I have always thought of myself as a fairly open-minded sort of a bloke.
I’m sure my wife will disagree vehemently – she thinks that I’m opinionated and totally unable to move from my established point of view. She’s wrong. Although does me thinking that prove her right?
My Dad always says that opinions are like arseholes, everyone has one. This has been very evident recently on that great waste of free time the t’internet. As Hull FC supporters we all want the same thing I’d have thought. We want our beloved team at the top end of the table challenging for trophies and winning games. Of course, there’ll always be differences of opinion on HOW as a club we achieve this.
I’ll be honest, and if you read my ramblings often you’ll know this already, I was a Radford sceptic up to about 20 months ago. In fact, I’ll go further than that, I wanted the bloke to lose his job and I wrote extensively on that subject both via Up the Cream and via Facebook and Twitter. He’s proved me wrong, and let’s be honest over history we might have had better head coaches, but the structure he has put in place with Lasty, Horne, Hatton et al continues to bear fruit, and he has to be given credit.
The thing is, once something is online, it has a nasty habit of coming back and biting your right where it hurts. My “Radford out” rantings for one. The reply I gave to our Editor Dan when we signed Mini (“Over the hill and average” in case you were wondering) still haunts me to this day. There are some statements I’m happy to stand by though.
I recently went into battle defending the reputation of a former FC player in Nathan Blacklock. It was one of those “who’s the worst overseas player to play for your club” posts that I saw an FC supporter say that Blacklock was the worst he’s seen. I can only assume that he wasn’t at Headingley when he ran 60m to score an unbelievable try on basically one leg, or that he blinked and missed the impossible offload that we scored off at Cardiff in ’05? I am also assuming that this keyboard warrior has been in a coma since about 2006 too, because we’ve had our share of dross imported since then. As I replied to him I have just two words Hutch. Maiava.
Of course when it comes to the international game things get even bloody worse. We all wanted England to win the World Cup final, but English Rugby League fans from across the country naturally split along club allegiances and its made for some spectacular rants online. I’ve seen fans from many different clubs all spruiking their solutions to England lacklustre performances. Then ex-players giving their input, and one in particular telling fans that they have no right to an opinion as they’d never played the game themselves.
For my part I think I’ve been quite consistent with my arguments. Shaul should’ve been there. His speed would’ve worried the Aussies to death. Sneyd needed to be there. His kicking would’ve been something to behold on a big stage like that. Taylor was criminally underused. Heighington shouldn’t have been anywhere NEAR that squad. Likewise Brown. I was amazed by Roby, who was a revelation once Hodgson (strangely out of form before his injury) made way for him.
Now comes the ultimate test of Opinion – will any Aussie teams decide that they should make a play for any of the English lads? Walmsley is reputed to be on the shopping list of about four clubs, although the recent horse trading after Cooper Cronk went to the Roosters might have put paid to any chance of a move. Walmsley was most likely to go to the Newcastle Knights, but now they’ve picked up Mitchell Pearce they’ve got to be close to the salary cap.
Jermaine McGillvary, to the Aussie press, has been the breakout player of the tournament. Yes Valentine Holmes might’ve scored more, but everyone over here knows he’s a talent. Nobody here had heard of Jermaine before this October. He’s been offered one or two interesting contracts from what I’ve heard, it’ll be interesting to see what happens. I’ve also read that if Huddersfield had gone down a season or two ago, we had an agreement in place that he would’ve come to Hull – how good would that’ve been?? The one thing putting Aussie clubs off is his age – 29 is seen as a bit of risk, especially for a winger who is only going to get slower over the next couple of seasons.
I’m a broken record when it comes to my dislike of Wayne Bennett, but even I’ll admit when we headed into that last 10 minutes in the final, I honestly thought we’d nick it. I would’ve felt like a total hypocrite celebrating an England win after not having a good word to say about his tactics, his squad and his demeanour, but I’m sure I could live with myself.
So now 2017 lurches to a conclusion, you lot have Brexitted (well, erm, sort of), and we’re living under the shadow of Trump and Kim Jong Un. Gay Marriage is now legal in Australia (and I MC’d a Lesbian wedding yesterday – one for my autobiography that was), the planet turns and we’re already back in pre-season training. My countdown is on for WIN Stadium, and as Santa generally brings me a new home shirt every year, I can’t wait to be stood surrounded by identically dressed lunatics. In fact, at the wedding yesterday, I got talking to a bloke who is a massive Parra fan and I’ve persuaded him to come along too, I confidently assured him that a couple of hundred of Hull supporters would be louder than anything he’d ever heard at an NRL game.
Have a great Christmas, even if it does involve some fat bloke in a red and white outfit breaking into your house.
Until next time, Up the Cream, Gerremonsard and Come on you ‘Ull.
Rich – Twitter @pommyrich