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Hull as the best place in the country…

Sully gets a mention in The Independent today. Part of a bigger feature about the Paul Cooke saga and the upcoming Hull v Rovers derby game in Cardiff on Saturday. The piece has the head A Bridge Too Far: A sporting saga of loyalty and treachery. Cripes. We may get lynched for this. Thankfully, the writer Paul Vallely hasn’t done us up like the proverbial kipper. I don’t think. I’ll quote the relevant chunk below and then direct you to the full feature, if you fancy a read.

The Cooke saga has only entrenched that. “It’s the biggest story in Hull since 1974 when Clive Sullivan moved from FC to Rovers,” says [Dick] Tingle.

By curious happenstance a play about Sullivan is due to open at the Hull Truck Theatre Company next Thursday. It tells the story of how Sullivan, who resigned at FC after a distinguished career, then came out of retirement to join Rovers.

“Sully got tomatoes thrown at his windows at first,” says the playwright, Dave Windass, in a break from rehearsals, “but, after his tragically early death at 42, huge throngs in the colours of both teams mingled in the streets for his funeral.” The main road into the city from the Humber Bridge is now named after him.

“The trouble is Sully united a community but Cookey is hammering a wedge into it,” said one of the play’s directors, Gareth Tudor Price. Even the theatre has to echo sporting reality in Hull. Tudor Price is an FC supporter; the other director, Martin Barrass, supports KR. “Cookey’s had his car done in today,” one of the actors, Lee Green, an FC fan, tells Barrass, who winces.

The play does its best to send out a rather different message. At the end, the imposing actor playing Sully, Fidel Nanton, delivers a moving peroration about how both sides are the same beneath their shirts. “It’s about the community, strong and up on its feet,” says Windass, “about Hull as the best place in the country.” You had better believe it.

Read it all in context at The Independent Online Edition here

Couple of inaccuracies, of course. Sullivan hadn’t retired at Hull FC when he switched to Rovers, he was still playing at the highest level and continued to do so. And Lee Green said the stuff about Cookey hammering a wedge into the city, not Gareth. Bless those feature writers, their rapid note-taking and their deadlines. A moving peroration? Blimey, the box office will be inundated with Independent readers after that.

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