The Dentist’s Diary – 556th


Still battling, still hoping and still alive!

Whatever anyone says and whatever else happens, it has been an amazing two years! Two Challenge Cups back to back, four semi-finals and three Man of Steel nominations in two seasons is pretty unprecedented at any Club, never mind at the FC. And it ain’t over yet!!

We are back in that ‘bubble’ where we are challenging for a place at Old Trafford, as everyone, with the exception of the best four clubs, are left to look on. It’s a place we are beginning to cement for ourselves at the very top end of the British game, because now its ‘official’, last year was NOT a flash in the pan and whatever happens on Friday, it’s been another tremendous season when it’s been great to be an FC fan.

Before you read on any further, just pause for a moment and dwell on how lucky we are and how much we perhaps take for granted, particularly when you consider just where we have come from and how good an FC side we are now watching. This is our best team and our best set up since the 1980’s and if time travel were possible, I would love to transport every reader of this Diary back with me, so that we could all sit in the East Stand a few years ago in the reign of Auntie Kath and Richard Agar. Then perhaps we’d all realise just how far we have come under the Radford, Ellis and of course Pearson regime.

As fans of any sports team there are always hard times in which we crave success and distinction and often wonder if it will ever come our way. In fact, for many supporters of many Clubs it never does manifest itself at all. However, for us lot it’s here, we have won ‘the unwinnable’ …twice, got within 80 minutes of Old Trafford twice in the same two back to back seasons and in the process, shut up the protagonists across the game and indeed more importantly those ‘Dimwits in the East’, completely.

You might be different to me, but I’m still finding the significance of all this hard to rationalise. We might see the end of our season this weekend, who knows, that’s sport, but the prospect of our Club becoming a force in the game is now, I believe, a real one and the dream is no longer a fleeting fantasy but fast becoming a reality. The problem is, it’s all happening around me and I don’t think I fully appreciate just how good this all is? In essence I suppose being positive isn’t something the rank and file of FC fans are particularly good at, for time, disappointment and adversity have made us very wary of that scenario indeed. Negativity seems to have crept (stealth like) into all aspects of modern society and I guess I’m no different either, in fact, I think in the end, when it comes to trying to explain just how good we have become as a team, even I found it easier when I was kicking off and grumbling because we were crap!

So Friday’s was the ‘hiding to nothing’ game! We had all heard ad infinitum, from the media that the Tigers were missing a bunch of star players. Afterwards one regional West Yorkshire paper said, “Hull may have produced a strong performance to dismantle the league leaders in a 48-16 win, but it was to be expected considering the missing personnel for the Tigers”, comments that embodied completely the views of the press in general.

We all knew that Castleford still had plenty of quality on show and that often adversity in the ranks of the opposition makes for tough and determined adversaries, but defensively they just couldn’t contain our lads and they looked nothing like the team who had conceded the least amount of points in the league, before this heavy defeat. Castleford have majored on the principle that attack is the best method of defence, but it isn’t when the other team are running all over you!
It was a fine win in any circumstances but of course, with some players rested by Castleford, we were always on a hiding to nothing. Win and we would be told it was a foregone conclusion and expected, lose and it would have been hailed as a great victory for the hosts ‘young guns’ and the wonderful strength in depth of the darlings of the media. Only a super controlled, focussed and clinical ‘pasting’ would sufficed and low and behold, for once, we got exactly that!

In the end it’s an old adage but you can only beat what’s put in front of you and on that score we were brutally clinical in all but a ten-minute period of the game. Afterwards it was interesting to see Coach Daryl Powell almost shell shocked by the margin of defeat, for it was obviously not something he is used to, whatever team he fields.

Under the watchful eye of Lee Radford, we are evolving into a good team, that is pretty well equipped to compete in the cut and thrust of the league programme, but Lee and Andy have also developed a group of players that can then mutate into a really great team in the big games. That’s a fact that is re-enforced by something a local journalist (who had better remain nameless) told me on Saturday after he had overheard an assistant on the Castleford coaching staff talking in the dressing rooms after the game. This individual apparently said that he’d be “Supporting Leeds on Friday”, because he’d “Prefer them to that lot, if we get to the Final”.
We’ve put the ‘Scarers’ on them and we have a massive chance now to progress further, but next Friday will, just the same, be mighty tough and really one of those games that could all night be on a knife edge.

