The Dentists Diary – 398th

Well, we were never going to win were we?

Why have Leeds proved more resilient and started so well this season? Well if you were there on Friday night you’d know the answer to that one; it’s because on this occasion although the team that has for so long been revered as an attacking force didn’t hit top gear, they were just so hard to beat!! We could all see why it is no coincidence that they have managed to concede just 132 points in 14 games, but I was heartened by the performance we put in but we came home empty handed; then again we were always going to weren’t we?

At times like this the fans have to rally round the Club and long message board thread on the subject of ‘Radford Out’ do nothing but add to the parlous nature of the whole situation. Anyway having put the question to our owner I can say once again with some certainty that he has no intentions of changing Coaches! Those keyboard warriors might have a point that is well meant and indeed pretty pertinent, but changing the coach at this point in the season and indeed fans publically demanding it, with players confidence so shot, helps no-one.

There were signs of some real spirit and energy on Friday and although there was still a lack of inventiveness and guile, we had a real go and the fact that Leeds twice went for conversions on penalties in our 20 when 12 points up, showed, I think, that it certainly wasn’t the drubbing they and many casual observers had expected during the previous week.

So, if you’re looking to find loads of that negative rhetoric about the game on Friday in here this week, then you’ll certainly be disappointed. Like all fans I find my ongoing weekly judgement coloured by our most recent performance and quite frankly I was pleasantly surprised and not a bit relieved that at least we kept the score down. Of course our current plight is all about getting points and although we didn’t get them, it’s also safe to say no one who went to Leeds really thought we had a chance of doing that anyway, did they? So, I have to say that the way we scrapped and battled was a pleasant and unexpected surprise for this fan, but now the big one looms!

The fact that we have to place so much weight on a win next week at a Club that has failed to get a point thus far this season, says so much about the parlous state we find ourselves in. In fact it’s almost unbelievable when you look back to the start of last season and our previous game at Leeds, when we lost but looked at least to be capable of scoring, that we could have sunk this far; but we have! London beckons and everything this week on the terraces and the training field has to be positively focussed on getting two points on Saturday. If however the beleaguered Londoners come away with their first win of the season then I expect it to quite rightly be a case of ‘Let the panicking begin’ because when I look at our remaining fixtures it certainly will be the case in here!!!

Firstly I must give a big mention for all those faithful ‘troops’ that actually went to Headingley because they all deserve a big well done! It was certainly good for me to be there amongst the last vestiges of that once great travelling FC Army, as we gathered together like relatives round the bed of a suffering loved one and watched the team we love run out with little or no hope of anything but a mullering. The fat boy with the drum orchestrated a chorus of ‘Your Sh*t and you know you are” as those around me stood stony faced and appeared to have little inclination to disagree or even argue!

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7-58 at Headingley the rain had stopped but the lights were on!

The few hundred or so fans who attended from Hull travelled like pilgrims of old and did so through a rain storm of near biblical proportions. They rode on half empty buses, which had never ever been half empty before. It was down to the old guard, the ‘Old Faithfuls’ and I admit to recognising and indeed at least being on ‘nodding terms’ with the majority who were there. It’s tough on the road with the FC this season, but we were there and many of you reading this no doubt attended because like me you simply couldn’t stay away!

As for the game, we certainly had a real dig, but were Leeds below par and did the conditions play a part? Well perhaps they were a bit undercooked and the slippery ball and the slimy surface that shimmered in the floodlights, levelled things out a bit, but perhaps too they were not allowed to play their usual flowing game by some great FC tackling and covering. They did however show us a thing or two about the value of playing the game in the oppositions half. There could also have been a hangover from the previous weeks battering, as I detected occasionally that Leeds dropped the ball or panicked at the sight of Feke or Paea charging in to crunch them. Leeds released the ball at will at times but we kept our shape in defence and when they isolated a tackler, a skill they do so well, the minute the FC player made contact one on one with the Leeds ball carrier, a colleague would crash in and complete the tackle. The skill in creating play might have been lacking, but the heart, tenacity and focus was certainly there. I have to say had we possessed a top class play maker on Friday then we would have taken the league leaders very close indeed.

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Jammy sods!

The three tries Leeds scored were all lucky affairs with the first from such an obvious knock on right in front of the referee, another from a fortuitous Danny McGuire kick that rebounded off the post to wrong foot our defence, and the third from a wet ball that squirted out of Yeamo’s arms as he made a mistake. However there were no long distance sweeping tries from the hosts, simply because we contained the most exciting attack in the competition really well. The problem was that although we tackled like demons throughout and the spirit was good, until the final moments (when it was too late) we simply couldn’t manufacture the break that you need to score, or indeed do much with the ball at all.

