The Dentists Diary – 429th

Rovers won, it was a Derby, all be it a ‘Friendly’ one and that’s that! It’s a shame we lost, we should have won, but in the end both sides can, I think, take positives from it. I was impressed in the first 40 minutes when we totally dominated, but a bit disappointed when injuries and our substitutions, seemed to dispel our focus and weaken our resolve. But little was at stake and anyway, as fans of Hull FC we have all had much bigger concerns this week!

You know I appreciate that as an average guy I’m nothing special, I’m just an ordinary 65 year old fan who, for the last 58 seasons, has pitched up week in week out to support the Club he loves. I have tried to understand owners who ripped us off, made excuses for players who were here for a holiday and generally tried to look on the bright side, because that’s what fans do! Winning or losing is of course important, but as you get older it becomes almost secondary to the camaraderie and the family element of simply ‘being there’ which I suppose comes with such blind devotion. On a match day there is simply nowhere else I want to be but watching my team.

I think therefore that I’ve seen it all but then all of a sudden, something happens that makes me realise I haven’t at all and this week has proved that to me once again! I always say that if I don’t say it as I see it, (as I have for 428 editions of this rubbish) then there’s precious little point in going on with this blog? So here goes and just when in our great 150th year we have all (sometimes against our better judgement) chipped in for passes, simply because we think that we might perhaps have a chance of a bit of success, the owners of Hull City introduce more measures and ‘buggerment factors’ to restrict our use of the Stadium. I shouldn’t say this and no doubt they’ll be after me again, but I just think I speak for many, many FC fans when I say that it simply looks to me as if they bloody want us to fail.

Later in the Diary I’ll tell you what I have gleaned about the beer price rises, but the whole situation stinks. To expect a traditional working class game like Rugby League to survive when you stop people paying on the gate, is quite frankly nonsensical and shows a distinct misunderstanding of what the basic philosophy of making sport accessible to the masses, is all about. We must all back Adam Pearson and hope that he can get some semblance of order out of what everyone outside the goldfish bowl of Hull, sees as a farcical situation. Of course I say all that because it’s impossible to get a balanced judgement and I simply don’t know why they do it, because as was said on Saturday;-

“The Mail contacted the SMC but they declined to comment!”

Well that’s got that out of my system….for now (but there’s more to follow), so onto the Derby yesterday and as you know I simply go to this game because I can’t stay away, but with just over 9400 there, of which around 2000 were from Rovers, these Derby friendly’s seem to be a habit that a lot of the rest of the Faithful seem to have kicked. It was great for me to see some old friends again and to witness a first half that we totally dominated and a second where we took our foot off the gas, gave away soft penalties and suffered. On the whole I wasn’t too unhappy with it all, it’s the Cup final for the Dobbins fans, but in these pre-season games against the Dicks personally I just want to get it over with. You only have to witness the cheering from all of them when Gareth Ellis lay on the floor writhing in agony, to understand the psyche of that lot! I guess standing back from it for a moment, a neutral would say that we had the drills and the structure and a good set of forwards that dominated the game for good long spells, while Rovers had some real flair and exciting backs in Sio and Dixon and their off the cuff rugby will be exciting to watch. Rather than their forwards starting to dominate, they got back into the game with what the NRL guys call gadget plays which are if you like, flashes of off the cuff rugby on the back of our mistakes.

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I was impressed with Sneyd!!

I have to admit to watching Sneyd very closely throughout and he is a clever player. Never mind his kicking and organising, I marvelled at times at how he ran across the line in such a way that he immediately tied two or three defenders up before releasing the pass. He’s certainly got what it takes, while Pryce has done it all and got the T shirt and it shows. Two exquisite passes to Minichiello saw our new second rower through and heading for the line. He is a great signing too and it’s a long time since I saw a forward with a body swerve, but Mini has one and throughout he showed that he’s a great capture. We had a well structured game plan and in the first half I’m pleased to report that I felt we actually looked as if we knew what we were doing. We were certainly more structured until the rotations and injuries saw us get raggy and despite losing, which I usually hate in these games, I have to say that I took some heart from a lot I saw.