Back home in Beverley it had been a long eight days since the dramatic roller coaster that was the nail biting Wakey game and it was always going to be a big week for the Club. So it was, that long before their shiny black Acklams’ team coach turned into Wheldon Road last Friday evening, things had started to transpire against us. The main concern was the doubt we harboured in our minds about what can and has happened when Hull FC face a weakened side, particularly if we didn’t get ‘Our heads’ just right. We needed a bit of luck too, but after Mr Childs had completely lost control of the Saints game the night before and some baffling decisions eased the Lancashire club into the top 4, we knew as usual, that it was all going to be down to us! Our destiny was in our own hands once more!

Throughout the week the rhetoric from our lads was all focussed on progressing. I spoke to Danny Houghton on Wednesday when nothing but a semi-final place was in his mind. He was calm and focussed but also ultra-confident that we would turn up and do a job and so it was! However, whilst that was the case as individuals, there is little doubt that as the season ebbed away and that big game approached, the noose of expectation was tightening around the neck of our Club. The pressure was on and whatever they said in camp or in the media, it was always going to be a jittery old week for us FC fans.

In that prevailing and all-consuming air of uncertainty, it was so hard to know what would happen next, but it was pretty apparent whoever we faced in that Cas team, that nothing short of another of those top class ‘Cup semi-final’ type performances would be good enough and thankfully that’s what we got! It was almost inevitable that Saints would get the win on Thursday and that Mr Childs would have some part in their victory and so it was down to us to take control of our fate. As the rain came down and 2000 FC pilgrims made their way to the West Riding with equalling amounts of hope, belief and uncertainty weighing heavy in their hearts, it was in the certain knowledge that whatever team the Tiger fielded, it was always going to be tough.

The fans that attended certainly watched what was one of several possibly seminal moments in a final Round 30 of the Competition. In a season that had ground on and on, in hindsight it’s hard not to agree with those who said (that rather like what happens in Soccer on the last day of the season), in both the Super and Middle Eights all those critical games should have kicked off at the same time. That scenario would certainly have captured the imagination, reduced the obvious advantage of foresight for those who played on Thursday and Friday and proved a great spectacle that provided some wonderful drama. However, that was never going to happen because it wouldn’t have suited Sky TV at all.

It had not just to be a resolute FC that ran out last Friday, but also one that was as fresh as it could be at this time in the season. You know, the fact that everyone was fit or thereabouts, was a tremendous tribute to the back room boys on the conditioning side of things who had, all season, ensured we fielded a competitive side. They are all some of the real unsung heroes of our Club.

Amazing and committed all night!

As I watched and the game unfolded we were certainly up for it. We looked to have so much verve and energy, a spring in our step and a real will to win every contact. With the exception of a ten-minute period at the start of the second half when the home side, after a half time break no doubt spent licking their wounds, came out and showed some tenacity, it was all Hull FC. For me, for a while, as they got within 12 points of us, the old doubts returned, but we wrestled the momentum back with a great try from hat trick hero Jake Connor and we were back at it again, the impetus was ours, and we took control of the rest of the match. There were also some great scores to enjoy too. If Shaul’s second try was quite amazing to behold, his first was fantastic to watch as Albert Kelly’s selfless run inside created, in Eden’s mind, the shadow of doubt that allowed Jamie to sprint on and score a superb touch down.

But, you can talk all you like about Connor and Kelly and Shaul and indeed the heroics of Talanoa back from that shocking arm injury to lay on the first and last tries, because, great though they all were, it was in the engine room of the forwards that we set the platform and firstly mastered the opposition, before we completely ran over them, well before the end. Manu, Ellis and Mini controlled the edges of the ruck whilst down the middle Taylor, Fash (32 tackles), Bowden and Watts were simply massive and, if anything, they played with even more intensity than we saw at Wembley; and that’s saying something!

