The Dentists Diary – 408th

Oh dear, Oh dear, Oh dear!

(That was what Mrs R said I should start with, as it was all I said this afternoon at Odsal).

“You’ll cheat your way into the top eight if you get in after performances like that”
(So said Mr R our Coach after the game!)

I am writing this with lap-top on knee as she drives home and quite frankly my first thoughts on the match is that it was all pretty soul destroying. For me sat here in the car it’s been one of the worst recent campaigns I can remember and quite frankly I can’t wait to get the season over with.

The defeat was no surprise at all but the performance was depressing. Last week I honestly thought that we had reached a turning point and that even if we didn’t make the play-offs at least we could finish with a flourish. But I should have known better by now, as one week later its back to square one and the same old rubbish.

But, at least we have a new signing to think about, I don’t say that ‘Mini’ is the best signing ever or anything near it, but he’s definitely a shrew acquisition and a definite step up in standard on a lot of imports that have been brought in from Aus. of late; he’s certainly not a reserve grader or someone who might develop into a star. As someone said this week, “He’s been there and delivered for years, so we 100% know what we’re getting” and as we complete our third signing for 2015, I guess I should wish ‘Mini’ every success, add the usual ‘Welcome to the madhouse’, and after Sunday suggest that perhaps you’d better think about wearing your underpants over your trousers.

On Sunday we started out in breezy weather and good sunshine, had to divert through Dewsbury to avoid a major crash on the motorway, got stuck in a big traffic jam and then soaked to the skin as we literally ran to the ground to stand in gale force winds, AND Mrs R, myself and around 700 others did all that; but for what? Another second rate performance where players who should know a lot better threw the game away…that’s what. Its bloody soul destroying, there is so much dead wood in there who, I honestly believe, do really well on the training pitch to get their places, but can’t deliver in the 80 minutes when it really matters. It’s a culture we have seen for years and quite frankly I see little changing at all, do you?

I shy away from Coach bashing, you know that, but I have two questions to ask Lee after that debacle. Firstly we have banged on for two weeks about how we are still in there and have to push hard to a possible top 8 finish however unlikely it is, so why the hell do we allow two players that are on loan to the Bulls play in such an important game. They scored three tries between them; if it was so important why where they allowed to play? We all knew they would raise their game. Secondly if by that action we can presume that actually we really did think it was a dead rubber and we used the game to try a few things why, when Heramaia is injured, didn’t we play Cunningham from the bench? From where we were stood on the terraces it was yet another shambles; and the latest in a long line of them!

The fans were great as always and stuck it out to the bitter end. Many donned the plastic rain ponchos supplied by the Bulls and wearing them inside out so as to not show the badge on the front, they once again suffered for their love of the FC on the open terraces.

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“Adam Pearson’s plastic white Army” went the chant of the poncho clad fans, as the FC faithful certainly showed more passion and temerity than they witnessed on the pitch!

In his post match comments I thought Lee Radford was going to burst into tears and whatever you think about him (and I have some real question marks there), he was let down by some players who should know better. There are without doubt some major issues with some of the players in our squad and there are deficiencies that successive coaches have found it impossible to deal with. It’s that old ‘culture thing’ that I bang on about in here so much and quite frankly there is little to point to the fact that Radford will be any better at solving the issue than his predecessors. I’ve just heard his post match stuff and to me at the end of that interview he sounded a broken man!

The thing to remember about the two FC players who played for Bradford this afternoon is that neither is really good enough; yet they were good enough to beat us, weren’t they? They shouldn’t have played and the fact that Radford left such an important decision to the players, really beggars’ belief for me, I understand the thinking behind it but the boss is the boss and he makes the decisions and stands and falls by them. What the hell is all that about, surely we must give ourselves the best possible chance of succeeding in such a ‘must win’ game? The thing is we all have opinions but for me Sa should have started because I think that Whiting struggles in the centre and Cunningham should have spelled Houghton. Some did well, Watts drove in hard, Ellis lead by example and Westerman was his usual self. Rankin showed some good touches, Houghton did his very best and the rest, well they just fade to a blur really. It’s certainly hard to find many positives for me at all and our Coach should have brought Sa and Rankin on a lot earlier.