We totally dominated the first half physically and set off ok in the second before a bit of magic by Kelly changed the game. He’s going to be good for Rovers, his try lifted them and it coincided with us making several substitutions which led to us dropping off our intensity. If it taught us one thing, then it must be that you shouldn’t ever ease off because if you do, even when you’re 16-4 up, once the momentum switches to the opposition you have the devils own job to get it back. It would have been a bonus had we been victorious but I think we can all take a lot from it, both in positives and lessons to learn.

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That’s what I like to see, Mini isn’t a good loser; even in a friendly!

Before Ellis went off our back three of him, Westerman and Mark looked superb, not just in their general play but more in the lines that they ran, while up front Paea had a big game. However too many sloppy penalties saw a Rovers team who struggled to get out of their own half marched down the field. Another thing I noticed was the fact that we looked to lose our way when Houghton went off but that said Cunningham did ok I thought but his passing is a bit wayward. When the Rovers got on top we were operating with Thompson, Mini and Hadley in the back three and we looked flat but as soon as Westerman and Houghton came back on, we stepped up again. Rovers fans can say what they like but we only faded when we started to make our interchanges and for me when the starting 13 were out there we looked well balanced and quite potent, we should just have turned the pressure into points and scored a couple more times in the first half. However all that said we should never have let them back into the game.

So we move on, its early days and Wigan lost at Leigh and Saints to Widnes yesterday so all is not lost just yet. Hopefully it appears that Ellis is not too badly hurt but he’ll be sore today, Pryce (who had a good game, but conceded some silly penalties) got a knock, as did Watts, who up to him going off was doing well. It was really physical, which is I guess just what we needed and afterwards Radford said of the casualties, “Gareth seems to be alright having gone down with knock to his knee and we’ll assess where Liam Watts is at tomorrow, he has picked up something to the elbow, but neither of them look to be anything too severe. I don’t want to jump to conclusions just yet but the physio’s seem to be happy with Gareth’s health, so fingers crossed for his testimonial match next week.”

So that’s how I saw it anyway, you probably won’t agree and that’s what this is all about, but that’s my take on it. Mr Zuckini Head on RL fans said last night, “Cunningham looked fine today and all the props turned up. The pack really weren’t the issue today. In fact it’s hard to put your finger on what was the issue. I think it really is as simple as we switched off for 10 minutes during which time Rovers played all their best stuff”. A great observation which for me says it all really!

So, the Derby is out of the way thank goodness, but we are left still scratching our heads and asking, just how will we do this season? As you’ll all remember I had a look at our chances a couple of weeks ago as I tried to predict where we would finish and just how tough it’s going to be. Two friendly’s in, I still haven’t a clue and our success or failure is still up in the air for me. But what do other people inside and outside the Club feel about how we’ll do? Well, going right to the top, I spoke to Adam Pearson a time or two this week and he said that he thought we’d be OK, but that we really wouldn’t know until after the Warrington game and I guess that’s a fair comment.

I see the new fanzine was on sale yesterday at the KC and I’m told it sold really well with the last few copies available at Wakey next week. You should get one if you can because I reckon it will run and run and it’s really worth a read.

The three way battle for full-back at Hull FC is an interesting conundrum and an embarrassment of riches we haven’t seen at the Club since Motu Tony battled it out with Shaun Briscoe. The performances of Jamie Shaul, Jordan Rankin and Curtis Naughton at Doncaster were great to see and it was easy for any of us who were there to appreciate the flamboyant showing of Shaul and his exciting wide running style. Yesterday he got much less room and looked less effective although he linked well for two tries. At the KC Naughton came on when we were under the cosh and the tide of the match was against us but he again did ok but in very different circumstances to those at Donny.