Houghton had a great game too as he was unlucky to have a try disallowed, scored another great one from a Sneyd kick and in the end completed 39 tackles AND should have had a 40/20!

The first of two superb tries for Shaul.

It’s no coincidence either, that when the momentum shifted slightly at the start of that second half it was the re-introduction of Gareth, Liam and Scotty that turned the tide back our way. Our forwards were simply amazing and it was on the back of that go forward that Sneydy, Connor, Albo and Shaul were able to work their magic; and Magic it was! Sneyd’s kicking up to and through a big milestone in his career (1000 points), was just great and Albo and Connor combined in a devastating partnership which saw them score 4 tries between them.

Looking back on some awful performances with a wet ball this year (remember Saints away?), the weather was always going to be a worry as well. However, although the first half had seen the rain coming and going, even with a slippery ball and a wet surface, we flashed the ball around and only missed out on a 100% completion rate by one set, in that first 40 minutes.

Good to report too that it was again a pretty uncontroversial display from Ben Thaler. However, nonetheless, at the back of everyone’s mind when watching the game back again, was that ball that bounced on the line and was deemed not to be out by the touch judge. He had a perfect view of the incident and once again, it was a crass mistake which although robbing Danny Houghton of that 40/20, it didn’t thankfully influence the game, but it was a shocking error just the same. However, in the end it was all over with ten minutes to go and although we forced it a bit in those later stages, it was a fine win and we move on to Headingley on a bit of a roll, with a modicum of confidence and a few good tries under our belts. But as the fans sung the lads home, didn’t you just love that performance and didn’t you feel proud at the end?

The Dream is Still Alive; Long live the Dream!!

Inside the victory huddle at Cas!

So to the week gone by and on the Wilf’s Whiffs front, I’m told that as Hadley is returning to the fold next season there is a chance that Jordan Thompson will be moving on, but as always it’s just a rumour. Also big congratulations to Albert Kelly with his nomination for Man of Steel and to Andy Last on being appointed Assistant Coach (under Steve McCormack) of Scotland for the World Cup. It’s a great honour for them both and for the Club and what a season both Andy and Albert have had. Well done to both of them, Albert’s not the favourite for Man of Steel but already he is one of the best three players in Super League and that’s not bad for a bloke who was suspended from his Club last year at this time. Some folks just don’t know how to handle talent do they?

But, now, on a different tack, if you’re looking for a good night out next Tuesday (26th September) look no further than a great event that is being promoted by Diary Reader Dick Ollett at the Lambwath Hotel and Pub on Sutton Road in Hull. Everyone loves a race night and this one will be something special, promoted as it is as part of Danny Houghton’s Testimonial Year. Danny will be in attendance with a few players and the Challenge Cup will be there too. Starting at 7-30 admission is free, there will be some great prizes and it should be really good fun. I’m hoping to go and if your free and your able, go down to the Lambwath on Tuesday to support Dick and also help Danny with his Testimonial.

Talking of the Testimonial it’s great to report that the book “2016 The Year of the Airlie Bird” is is now starting to approach the 400 sold mark, which in just over two months is pretty amazing. Up to press it has raised around £2200 for Danny and if you haven’t yet got a copy please consider buying one (you’ll be in good company as you can see) and if you have bought one, please spread the word.

The Lads who are leaving this year all got their hands on a copy of the book this week at training. Lets hope it reminds them of that tremendous 2016 at Hull FC!

Now for a Dentists Diary exclusive and there’ll be a really big event taking place at the City Hall on 18th December, when the Testimonial Committee will be staging Danny Hoiughton’s Xmas Factor. It’s a night for all the family when ten players past and present including Danny, Yeamo, Danny Tickle, Aaron Heramaia, Josh Bowden , Andy Last, Fetuli Talanoa, Danny Washbrook and a couple more surprise additions will be singing against each other for the DH9 Trophy. Sammy Lloyd willl be giving us a couple of songs too and owner Adam Pearson will be on the panel of Judges. I spoke to Danny last Wednesday about it and he said, “I think it will be a great night for all the fans and we should have a lot of fun. However, as time has gone by the reality of what we are all doing hit home and it’s all now getting pretty scary, that will I’m sure make for an entertaining evening for the fans, if not for the competitors!”

