The Dentists Diary – 383rd

“Don’t worry Wilf, You can’t believe much of what you see in pre-season”, commented a guy I spoke to as we all tramped out of the Good Fella’s Stadium together, and on into the encircling gloom!

And of course he was right, but if you were there it was doom and gloom for all and certainly hard not to wonder how we would turn things around in time for this Friday when, whether we are ready or not we set off on another adventure in Super League. While my heart says, “It s a brand new start, new players, new coach, new hope!” my head tells me that with new comings and goings reported, we’re actually in more disarray than we should ever be at this point of the proceedings.

I really got some stick last week for my appraisal of the Featherstone game; interestingly enough, almost exclusively from those who didn’t attend! However 7 days on and having endured it again on FC Live, I still find it hard to apologise for my comments, made as they were in the cold afterglow of a pretty demoralising afternoon in West Yorkshire. Nor could Pete Smurthwaite excuse it on Humberside last Friday, when 5 days after the event he still described it as ‘a debacle’. Of course he was right, because it added an inglorious finale to a less than satisfactory pre-season. But for me, the Rovers game apart (which provided a much needed and comforting, if only temporary, interlude) it’s the way that the rest of the games were unfocussed, messy and disorganised that’s really of concern.

Yet in the ‘ying and yang’ of the RL fanatic it’s such an exciting time. Perhaps it’s the hope, maybe the anticipation or even the thought we may have got all our concerns totally wrong, but whatever has gone before now somehow matters for nought, as once again we set out on ‘the quest to be best’. A poor pre-season, some ‘panicky moves in the transfer market, a few injuries, a cold Friday night, no visiting supporters and the game on TV; it couldn’t start any worse for the Club, could it? Yet, with no points on the board and only one game completed thus far in the whole competition, it’s still all to play for and we’ll all be there on Friday, full of hope and expectation. You see despite my much talked about misgivings, I have no choice, because I simply can’t wait!!!

So, although it’s not even begun yet, I’m already getting flack for my concerns about the Club I love, after they concluded a series of what were little more than 3 meaningless pre-season run outs and a must win Derby. The serious stuff hasn’t even begun yet and I’m already worried, but we now enter what is an exciting week, stuffed as always with hope and expectation. However the mistake of playing 4 of these ‘nonsense’ games and the way some players approached them, certainly has me a bit concerned and I can’t seem to stop thinking about it!

I guess when I try to ‘crystalise’ my concerns, then the two most worrying things, thus far, are our erratic application and focus from game to game, (which seems to just mirror the usual ‘same old same old’ perennial failing of some only turning up when they feel like it) and the fact that all the teams we have played so far, looked eminently more organised in attack than we did. The first can maybe be solved by shifting a couple out, knocking a few heads together and perhaps a couple of enforced sabbaticals at Donny to indicate that some perhaps ain’t as big stars, as they think they are. While the second issue just needs two settled half backs that complement each other and take the game to the opposition. Simple really…… until you consider that those are the main problems we’ve had at the FC for years!

So bring on Friday and let’s stuff the Dragons. How good would that be and how I’ll shout it out next week in here if we actually do, but too many seasons of blind faith sees this fans harbouring nagging doubts, so I’ll just go along, sing with the best of ‘em and hope!! However the number of ‘Should we be worried’ E Mails and texts I have received since last weekend and particularly Friday night’s Sky game, indicate I’m not on my own with my fears!

Now, what’s been happening since the last Diary in a period that seems to have been dominated by that performance at Featherstone. In the cold light of day it was interesting last Monday to hear Lee Radford’s words of wisdom, after possibly the most disastrous pre-season I can remember, (and that despite us looking like we wanted it-and indeed ‘got it’ against the Dobbins).

