The Dentists Diary – 425th

What a night it was again for the FC youngsters in the England Academy, after what turned out to be a famous victory at Leigh on Friday.

Come on guys admit it, at such a quiet time, how good was it to read of the success of our lads in that two game series? With all three playing really well and Abdull kicking the goals, they all got on the score sheet as they starred in what was hailed as ‘an historic victory’. In addition Callum Lancaster played in the first game and back home Harry Tyson –Wilson is tearing it up in training as it appears he is already looked upon as the ’first reserve’ half back behind Pryce and Sneyd.

But most importantly for me, this also provided the average FC fan with a first indication that all the investment and faith Pearson has put into developing the young players at the Club is paying off. Two years ago he went on and on about how good our 16 and 17 year olds were going to be and there is little doubt that he has been proved right. Yes, they all have a lot of work to do and the leap to the first team is still a big one to make, but we should all be very proud of our lads and Adam should, for once, get a feeling that it’s at last starting to come together as his youth development master plan of 2012 appears to be coming good.

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A series shared but a moral victory for the England lads

While I’m on about our youngsters, did anyone read that piece that James Smailes put in the paper the other day in which he talked about our junior players being introduced to the world of work? If you did, you’d have noticed that he said, “Speaking to the Mail from the club’s ongoing building work at FC’s new training complex on County Road, set to open early next month, Radford believes the experience has been more than worthwhile for the youths. It’s ironic that these young lads are here setting the foundations, so to speak, for the future, he told the Mail”. Perhaps in hindsight, our Coach shouldn’t have said anything, because for some inexplicable reason, probably to do with the lease, the mysterious circumstances surrounding this development seem to be constantly hushed up by the Club. However, perhaps there, in a throwaway line from Lee, we have the closest we’ve been to a club statement about the Ideal Standard training complex, (the old Hull City Centre of Excellence), becoming our new training centre.

What we can however perhaps conclude, is that circumstances dictate that it’s certainly very possible a move could be on the cards. As well as all the rumours flying about, the covenant tied to the use of YPI restricts the development of the premises by tenant ‘Clubs and other Organisations’ and is I believe limited to a one year rolling rental agreement. In addition, sources in the business community indicate that the facility at YPI has now been sold by the trustees, who have run it for years. Mr Allam did show an interest around the time Adam looked to buy it, (as Mr A would) but restrictions on future usage and what could be developed on there probably scuppered that little venture and it’s certainly not the owner of Hull City that has bought it now. Those facts however, gleaned as they are from several sources, would make a move to somewhere where we could get a longer lease, more security and place to call our own, much more likely.

Add to that the fact that although we have spent some time on improving the facilities at Chanterland’s Avenue, we haven’t spent much money actually on the fabric of the place and if it is a case of moving, then we would only have to load up the ‘Portacabins’ we have down there as storage, offices, video rooms etc. and move them to any new location. The Club is certainly tight lipped about it all, but it’s never been ideal down at Chants Ave! For example, with its dual-purpose usage on occasions player’s briefings, meetings etc having been disturbed by mourners from the crematorium next door coming into the canteen area for wakes and family ‘get together’s’ or even just for a cup of tea and a bun!! So, all things considered I wouldn’t be surprised if we actually saw the Club de-camp lock, stock and barrel to the Ideal Standard ground sometime in the New Year.

By what Radford said Ideal is certainly an FC development, with his presence there for the interview adding further to the speculation that it’s a move for the first team rather than another satellite youth development centre like Chamberlain Road. In addition, I have also received two pieces of correspondence from builders who read this Diary every week (but who would rather not have their names mentioned) who claim they are working on the pavilion, dividing it up inside into a gym and an eating/recreation area, and both say they are working for Hull FC.

Why all the secrecy? Well I really have no idea and I might just have got it all wrong, but if it comes off it will be a fine location and will offer Hull FC a new home on a long lease which will, to all intense and purposes, be semi permanent and much more suitable tenure wise, than YPI. As it looks as if Adam Pearson is once again investing heavily in the Clubs facilities and infrastructure, I think we might be on the move, so watch this space!