However then there was the excellent link play of Rankin, which injury has starved us of for now. For me I suppose, Shaul’s showing shaved it last week but yesterday he struggled a bit at times. At Doncaster he was able to sparkle mainly because he got more room than he will in Super League. Rankin gives you another option at full-back and a different style of play and once fit it wouldn’t surprise me if it’s him we went for him at number one in the future when he’s back fit. A lot of Clubs these days prefer to use full back as an extra pivot and that is something that Rankin brings, because he can tackle and run the ball back but also make play and produce a telling pass, the latter is for me something that is lacking in Shaul’s game at present, but of course as far as crowd pleasing goes, Jordan doesn’t have the electrifying pace of Shaul.

It goes without saying too that having three full backs of such status should mean that although spoilt for choice at the back we are short of cover in other areas, because the modern squad system, with its salary cap restrictions, should mean that you can’t exist with such an embarrassment of riches in such a specialised position. Indeed one of the reasons given for releasing Shaun Briscoe all those years ago was that he was an expensive luxury and the Club simply couldn’t carry him and Motu and yet here we are with three. However it’s a strange one, particularly when, (with the depth of young talent in the squad coming through), you look across the team and note that in fact we do seem to have cover in all positions.

We have good quality youngsters across the park and ones that can step up into the front line if needed. There’s Naughton at Full Back, Lancaster on the wing, Logan in the centre, Harry Tyson Wilson and Abdull at half back, Bobby Tyson Wilson at Prop, Turgot, Downs and Abdull (again) in the back three and several others a bit younger but still on the fringes coming through, so it appears that we are well stacked in every position. Well every position except hooker but even there we have Cunningham who did OK yesterday and the late signing of Howarth waiting in the wings.

How do we sustain such a depth of squad under the cap at present? Well, probably because most of the youngsters are on small salaries, but it’s hard to see how we will be able to hold onto all this talent as they start to progress and demand higher wages. Pearson’s massive investment in youth from day one of his reign at the Club is certainly paying off big time. I honestly believe we have the best crop of youngsters I can ever remember. As James Smailes, the ‘last bastion of common sense’ at the Mail at present, said this week on twitter, “1996, a glorious summer when football came home, BritPop was everywhere and it seems many of the FC lads were being born. Take that thought in! Writing some Hull FC profiles for our supplement and the age of some of these players is depressing me”

Whether it will all come off in the future and we will be hailed in the coming years as an example of what good youth development brings, still remains to be seen, but in the nearer future and for a season that is going to be so full on and pressurised, when the chips are down and injuries and mental physical fatigue kick in, it will be the Clubs with strength in depth that will come through!

Well, you’ve probably read it on social media but I can now confirm the rumour as being true and yes, Rovers did lose the Clive Sullivan Trophy!! Hull FC came to the rescue and bought a new one, but if we’re brutally honest the loss was quite understandable really. Most clubs could put their hands straight on such a prized possession in their trophy cabinet but, I guess Rovers have never had much use for one of them!!! I hope Hull FC get their money back and those Rovers had it insured, if they didn’t and it’s on E Bay, I know a very good solicitor!

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Mark 2! Still in the Shop at this point!

So, to the week gone by and the question; just how will you get into the Stadium if you decide at a late hour to take in a game of rugby at the KC in this our 150th season? Look, I would agree that this cashless ticketing stuff is Ok at Man. U. or Barcelona but this is Rugby League for heaven’s sake! As a lifelong Rovers fan and one time board member you would think that the head of the SMC’s operational group John North, would get that bit at least, wouldn’t you? You see, Rugby League is for me a traditional game attended by realistic down to earth people who love their sport, don’t ‘fart about’ with tickets and who often don’t have a lot of disposable income.

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A lot to think about?

In our game it’s often the nature of the beast, that many fans poke their noses out of the door the morning of the game and decide then whether to attend and pitch up at the gate clutching their £23 quid. Well they used to, but not anymore apparently. Surely it’s in the SMC’s interests to get folks into the Stadium; well it is if they are to run a successful business and so that fact coupled with their lack of a comment on the subject leads many folks to wonder if there are other motives behind the move?

The basis of their business must dictate that for the SMC to thrive, they need people in the ground buying hot dogs, pasties, pies and beer and yet, believe it or not, they are in the process of making it more difficult for us to bloody get in to buy ‘em. Plus ironically, when we do manage to get past the robotic scanners at the turnstiles and they have a chance to make a bit of dosh out of us on the concourse; it also looks likely that they will soon be increasing the price of the bloody beer as well.

That’s not economic sense at all! Reduced gates hit the SMC as well as us, yet we have had no statement from them as to why they are doing this, just two press releases from our Club that indicate a fete complete. So, starved of an explanation, we then have to make our own minds up and to me and no doubt most of you, it just looks like they are not looking at this from an economic angle, but rather that they are just hell bent on hurting us.

I love my Club and I will defend it to the end….. (of it or me!) However, I’m fed up to the back teeth of all this shit. Sadly unlike you the reader who can grieve at home and chunter to the Mrs, (or Mister) I choose every week to lay bare my thoughts in a blog like this. Here, I have to say how it looks to me and it’s only a personal point of view, but I bet that it’s probably how the majority of you lot reading this sees it as well!

So, still on ‘The Troubles’, I move onto the most important subject of the week for many FC fans, well those who can actually get into games anyway; the beer prices at the KC! I know the price hasn’t gone up yet but it will and some are saying it’s a rip off and others are just wondering why the hell it looks like we will be paying 40p a pint more this season; well 40p more than the football crowd are anyway. It’s rumoured it will be £4-20 from the Warrington game when it’s only £3-90 at Old Trafford and just £3-40 at the Etiad!!! Adam raised the subject in his programme notes this week and so I thought I’d have my two penneth as well.

To find the source of this issue I would go back to 2001 when the user agreement for the new KC Stadium or Community Stadium (as it was back then) was being sorted out. No one would take the SMC on because of the ‘no risk to the Council’ deal that was insisted upon, so at the time and reluctantly, the then City supremo Adam Pearson, took the reins. It would appear, reading Adams programme notes, that the deal was etched to not put a financial burden on the company, but as ‘providers of the product’ it was agreed that Hull City and Hull FC would enter a profit sharing deal with the SMC whereby both got an equal percentage of beer sales, whilst food concessions, catering receipts and everything else went to the SMC. It must have worked pretty well as we have been told in the past that, after the first year (when there were set up costs) the management organisation ran at a small profit; until recent times that is, when for whatever reason they have made a thumping loss.

However as with so many things at our ‘community’ Arena, everything seems to have changed again as it is now indicated that the football Club has dropped their percentage cut of beer sales and the management company want us to do the same. Of course many would probably say that it’s easy for the football Club to offer that or anything else up to the management company, because they both have the same owners and the same bank account so it must be coming out of one pocket before going back into it again!

DerbyBeer

However it appears that Adam has refused to lose such a big lump of commission, which he says would be a financial issue for our Club. The margins have worked for 12 seasons, but now it appears perhaps the SMC want to change all that. Our fans drink a lot of beer which I think might well contribute to the barrelage discount the SMC gets and the sponsorship that it brings to the football Club, both of which are added bonuses for them.

It looks from what Adam said that the SMC are about to put the beer up, unless we accept to give up our agreed percentage cut. However as the agreement is, it appears, a critical element of our income stream as a Club, for me, Adam would be foolish to give it up. But if he doesn’t, then the SMC will just put the prices up.