I guess that had I been offered that win before we started, I would have said ‘bugger’ the other 3 games’ and taken it without question. For me, facing a long, long season ahead, two pre-season run outs for the top 22 in the squad is enough and then if you need to, arrange a couple of second string matches for the rest! We should be going into the season on the back of a Derby win rather than that fiasco at Featherstone, but it’s always easy to criticise and be wise after the event, look at Huddersfield they beat Wigan on Friday after just one pre-season match. However, the general demeanour of some players is still a worry and I wonder if Peter Gentle is smiling to himself as he ponders on the conundrum that the reality of changing a culture that has been ingrained in a team for years appears at present to be as difficult for our new Coach to cure, as it was for his predecessor.

Radford admits that the schedule was too much and the injuries we received bear that out but although it’s a worry, we start again with a clean slate on Friday and in the end that’s the only game that really matters. Our Coach was fuming last Monday and showed it again in his post match interviews. For me, getting publicly irate is an effective tactic when used occasionally but something that everyone soon gets used to if it’s not used sparingly. I remember ‘Basher’ Braithwaite, one of my schoolteachers who always lost his rag at the littlest thing, so much so that when he really needed to lose it, no-one took any notice. If you start the pre-season with such fits of peek, what exactly is left in your armoury when a few inept performances and a raft of injuries see you suddenly slipping into the relegation zone? What left then, public executions?

Next up, in the Mail on Tuesday there was a long interview with Adam, which although not exactly the dreaded vote of confidence (far too early even for a seasoned football campaigner like him) was certainly a strong reaffirmation of our owners belief and support for our new Coach (if not also perhaps a veiled attempt to justify and defend his decision to sack the old Coach!) If you look behind Adams words his rationale is interesting and does I think show someone who, if not as concerned as some of us lot were after the Bradford and Featherstone games, is perhaps at least starting to ‘wobble’ a bit! You see I believe that at the back of his mind is the fact that a lot of fans had some sympathy for Gentle, were disappointed when he went and certainly underwhelmed by the appointment of his successor and that fact, at times of strain, perhaps still haunts our owner a bit. For me what’s done is done and we have to all move on and he should, I think, trust his judgement, because so far to a person, the fans do!

However, there were a lot of comparisons going on in that interview and indeed a few well rehearsed indicators as to why Adam felt he had to let Gentle go. For instance he said, “He’s (Radford) technically as good a coach as Peter Gentle was. He’s more assertive, has the respect of the players and works as hard as anyone”. The players, at present, undoubtedly want to do well for Lee and in turn he has to bring success for so many reasons, the least of which is that he should never be in any doubt as to what the players themselves are capable of, should he be unsuccessful and fall out of favour with them.

There was also some talk about the fact that you, “Only have to walk into our training centre and see the meeting rooms and the gym. Everything is immaculate and of a higher standard than last year”. However, that bit certainly rattled the cage of an ex luminary of ours that I bumped into the other day, who stated, “They should have seen what we had to put up with at the Boulevard, rugby’s not about facilities, it’s about mentalities!”

So, I might have got it all completely wrong here but that’s how I read the fall out after Featherstone, and as you know I have every faith in what Adam is doing and what he will do for our Club in the long run. However perhaps, just perhaps, even he was a tad concerned after the performance of some players in what was a colleague’s testimonial game and the sudden rush to get players out and bring new ones in at such a late stage, I think bears that out. Despite the apparent late wheeler dealing going on I still have complete faith in Pearson judgement and Radford’s ‘will to do well’ and as was the case with our previous Coach, if it doesn’t work it will be because some players have let them down, rather than a lack of effort from either party; I’m sure of that!

What do you make of the Gareth Carvell stuff then? Well I guess we shouldn’t be at all surprised really, having lost two of what were probably our preferred props with injuries at Featherstone, which then led to us being held back in our own half by a part time pack, for long periods of the game. There is little doubt that add Gareth to Feke and Paea and you certainly have three of the best ‘grunt and thump’ merchants in the game. At 32 some say his best years are behind him, but most of those pundits didn’t see Carvell play for Bradford in that friendly, or have studied his injury record which is one of the best in the front row in the game. Add to that the rumours that he hasn’t been paid for a while, or at the least on time for a while, has been staying away from training at Bradford and that he is big mates with Lee Radford, and the move becomes almost logical. If not, with the rumours of Mason, smacking too of desperation!