Was that down to our ineptitude in the play making department or the tenacity of the best defence in Super league by a mile? Well perhaps it was a bit of both, but there is little doubt that our biggest deficiency was in our lack of ability to manufacture chances. A class half back would have probably got us close to Leeds, working on the back of an FC pack that had the Leeds middle rocking for long periods of the game. We were really in the arm wrestle, but too little quality and speed in the three quarters and no guile in the halves again did for us. However it was so much better than what had gone before and as I say, as I wasn’t anticipating anything but a pasting, it was a more entertaining experience for the FC fans and a good night out amongst kindred spirits.

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We tackled brilliantly at times but as usual of late had nothing much of note in the attacking department!

Big raps have to go to young 17 year old debutant Callum Lancaster who had a real baptism of fire, but showed a lot of great touches. He did at times look like ‘a rag doll’ when three came in to tackle him, but he saved a certain 40/20, ran hard, pounced on a couple of dangerous loose balls and when they targeted him with kicks in the second half he stood up well. Ellis too had a massive game and really led by example, Westerman shone again, while Shaul tried really hard to link with the line. New signing Sa although just given a 15/20 minute cameo role, tackled really hard and looked good.

Our halves though were again pretty ineffective, and that’s a massive worry. I have been a big believer in persisting with the two youngsters but nothing seems to be changing, Rankin goes missing at times and Miller dances when he should be passing and goes laterally when he should be direct. Don’t get me wrong they both tried really hard but it ain’t working at present, well not against such a well mustered Rhino’s outfit. When you consider things rationally the Leeds defence was nothing short of awesome and we never ever really looked like unlocking it, did we? Our inability to finish our sets well and sustain any real pressure is certainly the main worry I have at present!

The main danger from Leeds was predicted to be coming from their kick returns through their awesome back three of full back Hardaker and wingers Briscoe and Hall, but our tactic of putting the ball dead on the sixth tackle did at least defuse this and meant on several occasions they had to re-start from a standing position on their 20 with our defence set. Our defence was good too and we took the high ball really well in testing conditions that dictated that in open play both sides at times squandered possession. However we were never going to win, but we gave it a go and everyone bought into the effort, so the fans can have no complaints on that score as we move onto London with some hope.

You know when you read a lot of Rugby League stuff about Hull FC every week it’s easy to get side tracked and have your judgement coloured by the idiots, shroud waivers and down-right trouble makers on the message boards and social media sites who masquerade as loyal fans but who, instead of getting behind the Club, seem to revel in our current troubles. Many it seems enjoy it most when were losing, perhaps because it gives them a chance to do what they do best…grumble!

Still it’s tough for all of us and we all deal with it differently, however when you spend your Saturday afternoon supporting Catalan because you can’t afford to see the bottom but one team win, it’s certainly a sad, sad place I find myself in at present. Several people who read this are constantly telling me to shut up about relegation, but I simply can’t, because it’s a bloody worry for me and if we fail this Saturday I really do struggle to see where our next win is coming from.

The news that Gareth Carvell will be out for a few weeks following a knee clean out operation doesn’t really surprise me at all, as he has certainly looked laboured of late and although he had impressed me early on he soon faded. I wouldn’t be surprised if we de-register him and get Greeny back from Donny, where I believe he has been registered while we get Sa in. To say we have so many props to choose from, it’s hard (for real quality) to see far beyond Feke and perhaps Micky Paea with even the latter looking jaded at times of late. Bowden is a really good prospect but as is often the case with young props he is a bit in and out at present, something that is reflected in his not being selected at times and sadly youngster and top prop prospect Bobby Tyson Wilson who was on the verge of a first team game not so long ago, is still recovering from a serious shoulder reconstruction and so will be out for some time to come.

The news of Rich Whiting’s injury was hardly unexpected either, as he appeared to be labouring a bit throughout the Wigan game; in fact his form has for me been disappointing of late. I guess we expect so much from Rich and his reduced game time and chopping and changing of positions can’t have helped his plight can it? He has looked pretty p*seed off a time or two as well when he has been hauled off or left on the bench till late in a game. Never-the-less we always seem to do better when he plays, so it will be good to have him back.

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We need a bit of this back…..and quickly!!!

I think it’s likely that Tulsan will be back soon too which could be good because he was just starting to show a bit of form when he was once again injured.