As something of a forgotten man this pre-season, Testimonial recipient and all time fans favourite Rich Whiting is no doubt looking forward to one of his last events, in an eventful year, which is looming next Sunday. Then, on the occasion of his Christmas party meal he’ll be almost at the end of a Testimonial year that he will look back on with mixed feelings. Off the field it’s been great, the fans have rallied round and there have been some good events but as so often happens with Testimonials seasons, for one reason or another on the field, it’s been a tough one. For a player who was the Supporters Player of the Year in 2013 and always ‘there or there abouts’ in the previous 3 votes, his big year has been blighted by shoulder and wrist injuries which have restricted him to just 12 starts. In addition they have also hampered what he’s been able to do in his special year. I’ve helped out a bit along the way and it’s been a difficult time for a player who is always in the hearts of the fans and a massive favourite. We had planned a big boxing event for this Autumn, probably the biggest ‘white collar’ event ever staged in the City, when at the Hull Arena Hull FC players were to box Hull KR players, in aid of both Richard’s and Jason Netherton’s appeals. However Whiting’s wrist problems scuppered that one and a couple of other ideas as well.

Despite played for weeks with heavy strapping and injections in his wrist, it been a year I’m sure he’ll always remember. However it’s been blighted in other ways too as it started with the cost demanded for the KC Stadium meaning that his Testimonial match had to be played away at Featherstone and although plenty of us went along, the result did take a deal away from the significance of the fixture!! Richard is a top bloke, a really good person and Hull FC through and through and I guess he deserved better, but circumstances have transpired against him and that old issue of how a Testimonial effects a players performance raised its head again when he did manage to play. All Richard wants to do now, as he trains towards next season is get back playing and concentrate on getting his place back. I’m so pleased that he’s now gone to Portugal instead of being left behind to train on his own and I’m sure you all join me in wishing Rich a happier 2015 on the field. Let’s hope it’s not too long before the strains of ‘Whiting is Superman’ are once again ringing around the KC again.

So as I say, the boy’s jetted off to Portugal yesterday (Sunday) with Richard Whiting on board and they take with them the hopes and expectations of all the Faithful fans. With James Smailes of the Daily Mail in tow we should have plenty to read and look at next week as he reports daily from the camp. It certainly appears with many of us once again, “All is forgiven” and everyone is now getting excited about the new season. There’s a real buzz amongst the fans again, with the stage set for another tilt at the top 8; as quite amazingly as usual, we all seem up for it.

Reality however makes me just wish we had an easier start because there is little doubt that a good first few results are an absolute must, because I honestly believe that the new structure will be merciless! This week’s activities in the sun are paramount to us getting a good start and being up for the fight from the off, so let’s hope that the investment Pearson has put in and the fact that 42 players are travelling (plus coaches etc) gets us prepared and ready for the off in the New Year.

This optimism, which seems to have descended completely out of the blue onto what was a disinterested, dishevelled and disillusioned army of fans, was further emphasised last Thursday when I was in the KC shop where once again they were really busy. I had a good chat to the staff who told me that every week in the run up to Christmas has been a record breaking one, as they sell more gear and take more money than ever before. This is of course because, as well as all the season ticket business, the two new shirts are selling like hot cakes, in fact in the previous week, for the first time ever in a pre Christmas period, the away shirt actually outsold the home one. That’s something that quite frankly is unheard of! They were also telling me that so popular are the two kits that, for the first time ever too, they are in danger of running low in certain sizes of shirts. I guess therefore that with no more being available for delivery before Christmas, the message is; if you want one and haven’t got one yet, get down there quickly before they sell out!

It’s been a funny old week in the local media hasn’t it? The situation and intrigued that is developing around the SMC and the Council, concerning the sale of the management company and the Councils lack of control over one of its biggest assets (the KC), is baffling stuff. For many however it’s simply just the usual Mails monthly, ‘Give Mr Allam the Stadium’ story! A lot of fans of both the football and the rugby that I have spoken to over the last few days, indicate to me that it seems to them that when it comes to being at all objective about the owners of Hull City, the local newspaper gives the impression of an organisation that is ‘veering’ between doffing its cap and treading on broken glass. The paper does look to be running scared and to the casual observer it could appear that perhaps a conflict of views may have occurred between their chief local government reporter Angus Young and the Sports desk.

Mark Fewings (‘Nasal hair’ as he was once christened in here, because he got up everyone’s nose) and ‘Cub reporter’ and self styled protector of Hull KR (let’s face it he has for years on social media as a fan drooling over them) Gareth Westmorland, seem to be intent on defending the ‘poor old’ Allam’s and pillaring the Council at every opportunity, while Young takes the objective and quite refreshing view of just reporting the news from the Guildhall as it unfolds!!! You know and I know that Mark is one of those guys who sees their job as one of being controversial and he does that quite well, (well he winds me up) while young Gareth is so transparent in his attempts to do the same, it’s positively cringe-worthy at times.