Gareth certainly spent Thursday at Hull FC and met up with a lot of our players and he’s reported to be back this morning, and with the TUPE regulations quite clear about what a player from a Club that has changed hands can do, it’s almost a certainty that it’s a case of when rather than whether he will officially join us. I’d welcome him as a short term fix for like Ellis, Horne, Whiting, Houghton, Yeaman, Heramaia and Paea he’s a model professional.

Listening to the ‘whiffs’ coming out if the club this week, it also appears that Chris Green may have had an operation and will be out for 6/8 weeks and Wattsy will be out a while too. It seems too that many of the squad have been suffering from a virus, but that appears now to be receding somewhat. Luke Gale was linked with us again last week and that looks a possibility, as I was told by two reputable West Yorkshire Journalists that he was in talks with us way back last Wednesday. However I also hear that we could be planning to ship a few players out including Shannon McDonald, as our Coach starts to lose patience with a few of our staff and needs some cap space to replace them and don’t rule out some more new faces coming in either. On that subject just as I am finishing this week’s edition the unlikely name of Keith Mason has come up from two separate sources! What’s all that about? It should be all quiet, structured and focussed at this time and yet it seems were all over the place; another season of transition….I bloody well hope not!

Now, I expect a psychologist would have a bit to say about a person who wants to be called a pig, but embarrassed by the ridiculous names the Super League are giving to individual players (they’ll be putting them on the side of lorries next!), perhaps too a bit sceptical of the Flying Dustman tag bestowed on his opposite winger and no doubt envious of ‘Superman’, ‘The Flying Pig’ was the nick-name Tom Lineham suggested would fit him best. Of course the mad cap winger who is renowned for his practical joking and not worried about making as ass of himself (should that be arse after Strictly Yeamo?), was I guess being a little flippant, but he shouldn’t be surprised if it sticks, because in the fans idiom careless talk can often end up costing you a few blushes!

I even wondered if he had taken my comments about his ‘Porky’ appearance at Bradford to heart when he commented that he had shed 16 pounds in pre-season, stating, “I was 17 weeks without being able to do full training and I was vastly overweight as some fans kindly pointed out,” Oh dear after my brush with Cast Iron Casey and his steel toe capped willies last week, it now looks as if ‘The Flying Pig’ is after me too!!! However since he returned to full training, he has certainly trimmed down and with three games under his belt, Tom’s now at full fitness and will hopefully be tearing in for some of those trademark tries; so is he ‘The Tornado’ or simply ‘The Flying Pig’? We might find out from the fans on Friday!!!

Under19s

On Saturday quite off the cuff and at the last moment I decided to go down to Bishop Burton and watch the Under 19’s play Wakefield in a pre-season friendly. It’s certainly a great facility down there and despite high winds and a cold afternoon there were around 400 in attendance. I had a great time discussing the FC with Ian Firth and a few other guys I met there and there’s a nice bar and a good hot drinks facility too, all provided by the College. I was particularly impressed with the two Tyson Wilson’s and Alex Shephardson who impressed me at Hooker at Featherstone the week before.

Also impressive in the pack were Jack Downes, Jasin Turgut and Brad Fash, while Callum Smith shone at full back and is a speedy returner of the ball. Everyone agreed that it’s great to watch these games, because although they are sometimes beset with mistakes that are played at a refreshingly high intensity; but all junior games are I guess.

Under19s1

Despite the large amounts of rain that had fallen and a surrounding area that was in places waterlogged, the pitch itself was in excellent condition and allowed a fast open game. I really enjoyed the experience; I recommend it and will go again.

If you’d asked the age old question that had baffled the world’s most learned men for centuries of ‘Who ate all the pies’, then on Wednesday evening the answer was I guess …me, well to be precise, I had two and a half, but you’ll get the idea when I explain. It being a week without a game, it seemed a great time to look at some of the new developments that have occurred at the KC Stadium since the end of the last campaign. It was great, in the company of Henry Crane the Stadiums Deputy General Catering Manager, to explore the depths of the cellars at the KC and investigate the new match day meal deals that are now available on the concourse at the Stadium; something, you’ll understand, that would have been totally impossible for yours truly, without the sampling of the new pies.