Well, over in the world of football, just as the cold turkey of losing at Wembley that we all know so well was kicking in, the price rise at City for their season passes for next year certainly came as a bit of a bombshell for several City fans I know. They have all just shelled out for two visits to Wembley in quick succession and are at present to put it bluntly ‘skin’. No doubt the increase will be blamed by the administration on the owner’s unsuccessful attempt to change the name and get City out of the title. Still if any of them give you stick regarding our current form its worth, I find, asking them why there has been no celebration or opportunity in their home City for the fans to thank the team for that heroic display at Wembley and furthermore what would have happened if they had actually won the Cup.

The KC is dug up so that was out and I happen to know that the Council had offered a civic reception, open top bus tour and Victoria Square home coming but that was turned down by City’s management (no surprise there then). Contacts who work for the East Riding authority even told me that they could have considered an offer to parade the Cup around the City rather than in it!!!! Hard to believe I know but then again, am it? Everyone likes a parade, but in Hull it appears the fans of City won’t be getting one any time soon and that, after the great happenings at Wembley, is a big shame.

Now here’s an Interesting story I heard from the Directors Box at Headingley, when someone commented to Adam that Jason Crookes didn’t look that upset as he was sent off against Hull KR in the Magic weekend game, to which it is reported Adam retorted, “He was upset when I got hold of him”

Well I told you in the last Diary that Setaimata Sa had signed for us and would be joining us maybe ‘as soon as early this week’ and so it came to pass as he arrived at YPI on Tuesday to train with the lads. He’s been keen to sort out his future back in rugby league and really frustrated by the way that the administration at London Irish had stymied his attempts at getting a release from his contract. Then there were issues with his work permit transfer and he spent another frustrating day hanging around in the UK Border Agencies offices in Liverpool last Monday, before everything was done and he was ours. I told you in here all along that rumours about a breakdown in the deal were wide of the mark as were the whispers that he had failed a medical. All guff put around by the shroud waivers who want to believe there are issues again I’m afraid.

In fact, although I’m probably too old and short of breathe to actually blow my own trumpet, it seems I’ve had a pretty good record in the whiffs department of late (that could of course soon change) as Sa has now arrived and Huby who I said was a target for us, is as I predicted destined (the RL papers say) for Huddersfield. However it looks like Dobbo might not now come off, because Saints and Warrington have joined the hunt, but more of that later. However interestingly enough after I mentioned it some 4 Diaries ago, Thomas Leuluia is now featuring as a possible target on twitter and Facebook, and finally I told you weeks ago (Diary 394) that we had signed Scott Taylor from Wigan and that is now being talked about as an accepted fact by most people inside and outside the Club and amongst friends of Scott’s family. There’s a lot happening at present too but, as I always say, what do I know? Just watch this space!

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On his way?

There was also an interesting conversation on Humberside between Lloyd TSB (that silly bugger) and the Doc after the Rovers game yesterday afternoon. It all started with Doc saying, “Hull FC are just too good to go down” to which Gwilym stated “I wish I had a quid for every time I heard that” as he gloated about the possibility of our eventual demise, as I guess he would. The conversation then went on to speculation about where Michael Dobson would end up next season and the three teams I mentioned were listed. Then of course it was Gwilym’s turn again to say, “Of course the conspiracy theory is that Michael went to Australia for one year because he had signed for another Club and didn’t want to upset Rovers when they found out who it was; that Club of course is most likely to be Hull FC”. Nothing special there, it’s a common rumour, until that is the Doc who is a player’s agent and who knows a lot more than he is letting on most of the time said, “You said that Gwilym and I want it noted that you said it and I’m saying nothing!” Interesting that!

Talking of whiffs and transfer rumours next up a word of caution! I have alluded several times of late of my worry about relegation, something that will come in for an even more telling examination this weekend and its worth considering this too; if we were relegated then every player on our books with a Super league contract would be a free agent. Yes despite the fact that the RL are hell bent on relegation and promotion they have not reviewed that aspect of the contractual agreements of Super League players and so any Club that is relegated can’t keep hold of the players they have invested time and money in over the years! That’s a bloody farce really and completely undoes all the good that has come out of licensing.

Looking round the social media the other day (just to see who was repeating what I’d mentioned to them in confidence), I noticed that we have been getting a bit of stick, (just as we were in the letter pages of the Rugby League papers), from the newly ‘knowledgeable’ Castleford fans who apparently think that we are a Club that is, over hyped, badly coached and badly run by our owner! Then again it’s so easy to let it go to your head when you’re suddenly in the lime light and on a bit of a run isn’t it? However there’s little doubt that the quality of their Coaching and some great efforts by some players that have over the years been pretty average (including 6 ‘FC rejects’, some of whom we could probably do with back now) has certainly turned a few heads, but its par for the course that in those circumstances one or two ‘plastic’ supporters soon become experts on everyone else’s demise.