Why do they do it; well in a perverse sort of way it undoubtedly sells newspapers and as is the case in here now, it gets us talking. On the other hand Angus Young across the newsroom at the news desk is a completely different kettle of fish. As a focussed dedicated and at times pretty dour Scotsman (no type casting intended there Angus) he has done a stoic job over the years in his role of reporting on one of the most obtuse, baffling and at times bemusing local authorities in the country. He didn’t always make it easy for me in my time at the City Council either, as I was an officer often operating in close proximity to stuff that was controversial and difficult to handle, but he was always fair and left no stone unturned in the interest of telling it how it was to the public. In fact over the years I have come to respect his integrity and appreciate his ability as a top journalist, who is, I think, much too good for a provincial newspaper. So I take a lot more notice of what he says about the Council and the Stadium than I do of what the others may try to tell me.

Regular long term readers will know that I was around the decision making and the contract signing stuff at the Council as the Stadium was being planned and built. For me, in fairness, the deal that Hull FC finally brokered for their use of the KC, was a really fair one which was definitely etched in such a way that it protected a Club that when at the Boulevard, had struggled to get over 7000 fans to attend. That deal is rumoured to split a 50/50 share of income between the Club and the SMC if gates go over around 7800 which gives the management company a lucrative income, but it also offered Hull FC stability and a minimum outlay if they didn’t. The terms of the SMC’s deal with the council were devised to distance the Council from any ongoing maintenance costs, they certainly didn’t suit established management companies and Pearson was in the end the only person that would take it on. Back in those days it was hard for the Club, the fans or the Council to envisage that soon gates would be up around twice the Boulevard level, particularly when there were no Derby’s back then and a lot of none games against poor opposition. For Hull FC and the Council it was a good deal and one that for us, protected our interest, particularly if gates bummed.

So it was, in front of that historical back drop, that this week’s ‘tooing and frowing’ over the Stadium was played out in the local media…..again!

Following a request from (self styled Tory defender of the truth) City Councillor John Fareham, the authorities Scrutiny Committee was convened last week to discuss the apparent intrigue surrounding the Council ‘losing control of the management company’ that runs what is seen as the jewel in its crown; a Stadium that was built for and owned by the people of the City of Hull. So a newspaper article that outlined an officers report to that Scrutiny Committee was written by Angus Young under the headline of ‘Assam Allam knew financial Liabilities (of the Stadium) when taking over Hull City’. This was a line which reflected the officer’s report written by Nick Howbridge of the Councils Property Department. It was in effect saying, ‘you knew what you were getting Mr A’ before the Mail, within 24 hours, switched the emphasis back to ‘It’s all the Councils fault’

Some contributors to message boards insinuated this week that there was some ‘jiggery pokery’ going on when that original SMC deal was done between Adam and the Council, but in fact there was no such thing although there is little doubt that it’s a complicated old business. So, for me, in simplistic terms, this is how I see it, I may not be totally right but it’s doubtful anyone really knows the complete story.

Back when the Stadium was being built, Hull’s Chief Executive, Shane Richardson had no interest whatsoever in running it, or the SMC, and he made that very clear, very early on in the negotiations. Nor did he have any sort of appetite for doing it in partnership with Adam or anyone else. He was a rugby man and we all know now, thinking of moving on back to Australia pretty soon and doing that without tying up too much of his investment. He and Adam got on well, but control of the arena was not something Richo was bothered about! In fact at the time no one wanted to take it on; well they didn’t with the deal that the Council wanted to broker that I mentioned above. None of the national Stadium Management companies did anyway, because as I said before in that deal the Council wanted to abdicate completely the responsibility for maintenance and the running of the arena; wanting instead to place that responsibility solely on the new SMC.

But, why was that the authority’s stance? Well, the reason for that was because the Council used capital expenditure (money set aside in reserves for big one off projects and not every day expenses) to build the Stadium but would have had (by law) to use revenue funds to pay for its up keep. Revenue (the money they get from the government to run basic everyday services) was even back then under threat, as the cuts that have since become endemic in local government were already looming large on the horizon. So, I guess, the Authority were worried about the financial burden maintaining the Stadium would put on the public of Hull in years to come and what services in the local community would suffer, should such works have to take place.

