April 14, 2015

PODCAST: TWTWT Podcast 69


Recorded at Lucien’s Bar in Hornsea where one of our number had just hosted a Supporters Club event with special guests Billy Whitehurst and Peter Swan. After the two ex-City strikers had polished off the anecdotes and returned to the bar, we three retired to a corner with a beer and microphone and talked Southampton, relegation, T-shirts, season ticket hikes and the odd threat of violence from rubbish goalkeepers. It’s a bit sweary, this one.

It does not mention throwing coiled stools at Andy Payton.

Filed under: Podcasts — Amber Nectar @ 10:56

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April 13, 2015

Things We Think We Think #182


twtwt

1. Defeat at Southampton following a wearingly predictable theme. City looked superficialy attractive for a time without posing too many serious threats – then a soft goal was given away and defeat was unhesitatingly accepted by most of the team. Falling behind at Southampton is bad but not utterly calamitous, but there was a total lack of belief among the side that anything could be done about it. And that’s scary.

2. That lack of belief is very real, but quite bizarre. The Chelsea defeat, far from invigorating us, appears now to be a rare high point. Defeat at Swansea was rotten and inevitable, this was little better. The players have no confidence, no conviction, no apparent desire to scrap. And with everyone around us – except, perhaps, Sunderland – absolutely busting a gut to stay in the Premier League, how on earth are we supposed to have any confidence?

3. Steve Bruce’s selection on Saturday was puzzling. It didn’t feel especially courageous, and featured the never welcome sight of players out of position. Was a back four consisntely wholly of central defenders really necessary, or wise? It was defensively okay, for a bit, but when width was required later in the game meant we looked horribly one-dimensional.

4. The players and the management have coasted through this season in a deeply disagreeable fashion. The desperate desire to achieve and improve has been missing. Why couldn’t we have done what Crystal Palace or Stoke have done? Where was our incessant drive to get safe as quickly as possible, and then try to power up the table? Why have we always settled for doing just enough? The squad gives us every impression that stumbling towards 17th is enough, and always was enough. And it isn’t. We’d certainly take it now, of course. But that ought to have been the very minimum required this season, and even if we do somehow stay up, this will have been a very disappointing season.

5. What chance us staying up though? Let’s be clear about one thing – we badly want to survive. Not just because of the club’s horrifying debt, a debt that’ll be coped with better for receiving the incredible Premier League riches. But it took us a hundred years to get here, and let’s not be conceited enough to think we’ll somehow get straight back. There are plenty of clubs our size in lower divisions who probably thought their absence from the top flight would be a temporary arrangement who haven’t been there for many years now.

6. If there are any straws to be clutched at, the fact that our run-in will now largely take place at home is beneficial. They’re all testing games – and yes, Burnley is included in that, for our recent record against them is abysmal and they’re fighting admirably. But, but…hopefully some of them will have little to play for. Manchester United will probably have already secured a top four place, while both Liverpool and Arsenal will have a Cup Final ahead with no League issues at stake. And does Tottenham’s defeat on Saturday hint at a side already on the beach? And are we sounding a bit desperate here?

7. If we do go down, we’ll be a house divided. That division stems from the club’s actions, and their determination to continue provoking their own fans is as inexplicable as it is loathsome. Take the Away Supporters’ Initiative. City fans are owed the thick end of £200,000, but Assem and Ehab Allam so hate the fans that spending it on us is apparently not deemed acceptable, so the money is withheld and no-one will answer questions about it. Meanwhile, empty seats at Southampton were adorned with a cheap t-shirt that predictably failed to mention Hull City’s actual name. What would Steve Bruce prefer: seats filled with fans whose attendance was subsidised by the ASI, or crappy t-shirts that merely help to inflame an ever-worsening situation? Stop arsing about City, and hand that money over to away fans. Pocketing our money is absolutely disgraceful.

8. As usual, the business case for the Allams’ spiteful actions makes no sense. Having left it too late to spend this cash, some testing and long-distance away games are taking place with only a few hundred hardy souls cheering the side on, when there could be thousands. Quite how that helps the club in a desperate relegation battle is something we’d like to hear, though we already know it’s something way beyond Ehab Allam’s ability to explain.

9. Season ticket prices are announced today, and they’re going up again, despite last season’s huge increase. Already prized crazily highly, we grimly await the latest hike, which will of course be garrulously accompanied by comparisons to other Premier League sides, as though falling behind in the race to rip off your own fans is somehow a bad thing.

10. A written, legally watertight guarantee from the club that refunds will be given should the name change will obviously be required. But even that may not be enough to ward off a significant drop in attendances. They’ll obviously collapse if the club really is planning to increase prices even if we’re relegated (which would contradict previous information given at FWG meetings), but even if we stay up, the club’s ownership is very dimly regarded by a lot of people at present. Hiking prices again could provide the perfect excuse for many people to walk away. That fabled Allam business acumen, eh?