Henry’s a good bloke, an FC fan and in fact for his sins, a Diary reader as well. But despite that, in his professional life he has set himself the task of improving the quality of what has long been a poor and often ridiculed catering service within the KC. The beer was a big bone of contention with many fans, who were reduced to buying drinks before they got into the Stadium, rather than attempting to drink the flat, murky and unpalatable beer that was served up, by struggling staff, at extortionate prices on the concourse. However, that’s all about to change!

I have to say here that several folks had already commented to me about the improvement in the quality of the lager at the Derby, but I put that down to the sweet taste of success, however many also commented on the quality on the new pies that they sampled for free before the recent FC Voices fans Forum too. There is little doubt that the new catering contractor has invested heavily in the infrastructure and the new ice cooled free flow lager pumps now in place at every serving area produce as fine a pint of Carling as you could ask for. It was apparent as soon as I tasted it that it was a massive improvement on what had gone before, although it took ex player’s official Barry Edwards two pints, and three mouthfuls of mine, before he could make his mind up!!!

KCWestStand
Had I died and woken up in heaven?-The KC West Stand cellar.

The price per pint has been reduced to £3-50 but the real development for me is the ‘Pie and a Pint before the game’ deal for just £5. The pies produced near Stoke and selected from 7 different potential suppliers, are as good as I have ever tasted at a rugby ground with a beef and potato, a Balti beef and a Veggie on offer. These certainly ain’t the usual ‘bite the corner off, drink the contents and see an ear nose and throat specialist next morning’ jobs, but contain a surprising amount of meat!!! The catering at the Stadium has come in for some stick over the years, but this is really worth a try and I’ll be forgoing eating my tea before the Catalan game… not because of the usual excuse about my nervous stomach (and other areas too sensitive to mention in a family blog)… but in fact, so that I can have another pie (although sadly I’ll be paying for it this time!!)

With grab bag package to keep the kids happy and newly trained staff across the whole operation it will be interesting to see how Henry’s new departures go and what the fans think of his wares, but I’ll tell you what, from what I have experienced thus far I can certainly recommend it and the pies, the pasties and the pints are a bloody big improvement on what went before. Don’t take my word for it….Have a go yourself!

Well, while the RL continue to stall on re-naming the man of Steel award to include the greatest man of steel of them all, the two Club with whom he is best associated, ourselves and Saints, have got together to ensure his name continues to be synonymous with our sport by introducing ‘The Steve Prescott Cup’. The two sides, in conjunction with the Steve Prescott Foundation, have come together to create an annual event played between both of Steve’s former clubs, with the team having the highest aggregate score in the two regular season matches, winning the trophy.

I think it’s a great idea myself with the first game against the Saints at Langtree Park in 2 weeks time, featuring tributes to Steve and a past player guard of honour for his sons Taylor and Koby (who will also be mascots for the game) and for his brother Neil who will take the match ball onto the pitch. Both teams will also be wearing special commemorative warm up sweatshirts supplied by ISC. So well done to both Clubs for getting on with it and introducing something that should leave a lasting memorial to Steve and keep him in the hearts and minds of both sets of supporters!! It’s about time the rugby league got their fingers out now!

PrekkieCup
The Steve Prescott Cup……lest we ever forget!

I had intended this week to have an impartial look at the rest of Super League and where I thought people had strengthened and who I thought might do well. I thought after the Rovers showing that although we might have a few issues in 2015 (with the 8x8x8 situation and the possibility of us finishing in the bottom four), we had little cause for concern this season. However after having watched last week’s game my thoughts turned as I am sure many of yours did, to who will be in the relegation places and what the opposition would be like where we (heaven forbid) to get sucked into the mire at the foot of the table.

