“Its same interview as every week, we have a right crack but unfortunately we are just not quite there”
So said Lee Radford, the man with the plan, to which I would add, yes it is the same interview, but this week we were for long periods nowhere near being ‘there’ Lee. In fact it appeared to us lot who made the trip to Salford that for 55 minutes or so there was simply no plan at all!
Still the Bronco’s are down and Bradford lost again, an occurrence that is becoming the highlight of my Rugby League week at present!!
As an obsessive and at time somewhat demented fan of the greatest RL Club in the world (who sadly never play up to that accolade) for me the games up this season and so as we flat-line towards the end of the campaign with no chance of a presence in the play-off, all that really matters to me now, is getting to a point when it is mathematically impossible for Bradford to catch us. London can’t do that now and the Bulls would have to win all their games (unless the high court intervene) and that’s of course all dependent on us not winning another game (which however is eminently possible, isn’t it?). Next season however won’t be so kind on us, because the 12 place Super League with in effect 4 teams relegated will be brutal and that’s something I’ll be looking at in more detail later in the Diary.
As an ordinary fan I don’t ever want to be one of those folks who goes on Radio Humberside or sits in the pub and writes their team off before a game has even been played, I have to be there and full of hope when the FC run out, but I have to say although that won’t change any time soon, I’m getting hacked off with our current demise. I feel so sorry for the hundreds who as always made their way to Salford to once again be left flat, angry and dejected by an abject performance that until the last quarter showed not one bit of enterprise with ball in hand. It was shocking and although I have always said our Coach should be given a chance to change things, anyone who was there on Saturday night will I’m sure agree with me when I say that those 22 points just papered over the cracks of a display that was at times totally devoid of any sort of direction.
Here we are on Monday morning and after ‘another suicide Sunday’ I’m still bitterly disappointed, frustrated and upset. I might have got it all wrong but as always this is just about me writing it as I see it (and this time as I saw it when I got home straight after the game), but I take no enjoyment at all in saying that for the large part, our performance with the ball at Salford was a shambles!! On the way to the game I stopped for a coffee at the services just past the Bradford turn off where, in a deserted hallway, I saw another old guy with an FC shirt on, stood there on his own. He looked at me and I looked at him before he shook his head, sighed and said, “Why do we bother?” I thought of him a few times during a match in which for long periods we showed no sign whatsoever of being capable of breaking down a very ordinary Salford team; that guy certainly had a point.
We defended well, showed some real courage and tons of endeavour in toughing it out as they used some really thuggish ‘skills’ in the tackle, but tactically with the ball, we were woeful. After the game their Coach said “We will have to play a lot better to beat the GOOD teams” which said it all for me. Salford were poor but for the most part we were shocking!
Sat for 45 minutes in the usual ‘Salford Queue’ in the car park at the end of the game, I reflected on the fact that I want Radford to succeed so much, he’s a local lad, a nice guy who is totally committed and someone who ‘gets it’ and cares about the Club. But I’m afraid at present he’s simply not cutting it, is he? He says we are building towards a brighter future but at present it seems that is further away now than it was at the start of the season. It’s certainly further away than it was last year at this time when we went to Salford and in a scratchy performance still scored four good tries (two from bits of Whiting magic) and hung on for a win. I thought that was a poor showing, but this was for the first hour at least, excruciating to watch.
So much as I dislike saying it, for me currently there has to be some blame placed on our Coaching team because quite frankly there appears to be no plan at all and our tactics and lack of creativity were bemusing at times. It was bloody soul destroying as we stood there and watch the ball moving ponderously to one side, then the other, as most of our sets of six made around 30 yards and we pressed on their line for what seemed like ages without any sign of us getting over it. Then when they got the ball, although they were no great shakes, Rangi Chase ran us ragged. Yes we fought back and got three quick tries, as well as a great long distance effort from a Sa bust and a great ranging run from Shaul, but as I said earlier, that just put a gloss on things when actually at present its ‘bricks without straw’ because we simply ain’t capable of conjuring up that bit of magic needed to break down these ‘average Joe’ teams. When, after being frustrated for quite a while on their line, we see a kick on the third tackle into the end zone by Liam Watts (what’s all that about) which is chased by absolutely no one as it bounces dead, it says it all for me, because I’m afraid most of our play appeared to us lot suffering on the low end terraces, as clueless.