Of course they would be better off joining the majority of decent Cas fans in just enjoying the experience, particularly as most of them seem totally oblivious to the fact that at least 6 of their starting 17 have already signed for other Clubs next season. Which ones? Well it’s not us, but as I said earlier, watch this space!

Talking of Clubs whose fans believe their own publicity it was interesting to hear from Australia this week that Locke, the full back signed by the Red Devils for next season, has come to this country for a yearly wage in excess of 200,000! I checked with my reader over there and that’s defiantly British pounds and not Australian dollars so I feel it’s necessary to repeat once again; Salary Cap Mr Koukash……..you’re having a laugh!

You know in here I have had to do it a time or too, simply because of some abject performances, but by and large criticising referees is not my style. However if I’m honest I was despairing and indeed embarrassed to see decisions being handed on to the video referee on about five occasions by Phil Bentham during Wigan’s visit to Salford on Thursday night. It must be a thankless job in the first place but if you’re going to be a referee you have to make snap decisions and stick by them, whether they are right or wrong.

I think that to both the fans of the two Clubs and everyone watching at home this was way too much use of a second opinion. Some instant, on-the-spot, decisions could have been made and it was no wonder both sets of fans were becoming frustrated in the stands. Even the unholy trinity of Stevenson, Hemmings and Clarke were bemused, and the officianado’s of twitter will tell you that dozens of players from other Clubs were tweeting and texting along the lines of: “Why the hell is he going to the screen again for that?” Our game is being devalued and at times ridiculed by such stuff and for me some referee’s should get over the ‘Look at me!” stuff and have the balls to make a decision and stick by it in the spirit of getting on with the game and making it a spectacle for the fans.

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My indecisions are final!!!!! ….come on, grow some Phil!

In an effort to re-kindle its popularity, the strong lobby to move the Challenge Cup Final forward is gaining momentum and it looks very likely that next season our showpiece fixture will revert to its old May slot. However with the first phase of the new 8x8x8 format reaching its conclusion next year in August, it must make us all wonder, what now for Magic. As you know, for me if they can’t get the fixtures fair (i.e. either all Derby’s or drawn from a hat) I’d get rid of it altogether, but it seems the Magic Weekend is here to stay, for at least another year. However where and when it will take place in 2015 is up for speculation. It seems unlikely to be at the Etihad Stadium given Manchester City’s plans to add extra tiers to much of the ground in closed season 2015, but the Super League included in the detail of its new format for next year a schedule of 23 rounds before the split, which suggests it will take place somewhere, sometime. Indeed a I discussed a couple of weeks ago, next season it’s likely there will be a Magic Weekend for the second tier clubs too, possibly at Blackpool.

We have to all worry that it won’t be as some are demanding the first phase concluding round 23, because imagine the uproar if, say hypothetically speaking, Hull had to beat Rovers in their third meeting of the season to make the top eight, while our rivals for eighth place – call them Salford, were to play Widnes who were the club floundering in 12th position. The stress, tension and build up to that Derby would far out-weigh the prospect of another ‘ordinary’ league game for the Red Devils and the Vikings. At stake in that scenario of two totally lopsided games stress wise is the prospect of either 7 more games in the top mini league with all the attendance rewards that would bring, or 7 weeks in the middle 8 group of death, against Championship Clubs.

However if a Round 23 Magic Weekend doesn’t work, putting it halfway through the season in March or April would be a major weather risk and I guess a return to Cardiff, with its retractable roof, seems the most sensible temporary option. It appears that the supporters of the contrived beano of rugby have pointed to the success of this year’s event and indicated that it is growing in popularity, however looking at the figures although the stunning weather must have helped attendances it actually ironically did little for the Sky’s viewing figures which were well down this year. It’s just something else in the 8x8x8 fiasco that hasn’t for me been thought out at all, but that’s a scenario that is pretty common in our game these days.