In fact Adam Pearson was the only person who would take the KC on with those stipulations in the lease. That being accepted it’s not hard to see how he could dictate to a certain extent his terms and thus the 50 year duration of the deal. The thing about that deal that seems to gall some folks is that the Council have only made a modest 40 odd thousand in income from the Stadium over all the years since, but the thing everyone misunderstands is that it has cost the people of Hull absolutely nothing, not a bean!

That deal being done the drama then moves on to 2007, when we see Adam selling the SMC along with the football Club, to Russell Bartlett. Now, the political complexion of the Council had by then changed and the Liberal Democrats who were then in control wanted rid of the KC ASAP. They never liked the Stadium when Labour proposed it and in opposition constantly tried to derail its progress in the planning and legislative stages. Pearson perhaps then saw an opportunity to sell on the remaining operational agreement and the 50 year lease along with the football Club and who can blame him for that?

Bartlett got a mortgage to pay him, and then a couple of years later Mr Allam bought the SMC for £1 when he acquired the Football Club. However you would expect that the current owner of Hull City would have had the necessary searches done in advance to identify what other liabilities (such as the mortgage raised to assist Bartlett pay Pearson) were included in the SMC debt within the deal. It appears however to me that perhaps he didn’t and thus we get to where we are now. Yes the SMC are losing money but only because they have to pay back that mortgage. It’s nothing to do with us or our usage.

It’s not our fault because nothing with regard to Hull FC’s usage has changed over the years, in fact with falling gates the cost of running match days should have declined. So, why all of a sudden the massive pressure on us to make up the SMC’s short falls by paying to display pictures, having turnstiles closed or having parts of the ground closed? Well I think I’ll leave you to decide on that one? It’s just my slant on it all and probably all wrong but that’s how I see it anyway!

So back to rugby and it was in June last year when Jordan Abdull first came to a lot of people attention, as he made his debut in the first team. He had shown us all a deal of classy gutsy play in the Under 19’s at Bishop Burton, but some were still really surprised when he made the step up because there were still a few doubts around, concerning his fitness and attitude. His reputation went before him and it wasn’t a good one!! I said back then how good it was to see a youngster, whose main claim to fame in 2013 was a reputation for being unfit, (and liking pies), getting his head sorted out and his attitude changed. However from there on in and with 8 more appearances now to his name, he impressed us all with his bravery, keen eye for an opportunity and some of the brilliant lines he ran, so to all intense and purposes his renaissance was complete. Jordan now epitomises the new breed of FC youngsters and is an exciting prospect. However that whole transformation came about after he was sat down a year last October and told in no uncertain terms by Lee Radford that he had the talent but not the application and had to ‘shape up or ship out’.

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Well Done Jordan!

To his credit and as an indication that young people can get their fingers out when they need to, he has completely transformed his life style and attitude and the result is apparent for us all to see, he is now held up as an example for other youngsters of what you can do if you put your mind to it. Jordan took Radford’s words to heart and realised that he would only get one chance and is now a great example of what can be achieved.

He is still far from the finished article and there is still much to do, but a place in the first team squad and the England academy team is reward for that change in lifestyle and attitude. This week he said, “I was a little bit overweight at the end of 2013 and I had let myself go physically, then Radders came in as head coach and told me I had all the potential in the world and not to waste it. The fact the head coach had sat me down and told me about the potential he saw in me and his faith in me had a major impact. I buckled down and worked hard and saw the results”. There is much more to it than that because Radford would be the first to admit that the youngster has really made sacrifices and life changing adjustments to get to where he is now and that has to be commended.

Now Jordan’s big challenge is one of having to have patience and take his chances when they come. The squad is now much stronger with several additions moving him down the pecking order, so it’s now up to him to re-apply himself to these circumstances. One thing’s for certain, if needs be, he’ll get his chance, because under our current Coach, if there is an opportunity then youth will get a go, however the ‘rise and rise’ of Jordan Abdull should be an example for any youngster who wants to play professional sport, but who think he knows best, when it comes to application and life style.

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Last week I was in London when I came across this!!! It prompted me to hum…I’m on the Road to Nowhere!

It was good this week to hear Steve Michaels saying what an influence Shaun Berrigan had been when he was deciding whether or not to move to this Country and join Hull FC. I always liked Berro although he was not always the fans favourite, mainly because at times he was played out of position, but as a hooker he was second to none and he’s obviously taken a good vibe back to Australia with him. Let’s hope that Steve agrees with his assessment of the greatest Club in the World by the end of the season.