Tickets priced £12 for adults and £5 for children will go on sale at the City Council Box Office under the City Hall in Carr Lane on Monday 2nd October, (or by telephone on 01482 300306). It should be a great way to start Christmas off with a laugh!

Now for something I felt I just had to do this week, because you know, some players automatically attract attention, whilst other equally deserving of attention, simply ‘fly under the radar’!

Much has been said and many column inches have been taken up over the last week, to cover the departure of Mahe Fonua and the retirement to the back office of Gareth Ellis and boy will we miss those two guys. The accolades will continue to come in their direction as well, but this week I just want to buck the trend of those main line journalists and say a few things about the third of the departing trinity of players, who has been largely unmentioned and yet who will be missed from our Club just as much as the other two iconic personalities.

In any group of players, in any sport, from rugby to your local pool team, there is nothing more important than characters to bond and carry your group. They galvanise your side and through their personality and humour on and off the pitch, they raise spirits and bring people together. I also think that they make the Club a great place to be, whatever the fortunes on the field. Stevie Michaels is a great example of such a player and one who will certainly be missed at Hull FC.

Christened Steven Michael Michaels, he’s always been a player’s player, because as a consummate professional he’s always popular with those around him. Be it out on the training ground, at the KCOM or in the pub he’s certainly seldom found without a big smile on his face and all of us who have had a chance to grab a chat with him will agree that he is certainly well liked by everyone he meets.
He’s scored some spectacular tries and no mistake.

Signed from the Gold Coast Titans ahead of the 2015 season, ‘Stevie’ started slowly at the KCOM. He was in fact a strange signing in some ways, because he never really fitted into the mold of Lee Radford’s archetypical Bradford Bulls type winger. However, Michael’s waited his chance and as injuries came along he grabbed it with both hands. He was a real 100%er on the field and soon won over the fans so much so that when accusations (eventually unproven) of his involvement in a drugs scandal in the NRL came along, it spawned nothing more than one of the most inventive of fans chants we have heard in recent years. For us he has been the consummate professional and if Stevie Michaels was “Having a party with plenty of Vodka and plenty of Charlie” he never showed it at Hull FC!!!

Just such a great bloke!

What he did do however, was to help tremendously in building the ethic and vibe within a tight group of players that would help to catapult them all to absolute iconic status in the history of our Club; in addition, he could play a bit too! In fact, he was there on the wing in that wonderful history making 2016 Cup Final and featured in what was an epoch changing victory. From the off, it wasn’t so much his finishing abilities near the line that impressed me, but more his all-round game. For all the pressure that the opposition put on him he very rarely faltered under a high ball and his ability to punch holes in the opposition defence coupled with a heart as big as a lion in the tackle, was also always mightily impressive, particularly given his stature when judged against some of those he came up against.

Michaels still always gives his all and his attitude towards being dropped or played in different positions, has always been first class. He undoubtedly has the mindset that it was all about working for the team and putting his body on the line for the cause. Many players would have been absolutely fed up with missing out on Wembley etc. but, although he might have been, he never showed it, instead choosing to stand back from it all and let those involved take the accolades. However, he was always willing to be part of the gang and first to volunteer for public appearances etc. whether he was playing or not. All that said, the kid scored a very respectable 32 tries in 77 games (to date) and that’s no mean feat. But, the point I’m trying to make is I guess that his presence on the pitch was just one aspect of his contribution to the club.

Great bloke, big loss!!!