I suspect without much encouragement the fans of Hull FC will see through that cunning plan, while others might well suspect that this is just a continuation of the Johnny Whiteley pictures fiasco and everything that has followed on from that. Some fans have stopped me over the weekend suggesting that these two new SMC initiatives mean we are being marginalised in a season that should be our greatest ever, others I met at the game felt we were being persecuted, or even bullied. I don’t know about that, but one thing’s for sure, it’s a ‘Catch 22’ situation, because if we give up our percentage on the beer we lose and if the fans boycott the beer because it’s too expensive, we lose too. It just looks to this ordinary fan that once again the only people who don’t lose are the SMC as they appear to continue to change the contractual clauses they are not happy with and keep the ones they are.

I guess at this point these are the Clubs problems not ours, but if the Management company won’t make a comment, then if fans feel aggrieved by a steep increase on the price of their beer compared with the prices for City, they have to also realise that like admission’s without cash, it’s not Adam Pearson’s fault and it’s more likely just another ‘brick in the wall’ against our Club. If it really is about how much beer we sell, then perhaps the SMC should make it easier for the Club to attract new customers with discount tickets etc. I’m sure they would be more inclined to buy a beer or two if on the odd occasion it would be viable to admit ‘new attendees’ for a fiver, don’t you? It’s a strange one indeed and some say it’s purely a commercial move, whilst others think it’s all a bit more sinister than that! On that one, only time will tell!

For me the facts are quite simple really. When a Club is screwing and exploiting the fans all that those who love that Club can do is rise up against the administration, the owner and/or the Board. However when a third party appears to be putting pressure on your Club and strangling its very ability to function, then the administration has to be honest, grow some balls and come out and fight that threat tooth and nail and the supporters have to get 100% behind the Club and the owner in that fight! Anything less is surrender and capitulation.

However on a personal note, as I said earlier, as an ordinary fan who is getting on a bit and who is happy to man the barricades, but who has certainly got no inclination or intention of leading any sort of revolt, I have to admit to feeling just a tad persecuted and quite frankly I’ve have had enough of it all. Why can’t we just have a bit of live and let live, why can’t we be left alone to operate under the agreements that have worked for years and be allowed to get on with our 150th year as a Club. That for me is what it’s really all about; coming together as a family, enjoying, if you will, a beer that is reasonably priced and being able to pay at the gate to watch a bit of bloody rugby!! Surely to goodness that’s not too much to ask!

Now to lighter things and while Feke was off watching his childhood heroes UB40 on Thursday night, at Garbutts on Princes Avenue, Mark Minichiello, Kirk Yeaman and Tom Lineham were serving on table and dispensing drinks to the regulars.

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Where everybody knows your name?

Commenting on the experience Yeamo said to the Mail, “I did something like this last year at the Handmade Burger Co, you’ve got to use your brain.” So there you have it, another FC myth dispelled!

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“No Worries Mate! Back home we don’t bother with knives and forks!”

All the admission issues this week won’t help this next bit either because here’s something interesting that I gleaned this week about season ticket sales for this coming season. Across the game overall, attendances declined by five per cent last season which is reflected in the struggling season ticket sales of some Super League clubs this time around. It does however appear that there are a couple of Clubs that are bucking the trend and there must be a collective hope that the changes to the structure of the competition introduced by the RFL will have a positive effect and lead to more footfall on the terraces in 2015; on that one however I wonder, I really do. I think you’ll find this table from Running Rugby really interesting as it compares all Clubs pass sales last year and this, and their average attendances.

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(Running Rugby said, these numbers are based on reports from clubs and where clubs have not co-operated an educated estimate has been made based on the views of those in the industry, sales in previous seasons and patterns in relation to average attendances)

Remember Clubs like Rovers and us may hope to sell more tickets before the first home game and the figures above are only up to 5th January 2015. As you can see too we are the only Club that has not included ‘corporates’ in the above 2015 figures, so they have to be added too. That’ll mean that we are probably not that far off last season’s total. Hull FC finished 3rd in season ticket sales and 4th in average gates last season however in general as you can see the above indicates that despite all the posturing of the RL about the new format, it has certainly not captured the imagination of the fans. Saints are up, as are Cas, Rovers and us will probably finish up about level with last year, but otherwise it’s not good at all is it! In fact Bradford Bulls have sold more seasons than Salford!!!!! Food for thought indeed!