For an hour we were rudderless and leaderless. There were few dummy runners, our play the balls were slow, there were too many isolated wedge plays and not enough beating the opposition when one on one. Yet, we could have won, Lineham was forced out twice at the corner flag (the second was pretty dubious) and after a great break Houghton carrying the ball too loosely, he had it knocked out as he headed for the line. However I have to say had we been victorious and snatched victory from the jaws of defeat, then I honestly couldn’t have see me writing much that is different, because there is so much wrong with most of our play and there has been for weeks.
Don’t get me wrong players like Westerman and Rankin ran themselves into the ground, Hadley and Green had a real dig, Watts did well and worked hard, Yeamo took his two tries really well and every-one else had a go, but for most of the time we didn’t have the guile or craft to do anything with ball in hand. Horney was again ineffective; Heramaia tried but copped an injury and despite dropping his first up and under Shaul was always in fairness a threat. Some reading this (who weren’t there) might not like what I’m saying, while others who purposely didn’t go will say ‘I told you so’ but as always I went to Salford in good faith and desperately wanting a win, but I have to admit that deep down I feared it would be the same old same old; and it was!! Now with 5 of the top 6 to play, the top eight is gone and we’ll struggle not to finish 12th, in fact we’ll struggle to win another game and the sooner the end of the season comes for me the better. Beating Wigan on Friday??? You’re having a laugh!!
So, as always, I’ve written about it, tried to tell it how it is was for me but believe me I’m still totally p*ssed off, that first half was the lowest point of my season so far, because at this stage in the campaign when just about everyone else is lifting their game, we appear to be going backwards. However, just like that glorious day at Huddersfield last season when things were so different and that play-off game at the same venue when they weren’t, at least I can look back and say I was there!! Well done to everyone who went, you deserve a medal.
I feel sore and have little sympathy for many on the playing side of the Club, on or off the field at present but I do feel for Adam Pearson. Last Friday I was talking to Tony Sutton, who is as I said last week soon to leave the Club and he gave me an insight into the personality of our owner when he said, “I’ll really miss Adam, it’s been great working with him because he is, in everything he does, an absolute winner!” Pearson must be gutted and wondering just what he has got into, because watching on Saturday I have to say that it’s hard to see how we have done anything but go backwards. Indeed his thoughts and comments will be interesting to read this week!
So onto other things and the big news after the game came with a tweet from Craig Murdoch who said after 10 years behind the microphone he had commentated on his last game, because the BBC said his player agency work conflicted with the job. What a farce, some might even say that Gwilym Lloyd’s love of Hull KR and obvious bias towards them has been conflicting with his job of Rugby League Producer for years and he’s still there!! For me Craig was the only commentator who actually let you know what was going on, he knew the game inside out, he could name the players, was articulate and really descriptive, but most of all his objective viewing of my team was a counter balance for the apparent bias of the other three!! The Station is now left with two former Rovers players led by a producer who openly admits to being a big friend of Neil Hudgell.
I don’t know the in’s and outs of the Murdock situation but I do know that as far as me listening to rugby commentary on Humberside is concerned, then if Murdoch isn’t replaced ‘Like for Like’ that’s me finished!!! I like listening to him on the radio and lately he has even been doing some Rovers games and actually getting plaudits from the Dobbins fans. However it’s a massive loss and so I’ll just say good luck Craig, you are a first class commentator and I’ll miss your dulcet tones on the radio, best wishes and thanks!!!
The news that we have extended Talanoa’s stay for another year was heartening for me because personally I don’t mind him as a player. I wonder at times, if his style of play is better suited to centre rather than wing because he has some pace but is a real worker and although he makes the odd mistake with his positioning and ball retention, by and large he’s OK showing heart, tenacity and a good go forward every week he turns out. At present his strength seems to be his ability to carry the ball up in the middle of the field and get a set of six off to a rolling start, he’s got good feet and is quite swift when he gets a chance. The trouble for us the fans is that he rarely gets ball in the open on the wing so we can’t really judge him as an out and out winger. But I’m pleased we have re-signed him and that it’s just for a year, after which time with a pre-season under his belt we should have an idea as to whether his long term future lies at the KC!