All the players I have spoken to have been quick to say how much his exuberant character will be missed on the social scene and again the club is losing an integral part of that amazing chemistry that galvanizes our current squad of players. I’m sure that all of you who have come across Steve, as I have a time or two, will echo his colleagues sentiments about a man who always had time for a chat. Take my pal Kathy for instance she often sees Steve around the pools and gym at Total Fitness. He always seeks her out and makes time for a chat with her, and although like me she has passed into the Golden Oldie category of FC fans, when he sees her out and about he always introduces her to the other players as “My Gym Buddy”. He doesn’t have to do that at all, but that’s the mark of a guy who is a thoroughly nice bloke.

I really wish him well, for if ever there was a departing player that deserves the title of ‘Unsung Hero’ then it is Steve Michaels and it’s such a shame that such a big character is being lost to the Club. However, times change, things move on and nothing stays the same for long in sport, but as others take the headlines, if ever anyone who was flying under the radar a bit at this time warranted a mention, then it’s Steve and I’ll certainly miss the bloke around the place and no mistake! Good Luck Steve and thanks for the memories.

So to the sad demise of another FC hero, Steve Evans who recently died tragically whilst on holiday. Steve signed for Hull in 1982 and played 161 games for the club during that iconic early sixties period when he featured in three Challenge Cup finals. He was a good centre but for me an even better half back although sadly he played in a team that was well endowed in that position. However, he also played a lot on the wing and as a bit of a jack of all trades across the backs he was a fine, fine player. I remember him having a health food and sports shop on Anlaby Road after he retired and doing great work for local RL and junior RU as well as being involved with Dove House Hospice for a time in his later life. He was also Chairman of Featherstone between 2004 and 2006, but whenever you bumped into him he always had time for a chat and never minded talking about the old days.

He also made a bit of rugby League history which was brilliantly described by Bill Dalton the Clubs Executive Historian when he contacted me this week, Bill said, “In early 1982, Steve made Rugby League History when he became the first (and only) player to appear for two Clubs in the Challenge Cup in the same season. Featherstone had been drawn in a Preliminary Round Tie at Hull KR, which they lost 18-22. The Tie was played prior to the deadline date for Challenge Cup Registration. At the time, of course, Hull were riding high and as Manger Arthur Bunting was Steve’s Godfather, he was well equipped to know of his talents. Hull signed Steve for a World Record £70,000 after Featherstone’s Cup exit, so he was eligible to turn out for the Airlie Birds in the Competition. The fairy tale ended, of course, with Hull’s great Final Replay win at Elland Road, so Steve, having been a loser in a Preliminary Round, finished up with a Cup Winners Medal!”

Great player though Steve was he was at times criticised a bit for his defence, however reader Dave Cutler tells a good story about Steve and his tackling ability when he wrote to me this week saying, “I attended a talk by Hull FC players one evening in the early to mid-80’s at Charleston Club. Whilst I was at the bar trying to get a drink a very loud-mouthed supporter was complaining that Steve Evans couldn’t tackle and shouldn’t be in the team. From behind us all of a sudden, an Antipodean voice replied equally loudly, “Don’t worry about it mate”. Everyone turned around and it was Fred Ah Kuoi. He went on to say, “I’ll do all the tackling for Steve”. He then looked straight at the loud-mouthed complainant and said, “Do you know why that is?” This guy sheepishly said, “No”. Fred then smiled and said, “Because Steve Evans can regularly score tries that I can only dream of scoring”. What a great tale and what a great player Steve was, he will be remembered forever for his heroics at Wembley and Elland Road and certainly for a brilliant try he scored at Boothferry Park against Hull KR in front of over 25,000 in the Yorkshire Cup Final.

What a game that was and it would seem apt if I feature it again this week in Codgers Corner so here in memory of Steve is my take on the 1984 Yorkshire Cup Final that took place on 27th October 1984. This extract is taken from ‘Roamin’ the Range Together’ Book Two and not only describes us winning the Yorkshire Cup for the third year running but also features a rather obnoxious Rovers fan who I had the ‘pleasure’ of standing next to.