As for the actual match, well in the first half we played no frills rugby, the stuff no doubt we have played over the last two weeks in training, the game plan was fine, our forwards were on top and we were soon 12-0 up; another score would have done it. But then we start the flashy stuff with some suicide balls and instead of grinding it out and sticking to the plan, we blew it again. In the second part of the first half alone, Horne passed to them three times and Whiting once, all in positions where it would have been easier to hang on. Odsal was like a cathedral, but they are relegated, playing well, but down, and their attendance bore that out, we had something to play for, the FC fans turned up again in numbers and more in hope than expectations, they stood there witnessing ‘a shocker’ in shocking weather. As I type this we are all now travelling back home with, as fans, as much to look forward to as Bradford. Zilch; we’re going to finish third from bottom which is a really worrying difference to 6th where we finished last time around and apparently we were crap then. Quite frankly I guess I’m in some ways relieved, because I don’t think I could bear the humiliation of a play-off game with that lot, do you?

What a disappointment it was after those initial and so encouraging minutes to suddenly see early ball going out wide and the ensuing forced passes and all that at the expense of that controlled rugby down the middle. It’s simply not acceptable and if as I suspect the game plan is right but some are doing as they like, then there will have to be some dismissals because the fans have simply had enough. James Webster said last week that with 14 teams in Super League the lack of quality players in that league and the cap restrictions imposed by the RL, means that a lot of Clubs like us have some average players who are in fact very lucky to be playing in Super League at all. It’s a great point and were there enough quality players around a lot of our lot simply wouldn’t get a game. But they might also play better, because they are, Webster reckons, complacent as they are not threatened, which leads to what we are witnessing at present. Boy it’s a good argument, which I think was borne out extremely well at Odsal.

If you didn’t go then perhaps sat at home in the relative safety of your own settee, you will say, “another close defeat to a team that has beaten Leeds and Wigan” etc. etc. But if you were there you’ll know we should have won by a mile, but once again we didn’t! It was as I said earlier a bit of a battle getting there for the fans and who can blame ‘em saying that they won’t be getting passes next season, because it’s another same old same old, with two good performances followed by a crap one. I have to say as I arrive home from Bradford, still tapping this rubbish out, that this fan is pretty fed up with it all and can’t wait for the season to end.

We have an owner who is trying really hard and spending big time, a Coach who is honest and hard working (and yet allows the players the decision as to whether in a season defining game we allow the opposition to play two of our players) and a set of players who can’t stick to the game plan and lack focus, however much the importance of it is drilled into them!!! So where now? Well Heaven bloody knows! I can only be honest in here and writing this as I travel home means it’s a bit raw and a bit over the top, but that’s honestly how this fan feels after that performance, tomorrow I might mellow but this evening I’m just totally fed up with it all and that game was perhaps for me, one disappointment too many! But, let’s not be too rash and perhaps its better I move on before I say something I might regret.

“Good luck champ it’s a bastard when they show you the door after you slugged your guts out for them” So said Geoff Brown a Titans fan on twitter, after the news had broken that we had managed to secure the signature of Mark Minachiello.

I do get ‘off beam’ at times in here I know, things change and I sometimes get the wrong end of the stick completely, but last week in the Diary I did say that I thought a signing was imminent and so it came about, so for the record I’ll just say that this week I don’t expect any new signings, but a couple of re-signings are certainly on the cards, including the much vaunted extension for Gareth Ellis’s contract. But, what do I know?

However, Minichiello HAS signed so let’s get the negatives out of the way first! The man with the name that sounds like ‘mini cheddars’’ is 32, will be 33 by he plays his first Super League game and so is not everyone’s idea of a spring chicken or a ‘marquee’ signing. I heard he was a target early last week and wondered too a bit myself about his age. However I then thought it was all off when after being told he could leave by the Titans, both the Melbourne Storm and the Sydney Roosters offered him deals, however after weeks of discussions, he had given his word to us and wouldn’t go back on it!

There was however a late scare on Thursday as yet another Club came in with a late bid, (thus Radford’s coyness about naming the player in his ‘Press day’ interview), but ‘Mini’ held firm and we got our man. Mark felt that it would be a big adventure for his family too, and enjoyed his time in this country for the World Cup. Many fans hoped that the announcement would have been Frank ‘The Tank’ Pritchard whose name we have been linked with for weeks but I believe we preferred ‘Mini’ and when you step back it was probably the best decision. Frank is an awesome looking guy who is famed for the biff but his style of play although very exciting has seen him become injury prone, while Mark keeps himself in really good nick and plays on average 20 games a season. The second-rower has been a consistent performer in the NRL and recent form suggests he’ll continue to do that in Super League for us lot!

For me, the plan is becoming a bit more apparent now as Pearson adds Mark to Feke, Ellis and Pryce in the ranks of our core senior players. With his 251 NRL appearances, MM will join them in offering leadership and direction and set the right example to our emerging young stars. Although all completely different players the legacy of ‘ageing’ big name signings such as Kearney and Fitzgibbon and the emerging influence of Ellis, have already shown to a certain extent the advantage of having such experience in and around a young, emerging squad. Much depends on the eventual quality of those youngsters, by whom we will either sink or swim, but the signs are good on that score and so I welcome our new arrival and think that to a certain extent I’m starting to get the idea now.

That’s 3 out of a potential 5 new signings in place and for me looking at what is around and available, and what others are doing in the market place, it’s so far so good! In fact it all looks great on paper, but as we all know, rugby is played on grass and that’s usually at Hull FC where the ‘plan’ falls down. Let’s hope this time is different.

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Mark Minechiello; big name, great role model, hard working and a pointed head!!

However a lot of fans were hoping for that big name signing last Thursday, when the night before the Yorkshire Evening Post and the Mail had tweeted that next morning, there were to be signings at both sides of the City. In the end it was a re-signing for us and a pretty non-descript new signing for Rovers, which left both camps decidedly underwhelmed. That of course was probably because the media had hyped them both and built the tension. However, I have to say having been told we could expect a new signing of some magnitude last week, I was myself a bit ‘none plussed’ by the news.

However I soon perked up next day with the second announcement and even before that, on Thursday, once I got over the initial disappointment, the fact that Hadley is now tied up for a further year to the end of 2016, was pretty heartening. He still had a year to run on his current contract which was, as I said in here last year, only granted after Radford had pestered Peter Gentle and emphasised the potential of the player. However I think Hadley has rewarded that faith and deserves his new deal.

Dean could have escaped the net, but has for me shown some great touches this year particularly when taking crash balls from acting half near the line, as he did so well at Salford. However more than anything it is his consistency, tackling and ability to play long minutes that has impressed me the most. Radford said, “What we are trying to do is progress players like Dean and then welcome the next group through, which we will be doing with people like Jansin Turgut, Jack Downs and Brad Fash coming up behind the likes of Dean”. So there’s also a hint in there as to who will be stepping up to the first team squad this closed season, isn’t there?

It’s another step forward and indeed another small piece in the jigsaw in place. His new contract is testament to Deans temperament, for he is no trouble, always on time, a quiet guy off the field, a strong trainer and the way he looks after himself certainly keeps him out of the treatment room most of the time. A few of the younger players who think more about their personal appearance than their level of performance, believing that they have arrived before they have even left first base, can certainly learn a lot from him.

That’s why my quote of the week this week comes from Dean Hadley; he’s got a new contract and security for two years, so he didn’t have to say this but on Friday he commented, “It means everything to me; I’ve never thought about moving because I want to play for this club – my hometown club – as long as I can in my career. The new deal and the chance to play my rugby here truly does mean everything to me. I’m over the moon. It wasn’t something I was looking for or expecting, so when I found out about the club wanting to extend my deal I was really happy and had no problems in signing.” AND he didn’t even comb his hair before he said it, how bloody refreshing!!!

It was good to see the advertised BBQ for pass holders to be held at YPI on Chanterlands Avenue next Saturday from 11-00am. I’ll certainly be going and the 7’s competition sounds really good. I’ll also be at Bishop Burton on Wednesday (7-30) for the Under 19’s game against Rovers which should be a real ‘bell ringer’ of a match with a few smouldering feuds for the last encounter adding a bit of spice.

How good it was to hear early last week how the Club had looked after Chris Tusan after his premature retirement with a neck injury. What a blow that must have been to a player who arrived at the Club with big hopes for a new start, having turned his back on Wigan for the vision Pearson and Radford put to him during the closed season. He’s had some tough luck with injuries and was given a stark choice of retire or risk being disabled. He’s a top bloke in Camp too. Adam Pearson regularly held him up as a model player with the Wigan ethic who was always working hard and helping the kids and who was signed as much for his professional approach to his job as his out and out footballing ability.

His new position sees him looking after player welfare and doing some coaching and it’s brilliant that the Club is in a position to support a genuine player at such a difficult time. If nothing else it will give him a wage while he is assessing things and getting his head straight and of course it will give him a point of focus. If we want to model our practices on the excellent system that is used at Wigan then it has to be a good idea to hire someone with first-hand experience that he can pass it onto the youngsters. Will it work out? Well we’ll just have to wait and see, but for now it’s a great move and well done Hull FC!

Well everyone seems to like a whiff or two because we all like a bit of speculation, as last week on the message boards and twitter etc adequately showed. Over at Hull KR many are pretty under whelmed by their signings to date particularly when they look at the senior players that are departing. There has been a lot of talk about Travis Burns and Greg Eden leaving to join Hodgson for pastures new as the spine of their team appears to be crumbling, I was told again this week by a senior Clubman that Burns is deffo off to Saints, not Wigan, at the end of the year. At our Club there is much talk amongst the ranks of the younger playing staff that should Ben Crooks leave the Club then it will be for Australia. Some attitude issues there I think and he joins Lancaster in the big question mark department for me.

Away from these shores don’t be surprised either if the need to find a few new referee’s next season doesn’t see Ashley Kline back in this country after he was suspended following a massive bust up with Melbourne Coach Craig Bellamy after a game last weekend. He has courted a lot of criticism of late and it seems the authorities in the NRL are losing patience.

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Ashley finds himself on report!

It was interesting to hear this week that we had other Aussies in mind earlier in the season as Motu Tony said to an Australian newspaper, “We did make an inquiry about Terry Campese with the Raiders earlier this year, because we were looking for an experienced halfback for 2015, however we were told that he would not be released early and we’re now full up for playmakers after signing Leon Pryce and Mark Snyde.” It’s believed in Australia that head coach Ricky Stuart and Raiders boss Don Furner blocked the move because the offer came soon after Anthony Milford announced he was joining Brisbane. Campo would have been a big draw, but we simply couldn’t hang around and as he’s on more than £250,000 in Aus, we are better off with Sneyd and Pryce, who are probably only getting that between them!!

Look out before the Derby for the folks in West Park conducting a bucket collection because it is to be in aid of the Clubs wheelchair rugby league team. The guys are going from strength to strength and as well as playing they all take time to raise money for their new wheelchairs and all the gear, shirts etc that are needed to keep the club going. It’s a hard slog at times, but they are really dedicated, so please give generously if you see Jed and the guys rattling buckets.

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Not being suspicious or anything but it is interesting to see that the renovation of the Headingley pitch which is now ongoing, will take just 19 days, before it is playable again. Bit different to what we have been through eh?

