Hull rally to positive response.

As one club are praised for the right reaction to adversity, another are criticised for a mud-slinging retort

Hull will be under particular scrutiny at Warrington tonight, their supporters rather more so than their players. The meeting of the two sides beaten in the Silk Cut Challenge Cup semi-finals last weekend gives an opportunity to gauge how they have reacted to defeat. Unfortunately, we already know how a minority of the Hull fans reacted; the game has talked of little else this past week.

Hull will be under particular scrutiny at Warrington tonight, their supporters rather more so than their players. The meeting of the two sides beaten in the Silk Cut Challenge Cup semi-finals last weekend gives an opportunity to gauge how they have reacted to defeat. Unfortunately, we already know how a minority of the Hull fans reacted; the game has talked of little else this past week.

A mass rally of Hull supporters at The Boulevard yesterday, where they were invited to give what amounted to a promise of good behaviour in future, was a conscious attempt to repair the damage to the club's image.

That damage is undeniable, but those supporters and others within the game deserve credit for taking the blow of last Sunday at the McAlpine Stadium on the chin and refusing the temptation to sweep the uncomfortable evidence under the carpet.

That option is hardly open to Hull's new management. They knew that there was a problem - statistically small but still worrying - among the club's supporters before they took over this winter. It was only last season that Kath Hetherington, then chairman of Gateshead and now of Hull, said after what in the light of last weekend's events seems a very minor transgression: "We don't want people like that in the game."

Hull, to put it frankly, have always had a hard core of idiots. There had been no trouble this season, beyond their uniquely vociferous brand of support, until last Sunday, but now much that was previously regarded as unavoidable has been called into question.

"There have been things badly wrong with this club," says their chief executive, Shane Richardson, also part of the Gateshead takeover. "Communications had broken down between the fans and the administration. We recognised that there had to be a change in the culture. We thought it was going to happen grad-ually; last Sunday gives usthe mandate to do it quickly. In that sense, I see it as anopportunity."

The recently arrived bosses at The Boulevard run the risk of seeming to want it both ways. They wanted to be at Hull because of the club's potential mass following, but that mass following contains the very elements that can seriouslyundermine the family atmosphere that has been nurtured so successfully at clubs such as Bradford and even, on a much smaller scale, at Gateshead. They want the apple, but not the maggot.

Where the scenes at Huddersfield may indeed help Richardson and Hetherington is that there is now likely to be a consensus - illustrated by yesterday's rally - that, if it is not OK to invade the pitch and pull down the goalposts, it is not OK either verbally to intimidate and abuse visiting fans and players.

Nobody wants the Threepenny Stand to turn into a church choir, but there is now likely to be a recognition that theirs should not be the dominant tone of voice at The Boulevard. "We are determined to make it a welcoming place for visiting supporters," says Richardson. There is, as they say, a first time for everything.

The truly impressive aspect of the reaction since Sunday has been the willingness of the game as a whole to take the lessons on board, rather than insisting that they are lessons that only apply to Hull, to one bad club on one bad day.

As the architect of the family-friendly approach at Bradford, which he is now trying to reproduce at Warrington, it would be easy for Peter Deakin to sit back smugly and say: "If you'd done what I'd done, you wouldn't have a problem." But the Warrington chief executive - inevitably a nervous host tonight - is doing nothing of the sort.

"This is a wake-up call for all of us," he says. "Every club have a moronic element like Hull's, although theirs might be bigger. But for too long we've sat back and allowed ourselves to be patronised at Wembley every year by London sports editors for our good behaviour, and we've been guilty of self-congratulation over our image as a family sport."

Deakin is enough of an all-purpose rugby league man to know that the cosy picture of a friendly, harmonious sport has never been the full story.

"There were some people from Warrington who blotted their copybooks at Headingley on Saturday by being rough and abusive in the bars there," he says. "My brother coaches the amateur side Oldham St Anne's. Their match was abandoned four minutes from time on Saturday, because there was fighting up and down the touchline. It's not just Hull's problem."

Deakin's biggest fear today is that his local, homegrown idiots might be tempted to "have a pop" at the now notorious Hull spectators. But the first thing he did on Monday morning was to liaise with Hull, his stewards and the police to work on a game-plan to stop that happening.

It is not the case, however, that he has had the Wilderspool goalposts firmly set in concrete to prevent any repetition of the most powerful image from the McAlpine.

He should be on safe ground there. The strong likelihood is that everyone will be on almost unnaturally good behaviour. And, oh yes, the game shouldn't be too bad either.

Life and Style
Social media users in Mexico who commented on cartel violence have been killed in the past
techTweets not showing up or loading this morning, users say
News
newsMcKamey Manor says 'there is no escape until the tour is completed'
Voices
Hunted: A stag lies dead on Jura, where David Cameron holidays and has himself stalked deer
voicesThe Scotland I know is becoming a playground for the rich
News
i100
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Architect Frank Gehry is regarded by many as the most important architect of the modern era
arts + entsGehry has declared that 98 per cent of modern architecture is "s**t"
Sport
Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi during Barcelona training in August
footballPete Jenson co-ghost wrote Suarez’s autobiography and reveals how desperate he's been to return
Money
Welcome to tinsel town: retailers such as Selfridges will be Santa's little helpers this Christmas, working hard to persuade shoppers to stock up on gifts
news
Arts and Entertainment
Soul singer Sam Smith cleared up at the Mobo awards this week
newsSam Smith’s Mobo triumph is just the latest example of a trend
News
Laurence Easeman and Russell Brand
people
Sport
Fans of Dulwich Hamlet FC at their ground Champion Hill
footballFans are rejecting the £2,000 season tickets, officious stewarding, and airline-stadium sponsorship
News
Shami Chakrabarti
people
Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch has refused to deny his involvement in the upcoming new Star Wars film
filmBenedict Cumberbatch reignites Star Wars 7 rumours
Sport
football
News
news
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Maths Teacher

£110 - £200 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Secondary Maths Teacher for spe...

Business Analyst - Surrey - Permanent - Up to £50k DOE

£40000 - £50000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

***ASP.NET Developer - Cheshire - £35k - Permanent***

£30000 - £35000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

***Solutions Architect*** - Brighton - £40k - Permanent

£35000 - £40000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

Day In a Page

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
11 best sonic skincare brushes

11 best sonic skincare brushes

Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

Paul Scholes column

I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker