Well, even for a grumbling old bugger it’s been a fabulous few weeks if you’re a Hull FC fan and the recent performances take me right back to the era’s of the ‘Panzer Pack’ in the 50’s and the great ‘Bunting years’ of the 80’s.
In those times we had some brilliant stars but what made us great was the ‘also ran’ players who rose to the challenge to support them. That and the spirit and togetherness that ran right through those famous teams is at long last back with our lot at the KC and ain’t we loving it? I never thought I’d see it again in my lifetime (which in fairness is pretty limited these days) so long may it all continue.
Beating the daft lads from Caravan Park the other week at Newcastle was great and made me laugh as the clock continues to tick down on our neighbour’s disastrous season. Incidentally, as an aside always remember that you can instantly recognise a Hull KR clock, as the hands have six fingers. However, as any of you who read this monthly dribble will know, I don’t do Magic Weekend, for it holds little ‘magic’ for me.
We watched a bit of the rest of the tournament in Club beforehand, but then accompanied by hot pies, peas and a few pints, we rejoiced at another victory for the FC against those hapless Dobbins on Sunday tea-time. That of course was great, for after being around our Club for over 75 years there is still nothing like beating those Dicks from the East. However we play them too much these days and for me now much of the old magic is gone, so the Newcastle extravaganza only perpetuated the feeling I have that Derby’s are just not that special anymore.
Last year in this monthly bilge I went on about how contrived the Magic stuff was and despite beating the riff raff from the East….again this year, nothing I have seen this time around has changed my mind about that. However I guess when you stand back from it all although there were ‘thrills and spills’ a plenty in the two day bonanza, for me it’s the schedule and its manufactured nature, rather than the event itself that is naff.
What’s more, this year for this ageing fan and my compatriots in Club that fixture format has been revealed to be just what it is; an exercise that reduces the two Hull Clubs to nothing more than bloody cash cows. We now take part in the only sodding Derby left at the event and it’s played at 5-30 on a Sunday afternoon just to make sure that a crowd sticks around. Now, for me, that really does equate to the RL taking the piss.
When Magic started I went to it with the lads, twice, but as it moved onto everyone playing Derby games, with Leeds playing Bradford, Wigan v Saints, Wakey v Cas and us v the Dobbins, I sort of accepted the idea, but stopped going, because I felt that in all the years I have watched the game, the fixtures were, for the first time, synthetically created to please the TV paymasters rather than the paying public. However we were all in the same boat, a plethora of Derby’s favoured no-one in particular and so we all begrudgingly put up with it.
Since then however, for me at least, the old cynicism has crept back and as Harry in Club says regularly, several clubs have one by one wheedled their way out of the pressure of having to play their local adversaries an extra time at this tournament. Leeds got a ‘Get out of jail’ card when Bradford dipped out by being relegated, but why Wigan and Saints were allowed to follow on, heaven knows and now even Wakey and Castleford no longer play each other. But guess what? We still have to bloody well endure a week of Derby posturing, Daily Mail over hyping and another massive game against the old enemy, with so much local pride at stake.
The fact is that the RL are a set of mercenary buggers, they know how much Hull fans love their rugby and indeed how much they will shell out to watch it and they simply play on it. For me it’s about time something was done about what I and a lot of other supporters in my age group feel is an injustice. So for me Adam Pearson and Hudgell should get their bloody fingers out and point out to those buggers at Redhall that the Magic Weekend should be all Derby’s, or none at all, because all they are doing at present is penalising the two Hull Clubs.
For us lot in Club the whole fiasco was on a hiding to nothing from the time it was proposed by the Rugby League. When it started it all looked like a bit of a circus and for many of us lot in the ‘old buffers association’ that’s really not changed at all. We ain’t worried about playing those half wits because we can beat them anytime, but it’s the injustice of it all that gets us lot. I know a lot of you reading this go to the Magic Weekend and have a bloody good time and good on yeh, I ain’t decrying the day out, but rather the whole way by which it is manipulated by the RL for the benefit of the media. Why, if they have to persist with this yearly bun fight can’t they have a seeding system or even a ‘draw it out of a hat’ procedure? As I say it’s about time the two Club Chairmen grew some and told the RFL to stop conning the bloody fans in Hull.
I’m actually really surprised that the maniac that is Marwan Koukash didn’t include this issue in his latest diatribe about the game, as he’s just about included everything and everybody else in there, as he attempted to throw a smoke screen over his past salary cap fiddles. Boy oh boy was it ‘toys coming out of the pram big style’ about his point’s deduction? Of course the thing about him is that although he goes about it all wrong and gets everyone’s backs up, when the smoke and fog of his ranting clears away, he makes some points that the average fan would whole heatedly agree with.
The Sky TV contract is a poor one and much too long, the commentators demean the game, the disciplinary judiciary is flawed, the on field refereeing is inconsistent, the video refereeing is ropey, the salary cap is badly policed and the overseas quota system is a bit of a farce. We all agree with most if not all of that, however the good stuff Mr Koukash raises on all these points is lost as he jumps up and down like a young kid whose had his chocolate stopped. That all ensures that the substance of his arguments is completely lost in his ranting. In the end so much of a cartoon character has he become, that now no-one hears the good stuff in what he is saying at all, but rather the rhetoric and ravings of what many now conclude is a madman.
Our game has so much going for it but with falling gates, what is still a pretty pathetic pathway for young aspiring players, too much buggering about with fixtures for TV, a lack of transparency at the top and little new money coming in, the game is still in decline and failing completely to make a national impact and after what I’ve seen of late in Super League, that for me is a crying shame. Nothing of course will change and as a grumbling old git who turns up every week with the rest of the remaining ‘faithful followers of the game’ all I can do is shell out my money and look happy.