I heard this week that Richard Horne is mulling over his future at the Club and thinking a bit about whether this will be his last season at the Club as a player. The Club have told him to take his time with his deliberations but it is almost certain that should he decide to call it a day then he will be given a role coaching perhaps the Under 19’s. He has been a fantastic servant and one who I would considered in any FC hall of fame because since the close of the last century his contribution to our Club has been exemplary. Should he decide to play on it’s not clear whether we would give him a new contract but he won’t be short of suitors because Featherstone had made an enquiry before their financial backer walked, and just this week Wakey have been sniffing around. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see what comes about but whatever happens, Horney has been a top bloke!
Well here it is the picture that says everything about the point at which we lost the game a week ago against the Wire. The ball has hardly reached the Warrington player’s foot (his leg is on the way up to meet it) when the eventual receiver of the kick (at the top) is already in an obviously off side position! That play was dead in line with where I sit and I thought I wasn’t seeing things!
However I have to say if you study this freeze frame of the incident, you can understand what I said last week in that without a video referee you are sunk because you simply can’t re-visit these occasions. So, in an untelevised game such as that one, the try is awarded, because unlike a Sky game there is no chance of another look. With top teams, like Castleford of late, being on Sky week in week out, it’s simply not a level playing field at all is it? The fact is too that in such a tight game it probably cost us a point! For me that incident should have been called back by the touch judge who should have been level with play and have spotted the off side; but these days they are, as far as I can see, equally as crap as the referees. However I do think that there should be a fourth official sat up in the stand allowed to let the referee know through his head phones that he has missed something particularly when it’s so blatant and critical to the outcome of the game. In circumstances like that he could have at least tipped the referee off that he had missed an off side. Instead we all saw the incident, while Mr Thaler was oblivious to what was a game changing situation.
So after that and two other dubious decisions that led to tries I can easily understand why Adam Pearson went in to print again last Monday to decry the RFL and their referees because quite frankly the game is being ruined by poor officials and folks are walking away in their droves because of them. Spectators are just fed up of it week in week out and who can blame them. As I said last week I don’t like having a go because if you do, it becomes a weekly occurrence which to be honest becomes bloody boring! However I am told that our Coaching staff was livid after last week’s game because there were so many injustices all of which seemed to come in game changing situations.
Pearson said, “Yet again we see decisions so palpably wrong as to create suspicions in relation to the integrity of the game. People can guess as to what sort of decisions I am referring to, but hopefully in being ambiguous people close to the game will finally act, rather than wonder whether the ambiguous nature of my comments can be interpreted as a criticism of referees or themselves in order to justify a further fine for me rather than rectifying these perceived injustices” The fact he was so ambiguous meant few grasped what the hell he was on about! However Adam was obviously going round the houses because the owners, players and Coaches can’t speak out, in fact they can’t do anything but look on in frustration while on the field the crap decisions mount, while the crowds stream away from games on a weekly basis talking about nothing else but the officials. It has to be sorted, but somehow I doubt that’ll happen don’t you?
It’s some way off but our current form and League position is excuse enough, if excuse is needed for frustrated FC fans to partake in what is becoming an annual ritual; looking TOWARDS next season. I purposely excluded the word ‘forward’ there! So, with changes a plenty impacting on our thoughts, what exactly will the new 8x8x8 regime bring for fans of Hull FC!
Well, always providing that we successfully navigate this season (and as I said earlier, until that is mathematically certain, I ain’t counting any chickens), then the prospects of surviving and making the top 8 next year to thus avoid that middle 8 ‘Group of death’, ain’t that good. OK we have made a couple of good signings, but when you look at candidates for the top league positions, we are rank outsiders already.
Of course we have to wait to see what the final make up of next season’s squad is but for me there is little doubt we still need a big injection of quality if we are to have any chance at all of being anything but also ran’s, come game 23. Warrington, Wigan, Saints and Leeds will all undoubtedly be strengthening and are all but guaranteed a place in the top 8 and Huddersfield must be pretty likely candidates too. Castleford may yet be one season wonders but they must fancy their chances, while Doctor K will be mighty unhappy if his star spangled team are not in there as well. So that makes 7, with us, Rovers, Wakefield, Widnes and Catalan all vying for the last place. When you look at it like that and considering where we are at present, it’s going to take a bloody miracle (or for Sneyd and Pryce to be wearing their underpants over their trousers all season) for Hull FC to get a top 8 place come Round 23 and I simply, honestly, can’t see it myself!
