The Garry Schofield Column: Why Tony Smith is the right man to fix Hull FC issues

Gutless, gutless, gutless…

I don’t blame owner Adam Pearson, chief executive James Clark, or Brett Hodgson.

But I do think a good few of Hull FC’s players need to take a long, hard look at themselves following the departure of their coach after an eleventh defeat in the final 14 matches of the season.

I was at the home derby against Hull KR – and thanks to my old club for the invitation and their first-class hospitality – and I’ve watched all this season’s televised Hull games.

For me, much of what they have served up has been below par and below the level that group of players is capable of producing.

I’ve been in dressing rooms when the man in charge might not be everyone’s cup of tea, and I’ve been in situations, such as at Leeds with Doug Laughton, where I just haven’t got on with my coach.

But come match day, I always went out and gave 100 percent on the pitch because, as a professional sportsman, I wanted to be the best I possibly could be in every game and because I was paid to perform in front of supporters who paid their money to come and watch their team.

Any grievances should be addressed behind the scenes, and in my view, if players aren’t happy with a coach, which happens, they should take it up with him or the chairman and try to sort things out.

Brett didn’t mince his words in the wake of the 36-4 derby defeat, and his comments were telling.

“Disappointing is the least descriptive word you could use for that. That was disgusting,” he said.

“The fact we put in a performance like that in a derby and in front of a big crowd is just not acceptable.

“It’s very difficult to find the words but we’re under no illusions that wasn’t good enough for this club.”

He was right on the mark, because while Rovers looked enthusiastic, determined and motivated, Hull seemed sluggish and without any real purpose.

Okay, they were depleted by injuries, but so were Rovers, and while neither team could have made the play-offs, it was still a local derby in front of a big crowd who created a great atmosphere and with bragging rights up for grabs.

Only the players know if they gave it their all. If they can look themselves in the mirror and said they did, then fair enough.

Of course after Brett said what he did, what happened next seemed inevitable, and now two years after appointing him, and after two years of failing to make the play-offs, a new coach, Tony Smith, is incoming.

I remember saying in this column earlier this year that I could see him following in the footsteps of my old boss at The Boulevard, Arthur Bunting, and the late great Johnny Whiteley by taking charge of both Hull and Rovers.

And I think he’s a really good choice for several reasons.

He’s very experienced, so will be able to cope with the pressure and expectation that comes with the Hull job, and deal with any egos within the camp.

After three mostly successful years at Rovers, he knows the city and its people, and with the messy way his stint at Craven Park ended, I don’t think he’d want what has so far been a good coaching career to end on such a disappointing note.

He promotes an attractive brand of rugby, which those passionate Hull supporters are crying out for, and he has a proven record of promoting and bringing on young players, which Adam Pearson has said will be a key part of the club’s plans moving forward, with plenty of investment having been made in that area.

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