It was tragic to hear this week of the death of FC stalwart and fan extra-ordinary Steve Smith and it will certainly be a sad and pretty heartbreaking afternoon at the Hull Crematorium at 2-30pm on Thursday as people gather to pay their respects to another stalwart of the Club who has passed on. I haven’t know Steve as long as many of you reading this will have done, but the amiable owner of a local taxi company was a special fan and always went the extra mile for the Club he loved. Running Race nights for testimonial campaigns or organising tables of fans for dinners and events he was always there to help and always around to support the Club. He was the sort of bloke you need around at times of trouble and is for me at least simply irreplaceable. I have worked on both Yeamo’s Testimonial Committee and more latterly for Rich Whiting with Steve and his partner Carol and I’m sure you will, along with me, extend the condolences of all FC fans to her and the family at this tragic time! RIP Steve Smith!

Well those books of mine might not have made me a fortune or attracted any Pulitzer Prizes, but it has certainly led to me hearing some great stories when folks stop me to relate their own tales of supporting Hull FC and growing up in West Hull. This week I heard from Martin who used to live across the Road from me in Airlie Street and who actually gets a couple of mentions in said tomes. Martin was a big fan in the late 60’s and early 70’s and we exchanged many great stories, but he asked me this week to feature something about his greatest ever FC hero, a player of extraordinary skill who now goes by largely un-noticed. In fact I even got a long E mail from this same player just after the first ‘Roamin’ book came out to thank me for remembering him. The player in question who Martin still adores is of course master of the slipped ball, before anyone ever thought of slipping them out of the tackle, Terry Kirchin. Terry was a real hero of mine too and a player with such vision and ability, he was light years ahead of most of the other forwards in the game back then.

Terry left Hull in 1974 and has only been back a couple of times since. He now lives in Scotland but told me how he was brought up in Widnes and was actually, in the early sixties, a card carrying member of the Cavern Club in Liverpool where he saw the Beatles on several occasions. It was all really interesting stuff and I hope that Terry comes down to visit us in Hull again next year for our 150th birthday.

This week in Codgers Corner I therefore though I’d feature a game that mirrors the influence Kirchin had on our team in those halcyon days of muddy pitches, faded shirts and poor wages. The game I have chosen is one that I remember well, when on Wednesday 12th November 1969, in front of 3,200 fans, we took on an in form Wakefield Trinity outfit that included several international players and a very young off-half called Dave Topliss. The previous weekend we had watched a good win over Workington Town but on that cold November evening as the Boulevard, as the floodlights caused the muddy morass in the middle of the field to shine and sparkle, I watched an exciting game where we gave the opposition a lead, roared back and then hung on to win.

The first half was certainly one some of the FC players will want to forget. Jim Macklin dropped the ball twice over the line whilst Chris Davidson got a caution from the referee for a high tackle on Haigh. Terry Kirchin’s ability shone out that night as he constantly drove the ball in and standing in the tackle with a handful of Wakefield players round him, he would release the ball to the waiting arms of Hancock or Davidson. He must have done this three times in the first ten minutes to the appreciative applause of us lot huddled in the relative safety of the Threepenny’s. It was not all good stuff in that first half however, and slack tackling wide out allowed Haigh to run through a massive gap and pass on to young Dave Topliss who touched down near the posts. Then Campbell did the same to release ex Rovers stalwart Bonnar who uncharacteristically swept aside Arthur Keegan, as our full back looked to be struggling, having just returned from a period out with a shoulder injury. As a few FC fans seeing the 10-0 on the scoreboard started to ‘offer some advice’ to a few of our players, we then snapped into action. Kirchin ploughed into a three man tackle and supplied Davidson with an early ball that our scrum half passed onto John Maloney who hared down the centre channel to release winger Howard Firth. ‘Firthy’, his blonde hair flowing behind him, ‘pinned back his ears’ and as the cover came across, he kicked on towards the line. The ball bounced around between several players and a couple fumbled it, before Brian Hancock seemed to knock on, but touched down anyway, for the score to be confirmed by a referee who was at least 15 yards behind the play. Maloney goaled and two penalties against one from Brown of Wakefield left Hull 9-12 down.

Next it was Terry Kirchin’s turn to shine again, this time in broken play, as he swept into a gap in the Trinity defence and kicked ahead into open space. The ball only had time to bounce once before from nowhere in swept Clive Sullivan. With his ‘embrocated’ legs shining in the floodlights he timed his run to perfection, collected the ball and outstripped the cover to touch down under the posts. Another Maloney goal gave us a half time lead of two points. As Hull ran out for the second half it was starting to rain and a heavily smoking chimney in Carrington Street behind the Best Stand saw a pall of acrid smoke settle across the pitch and make it difficult at times to see the other side of the pitch. Hull certainly came out fired up and a cross field passing movement instigated by Davidson and McGlone saw John Maloney backing up to take a snap inside pass from Joe Brown and score. He converted and at 19-12 it looked to all of us there as if we had the game in the bag.

