..or should that be ‘Educating Bitter Rovers fans on Hull FC’s trip to Australia’?? Well, after Sid’s recent trip to the club, I’d say most definitely.
Sid is one of the in-laws’ cousins, or something like that. I don’t really pay attention. But he is a Rovers fan. That I am certain of, as, and in-between supping ales and binging on dominoes (the board game, not the Nigel Wood supper pizza kind), he was doing everyone’s head in, in similar fashion to Convict Jon, the Aussie lunatic we had in a few weeks back.
Sid, or Dodgy Sid as the lads called him, certainly lives up to his nickname. He never gets his wallet out, is always offering us deals on steaks with the prices scrubbed out, and he smells a bit funny too. I guess that goes without saying, as he usually spends his weekdays in the Crown on Preston Road and tags along with us after he’s had enough of my missus—and that’s usually after about five minutes. Don’t blame him on that one, even if he is related to her.
So after a bit of small talk with the in-laws, Sid and I headed to the club for a few well-earned sherbets. After getting some stick for bringing a Red and White into the club, eventually the novelty wore off, and we started to talk about the greatest game of all. After ranting about summer rugby, the lack of reserves and the useless fat twat formally at the head of the sports governing body, the conversation shifted to Australia, and Hull FC’s glamorous looking tour to New South Wales.
Sid, of course as a Rovers fan, had his opinion on Black and White matters, and was quick to ask why we’re bothering with expansion in Oz, a country which is notorious already for rugby league. These ruddy Rovers fans. They know bugger all. I had to stop him right there. Because this trip isn’t anything to do with expansion. It’s really as selfish as you can get. It’s all about Hull and Wigan, and how the two clubs can expose themselves to the biggest rugby league market in the world. For both the mighty FC and the Pies, it’s about showing off how good they are, and hopefully they’ll do that in the Super League encounter in Wollongong. It’s about promoting their club and getting their brand heard in a location that probably doesn’t know too much about them. And then there’s the money side, and the pot that Hull and Wigan will be splitting after gate receipts, TV rights and sponsorship, is rumoured to be over a million quid—well that’s if you believe the internet police on social media. Sid gasped for air.
If that figure is true then can you blame Mr Pearson and Mr Lenegan for jumping on the bandwagon? Our game in this country is dying, and it needs exposure like this to get it up and running from the ground. One would imagine that a worldwide broadcast of a two top teams going head to head will raise a few more eyebrows than a Wakefield v Widnes encounter on Sky with Eddie and Phil sending the television viewers into meltdown with their awful puns, and punditry. Food for thought at least.
Then, and at this point Sid was getting a little pink in the face, there’s the work in the community that both Hull and Wigan will be undertaking in local schools and rugby league clubs. Think of that and the merchandise they can sell over there, and add that to the fact that Destination Wollongong and the tourist boards at both Sydney and New South Wales itself have funded the trip. Far from a pointless exercise isn’t it.
And then, there’s the long-term benefits of dipping into the region to consider. If all at the club and the fan base represent Hull as the professional outfit we know we are, then that will do wonders for future recruitment—something we, unlike Sid’s lot, have done a grand job with ever since Radders was given the reigns as head coach. I’m sure, and as the lads so eloquently (pfffft, yeah) explained to Sid, that will help when planning future playing rosters for the coming years, and ensure that we aren’t still trying to get our squad together by attempting to poach other clubs star half backs a week before the season kick off. That’s got to hurt hasn’t it.
And for us many supporters that are lucky enough to go, there’s the simple fact that we’re actually going to Australia. We’re all into our culture and art now aren’t we, as sophisticated citizens in the Cultured City of Hull, and NSW, in particular Sydney, has a lot to offer.
The only downside is the travel and the effects it may have on the players, but the imports will be use to travel, and as long as everyone’s fresh come the Summer that’s what matters. We don’t need to peak in Spring. But I for one can’t wait, and whilst Sid and those in St Helens struggle to deal with the fact that their more successful and bigger rival is heading to bigger horizons, we can enjoy the luxury of knowing our club will have a two week stint in the biggest rugby league hotbed in the world.
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