With that one spot hypothetically up for grabs, Rovers believe they can kick on and probably will, Widnes have high hopes too, while Catalan, (particularly if they sign Carney), will be a tough outfit to oust from the top group, especially with their obvious home advantage. That just leaves us and Wakey!! So, I guess when we buy our season tickets for next year it won’t be at all clear as to who exactly we will be playing in our last 7 games; besides perhaps the Wildcats!!
I don’t want to be taking a leading role in the doom and gloom department but I simply can’t see us making that top section can you? I’d like to think I’ll be proved wrong and will be overjoyed if I am. However you see, for me the thing is that this season, like no doubt many of you reading this, I have always looked at the poorer teams as the only real opportunity we have of getting some points, because quite frankly we haven’t beaten any of the good ones, well not the real good ones anyway. So far we’ve got past Catalan, Bradford, Huddersfield, London (twice), Widnes and Salford. Next season however two of those will have gone and points will be even harder to come by, there will be 4 less opportunities for us to get points, which must make our task even more difficult.
When you step back and consider how I, as an average fan, feel about our prospects next term, then you’ll see a lot of what I base my feeling of foreboding on is to do with this seasons form and when you look at it you have to wonder; just how far have we declined this year? It’s a sobering thought which baffles me almost as much as why we have done it so fast, because unlike past campaigns when I was, as you know, ever hopeful, when we get close to a good team these days I can’t ever see us getting past them, come the final hooter. If it’s an issue that is concerning me then it’s one that must leave Adam Pearson with sleepless nights and the Club wondering just what marketing wheeze they can use this term to get us buying 2015 season tickets. Talk about a hard sell and it’s going to be one hard campaign as well and the question is just how many of the Faithful will actually buy into it?
As they got a late stuffing at Leeds, I must say that I don’t often (if ever) give praise to the Dobbins or their staff but I have to say that I was moved to this week having read what Chris Chester said after the departure of Sandy Cock last week. After a massive win against Saints Chester said, “That result was for Sandy It’s desperately disappointing for Craig who has helped me heaps over the three years he’s been here. I spoke to the boys and I told them I thought we had let him down, me included. I thought we could have helped him a lot more. I spoke with him at length on Saturday. He was desperately disappointed, but he told me to take the opportunity and see where it leads.” Fine words from a player who I really liked when he was at the FC, and a guy I have met and chatted with a time or two over the years; but that’s it mate, you’ve had it now, your Rovers Coach so prepare for some grief!!
Well last week I was contacted by that stalwart of RL fans the ubiquitous Hutchie, we certainly had a very interesting chat about the fine work he and the lads down at Hull Wyke are doing with the youngsters in their care. They have just also been given the final go ahead for their new clubhouse project, Steven Brady the leader of the council has committed to making it happen, so in a few months a new £200k clubhouse and changing facility will be built at their Cropton Road ground. This is really needed because the Club now attracts 300 players from age 3 to Open Age, who play in an amazing 16 teams. That’s real development at a time when in general the amount of youngsters both locally and across the country being attracted to the game is dropping. They had by far the biggest group of youngsters at the Hull and Proud, Warrington game (over 100 in the parade and 5 teams in the pre match tournament) and it’s certainly a success story that Hutchie and the rest of the team down there should be very proud of. I’ll keep you posted on the new Club house as it progresses; great story though.
Talking to some Salford fans before the game I discovered that there were this week a couple of interesting revelations from Kevin Locke when he was quizzed at a lively fans’ forum on BBC Radio Manchester’s Rugby League Extra. First up the personable Salford full-back reveals his best time for the 100m is 10.98, clocked when he was a school kid. Now that’s fast and Commonwealth games entrance level! And secondly his pre-match superstition is to shake hands with teammates then slap the seventh one across the face. Having heard that I was left to muse on the fact that he is probably best to line the 13 up first and make sure that Gareth Hock isn’t anywhere near the middle!!?
A couple of folks have stopped me this week and asked what exactly all this Marquee signing exemption stuff was about. Some thought it meant Clubs could spend as much as they want on a player as long as he is classed as a Marquee signing, others asked exactly who would judge whether a player was in fact of that status. So I did a bit of digging. It’s an idea that has been the hobby horse of Salford Red Devils owner Marwan Koukash ever since he bought the Club and indeed this week he hinted that promises had been made about it by the RL before he took the plunge at Salford. However it has been delayed again for the second time by the Hetherington’s and their buddies, when the Super league Clubs met to discuss the way forward for the game.