I know that it’s unlikely, but something that was impossible after the Rovers game, became a slightly more tangible variable after Featherstone! You see what I have seen thus far this pre-season it is, for this fan at least, eminently possible that we might well struggle a bit, to be talking about in’s and outs at this late stage certainly worries me! You all know that in here I always say what I feel at the time and not what I think you the reader or the Club want to hear and I know that some will take me to task for even mentioning it this early on, but to them I would ask an honest question; OK, so they were only pre-season friendlies and only Featherstone and Bradford and last week was perhaps a game too far before we even started, but would Wigan or Warrington have performed like that even in those circumstances? Because in the end as fans, those are the type of Club’s we hope one day to emulate.

The answer for even the most blinkered fan, with their head firmly in the stand, has to be NO, because teams like Wigan, Warrington and Leeds always turn up to play, they might get beaten by a better team on the day, they might be unlucky, their form may dip and they will sustain injuries, but they always look mentally tuned in. We haven’t got that bit right for years and despite Agar banging on about, “Improving us application”, Gentle talking about, “Some players taking a long look at themselves” and all the hype surrounding Lee Radford’s quest for ‘More professionalism’, it seems little has changed. In fact the procession of ‘Should we be worried’ texts and E mails that I have received since last weekend and particularly after Friday night’s Sky game, confirm the concerns and thinking of many of the fans.

We’ve seen it with Sharp, Agar, Gentle and now in pre-season this year with Radford; some players just think that they have to pull a shirt on and that’s it, when we play ‘lesser’ opposition. Whether we treat them too well in training and the fans adulation is too much for them I don’t know, but even though they come and go over the years we always have some players that every so often simply don’t turn up; while Leeds, Warrington and Wigan don’t seem to have any! We’ll probably be fine on Friday, a good bollocking and the threat of a few games in South Yorkshire will ensure a high level of motivation, while the games at Saints and Warrington should also bring the best out of them, because this problem is not one of skill and the ability to hang in there with the big boys, it’s simply one of attitude, when we play the ‘also ran’s’.

When we come up against a team on a losing streak or against say London, Widnes, Wakey or Cas who are all teams that some in our ranks will feel we have a God given right to beat, that’s when we have to beware! That’s when we’ll know whether the attitude has truly changed, won’t we? So, what about those teams?

For me, London will struggle they have to, they are ill prepared, short of cash, and recruiting from anywhere, but the challenge of that adversity will ensure they turn up with a point to prove and will beat teams at Barnet, particularly if the visitors arrive under-estimating them. Bradford and Wakefield are in much the same boat, but adversity will mean that they scrap like hell, particularly at home and woe betides anyone who turns up at Belle Vue or Odsal thinking it’s their right to win. Widnes and Castleford have recruited well and for me improved immensely and Salford are on pain of death to finish in the top four, so they’ll be no push over’s either in fact although the RL and the owners think the Super League is best suited to a 12 team competition, ironically this season because of relegation, all 14 Clubs look, for widely varying reasons, to be competitive.

It’s hard to know where we will finish and I guess the bit that is worrying me most is that Bradford and Featherstone proved to me that despite a lot of fine words, threats and use of the iron fist, our new Coach still hasn’t fathomed it out. The thing is of course if he doesn’t pretty soon, he’ll be under threat himself, because a good start with our now ‘revised’ fixture list is an absolute must. But of course, all we need is big win on Friday and all will be well.

So, you know where I stand, I’ve gone on a bit but I’m genuinely worried, but for now enough of the future, the start of a season is also a time when we can also look back, although as you get older the recent seasons and their starts tend to all blend into one. However when you strain the old grey cells, there are a lot of things you can remember from way back in your youth and if writing a book about growing up in the Boulevard and in the shadow of Hull FC, has taught me anything, it’s that as you get older, you do remember more and more. 1962/63 was an important year for this fan because at just twelve years old and after two years of watching the club as often as I could, it was my first season with a season ticket. My Mum and Dad’s investment of ‘5 half crowns’ for the pass was certainly well spent, as I saw every first team and A team home game in that campaign. It was a significant season in the British game too, because it saw the two division system introduced for the first time since the late 1940’s, and having managed to get ourselves in the top half of the league the previous year, we started in the First Division. Of course this format reduced the number of games, and so that clubs were not short of income, the RL introduced the Eastern and Western Divisional Championship’s which were played as mini leagues at either side of the Pennines, until the Divisional campaign kicked off on Hull Fair Saturday 8th October 1962.