Filed under: Opinion — Amber Nectar @ 07:00

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April 9, 2015

A year ago today…


1904CTWD

It’s exactly a year since the Football Association sided with the fans of Hull City AFC and refused Assem Allam permission to rename the club.

While the waters have been muddied a little since then with the setting aside of the first appliction on the tiniest of technicalities and Mr Allam planning a promise-breaking second application,  it’s worth remembering what an achievement it was to prevent this madness in the first instance.

With the family still unable to provide a basic business plan to support what Assem Allam has already admitted was motivated by a row with the council and the impossible task of persuading supporters to back it in a FAIR ballot with the majority opposed, the outlook for this foolish idea is encouragingly poor. The date on which this hopelessly misguided venture will be finally, irreversibly killed off remains unclear – it may be that another date becomes the future No To Hull Tigers Day, and not April 9th. Nonetheless, it’s worth noting what we collectively achieved a year ago.

Hull City AFC forever.

Filed under: News — Andy @ 06:04

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April 6, 2015

PODCAST: TWTWT Podcast 68


We’ve done our best, but there’s not a lot of cartwheel-turning on this latest doom-laden spot of discussion. Still, that’s not our fault, is it? And one of us mentions dropping Jimmy Bullard from a tower block, which isn’t too bad.

Filed under: Podcasts — Amber Nectar @ 21:16

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Things We Think We Think #181


twtwt

1. A dismal capitulation at Swansea was the latest example of City embarking on a tough but not impossible away assignment, and losing in a feeble nature. After the stirring performance against Chelsea a fortnight ago, the aggression, togetherness and tempo of that afternoon was wholly lacking.

2. Steve Bruce can complain about referees and linesmen all he wants, but it really won’t wash. The officials were imperfect, and Meyler’s red card was arguably harsh, but City were responsible for this defeat, not the men in black. We fervently hope that Steve Bruce knows this and is seeking to publicly cover his charges – if he really thinks he and his players weren’t the agents of their own downfall, he is frighteningly out of touch.

3. What on earth was wrong with Dame N’Doye? He’s been a glorious breath of fresh air since joining, but at the Liberty Stadium he was isolated, sulky and ineffective. We especially disliked the way he turned his back on the play after not being fed the ball in the first half – just how does he expect to score while petulantly flinging his arms around while gazing at the heavens? Let us hope this was a one-off.

4. Results elsewhere made this defeat especially worrying. Wins for sides around us mean that a once comfortable-ish situation has rapidly worsened back to being quite grim. With testing games ahead and the rotten Swansea offering unhappily prominent in our thoughts, we arrive at the conclusion that the players have returned to fecklessly coasting through games, blithely assuming that everything will somehow work out and three other sides will keep us up. It’s the same ghastly complacency that cost us in Europe and that’s cost us time and again against beatable opposition in the Premier League. This is a side that is capable of splendid things, but lacks the application and the hunger to perform consistently. We’re being cheated; and the players are cheating themselves.

5. Southampton is going to be horribly difficult. They’re a genuine class above City and have achieved formidable consistency. Getting any sort of result there was always going to be hard, but this weekend’s unhappy conclusion makes leaving St Marys without at least a point unsatisfactory. Unfortunately it’s already easy to envisage that game: reasonably positive beginning, sloppy individual error gifting a goal following by meek surrender.

6. While Steve Harper and Eldin Jakupović are not good enough to be regular Premier League players…there can only be so long that Allan McGregor be permitted to continue in this run of form. Something has to change, and ideally that’ll be McGregor’s performances – but if not…

7. It wouldn’t be a week at City without contemptible conduct from Assam Allam, would it? We always expected he’d break his promise not to submit a second application to change Hull City AFC’s name, but seeing it was still revolting. It’s the detestable act of a spiteful, untrustworthy,  bitter, hate-filled man who is wilfully committing serious long-term damage to this club in order to propagate his deranged vendettas against the council, the fans and the Football Association. We can no longer support a man capable of such vengeful acts.

8. In the meantime, the urgent priority must be the safeguarding of the name Hull City AFC. Allam’s promise-wrecking decision to make a second application will presumably be thrown out by the FA, with Ehab still laughably unaware that a business case requires making and the impossible task of persuading an increasingly disgruntled supporter base to support this mad idea still required. Ultimately, this nonsense will still fail.

9. It’s the cost of that success that worries us. You don’t need to go far to find long-serving City fans who are so thoroughly disillusioned by Allam’s disgraceful behaviour that they’re walking away from City and football in general. Those people may be comparatively small in number – after all, Boothferry Park was rarely full – but they’re the people who’d have stood by the club in the event of a relegation or two while the “it’s his club he can do what he wants” Premier League-only appeasers returned to their armchairs and Liverpool scarves. Instead, they’re being driven away. It’s heartbreaking.

