Radford wants Hull to become permanent fixture at top table

Hull FC coach Lee Radford spoke passionately earlier this week about how he was aiming to change a number of things when it came to the perception of the club.

And despite his group having achieved so much this year, you feel there could be more yet to come: including when it comes to the recognition his team get from the wider world.

Radford admitted in the build-up to Friday’s showdown with Warrington which will decide the destination of the League Leader’s Shield that too often, he’d been to Man of Steel dinners and seen FC overlooked: sometimes on merit.

But not this year. With the news emerging yesterday that two of his players are on the three-man shortlist for this year’s Man of Steel, that will all change. This year, Hull and Radford won’t be, well, it’s probably best to let the FC coach describe it in his typically fortright fashion.

“You’re sat in the corner on your own, like the kid who gets picked last at school in the football team,” he jokes.

Taylor Hull FC

“To be up there amongst it this year is what we’re striving for; we want to break the big four season in, season out. We now have the foundations in place to do that.

“Three years on the bounce I’ve been to the Man of Steel awards and I’ve been so envious of the coach of the year winner, the teams going up and collecting team of the year, and the Man of Steel winners – and in my period in charge we’ve had little mention.”

There is still plenty left to play for in the remaining weeks of this year, including two trophies which could potentially set up a historic treble, but Radford already has one eye on the future.

“I think it would be a real easy comment for someone to say Hull were a one-season wonder, and the recruitment we’ve done and the planning we’re doing here, we’re focussed on not doing that,” he admits.

“We want to be there every year with the big boys and that’s always been my focus.”

But in the immediate term, top spot for the first time in over 30 years – and for the first time in Super League history – is looming large on the horizon.

Win on Friday night and leg two of the treble will be in the bag – and the Hull coach wants to see the town, or at least one half of it, turn out in force to cheer them home at the weekend.

“Fans take you a long way in knockout games,” he said. “This is a once in a lifetime opportunity as it stands to see this. Hopefully there’ll be a couple more to follow in the years to come but if they can come and get the place bouncing on Friday night and make it intimidating for the opposition it will be huge.

“Sealing a home semi-final will be huge, too,” he adds.

“You’ll see that this Friday, and I know you’ll see how important it is in our performance. We love playing at home and it just adds to the buzz for the future. If we can get another five or six thousand through the gates this week, then the knock-on effect ripples through the club and the city.”