I have some vivid and fond memories of that season, which saw some low scoring games, a 45-0 drubbing by Wigan at the Boulevard in front of the TV cameras, a 4-2 victory at Caravan Park and the coldest winter on record that saw us playing no games between Christmas and early March. Today in Codgers Corner, I want to look at two games at the very start of the campaign. We opened our season at Wakefield who were one of the strongest teams in the country, and just failed to get a result losing 21-20. Then it was time for the home opener against a strong Workington Town team. The game saw my all time hero Wilf Rosenberg joined on the other wing for only the second time that season by Clive Sullivan, who was still in the forces and having problems getting time off for matches.

We were in decline after those glorious years in the 50’s and with Johnny Whiteley still sidelined with a bad injury, the team was a mixture of old heads, and young local lads. If this game proved one thing though, it was that in those two flying flankers we had probably the most potent wing attack in the country. We didn’t play that well on the day, but Rosenberg scored two tries, both right out of the blue! After ten minutes he took an interception on his own 25, juggled with the ball, before shooting off to the corner for one of those spectacular dives that were his trademark. The second by the South African flyer came late in the second half and brought the house down.

We were trailing18-20 when he scooped a loose ball up with one hand and accelerated away from the immediate challengers, he then ran round the full back, on the outside, beating him completely for pace before touching down (with another dive) near the posts. Two minutes later he was robbed of his hat trick by the linesman who stood, flag raised, whilst Wilf dived in at the corner of the Threepennies at the Gordon Street end. He was miles away from touch and had received the ball well back, so no one knew why he had been penalized, but the referee ruled the try out. This caused a rumpus in the old stand, and the usual bottle flew onto the pitch narrowly missing the official with the flag. The game was stopped while he swapped sides to get away from the wrath of the crowd, who then threw another bottle at the new linesman just for good measure. It was like that all the time on the Threepenny Stand back then!

The game ended in a 25-25 draw after Sullivan despite playing with a knee injury also scored two tries. We had a trialist playing at No 6, in the guise of A.N.Other, who was in fact Charlie Nimb a South African Rugby Union half back of some repute. His only claim to fame that day was that he dropped a ball to let the Cumbrian’s back into the game, but there were some great displays from the Hull pack with hooker Walters and Brian Clixby at loose forward, showing up well. Clixby in fact scored Hull’s other try after a neat piece of play from Tommy Finn our scrum half. Arthur Keegan who was man of the match at full back kicked five from five but scores from Glastonbury (2), O’Neill, Ferraria and Pretorus saw us share the spoils. The following week I watch the ‘A’ team beat Batley at the Boulevard whilst the first team were losing at Wigan and then we were back home again to face Warrington still searching for our first win in the new first division.

It was to be our day, with our lads beating the ‘Wire Pullers’ (not too politically correct that nick-name these days but correct back then just the same) through sheer guts and determination. Charlie Nimb had just signed full contract terms and relocated to this country, and this was his ’Official’ debut for the club, (although he was to catch flu the next week and miss the next three games). Despite our convincing win in the end, it was a close game in many ways and Warrington despite making some costly mistakes were just 3 points behind us in the second half, before we pulled away to win 28-15.

Our centre’s George Matthews and Jack Kershaw proved the difference, although Nimb had a great game behind the scrum as he produced some excellent field kicks to pin the Lancastrians back. The first try was a vintage bit of play from the evergreen Bill Drake. He rumbled through a gap and went over near the posts with three forwards on his back. But once again it was out wide where we punished the opposition and Wilf Rosenberg ran in for two great scores, the second a blistering touch line hugging 90 yarder, straight from a scrum on our own line.