10. Hull City AFC, you owe your travelling fans the larger part of £200,000. Get it sorted, right now. We’re sick of being fobbed off with deadlines that are never met and promises that are never kept.

Filed under: Opinion — Amber Nectar @ 07:15

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April 1, 2015

NEWS: Assem Allam makes second name change application


NoFlag

Assem and Ehab Allam have chosen today, All Fools’ Day, to notify the FA of their intent to submit a second application to change Hull City AFC’s name as part of their ongoing obsession with Hull City Council. Last month, while savaging the first application and the accompanying arrogance and incompetence of the Allams, a Football Association Tribunal reaffirmed that we remain Hull City, “set aside” a previous decision and invited the club to make a “new application“. Not a re-evaluation of the first, whose outcome was known. A new, second application.

Here’s Assem Allam promisingly unequivocally that there would be no second application:

Contrast that unambiguous statement with what this increasingly degenerate regime has said today.

We will fight this, and we will win, again. Allam will lose again, and he will lose with the whole world knowing that he is a man without honour whose word means absolutely nothing.

NO TO HULL TIGERS.

Filed under: News — Andy @ 08:37

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March 30, 2015

Things We Think We Think #180


twtwt

1. Having spent the last year threatening to sell the club, Assem Allam, in conversation with David Burns, has said that several parties are interested in buying it. Mr Allam though, isn’t quite sure that the prospective owners would be “good homes”. Quite what would render them less suitable than a man who dissembles, insults and seeks to vandalise a football club’s identity just to get one over the Council is not clear, though it would be fascinating to find out.

2. We don’t actively want “ALLAM OUT” – barring a further deteroriation in his conduct, the present status quo is unhappy but about tolerable. But a sale of the club to new and presumably more respectful owners doesn’t strike us as a bad thing.

3. In the aftermath of a hectic week, we didn’t have the opportunity to ruminate upon the fact that some at Hull City AFC actively desire music after a goal. It’s difficult thing of anything more hatefully plastic, redolent of the Readings and Wigans of this world, and even less appealingly, rugby league clubs. This dismaying relevation came at the most recent fans’ working group meeting, and while its host James Mooney understandably declined to name the culprits, it wouldn’t surprise us terribly to hear of the hand of Ehab here. His tin ear is every bit as, err, tinny as his father’s, after all.

4. Can you imagine the utterly crawling embarrassment that would come from Steve Jordan spewing Tom Hark or Chelsea Dagger at the very height of your glee at City scoring? It’d deaden the celebrations, give away fans the opportunity to gloat at us for being small-time, and would make you dislike your own club’s actions. It’s cheap, nasty, unoriginal and thoroughly unwanted. Please, City, don’t do it.

5. Swansea on Saturday. That’s a tough one, but it isn’t a game we can comfortably return pointless from. Swansea have never been in danger this season, although their present standing of eighth isn’t that can be realistically improved upon. Whether that presents City with an opportunity or not is unclear, as they’ve been admirably consistent all season. But we need do more than wait for Burnley at home for our next win.

6. Concerns over the “missing £200,000″ continue to grow. The club cannot have spent anything approaching half of this sum yet, with a few tarted up facilities for away fans at the Circle and slightly discounted travel for Arsenal last year unlikely to account for much. With away games running out and tickets for the next three away matches already sent out, it’s hard to see how the money will be spent now. Let us hope that the Premier League, who give this money out to be spent on fans, severely and public rebuke City if they fail to meet this obligation.

7. City were fined £30,000 for their players’ sulky conduct at Leicester recently. The FA actively trying to stamp out an unedifying trait of modern footballers is a good thing. Surrounding the referee and bawling like kids denied sweets in a supermaket over a decision you don’t like is plain awful, even if the official makes an incorrect call.

8. Alex Bruce did win the ball cleanly, after all.

9. Congratulations to North Ferriby United. Like many City fans, we’ve spent pleasant afternoons at Church Road at one time or another, and yesterday must have been glorious for their supporters.

10. RIP Jimmy McGill, Hull City AFC 1971-1975.

Filed under: Opinion — Amber Nectar @ 09:44

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March 25, 2015

PODCAST: TWTWT Podcast 67


Chelsea, the Allams, Whitby. Who wouldn’t want to hear us talk about that spellbinding trio of topics?

Filed under: Podcasts — Amber Nectar @ 10:11

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March 24, 2015

Things We Think We Think #179


twtwt

1. Looking for positives in defeat is a loser’s game, but there was no shame whatsoever in City’s 3-2 defeat to Chelsea. Ten minutes in there was the omnipresent worry that Chelsea were going to run up a cricket score after some very approximate defending, but a wondrous 72 seconds gave us a scarcely believed parity. That we were eventually edged out by the champions elect is of no surprise, and is of no cause for self flagellation, City made a decent fist of what was essentially a ‘free hit’.