The 150th Celebrations are in full swing and there are a couple of exciting happenings coming up. I’m certainly looking forward to going to Bishop Burton on Saturday 31st January when a team consisting of the club’s U19’s stars, will go toe-to-toe with the University of Lincoln in a unique replay of the Airlie Birds first ever competitive fixture back in 1866! This game kicks off at 12-30pm and is followed at 3-00pm by the first regular fixture for the under 16 scholarship League when we take on Warrington. Another date for your Diary is Thursday 29th January at 6pm at The Open Space in the city’s Central Library, when the Clubs own poet laureate will be crowned. The event will see the 6 finalists present their entries to an esteemed judging panel made up of BAFTA winning playwright John Godber, Dave Windass playwright behind the Clive Sullivan biographical play ‘Sully’, That bloke who wrote ‘Roamin the Range together’ and FC Director of Communications, Media and Marketing James Clark. That should be good fun as well. In fact the whole year is certainly shaping up well.

Last week’s Codgers caused a few folks to get in touch and say how they remembered the game, had the programme and bought the wagon wheels, however it was great to hear from you all. Bill Dalton our redoubtable historian called to say that although it was the record low gate in our history there was possibly another reason for it stating, “I would add that another factor in the low gate was the fact it was a 4.30 Saturday pm Kick-Off due to the Grand National that day. I’m not claiming that we would have had the 10,000 who pretended they were there, but I prefer to believe it wouldn’t have been an all time record low either” Thanks for that Bill.

In Codgers Corner this week I thought it would be good for a change to feature a more recent match and one against this weekend’s opponents Wakefield. So, let’s go back to a game in the mid 1990’s when the attendance at the Boulevard was just 3,460. It was during the 94/95 season when times were tough and every season was developing into a battle against the drop to Division 2. The game in question was against Wakefield Trinity, on Sunday 19th March 1995. It was a cold, dank day at our spiritual home and it turned out to be an even more bleak and dire struggle against a Wakefield outfit that arrived at the Boulevard fancying their chances a bit.

It was in fact way back in the previous year on 13th November when we had witnessed our last home victory and since then Castleford, Doncaster, Saints (Twice) and Bradford had all put over 40 points on us! They were tough times indeed. I watched this game from my ‘Lucky Step’ on the terracing at the Airlie Street end of the ground and feared the worst from the off. We were already touted by all the RL pundits as favourites for the drop and the meagre crowd reflected the fact that even the staunchest of the ‘Faithful’ had run out of patience.

However after we had started with a scare as the kick off failed to travel 10 yards, we then started brightly, with Tevita Vaikona charging towards the Wakey line only to throw out a pass straight to the visitor’s winger as our first chance went begging. It was the first error in a game that featured 34 in total, with these mistakes shared evenly between the two teams. So skill wise it was poor fare indeed. In the 11th minute over at the other side of the pitch Leroy McKenzie raced in, but as we celebrated he was brought back by the referee for stepping into touch and straight from the ensuing scrum the play flowed down the other end and Childs the Wakey winger got over, only to be also denied this time by a forward pass.

Hulls play around the rucks and the play the ball was shocking and soon frustration at the number of mistakes both teams were making boiled over and Hull’s Richard Gay and Wakey’s Ian Gildart were sent to the sin bin for constantly holding down in the tackle. However a foul on Leroy McKenzie offered us the chance of putting the first points on the board and McNamara obliged with a fine kick, to give us a 2-0 advantage. Steve was playing prop that day and he and Tim Street, who had just become a proud father two days earlier, really went at the Wakey forwards. On the back of that pressure, Busby was held just short before Mike Dixon produced a peach of a pass to put Gary Nolan in for what was an excellent try. McNamara converted and we led 8-0.