“……..After beating Halifax, York and Leeds in the various rounds of the Yorkshire Cup, Hull again made the final for the third year running and it was to be played out this time against the old enemy from across the River. There was still a tremendous rivalry between the fans, players and officials of the two Hull Clubs and all parties quickly agreed to the Rugby League’s suggestion of playing the game at Boothferry Park. Hull KR, the Champions, were top of the League again whilst our slow and inconsistent start had left us languishing fourth from the bottom in the table! Although the game was not initially ‘all ticket’, they still sold quickly because the fans were worried they might not get in and caught up in this ‘panic’ I queued for about 2 hours for mine. In the end over 25,000 were in attendance for what was to be a truly extraordinary game.

There was certainly no end to the inventiveness and humour of the fans back in 1984 and both sets of supporters would constantly exchange insults and jibes whenever they were in each other’s company. On the morning of the Final the Boothferry Park ground staff arriving to prepare for the game certainly got a surprise from a stunt that actually made the national newspapers. Overnight someone had climbed into the ground and left 13 perfectly painted garden gnomes resplendent in their Hull FC kits and pointed irregular hooped hats on the centre spot. These had been perfectly arranged in a circle around one Hull KR gnome, who was broken in half.

Although we had ‘held’ the Yorkshire Cup for two years, few pundits believed that we could beat the then table topping ‘Robins’ this time, but as I took up my place in the South Stand, (with no segregation), I ended up next to the most obnoxious Hull KR supporter you could imagine. He was a short, stout individual, with a florid face, a big mouth, an enormous belly and several double chins which gave him the appearance of ‘peering over a pile of pancakes’. He started as soon as we arrived with his “Scummy Dullers” remarks. You know the type, for whoever you support you have met them often enough on the terraces. Never looking at you, they don’t direct their remarks at you personally, but at the team, the coach, the fans in the other stand etc. etc. but they do it right next to your ear! It was packed where we were stood on the South Stand and we had a great view and as my pal Trevor said at the time, “There’s no show without Punch, why the hell should we move”.

The game kicked off and within 20 minutes we were in big trouble. Having conceded three early tries, the opposition’s overwhelming supremacy was only disguised by the fact that George Fairburn, their goal kicking Full-Back, had missed all three conversions. You can just imagine how ‘Motor mouth’ Cyril (as we later found out he was called) was behaving by this time. He ragged us relentlessly as most of the ‘friends’ that were with him soon melted away into the crowd, while one or two of the less long suffering lads around us had to be restrained from ‘poking’ him there and then!

Although our defence was being swamped, a rare sortie down field saw Garry Schofield get us on the scoreboard with a penalty and then after Crooks had managed to somehow crash over the try line from close range after a great show and go, he converted that try to make it 12-8 at the break. However, despite that try and a quite amazing showing from Steve Norton and Peter Sterling, we all realised at the break that so far, we had never really looked like winning! Fat ‘Cyril’ even refused the chance to go for a ‘cuppa’ at half time, announcing that he would rather stay and “Take the p*ss out of these losers”.

If we were to have any chance of winning at all, we needed to wrestle the initiative from the Red and Whites early in that second half. No doubt with Arthur Buntings words ringing in the player’s ears, we pressed their line from the off and forced a drop out and what happened next will certainly be a lasting memory for all FC fans that were there that day. The kick was fielded by Full-Back Gary Kemble right on the centre spot from where he started out on a fantastic arcing run beating first one player, then the next, until he ran out of opposition tacklers and touched down in the corner. It was as fine a try as you could wish to see and every one of the FC fans seemed as one to be dancing on the terraces. Schofield converted the crowd erupted, while Cyril just grunted!! That was also his response when Schofield dropped a goal to make it 15-12 to Hull FC.

Our resurgence in the second half was all down to the magic of Peter Sterling who turned a good showing in the first half into a brilliant one in the second. Cyril had commented on a few occasions in the first half, that Paul Harkin the Hull KR scrum half, had “Got Sterling in his Pocket” but ‘Sterlo’ stepped things up a bit more in the second half and came out a different player and he was soon completely eclipsing his opposite number.

