LEE RADFORD insists he will not quit struggling Hull FC and told critics: “The same people will be patting us on the back in 2019.”
They host Castleford Tigers tonight having lost a record seven successive Super League games.
The pitiful 80-10 defeat at Warrington Wolves last Friday was a new low, although it came shortly after another embarrassing 72-10 reverse at Wakefield Trinity last month.
Hull won the Challenge Cup in each of the last two seasons and also reached the top-four on both occasions but are now slumped in seventh place with questions being asked of both the coach and his confidence-shattered players.
However, Radford – a lifelong fan who also played for his hometown club – has felt the wrath of the club’s fans previously soon after taking over for the 2014 campaign, so he knows exactly what to expect.
“I’ve been here before,” he said. “The same people wanted me out then, the same people patted me on the back when I picked the cup up and the same people probably want me out again now.
“That’s sport. The same people will be patting us on the back in 2019.”
Hull, of course, have been hamstrung by injuries for large parts of the season with Radford saying they are down to their last 17 fit players for tonight’s game after Josh Griffin and transfer-listed Jordan Abdull were deemed unfit.
Compared to previous difficult spells, he added: “It has been tough. I keep sitting back and putting it into perspective.
“We’ve had two winning seasons, 2016 and 2017.
I know these boys are the same, I know they’re putting out the same flames I am. Hopefully people can understand where we’re at. People can definitely expect better than they got on Thursday – but hopefully there’s an appreciation for where we are.Lee Radford
“For three quarters of this season we were sat in fifth.
“We’ve had a run of seven bad games.
“We’re probably going to have a run of another four because of the squad we’ve got.
“There’s a reason we’ve had a run of seven bad games. Nine blokes not available each week is difficult.
“Any squad in the comp’ would be in a similar situation. The good thing is that we did enough to avoid relegation. That’s a pat on the back for everyone.”
Radford did concede, however, that the current dismal sequence has started to affect his family life.
Asked if he had to develop a hard skin, the 39-year-old said: “It’s like a rhino’s now; a Stanley knife wouldn’t slit this at the minute.
“When I talk about experiences, that’s what was great about my first 12 months.
“I was thrown in the ring with Mike Tyson and there you go. I’ve become immune to it now.
“I think I’m good. I think I’m the same Lee Radford when I’m winning and losing; I try not to be up and down.
“But it has an impact on my family, definitely. That p****s me off. That’s what gets me.
“I know these boys are the same, I know they’re putting out the same flames I am. Hopefully people can understand where we’re at.
“People can definitely expect better than they got on Thursday – but hopefully there’s an appreciation for where we are.”
Radford said his players have arrived at training looking like they’ve “been sleeping rough for three nights” but maintains they have the character to get themselves out of this current mire.
“Every time you go on social media – and I’m not on it – you’ve got people saying you’re this and you’re that,” he said.
“Every time you go to the shop around the corner I’m sure they can hear the same whispers I can hear.
“But you’ve got to keep it in perspective. They’re playing a sport they played for free as a kid.”
That said, it won’t be easy to end that losing run tonight; in contrast, third-placed Castleford are timing their run nicely as they seek to make a second successive Grand Final.