In those days, (as is the case now), you couldn’t settle on the terraces even with an 8 point lead and as we turned our backs to shield ourselves from the driving snow and hail that lashed the Airlie Street end for the final two minutes of the half, Wakey pressed hard. However we wrestled back the advantage and a break down field by Street enabled the rest of the Hull forwards to work a position from which Johan Windley popped over a drop goal to make it 9-0 and we went in with that advantage at half time.

The half-time break saw a flurry of snow clearing and as the teams reappeared the sun shone down out of a gap in a stormy sky, while it was also noticeable that the strong wind that had been at the backs of Trinity in the first half had dropped considerably.

Wakefield started the second period ‘like a train’ and only resolute defence kept the opposition from scoring however the pressure got to Nolan who stole the ball from Nigel Wright, and Wright himself converted the penalty to get Wakefield’s first points of the game. We continued to battle on and Busby was unlucky when he touched down only for Tim Street’s pass, smuggled out of a tackle, to be deemed forward. Tim, as anyone who saw him play will testify, was never very impressed with those sort of decisions against him and in the very next hit up he ‘measured’ Aaron Whittaker’s collar with a stiff arm and was despatched to the sin-bin for 10 minutes to cool off. This signalled a rally from the visitors who started to stretch our short-handed defence, first at one side and then at the other.

Although the mistakes continued to come thick and fast, Wakefield at last scored a try. Gildert was forced to leave the field after a massive tackle from Gary Nlan to which the referee objected and Wright placed another penalty between the posts. From the Kick-off we held the Wakefield advances but on the sixth tackle Richard Gay knocked a towering up and under on, just 15 meters out and Wakey used the field position to get Child over in the corner. Then as the snow began again, we all watched in amazement as Wright, who was never the most convincing of kickers slotted the ball through against the wind from right out on the touch line, and we were behind for the first time, 9-10.

The final 15 minutes were real nail biting stuff, with both sides threatening and also making mistakes and the tackling getting higher and higher as the players tired. Then we got the bit of luck you crave when you’re struggling and need a break. The referee, John Holdsworth blew for a penalty, which none of us had seen or understood. Afterwards he revealed it was for Wright not playing the ball correctly and with a dipping kick from 35 yards in a blizzard, McNamara re-established a slender one point lead for the FC. The drama however was not over yet and when Wakey surged down the field a Maea David ball steal saw the opposition awarded a penalty about 30 yards out. Wright surprisingly though elected to go for distance and kicked to the corner. It was then desperation stuff as the Hull side defended their line and on the fifth tackle after Wakefield had been held on the whitewash twice, the hooter finally sounded. It was a fantastic defensive set by the whole Hull team and as the snow continued to fall, the fans celebrated a rare and unlikely win. We avoided relegation by just a point that year, but it was a close run thing that was probably in the end down to that win and that Windley drop goal at a snowy Boulevard that March.

Well, it’s certainly been a dire week for us FC fans made more depressing by that loss yesterday. I would however like to thank everyone who has read this week’s tale of woe, which I hope has at least got you thinking. Let’s hope some of the issues that blighted last week can be solved before the season starts. Lee Radford said yesterday, “Overall I’m happy with how pre-season has gone to this point, we seem to be ticking along nicely which bodes well.” However myself, I wouldn’t go quite as far as that but its early days yet isn’t it! We have to back our Club and get behind them, particularly when it appears that we are being persecuted in our own home. It’s been a tough few days, I hear that some folks have written to the papers, others have lobbied their MP’s and well done to them, the more the merrier, however the majority of us, like me, are just sick and fed up with it all! Come on Mr Allam, have a bit of understanding and humanity towards ordinary fans, give us a bit of leeway and let us get on with our 150th year in relative peace!

Try to keep believing, thanks for your support and all your correspondence………

See you at Wakey!

Faithfully Yours

Wilf