I remember well not wanting to say too much to our fat friend because things were still in the balance, but after Norton had used a great short pass to send Kemble in before he then went on to score one himself the point arrived when I could resist it any longer. After another Schofield conversion, I turned to Cyril, to triumphantly give him ‘both barrels’, and of course, you guessed it, with still 15 minutes to go, he had gone, sloping off towards the exits, with hundreds of other Hull KR fans! Our half back pairing of Ah Kuoi and Sterling had the Rovers defence in knots and with Crooks, Patrick, Proctor and Divorty all running the Rovers pack ragged we were well on our way to another famous victory.

The best however was yet to come as Steve Evans who was having a wow of a second half ghosted in to the Rovers line and onto the end of a Hall pass that was intended for Gary Prohm and in a flash he had completed the interception. I can see him to this day as our mercurial centre shot off down the field towards us all standing on the South Terracing, leaving the Rovers defence in his wake as they chased him for all of 90 yards, but to no avail.

The crowd went mad and a few over excited FC Fans clambered over the fence and ran onto the field to mob the scorer. After what resembled ‘The Retreat from Moscow’ there were few Rovers fans left to witness ex Rovers player Paul Rose come on and last just a minute, before being sent off for “illegal use of the elbow” in just his third tackle. As the final hooter went and with Dave Topliss the Club Captain an unused substitute, 21 year-old Lee Crooks went up to receive the trophy and in so doing became one of the youngest players to have done it. I have not seen our ‘fat friend’ since, but over the years I have experienced countless dozens of his ilk across the Rugby League grounds of this country. What a win that was though!!!

R.I.P. Steve Evans. Another great FC hero who will always be remembered.

You hear some great yarns from FC fans and I always pass them on particularly when they make me laugh. Before I start this one I must apologise in advance to those readers of a ‘tender’ disposition as it is impossible to tell it without using a rather rude word. My pal Andy who sits in the South Stand, has a fruit stall in Driffield Market and as such is positioned between a stall selling socks, shoe laces and all sorts of foot wear type paraphernalia and a card stall owned by a Rovers fan who makes Andy’s life a misery all the time. As he described this predicament to me he just said, “So, that’s it, every Saturday I’m selling veg to the good people of the Yorkshire Wolds whilst at one side there are insulated insoles and at the other outspoken arseholes!!!” I bet he’s said that a few times; but it certainly made me laugh!

Good luck to Club historian and Diary reader Bill Dalton who broke his collar bone jumping out of the way to take evasive action in a recent cricket match. Who said umpiring is a sedate business? Get well soon Bill and thanks for all your support over the years.

So, that’s it for another week and the opposition aside I think that we looked on Friday like a team who had got their mojo back and who were even at this late stage in the season starting to flex their muscles a bit too. However now, its time to “Kick the Tyres and Light the Fires” as we head off down the M62 to Headingley for yet another date with destiny, in a season that seems to have already had quite a few of those1

There we’ll meet up again with McGuire, Burrows, Hall, that ‘ghost stand’ that bloody Drum and probably experience once more the joy of standing in the rain …for two hours! Still it’s a big playing surface and usually a good atmosphere and sooner or later we will actually win there! It is without doubt our bogey ground, where we’ve not won for a decade. However, it’s a long time since the Leeds Rhino’s have been more worried about us than we are about them, because I’d like to think that’s the current situation we find ourselves in.

It’s been a funny old week really, when I (again) in an attempt to take my mind off things, did a bit of gardening, lost half my contacts on my mobile phone and generally got that end of season anxiety that only a big finale can bring. However, to finish as I started, as for now perhaps we should all dwell for a while in the reflected glory of a great win, a great performance and for us FC fans hopefully some more great seasons to come from a team that is evolving into one Hull FC’s greatest ever.

I just loved Friday night and as far as our targets for the season go we’ve got back to Wembley and won again and we’re into the top 4 play-offs again too. Now of course we all want more, but we’d have given a lot for that at the start of the campaign and, as was the case with what happened at Wembley, I guess whatever follows now can be looked upon as a bonus.

Get To Headingley if you can, enjoy every moment, Keep Believing and…..


Faithfully Yours


P.S. Don’t forget….