The Garry Schofield Column: Who is really to blame for Hull FC mess?

I HAD thought ten games would be the make-or-break point for Tony Smith at Hull FC.

But it turns out he’s gone after eight, one of them that tame Challenge Cup exit at Huddersfield, the club where his English coaching journey began back in 2001.

Since then he’s proved his ability over spells in charge of Leeds, Warrington and Hull KR as well as England and Great Britain.

But was all too much of a slog at Hull, and with just one win in seven in Super League (and that over super strugglers London), two derby defeats and a fortnight between fixtures due the Challenge Cup quarter-finals, the parting of the ways has come, and it wasn’t really a surprise.

Is Tony a bad coach? Not at all, his record is there for all to see.

Do the players have questions to answer? In my view yes, because a coach can only do so much, and if they don’t show the necessary qualities when they step onto the pitch, it’s generally the person in charge who ends up paying the price.

I remember saying a while back that I hoped Tony’s reputation wouldn’t be tarnished through some frankly dire displays by his players. They have to accept their part in what has been a shambles of a season so far.

If they are to retrieve the situation, and stop any more damage being done to the club, they have to step up to the plate and, having taken a good look at themselves, really knuckle down and start performing.

While Stanley Gene has also left, Tony’s other assistants Simon Grix, who has certainly had an eventful introduction to Super League coaching after moving from Halifax, and Francis Cummins are in caretaker control ahead of Friday’s trip to St Helens..

In the longer term, Adam Pearson, after trying Brett Hodgson then Tony in succession to Lee Radford, has a big decision to make.

It’s crucial he brings in someone who can get a grip of these players, turn things around and give some of the most loyal fans around something to smile about for a change.

I’ve heard someone called Harry Houdini is available!

But seriously, Hull are a big club, and will attract some big-name interest.