake to take it from Sky, but I was in turn massively wrong and I hold my hand up and admit it. Premier Sports may have lacked some of the technical stuff, but in Andrew Voss they had someone who made us all realise what we are missing and they certainly set the bar a lot higher than we have come to expect and accept. What worries me most is that while gates fall, interest dwindles and fans drift away, the ‘momentum rule’ will continue and ‘the claret’ will be flowing while Sky don’t seem to give a damn. All hail Andrew Voss please come back soon!
In the mean time here’s something to help you make the best of it!!! See if you can get a full house in the first televised game next week.
You know our club has, over the years, had literally hundreds of good players, and those supporters who have followed the club for a few decades has dozens of their own personal favourites. The other day we were talking in the Drum and Monkey about Johnny Whiteley and the fact that of all the great ambassadors in our game that we had seen over the years, John was up there with the best. However as my pal said, we had some great loose forwards back in the days, when the position was not seen as an extra prop or a third second rower. In fact up till a few years ago, when Jason Smith left the club, it was always seen as a position from which great handling, strong running and creativity flowed. It was by definition a pivotal role in most teams back then. Jason was probably the last great loose forward we had at the club, following some really class acts like, Steve Norton, Mick Crane and Johnny himself.
We always seemed to be able to unearth great number 13’s but few made the impact that Gary Divorty did when he signed back in 1983. Gary had toured in the BARLA youth squad’s tour of New Zealand that year and 7 First Division clubs were desperately vying for his signature. As was the case back then of course, it was Roy Waudby that moved fastest to secure the live wire youth International. Gary had big boots to fill, because from day one he was hailed as the successor to the great Steve Norton. Knocker was starting to age a bit and in fact by the end of his first season Gary had replaced him in the hallowed no.13 shirt.
Divorty had all the attributes of a classic loose forward. He was long striding, really quick off the mark, speedy over 50 yards, a ball handler and a great cover tackler wide out. So good was Gary from the off that I remember many fans were surprised to see him omitted from the 1984 GB v Australia series. His rise in credibility was nothing short of meteoric when in the next season he went through the Yorkshire Colts, GB Colts, and the GB under 21 sides to eventually make 2 full Test appearances against France. Many readers will no doubt remember the part that Gary played in that fantastic Wembley performance in 1985, when we were narrowly beaten by Wigan and Divorty came on to score a memorable try.
However as often happens just as we all looked forward to the club once again having one of the top players in the country in our number 13 shirt, for some unknown reason Gary’s progress slowed, and he never quite fulfilled his rich promise. He went on to make 6 more GB under 21 appearances but as far as his full test career was concerned it was already over, before it really began. Perhaps the expectation of the fans was too much for him to take, because when he arrived Gary was talked about as the new Johnny Whiteley and compared with the Drakes, who also came from the famous York amateur club of Heworth. Of course he developed in the shadow of Knocker too! In the end, although he didn’t gain that sort of notoriety he was still a great player, something that Leeds must have realise when they slapped in a £120,000 transfer bid and Hull, desperate for cash, accepted in September 1989. During his two seasons at Leeds he had a spell at Australian club, Gold Coast, before moving onto Halifax in 1992.
As often happens in these cases, he returned to the Boulevard in 1995 where he was made club captain and played another 3 seasons before finishing his career at Wakefield in 1997. Whatever you say, in the modern game has changed and now there are just no specialist loose forwards like Gary about anymore. I will remember him as a great player with fleet of foot and a good dummy. He was 6ft 2in. tall and superbly built for the role, and his ‘Beach Boyesque’ good looks made him a character that it is easy to remember tearing through the middle in the black and white of Hull FC. As for the stats well Gary played 232 games for us with 36 of those being on the bench he scored 60 tries Kicked 30 goals of which 13 were drop goals and he amassed 287 points!
Gary Divorty was undoubtedly a great player and yet another that we had to part with because we needed the cash. It’s strange that these days the game lack this sort of player, although perhaps that is just the modern way or even just my judgement clouded by memories of the past, Who knows?
After the forum I heard a great story about how one dedicated FC fan had printed this rubbish week in week out for his Dad to read but how now, he’d decided to stop. The reason was that his father John Potter had invested in an I-pad and now downloaded the Diary himself. So, what do the big deal about that I hear you ask? Well, John is 86 and as you can appreciate it’s a brave step for him to take, just to read the Diary! So well done John and thanks for your support and continued hi-tec loyalty to this weekly drivel, it’s really appreciated. Incidentally I hope you’re all getting used to the new format for the Diary which in addition to being easier to read also allows us to post any photo’s we receive much more easily, so, in the months ahead, if you have any pic’s, be they interesting, unusual or just plain funny just send them in and I’ll include them! Thanks to everyone who has been in contact particularly to Dave Cooper who I met this week for a chat about the Diary and I’ll see you all at Featherstone!! Isn’t it great to beat the Rovers….in any circumstances? Enjoy the moment and the week ahead!!!!
P.S. One Rovers fan said on their message Board that at least the name change at their Stadium will stop me referring to it as Caravan Park…..future Diary’s may prove him to be entirely wrong although I have to admit that the KC Lightweight Stadium does have a certain ring about it!