Q and A With Super League Fan O f Pride Graham Middleton

IJ: You had the campaign to have the Man of Steel award named after Steve Prescott, how did you actually come up with the idea for that?

GM: I had the idea after the Man of Steel award two years ago and they said Steve had been taken ill again and I said to the wife they should name an award after him, and decided well why not the main one?

IJ: Was there any time that you thought the campaign wouldn’t achieve what it set out to do?

GM: Every day, we was never convinced it was ever actually going to happen even though we liaised with the RFL and the Steve Prescott Foundation and we were never convinced until the actual announcement was made.

IJ: Was there never any time when you actually thought, yes we can do this or did that just actually happen when they announced it?

GM: As sad as it sounds the campaign was actually given a boost when Steve passed away because people thought yeah we need to do this, that really made me sad because the way we started the campaign we really wanted Steve to present the first award so for the campaign to receive a boost because of Steve’s passing it was sort of a silver lining round a very, very black cloud.

IJ: You said you had a great team behind you, did specific jobs get delegated to certain people or was it just all thrown together?

GM: It was basically thrown together and we just all took our own roll’s on, I was one that took on to do whatever I could, I think we all did but basically Paul Whitaker was our tweeter and he actually set up the Facebook page, our other admin’s was Debs Fitzgerald and Alison Watson and those ladies actually walked round radio stations and media outlets with our press releases and said “please back us”, and every little bit sort of came together as a large jigsaw that ultimately proved fruitful.

IJ: What has it been like for you personally being the Super League Fan of Pride?

GM: We never set out for personal recognition, I was just sort of pushed forward as a sort of figure-head because the others didn’t particularly like doing the media side of it and it didn’t really bother me and I just thought one of us needs to do it so I seemed to become the sort of figure-head of the campaign which didn’t really suit me because I’m a quiet person in real life so actually to be nominated as the Brut Fan of Pride was lovely and being nominated as Fan of Pride for both Hull FC and Hull KR was unprecedented and did sort of make me chuckle.

IJ: What has been the biggest highlight of this year as Fan of Pride for you?

GM: It gave me some benefits, I’d already bought a pass for this year so to get two free one’s I’m already going to take them next year I’ve already arranged that with the club which is nice so I don’t need to fork out for next season’s home games, there were some other perks like I was invited to the first ever awarding of the Steve Prescott Man of Steel award.

IJ: Obviously you’re well known as a Hull FC fan so who do you think out of the current squad should be Steve Prescott Man of Steel winner and why?

GM: I think there’s possibly two, maybe three options in the squad this year, Mark Minichiello for me has been outstanding, he’s been a leader on the pitch, he’s taken the ball in and done the hard stuff, Liam Watts his game has come on this year, I don’t know what has made the difference with him but he’s developed his offload, he’s worked much harder this year, last year he was quite a lazy player, this year he’s far from it.

IJ: Obviously this year Lee Radford has expressed his support for Danny Houghton, would you put his name forward?

GM: Danny Houghton, to a certain extent Danny Houghton is the workhorse of the team who never really gets the recognition he deserves.

IJ: Is there any other player from any other club that you would like to see win the award?

GM: There’s a player who gives his heart and soul every week, he scored a lovely try in yesterday’s Challenge Cup Final, not Tom Briscoe funnily enough but Rob Burrow, he does the hard work with Leeds Rhinos, he comes on and he destroys teams, but if I had to name one person who I think will win it this year it would be Adam Cuthbertson, I think he’s given Leeds something else I think he’s given them this big presence on the field and I think he’s made more off-loads than some teams on his own.

IJ: If you had to name one player who you would put your mortgage on to win the Steve Prescott Man of Steel award this year, who would it be?

GM: Possibly, I’m gonna nail my colours to Jamie Peacock going out on a high, again he does the hard yards he plays 80 minutes as a prop at 37-years-old, that would be difficult enough for a young lad never mind somebody of his age.

IJ: Recently you did the Hull 10K for the Steve Prescott Foundation, do you have any other fundraising events in mind for them?

GM: Not anything set in stone at the moment but I am liaising with the Steve Prescott Foundation for challenges for next year.

IJ: Is the Hull 10K going to be an option again next year?

GM: I believe that some of the 10K Steve Prescott members are going to do it again next year

FOP-Graham-middleton-Hull-FC Graham Middleton and Martin Blondel

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