Rugby League, a family sport, a place safe for everyone to watch a fine game? Well we’d all like to thinks so wouldn’t we? But, as you travel the country watching your Club it can occasionally be a bit hairy and at least once a season you see something you hoped that you wouldn’t, as aggro and unsocial behaviour still lingers just beneath the surface of our game at times. You might think I’m over reacting but I believe that growing numbers of supporters are being put off attending, especially from big matches, by the increasing amount of, at best, antagonism and at worst threatening behaviour taking place in and around the grounds. Three recent games have illustrated this: there was fighting in the Salford end following their home defeat to Leeds Rhinos on July 25, a week later bottles were thrown on to the pitch during the Bradford derby at Headingley Carnegie and then there were the unpleasant scenes following Castleford Tigers’ Tetley’s Challenge Cup semi-final win over Widnes Vikings.

Sadly, although depressing, I wasn’t that surprised about the latter incident that was laid bare on national TV for all to see. Why? Well let me take you back to early June when I wrote in here,

“I got there about two hours before the game and followed the usual ritual of grabbing a quiet ‘Big Mac’ at the McDonalds on the corner, where I was met and harangued by a set of rather buoyant Widnes fans. These youngsters took great delight at singing in the face of an old guy eating his tea, “Were gonna Wembley, were Gonna Wembley you’re not, you’re not!”, and all this as I munched through my burger and minded my own business. Oh dear, Oh dear, Oh dear, I fear they’re not singing now! (after our victory there) When you group that incident with the idiot from Widnes who went on RL fans afterwards and stated “Where going to the semi final, where you going?” it all smacks of a naivety that they’d be advised to get out of….. and quick!! Ok they were the exceptions I’m sure, there must be hundreds of ordinary fans who despair at them and no doubt they’re as crazy as a bottle of crisps, but arrogance from Johnny come lately fans? Believe me guys, we could write a book about it!!!

I ain’t being a clever bugger here nor am I trying to be wise after the event, I’m just stating the fact that I found out first hand that once they were in the semi finals the bandwagonning idiots were emerging! When you’re struggling you’re down to the hard core of pilgrims who follow their Club whatever. But when things improve and there is a sniff of success then you get the added support that makes it all so worthwhile for the owners and their bank managers, but those always seem to contain a smattering of idiots who use success as a platform for their latent aggression. We all know there are thousands and thousands of decent Widnes fans who at that game at Leigh will have shrugged their shoulders, bowed their heads and trudged away disappointed.

On Sunday it was apparent that it’s a small minority of idiots who (judging by the YouTube stuff) had been on the ‘pop’ all day and can’t hold it, that are bringing the Club and their game into disrepute! The irony of fans ripping up signs that say ‘It is an offence to enter the field of play’ is almost unbelievable really. I think for the most part that the Castleford supporters showed a great deal of restraint when faced by a hundred or so Widnes supporters who had run 100 meters to goad them. There were pictures and videos all over social media although many where then taken down as the police got involved and reprisals were feared. People are always brave when hiding behind a computer, but soon melt away when there is danger of being implicated. However thankfully many still came forward, sent in images to the Club and hopefully now the culprits are being outed!

Some jumped onto the moral high ground and were quick to make sweeping statements. One I saw said the RL should ban Widnes from participating in the Challenge Cup for five years because of the shocking scenes, citing that the penalty for this type of behaviour needs to be very harsh so it doesn’t happen again. But that just penalises the week in week out ‘in any kinda weather’ supporters as the idiots just move on to cause mayhem elsewhere and in other sports. However at least their Chief Executive James Rule has some experience of these things!! Poor fella it must have seemed like Groundhog Day after a few of the issues he had to sort out at the KC in his time with us. We all have ‘em don’t we and the FC know that more than most!

I won’t be making outlandish outbursts of emotion or anger because quite frankly like no doubt many of you reading this, I was just glad it wasn’t us and felt for the ordinary Widnes fans. They went ‘from heroes to zeroes’ in minutes because from being hailed as a fabulous crowd that backed their team so vociferously in defeat, the whole of the Widnes support were blighted by these hooligans and despite 99% of them being decent fans who love their Club and watch our game in a sporting manner, mud sticks.