After our early defensive frailties we held out grimly as Wakey came charging back and both Harrison and Sullivan saved our line with two truly brilliant last ditch tackles on would be scorers. However with fifteen minutes to go we could not stop Bob Haigh powering through and as Brown converted from wide out and the rain started to pour, our lead was cut to just two points. Arthur Keegan who was clearly in pain and had certainly not looked like his usual self left the field to be replaced by Ken Huxley, who immediately took a brilliant one handed pass from Kirchin which came out of a four man tackle but, having juggled with the ball and done the hard bit, he tripped over his own feet and spilled the ball. Don Robson, David Jervis and Terry Kirchin then turned their hand to defending, as three times they sandwiched Wakefield forwards in crash tackles that loosened the ball. As the referee prepared to end the game, another of our heroes that day Mick Harrison broke into the open but hadn’t the energy or the legs to get away and as the whistle went we all celebrated a brilliant victory by 19-17, after what Dick Tingle later described in the Sports Mail as a “Hammer and tongs finish”

That day we saw an international class try from Sully, 13 points from one of the best kickers I have ever seen in John Maloney and an imperious display by Terry Kirchin, who got the award for Man of the Match. Terry was a fine player and it was great to hear from him and to know that he had enjoyed Roamin’ however the memories he left with us lot who were around the Boulevard back then are simply priceless.

So to London and the biggest game since last year’s semi final at Huddersfield! Some purist would say that it’s even more important and a game so significant in our recent history that nothing, but nothing but a win will do. It’s something that’s not lost on the players as everyone interviewed after the Leeds game emphasise the importance of getting two points especially Gareth Ellis who openly talked about the real threat of relegation. The game is played on the same weekend that the Bulls play Wakefield and just days before Bradford argue the toss about their lost points at an independent tribunal, so something’s got to give. The general consensus in the game is that they will get at least 2 back and so the London game is crucial. You can almost envisage the scenario now. Bradford get 4 or 6 points back, the RL wring their hands and call foul, whilst all the while privately rejoicing in the prospect of their beloved ‘Brand’ Club and tenants of ‘The ground they own’ surviving.

You know someone said to me at Leeds that he hoped we lost in London because in his mind it would see the end of Lee Radford; can you believe that? Just for the record I’ll repeat what I said to him; firstly it won’t be the end of Lee Radford and secondly I find it incredulous how anyone who really loves the Club could ever even contemplate such a defeat as being beneficial. The effect a reversal will have on the player’s confidence and the subsequent aftermath of that is simply unthinkable. The Club are certainly placing a high importance on the fixture and taking the players down the day before and even Adam Pearson is accompanying them. Let’s just get down there cheer the lads on and come home with two points, anything else is simply unthinkable!

I’m really sorry to be so ‘doom and gloom’ these days and as I approach the 400th edition of this drivel it’s almost impossible for me to be upbeat. Who knows, perhaps it might be an opportune time to pack it all in, we’ll see, but for me, like so many of you reading this, it’s bloody soul destroying being an FC fan at present; never mind having to write about it. At least this week there were a few positives!! Over 9 years of this weekly chronicle there have been plenty of ‘Up’s’ and a lot of ‘Downs’, but it’s just so hard at present to remember a down that has been quite as deep and depressing as the current one is! Perhaps it’s just me who is over reacting, the fact that we’ve seen it all before to varying degrees that makes it all so predictably depressing.

However when I looked around the terraces at Leeds and saw so many in the same state of mind as me it was reassuring to know I wasn’t on my own. The response I get ever week from the readers of the Diary helps with that too, and this week has been no different with dozens of E mails, texts and calls from concerned readers. Being an FC fan is nothing but challenging isn’t it? Many have already walked and had enough, others are not renewing their passes, some are putting their heads in the sand about what COULD happen, while I’m just really worried. I can do nothing but reflect that worry in here because for me supporting the Club you love is, as I have said so many times before, just like having wayward kids; you can’t live with ‘em, you can’t live without ‘em and it’s a bloody good job you love ‘em!

Good luck to everyone who is going to London, for me it’s probably a season defining game and in the overall scenario of that season it’s a massive one for so many reasons, let’s get a win!!!!!

Try to keep believing,

Faithfully Yours

Wilf

P.S. And now for the usual final funny stuff…..unfortunately however there is nothing to laugh at this week!!!