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Steve Michaels (second left) does his bit visiting the Children’s wards at Hull Royal on Friday!

You know, you just can’t fault the Australian Rugby League when it comes to innovative thinking. Our lot at Redhall, as I say so often in here, should watch and learn and take a leaf out of their book. You’ll remember a couple of weeks ago I was discussing the changes their administrators wanted to bring in and how they had been refreshingly vetoed by the Coaches, well undeterred, the NRL have been at it again. This time, for the first time in their history, the administrators of the NRL have collated data demonstrating changes in the way the game has been played since 2004, while projecting what the game might look like (based on the continuation of those changes), by 2024. They basically needed to know if it was necessary to intervene to ensure that the NRL does not lose its attraction because of the reduction in the number of tries, line breaks and offloads which are likely as the game is increasingly played against defenses that have, without doubt, become better organized and more structured.

This time the NRL coaches and officials are singing from the same hymn sheet though and have come together to debate where the game is going, which has to be refreshing to say the least. There is little doubt too that at both sides of the world flair is being coached out in exchange for strength and toughness, which makes for bigger players for the coaches, but less unpredictability for the fans.

In a Sydney newspaper this week Wayne Bennett was quoted as saying that, not only had tries decreased from an average of 8.4 per game in 2004 to 7.3 this season, and line breaks fallen even more significantly, but there were some matches that featured no line breaks at all and were the only tries that were scored were from kicks, or a player barging over from close to the line. If nothing was done he estimated that tries per game could drop to 5.7 and line breaks to 5.4 per game by 2024.

He cited the contributory factors as the doubling of the time (from 13 hours a week to 30) that players now train, the game embracing far too much new technology, the increase in coaching staff from nine to 23 at some clubs and the increased size, strength and fitness of the players, who are now full-time athletes. Bennett added that “The average weight of players has increased by more than 10 per cent over ten years” If that continues a player who was 15 stone in 2004 could well be weighing in at 18 stone in 2024.

Over there teams like South Sydney, have found that an emphasis on ferocious defence has been amazingly effective when it comes to winning trophies, but that’s just an indication that while for the Clubs winning is everything, for the fans it’s too predictable particularly for those who want to see free flowing ‘flair’ rugby and the game as a top TV spectacle.

So now the NRL will have to decide what to do and how to intervene to ensure these trends don’t see the game going backwards. That for me is refreshing, but I don’t think we should hold our breath for Wood, Rimmer and Co to do the same over here, do you? Let’s face it our game is depreciating too but their answer is a new format so complicated that many still don’t understand it (and incidentally where exactly is this massive familiarization package they promised). One thing’s for sure, you can bet your bottom dollar that the Aussie won’t see our new structure as the answer to their problems, but then again perhaps we could do a lot worse than to look at what the NRL come up with to stop the rot ‘Down Under’ and adopt that to sort things out here!

This week as the player’s jet off to warmer climes and we all look forward to Christmas the start of the pre season games is now just over a month away and so I guess we all start to get a bit excited. I’m looking forward with a deal of relish to going to Doncaster again to watch our ‘new look side’ on whom we pin so many hopes. This week that anticipation made me ponder on the fact that I really do enjoy pre season games even though they are just totally inconsequential run outs. So why have I enjoyed them so much over the years and why do I particularly like the ones that are played away from home. I have to conclude that perhaps the lack of any sort of pressure with regard to the result, the myriad of excuses you can come up if you lose, the great hope you have for the future and even the fact that it brings a sense of the coming to an end of the boring ‘lay off’ that is the Closed season, have all got something to do with it. This week in Codgers Corner, I want to look at one of the most enjoyable and memorable pre season Friendly’s I have ever attended.

Back in 1981 we were all looking to take the First Division by storm. At the end of the previous season to coincide with Rovers getting to Wembley (and getting beaten) we had signed David Topliss from Wakefield and under the Captaincy of Knocker Norton, we all thought that this was to be our year. How right we were all proved to be….for once!! We had abandoned playing Rovers in the Eva Hardacker Memorial Trophy, the Clubs traditional season opener, because of the defeat at Wembley and a full blown riot that occurred the previous Easter at the Boulevard… oh and the fact that they were in any case, as usual, a set of Gloating buggers (seasons come and seasons go but some things never change). However we needed to keep the tradition going and so we didn’t just get rid of the Cup but instead decided to play Castleford for the trophy at Wheldon Road on Sunday 2nd August 1981.