This is apparently how the marquee player scheme would work, should it be introduced. The rule would relate to a Clubs highest-paid player, as long as the Club could prove they can afford him, then that player would go onto their salary cap with a value of £100,000, no matter what the said Club spent on him. In theory I guess if a club wanted to pay a player a million pounds a year – so long as they could afford it – it would go down on their salary cap as just a £100,000 salary. Right or wrong it certainly seems to me to be the only way we’ll ever see top Aussie players in their prime here in England again and as such it’s a pretty good idea for the game and the spectators. Of course many Clubs could not afford to do it and no doubt they are the ones who are blocking the move at present. The Clubs will re-visit the idea again in November, when ‘Marvellous’ Marwan will again try to get his way!
The other day in the Drum and Monkey, following some old photo’s being displayed in the Hull Daily Mail, we got to discuss the old Craven Park with its Dog Track, glass sided stand, privet hedge surrounds and Tote Board at the Holderness Road end. Then someone suggested I feature a game from that venue this week and therefore in Codgers Corner I want to go back to the season before Brian Smith joined us, when Len Casey had resigned as Coach and the Club, in a desperate bid to stave off relegation, was being coached by Tony Dean and Keith Hepworth. We had seen that fantastic ending against Wigan, that I often talk about in here and having drawn 0-0 in the Cup semi Final, we had experienced a heart breaking 4-3 reversal against Halifax, in the replay. We were still not certain of survival in the First Division and really had to win our next game but the problem was that it was on Good Friday at Caravan Park and just 48 hours after that semi final replay defeat. Just how the lads managed to get themselves up for that game after the disappointment of missing out on Wembley is hard to fathom as I know I for one was really down and dreading a visit to the home of the Dobbins particularly when we were so ill prepared.
Still off I went down to East Hull that Friday and what a difference 48 hours made for the team and the supporters. We had to make changes, 6 in all, because we were certainly bashed up from the replay, whilst Rovers fielded a full strength team. For Hull, Hussein M’Barki played centre that day whilst McCaffrey took over from Kevin Dick at scrum half. Paul Welham and Jon Sharp started in the second row and Dane O’Hara played, limping from the off with a heavily strapped right thigh.
We stated badly conceding an early penalty, which Rovers Mick Fletcher dispatched between the posts whilst Garry Pearce got attention from the Hull medical staff. Garry had actually received a heavy knock when Zook Ema and Fairburn took him out as he tried to break through the defensive line prior to the penalty being awarded. Still shaking his head Pearce re started the game and immediately a melee broke out when Patrick was gang tackled by Ema, Burton and Harrison and everyone piled in. On 12 minutes however Pearce was back to his illusive self as he darted between two Rovers defenders to score a try wide out which he just failed to convert. Another quick break down field and a good run by Steve Crooks ended with Pearce dropping a goal and after 15 minutes we had taken a surprise 5-2 lead.
Then on 20 minutes The Dobbins streamed down field themselves and as the ball flashed across the line it looked as if a try was on the cards until Gordon Smith threw out an uncharacteristically loose pass and young Paul Welham stepped in to intercept. Turning defence into attack he caught Hull KR flat footed as he tore downfield to score a brilliant 60 yard try which Pearce converted with ease. On a slippery pitch we were certainly retaining possession better than the home team and after Sharp had snapped up a dropped ball by Clark, James Leuluai weaved away from three static Rovers defenders to put Paul Eastwood in at the corner. Pearce converted with a gem of a kick from the touchline and on the half hour mark we led 17-2. The home fans were getting more and more frustrated as Hull KR showed little pattern to their play and failed to capitalise on the gaps that were appearing in a tired Hull FC defence, still we held out to half time and on the terraces we all hoped that we could hang on for a much needed and totally un-expected win.
Rovers certainly came out fired up and soon things had changed dramatically. John Carroll and Shaun Patrick were soon struggling with fatigue and they came off to be replaced by Price and Andy Dannett, but in a sloppy 12 minute period, we conceded two tries. Firstly slick support play saw Mike Smith plunge in and then, despite Jon Sharps brave attempt to haul him back, Parker just managed to stretch out and plant the ball over the line. Two Fletcher conversions saw the score at 17-14 after only 13 minutes of the second half. We looked dead on our feet but lead by the inspirational Garry Pearce we somehow got our second wind and struck back at a now confident Hull KR. Pearce, not known for his defence, produced a flawless tackling game that day and it was that aspect of his play that inspired his colleagues and turned the tide back in Hull’s favour.