Over the years I have told you my fears for Derby games which at times in the past have been like a powder keg waiting to explode. When were both crap it doesn’t happen because the folks who turn up are the true Hull and Rovers supporters, but give a few of the hangers on a sniff of a bit of glory and all of a sudden we have ‘fans’ no one has seen near the Club before. Now, because of the action of a few, everyone at Widnes is associated with these idiots and hooligans and that after a defeat in a Cup semi final; recognise anything there? Let he who casts the first stone eh…..?

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A disgrace; Yes, but not many Widnes shirts on display here, so let’s not blame all the Widnes fans, just sort out the idiots who are generally ‘only here for the aggro’.

The Club tell me that the first week of the new shop at Bransholme was a massive success and far outstripped their expectations. In fact fans who have been this last week said that the centre was full of people wearing Hull shirts no doubt bought at the recent reduced price. What a great development it is and get there if you can to support a trial that could become a permanent fixture if there is the demand. My Pal Sammo went down there the other day and sent me a pic of his new sweat shirt; he liked the sentiment!!

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While we’re on the subject of new premises, I hear that the Club are pretty elated to have secured a town centre space for a permanent Hull FC exhibition for the 2015, 150th Celebrations. The exact location is under wraps, but it will probably be announced along with a lot more exciting initiatives for next year, at the upcoming heritage weekend.

Last week I made an appeal for a picture of the Threepenny Stand to try and incorporate on the Boulevard Memorial planned for the Boulevard School site. As usual patrons of the Diary came up trumps and I was really grateful for a reader who sadly I only know as ‘Frepneyboy’ who pointed me in the direction of a source, and then to Andy Burton, who came up with the goods. Thanks for everyone for their help I’ll keep you informed as the project progresses.

Now while we are on appeals I heard this week from Diary reader Ben Atkinson who is a primary school teacher at Barmby Moor School near Pocklington. Next term the young people there are to set out on a journalistic project on Heroes which Ben has decided to base on Richard Horne. However he is desperate to lay his hands on articles etc. that focus on some of his main career points, like his debut, our Challenge Cup win, 2006 Grand Final, his neck injury & return/James Graham hit at Wembley, his testimonial and Rich’s recent decision to retire. If anyone has anything, in scrap books, cuttings, or the loft, that might help what is a great project especially leading up to our 150th celebrations, then please contact Ben on ben_atkinson82@hotmail.com

I saw this week that Jamie Shaul was not at all happy with his form this season and needed to improve and for this fan it’s the sort of thing you really do want to hear. Shauly could really be great one day but he has some big footsteps to follow in because over the years we have had some fantastic exponents of the last line of defence in our ranks at the Boulevard and the KC. There’s been Shaun Briscoe, Garry Kemble, Colin Hutton, George Robinson, Peter Bateson, Steve Prescott and Paul Woods, all of whom in their own way had somehow managed to get stuck in our corporate FC memories! But, there was one player who was without doubt the best full back that had ever pulled on the irregular hoops. That of course was the great Arthur Keegan.

What a fantastic servant to the club he was!!! We have never had a more loyal and popular player than Arthur, who made the number one shirt his own after a brave performance for the black and whites in the 1959 Cup Final at Wembley. However, even before that, Keegan made his RL debut for the FC, after signing from Dewsbury Celtic in 1958, as a late inclusion in a game at Headingley that we won 32-7. So late was his inclusion in fact, that he had was actually stood on the terraces when a tannoy announcement 15 minutes before the game was due to kick off, summoned him to the Changing Rooms!!!

After that famous Wembley appearance he was called up to do his national service but on his return he became a fixture in the FC side snatching the number one shirt from Peter Bateson and making it his own for the next 13 seasons!!! His main asset was his ability, (despite being the last line of defence), to stand players up in the tackle and clamp the ball so that they could not release it. Add to this his last ditch defence, great hands, a willingness to take the line on and consistent good form and you had the lot!!!