Sadly for all the FC fans who made the journey, Dave Topliss never played, because he and several other first teamers were still away on holiday (How things change eh?), so Hull gave debuts to three backs who had never played in the first team before; Trevor Penrose, Barry Edwards and Ray Smith. It was certainly an unusual looking Hull FC line up that faced an almost full strength Castleford side. Sammy Lloyd played in the centre and ace winger Paul Prendiville at stand-off. In fact only George Robinson at Full Back and Clive Pickerill at Scrum half were backs playing in their recognise positions. 3600 people were there that afternoon, most sat sunbathing on the open terraces with at least 2200 having made the journey over from Hull.

Referee Kershaw blew the whistle and we kicked off into a light warm breeze. In only our second set of six tackles we took the lead. Keith Tindall ‘thumped’ his way through a half hearted tackle by John Kear and Johnson and passed onto Lee Crooks. The youngster brilliantly dummied to the left before finding Sammy Lloyd in the ‘centre channel’ to his right and our makeshift three quarter galloped away to score beside the posts. 6 minutes later a flat pass from Charlie Stone found Ian Madeley who despite the attentions of four Castleford tacklers managed to slip a pass out to Prendiville who scored for Lloyd to goal. Back came Castleford to have their say in what was become a game played at a break neck pace. A brilliant 75 yard dash by Birkby saw him just score in the corner from where a towering conversion from Hyde, bounced on and over the cross bar. The crowd was really warming to the game and the way that our youngsters and ‘A’ team regulars were performing, Smith was doing well on the right wing keeping John Kear quiet, whilst over on the left Barry Edwards was dealing well with the threat of Castleford flyer Richardson.

A fine break by Crooks sent Tony Duke marauding through the Castleford line and his pin point pass found debutant Edwards who scooted downfield to score a great try in the corner. Next Sutton side stepped into a gap and gave Lloyd his second try before, with five minutes to go to half time Wraithe scored for Castleford. It looked like that was it for the first half, until a flowing Hull move right on the whistle, saw Prendiville and Stone inter pass brilliantly and Pickerill shoot in for another try. At half time the scores stood at 19-10 to Hull after what was for us lot a great half of ‘Stress Free’ rugby.

After a tray of what I have always hailed as the best chips in the Rugby League the second half started with Hull bringing on Knocker Norton, Sudderby and Mallinson from the bench, however we started to lose our way somewhat as the half unfolded. The heat started to get to some of our players, as first Madeley and then Robinson dropped passes when tries looked likely. Castleford took full advantage of these lapses and following scores for Higgins and Finch who converted both we were with 15 minutes to go trailing 20-19. We responded well though as Knocker carved out a massive gap with a well timed run and dummy and Smith sped off to score. Sammy Lloyd took an age to prepare for the kick, but it was all worth it as the conversion sailed between the sticks.

However the drama wasn’t over yet. Back came Castleford as some fine passing and running from Kear and Spurr sent Finch through but as Norton and Lloyd chased back to narrow his angle he was forced to score near the corner flag and the angle was too acute for Finch’s attempted conversion. So as the final whistle went we all celebrated as if it were a League game, as the scoreboard at the Railway end of the ground read Castleford 23 Hull 24. It was a good run out and another Friendly victory was to follow the next week at Featherstone, when Topliss made his debut. We saw some fine performances that day and at the end the players brought the Eva Hardacker Cup across to us Hull fans in the West Stand. Little did we know, nor dare to dream, that it would not be the last time our players were to do that in the fabulous 1981/82 season. Great memories Eh………… even of Friendlies!!

So that’s it again after another news free week there is just one more Diary to go before Christmas. Then we’ll have a break with the first one of the New Year back on 5th January with a look forward to the following weekend’s game at Doncaster. That’s how close it now is and quite frankly I can’t wait! Thanks to everyone who has contacted me this week and especially to my two building pals and Johnny Sturrick in Jersey, Bill in Barnby Dun, Brian Chapman in Spain and (All Right Now) Kathy! Thanks to everyone for reading the Diary and sticking with me for another week I’ve again done my best to find something of interest and to at least tell you what’s been bothering me!

Keep Believing

Faithfully Yours

Wilf