Arthur Keegan had been injured the week before but stand in full back Terry Hollingdrake made no mistake with 5 conversions from 5, after Nimb had missed three. In the second row Malcolm Storey showed the speed of a centre when he went 40 yards to score after picking up a loose ball, and another debutant Terry Devonshire, on the wing for the missing again Sullivan, also gathered a Warrington fumble to score a try, which countered three by the visitors from Delooze, Glover and Gilfedder. It was just a relief though to get a win, and the crowd clambered over the fences and ran onto the field to congratulate the players as the final whistle went. Meanwhile my pal Steve ran home to get his rugby ball so that we could have a game on the pitch until Alf the grounds man threw us out! It’s all a long time ago, so the memories are a bit more scratchy than those I can usually recall from the 70’s and 80’s, but you always remembered the missiles that came on from the Threepennies and it was certainly a great time to be a lad living in Airlie Street and following the FC! Somehow being a fan seemed a lot less stressful back then!

Well I asked you to send me photographs for the new improved Diary and they are starting to come in. This week I want to feature one from Alec Smith who shares my love of Southern California and spotted this in San Diego Harbour last year! Alec said that when he first saw it he, “Couldn’t believe my eyes and immediately thought what a great idea for the River Humber to bring over our South Bank fans!”

FlagShip

Thanks to Alec who I met at Featherstone and, if you have any photographs that might be, like this one, a bit different, please send them to Wilf c/o blackandwhites.co.uk

So, after what seems like a never ending closed season, we at last approach the first game of the 2014 campaign and the facts are pretty simple for this fan. Lee Radford, the players and indeed Adam have to accept that after years of false dawns, inconsistent performances, disappointments and attitude issues, the only thing that will convince us lot and get us warming the KC seats in greater numbers again, is what we do on the field. For us all it’s about whether we can do it with conviction and consistently, and do it to whoever we are playing! If any player can’t deliver that, then sadly, for me, perhaps they have to go, be it to Doncaster or beyond.

As fans we only fret and complain because we absolutely love our Club, if we didn’t, it wouldn’t matter would it?

But for many the time for excuses, explanation’s, rationalisation and attempted justification is over and from Friday it’s only about what we do and how we do it that matters! Nothing but 100% is acceptable! They can maybe not be able to count on each other at times, but the players can always count on us lot, for we will always be behind them doing our bit from the terraces wherever we play.

I still think we’ll do OK this term, but I and I’m sure hundreds more reading this, will need some strong indications on Friday that pre-season was just that and that there is real and tangible hope for the future. Season ticket sales are dropping and folks are voting with their feet, so the ‘Grand Illusion’ hype of past seasons won’t wash anymore. Now they have to convince us and a ‘same old same old’ display just won’t do! If they succeed and do that, then it’s onwards and upwards, if they don’t, then prepare for more media outbursts, more comparisons with the old regime, more long and detailed attempts at justification and more heads rolling!

In the end, for us lot the long suffering FC addicts, the talking is over and we’re here again where it all begins facing 8 months of anxiety, excitement and worry, so look out Leeds, Wigan, Warrington and Saints because nothing lasts forever!!! (And perhaps this season, from where I’m stood at present, that’s the best hope we have!) For us all in the FC Faithful, there’s nothing we can do about it now, because it’s the way we are! Once again it’s here, we can’t escape it and with 54 points to play for we stand at the start of the road to a coronation, only one team can eventually lift the crown, but at this time at least, we can ALL dream. It’s our lives, we love Hull FC and so we’ll follow that dream whatever is thrown at us and wherever it takes us, because as the great Bruce Springsteen once said, “What are we without hope in our hearts”

Being an FC fan Eh? Don’t you just love it!!

See you all on Friday, get there if you can and…

COME ON YOU HULLLLAAAARRRRRR!!!!!!!!!!!

Faithfully Yours

Wilf

P.S. We’ve done it before so we are at least allowed to dream!

SwainKear