Arthur was also a useful goal kicker and in fact scored 318 in his career. If any indication of the love that we the fans at the time had for this great full back, was needed, then just consider this: Keegan was voted the supporters club player of the year for 8 seasons on the trot! In 1965/66, I remember, he also became the Yorkshire Federation of Supporters clubs “Fairest and most loyal Player” So I think you can see just what a phenomenon Arthur was, playing as he did in what everyone would agree was a poor FC side!

Arthur was club captain for several seasons and was also known as a bit of a comedian on the side. There is one famous story about a game that was played on a Hull v Rovers rugby league promotional tour of Devon and Cornwall. This took place after the season finished in 1962. In one game Keegan mishandled a towering up and under and a voice from the crowd shouted out “Bring Back Peter Bateson”. Arthur ruefully observed “Bloody Hell, all this way and there’s still someone from the Threepenny stand here”. Then there was the time his car broke down outside York and he ran all the way to the game in which he ended up as man of the match! Arthur had a well-earned testimonial year in 1969.

Keegan’s international career saw him play for Great Britain just 9 times. I remember best of all, a game that the BBC covered between GB and the Aussies on a snow covered Station Road pitch in 1967. I watched this game, with Mum and Dad on our old black and white Rediffusion TV. He was fearless that day, and although the old enemy won 11-3, they repeatedly broke through the home defence and it was only the tenacity and bravado of Keegan that kept the score down. That performance got him the man of the match award but because he played for a struggling and perhaps unfashionable club he was dropped for the World Cup the following year with the selectors preferring the option of Bev Risman from the more “Trendy” Leeds club!! GB flopped in the World Cup (nothing new there then) and Keegan was recalled the following year!

I saw some fantastic performances from Arthur and can still see him now in my mind’s eye, from the Threepennies, running at the defence and shimmying past the first opposition player as if he did not exist. Something, I should add, that he did countless times every time I saw him play. We only won one Trophy while he was at the Club when we beat Featherstone in the Yorkshire Cup final in 1969. Ironically for Arthur who was seldom injured he didn’t play because of a leg problem and was replaced by Owbridge. Like many players in those days Arthur did not move to Hull but continued to live in Dewsbury and for those 13 years he went backwards and forwards over Boothferry Bridge, three times a week at least, to training and matches.

By 1971 Keegan grew a bit tired of all the travelling because without the M62 it was a long journey to tackle in the depths of winter. He asked the club to release him and a few days later he left to take up the position of Bramley’s ‘A’ team trainer. By 1973 he had risen to first team coach and subsequently led them to one of the biggest upsets in the history of the game, when little Bramley beat Widnes, in Lancashire, in the final of the BBC Floodlit trophy. (a game that was ironically played in daylight because of the national power cuts that year) The Villagers could not sustain this success however, results and attendance’s flagged, and he was fired in September 1976. He then played 6 games for Batley before breaking his jaw and in 1980 he coached Yorkshire for one game. Otherwise he ‘hung up his boots’ and disappeared into relative obscurity but Arthurs career encompassed 543 first-class fixtures and yielded 1,087 points.

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A typical Keegan flying last ditch tackle puts Rovers Graham Paul into touch at the corner flag!

So there they are my memories of Arthur Keegan who sadly passed away on 3rd November 2008 but left an amazing legacy for this fan. We will all also agree I am sure that although in a winning team Garry Kemble was the second best Full Back we have ever seen in the black and white, no-one beats Arthur for loyalty, consistency, guts and sheer class. Life’s only as good as the memories we have, what a great player he was, and what an honour it was to see him play.

So, there we are another week and another abject and disappointing performance, there is simply for me no other way to say it. Sorry if it’s all a bit depressing but for the average fan who tramps around the north of England following his dream and does it year in year out, it’s the same old rubbish really! I hope you found something of interest and like me you’ll at least try to ‘keep believing’, although quite frankly it’s pretty hard for me at present! The Diary will be back next week, thanks for all your support and ….

Keep Believing!!!

Faithfully Yours

Wilf

And Finally I think there will have been a bit of an inquest in Aberdeen about Council Tenant’s magazine Newsbite; I think someone in the design department had actually been on the Tenants!!

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