A sweeping Hull move featuring M’Barki, Crooks and Divorty, saw McCaffrey held just short by Ema as the pendulum started to swing back in our favour. Pearce dropped a goal from 35 yards and then as Fletcher kicked dead from the re-start Gary hoisted a long, straight and true penalty from the centre spot and we were almost home. As we bit our nails and willed the hooter to sound, Pearce completed his points tally with another drop goal, and as the claxon sounded we were over the barriers, and the greyhound track, and onto the pitch. Amidst scenes of ecstatic jubilation, we had survived and won a memorable victory against all the odds. Coach Tony Dean was carried shoulders high by the fans as the players joined us in celebrating First Division survival.
We certainly relished the opportunity to sing ‘Old Faithful’, down there in deepest, darkest East Hull! It was a massive win for the Club and as so often happens in sport just two days after a result had totally deflated us, circumstances had transpired to drive the disappointment of that Cup semi final defeat out of all our systems and to replace it with the warm glow that only comes with beating the ‘Old Enemy’ on their own patch. Great memories!
Well, away from rugby for a moment, it happened this week, that old feeling of foreboding and fear as I got the text to say my mobile phone required a re-grade. I hate that stuff because it’s always a case of ‘Nothing to it’, everything’s backed up and will be ‘automatically updated’ blah, blah, blah….but it’s never ever that bloody simple is it??? Disappearing ring-tones, old passwords that I had forgotten being required, deleted accounts re-appearing bloody hell it was a nightmare!!! However once again I guess it went to prove that you’ll always be OK if you can find a member of the FC family to help you out, because as I so often say in here the camaraderie amongst our fans is quite frankly the best there is.
So thank heavens for Shane at EE in Beverley who was very patient but who, immediately he saw my password, said “So, you’re an FC fan then!” From that moment onwards I got service over and above their usual high standard and two sessions of two hours later (after much tutting in the ever extending queue behind me) he finally sorted it all out!!! So once again I encountered a top bloke who, he tells me, supplies phones to many of our players too! (Useful for the whiffs department perhaps???) Of course the efforts of an ageing techno-twit like me didn’t help, as I forgot my passwords and phone numbers and generally make a mess of things! However he came good and saved the day and I thank him for that and would recommend him to any FC supporters in the Beverley area who like me don’t get the technical stuff to well; FC fans eh, what would you do without them!! And finally on this subject a techno tip from me; watch it if it rains because you might get a nasty blow on the bonse from one of my ring tones which Shane told me, are apparently still up in the Cloud!!!!
So, we move onto Wigan and another death like experience for the FC Faithful in the steepling and alien environment of the JJB Stadium! I really do apologise for the tone and despair of the opening paragraphs, you know I try to look on the bright side and search for positives, but quite frankly as I sat up till 3-00am on Sunday morning writing up my thoughts on the game, I was despairing at our demise.
But, I love my Club, I have nowhere else to go and I’ll always be there hoping! However on Saturday it was soul destroying. There were a few Salford fans on message boards decrying the fact that some FC supporters said that Salford were poor, but they were, make no mistake about that, most teams would have beaten them easily, but if they were poor we were….well you know the rest. For me, we are now at the lowest point we have been at since we moved to the KC and if management style performance indicators are needed then how about this one. We have been experiencing season lows from about the third game, so things appear at least to the fans, to be getting worse rather than better. One silver lining is of course that in the 600 or so who made the journey to Salford we no longer have the we’re only here for the beer ‘sing when were winning fight when we’re losing’ fraternity, so at least it’s like grieving with friends and family! You can’t buy that feeling of being amongst friends when times are tough. It was great to see Tony Roberts and the good folks from his now famous bus trip and if you’re going to Wigan give him a call at the Buccaneer in Brough, because he’s struggling for numbers as usual!
Thanks to everyone who came to say hello and who have contacted me in the last week, I’ll stick with it in here as long as you’ll stick with me, but boy it’s hard at present isn’t it. See you all at Wigan…blindfolds at the ready!