2. That train of thought might be very different had other Premier League results not gone our way, but they did, every one of them. Sunderland, Villa, Burnley, Leicester and QPR all succumbed to losses, making our defeat immaterial. The teams below us now have one less game in which to make up the points they need to overtake us, so despite a loss, the weekend was a minor victory.

3. Diego Costa recently defended his ‘robust’ style of play, yet oddly took objection to Alex Bruce winning the ball and then kicking him up in the air. We bloody loved that. We bloody love Alex Bruce.

4. Dame N’Doye is really bloody good isn’t he? His work rate is brilliant, he defends from the front, gets into great positions and showed Sunday that he takes decent free kicks too. We’re going to miss Jelavić, and that places a lot of pressure on two forwards who are new to the English leagues, but some of the omens from Sunday were good

5. He and Andrew Robertson are the Premier League bargains of the season – and Robertson had a fine game on Sunday too. Unafraid to take Chelsea players on, the fearlessness of this youth was the catalyst for getting City back into the game. He’s had a few quiet patches this season, which is understandable given that this is his first in the Premier League, but there’s no doubting his ability and vast potential.

6. City have some time off for the international break, and while a loss is a loss, we enter that period in better heart than seemed possible after nine minutes of the Chelsea game. We’ll need to as well, because that run-in is daunting. Successive away games loom, as do visits from Champions League contenders. Five points and an avoidance of heavy defeats hurting our superior goal difference is likely to do it. It’d be great to pick the first of those up at Swansea.

7. The club said they’d present a business plan to the FA to show the proposed benefits of a name change, but didn’t. It’s reasonable to assume that there simply isn’t any business plan, because if there was, figures would not be plucked out of the air when a projected benefit pound amount is given. Previously Ehab Allam told Radio Humberside that Hull Tigers would make £1m a year just for being Hull Tigers, but at the weekend that figure was revised to £30m, and it has been several figures in between in the interim. Let’s call those figures what they really are: unfounded fantasy bullshit. The Allams have been described many times as ‘shrewd businessmen’, but do shrewd businessmen complain that they weren’t told that an application to a governing body has to be any good?

8. This was all discussed during Ehab Allam’s disastrous interviews with Radio Humberside over the weekend. First things first: well done to David Burns, who asked the hardest questions an Allam has faced thus far. And he wholly failed to answer any of them properly. Instead, he sounded smug, arrogant, ignorant and thoroughly out of touch. It’s been said before that Assem Allam handing control of City to his son may be a suitable way forward, replacing an intransigent and out of touch man with a more moderate one. Given that his contempt for the people of Hull apparently matches that of his father, we aren’t so sure.

9. And again, we return to the business implications of this. Ehab evidently fancies himself as a competent businessman – so how on earth does he consider it wise to serially aggravate his customers? Professional football may be a product with unusually high customer loyalty and substantial price inelasticity – but there are still limits. And if he and his father had the nerve to actually speak with supporters every once in a while, they’d learn that a lot of fans are much closer to their line in the sand than it may appear in from their ivory tower. Good businesses understand their customers and seek two-way dialogue with them. Our business openly dislikes its customers.

10. However, there’s little doubt that in terms of the name change, things remain solidly in the supporters’ favour. Assem Allam will have to break a promise in order to reapply, hardly an insurmountable obstacle for him, but one that will still play poorly. He seemingly intends to submit one identical to that just savaged by the FA’s Tribunal. Ehab continues to misguidedly thinks that the fans’ views are irrelevant, but even if their expensive lawyers persuade them that a successful application simply must feature success in a properly-run ballot, their recent petulance makes that impossible – because whatever they both think, the majority have always and will always oppose the name change. The name Hull City AFC looks a lot safer than their reign at the club.

Filed under: Opinion — Amber Nectar @ 08:30

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March 22, 2015

MATCH REPORT: Hull City AFC 2-3 Chelsea


brucewise

The hope, the despair, the inevitability. A second half dominated by such emotions as defeat always felt like it could happen at any minute. In the end, it was the 77th minute but despite the lack of points, this was the kind of performance that gives Hull City AFC real hope for the remainder of the season.

The fixture list between now and Wembley Day’s seventh anniversary is daunting, to say the least. Yet application and attitude was on show in abundance against the best team in the land, and nearly proved enough to earn a point. Identical application and attitude might be enough to sort out the allegedly more winnable games – Swansea, Crystal Palace, Burnley – and permit City another season – an unprecedented third on the spin – in the Premier League. It’s never that cut and dried, of course, and some of City’s most egregious displays this season have been against sides in the bottom half of the table, but it’s pretty much the safest hope we can employ for the remainder of this campaign.

(more…)

Filed under: Match Reports — Matt @ 19:26

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