My earliest memories of a Hull crowd are not the most pleasant; it was always an intimidating place to go as a fan, and I'm sure the players felt more than the nip of the cold breeze from the Humber estuary.
But, despite that, I respect the passion the fans have for the club, so I applaud the way things are going. Last seasons high attendances and the projected forecasts signalling a record-breaking season ticket take-up are great signs for a club that deservedly finished second in the Super League last season (and I say that as a hardened Leeds Rhino's fan of many years). Having just announced they've passed the 5,000 mark, Hull have guaranteed themselves half of their average attendance of last season, so no doubt there are going to be some very happy fans looking forwards to another season of top Rugby action.
The salary cap has been a stroke of genius in regards to evening out teams and making them more creative and financially savvy, so hopefully within 10 years Rugby League will finally show the world how professional team sport can be an inventive, progressive business without the need for billionaire investors or relying on one-off over-inflated transfer fees to balance the books. Hull, perhaps, have been one of the most inventive where these issues are concerned, keeping a keen eye on talent across the youth ranks, adding them to their own list of locally-produced players and strong, not sub-standard, foreign talent. It's good to see that those things are working, that the results have gone Hull's way, and that the fans are now backing them, and will hopefully stick with them, even if they don't replicate such dizzy heights in the coming season. After all, Sharp's team has really gone through a revolution.
Applause has to go across the board, and it's good to see the likes of Cooke, Horne, Yeaman, Raynor, Carvell, King and Radford finally getting some real praise. You have to wonder if these guys have even hit their peak, but for a couple of years it seems like East Yorkshire has been the forgotten land, and that the amazing athletes the team has have been forgotten about, tucked away in a microcosm of cloaked top-class Rugby League. Now everyone can see how good they are, and many more international appearances are sure to come.
If you're local and wondering whether or not to splash out, don't dally! A match day ticket for Hull City will cost you £16+, and that's for a struggling second-tier team! Watch a bunch of local lads in top-flight League action and get yourself a season ticket for as little as £180 for adults, £35 for children. If my maths aren't failing me, that works out as cheap as £14 per home match to be guaranteed to see some awesome Rugby League! Bargain! It's your duty to break the 6,400 season ticket sales of last year and make it a great year for East Yorkshire Rugby. Revel in the Hull KR rivalry, it's been a long time since the cherry and whites have been there!
On another note ' anyone who can make the event where arguably Super League's unofficial best on-pitch boxer, Stuart Fielden, takes on the mighty Lee Radford in the ring, please pop down and see it. Super Steve Prescott deserves your support for the thrilling displays he's turned out in recent years ' and it will be interesting to see Mr.Fielden restore the faith as our very own Mr.Punchy after the whole Mason incident in the recent tri-nations series. Yes, we all know you're the toughest, Stuart. In case you're unaware, Steve Prescott was unfortunate to be struck down with stomach cancer, so anyone who can help raise funds for the big fella would be a super star.