October 24, 2014

PREVIEW: Liverpool v City


And so to Anfield.

Those who are fit, anyway. For the first time this season, Steve Bruce is faced with selection issues caused by a problematic injury list rather than a surplus of available bodies. In goal, Allan McGregor is some weeks from fitness, while his understudy Steve Harper injured himself in the draw at Arsenal. That means third choice keeper Eldin Jakupović will start, with youngster Rory Watson summoned from the development squad to be City’s substitute keeper – and of course, one Matt Baker will always remember the time a young lad from the juniors sat on the bench at Anfield.

It gets little better elsewhere. Michal Dawson will be out for a month, our player of the season so far Nikica Jelavić is looking at a similar absence, while injury concerns now surround Andy Robertson and Tom Huddlestone. City do now have a squad that’s better placed to cope with an extensive injury list – let’s hope it copes.

Liverpool have started the season slowly, though successive League wins have lifted them up to fifth. Last week’s win at QPR, where Liverpool were narrowly the losers in that afternoon’s splendidly entertaining contest of Who Can Defend The Mostly Ineptly highlighted both their strengths and weaknesses – still a threat up front, but far from infallible at the back. Not entirely unlike City in fact, meaning an open and entertaining game is on the cards, and with only one clean sheet all season, City must think they can be the latest side to score against the Merseysiders.

Brendan Rodgers has to decide whether to include Mario Balotelli in the side. His dreadful form this season has largely been overlooked in favour of an odd furore over shirt-swapping. He ought to have tried biting someone or racially abusing them instead.

City’s record at Anfield is far from stellar. Only once in nine visits have we avoided defeat, a 2-2 draw in December 2008; and only once have we ever beaten Liverpool, last December. It’s not surprisingly that Liverpool start as strong favourites, with 4/9 the best you’ll get on a home win. A second successive draw for City is 4/1, while a third Premier League victory for the Tigers is as long as 8/1. There are causes to be optimistic – City’s goalscoring, Liverpool’s porous defence – but ooh, that injury list is long, isn’t it? Time for the squad to step up. Come on City.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Andy @ 6:06 pm

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Notes from the latest fans’ working group meeting


The latest meeting of the club’s attempts to create (recreate?) a Supporters’ working group took place on Tuesday 21st October in the 1904 Lounge at the Circle.

In attendance:

James Mooney, Commercial Manager of Hull City AFC
Pete Curry, chair of the stadium’s Safety Advisory Group
Geoff Bielby, part of City Till We Die
Mike Gothard, Ulltras Obergruppenführer
Angie Smith, “Hooligran”
Nigel Edwards, East Stander
Charlotte Ball, Tigerlink
Andy Dalton, Amber Nectar fanzine wanker
Ian Waterson, City Independent fanzine wanker
Rob Harmer, Not606/CTWD
Ron Black, HCOSC
Kate Ogram, representing disabled supporters
Dave White, East Stander
John W, West Stander (sorry for mishearing you last time, John)
Tony Conway, Senior Tigers
Phil Dixon, North Stander
George Machin, local football coach
Ellie Cressey, Ulltras
Dan, another Ulltra

The meeting kicked off at 7.30pm and was chaired by James Mooney, though Simon King may oversee some future gatherings.


Filed under: Articles — Andy @ 1:00 pm

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October 21, 2014

PODCAST: AN Podcast 49

Here we go again… discussing the draw at Arsenal, the visit to Liverpool, goalkeeping crises, lazy commentators and a game in 1989 that defined many a City supporting life…


Filed under: Podcasts — Amber Nectar @ 11:03 pm

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October 20, 2014

Things We Think We Think #158


1. A good week on the pitch and – rarely – off it as well. Off field first, and City’s accounts were good news, in both tone and content. Tone because the club was pretty open about its figures, explaining that they were perhaps not as good as the headline profit may have suggested and stressing that the summer’s whopping transfer commitments were not included. And in content because they show the club breaking even and living broadly within its means.

2. There are flies in the ointment, of course. The debt is stable, to our considerable relief, but it is still frightening large. It’d be interesting to hear what plans the club have to bring this down in the coming years. The SMC’s performance is a concern too. Nonetheless, neither represent an immediate threat to the club’s future, and for that we congratulate the owners.

3. Needless to say, if Hull City AFC are making a profit, the need to call them something else is zero. Exactly the same as before, in fact.

4. Now, to the game at Arsenal. City were terrific weren’t they? Not that Match Of The Day noticed (their one-eyed view of the game both in commentary and analysis was sick-making and pathetic) but the elongated period when Steve Bruce’s side led the match was thoroughly deserved and had it ended in a repeat scoreline of the win at the Emirates just over six years ago, nobody would have had a right to complain.

5. Arsenal still did complain, of course, indulged by a national media that cannot see beyond the fortunes and pitfalls of “big” clubs. The Gunners had a point when looking at Mohamed Diamé’s rather robust way of getting opponents out of the way on his path to goal, but nevertheless their endless bleating and woe-is-me posturing is most unsavoury and we find ourselves simply ceasing to care.

6. We have managed to concede a lot of late goals this season, mind. This could be coincidence but it should be at least a mild cause for worry. The games at Newcastle and now Arsenal, at home to Stoke and in the League Cup at West Bromwich Albion have all seen City drop points or sacrifice places in hats when victory was just moments away. Whether it’s fitness, focus or concentration we don’t know, but it’d be nice to have it stop.

7. There’s suddenly a minor injury crisis at the Circle. Our first two keepers are out after Arsenal, as could be our most expensive defender and our top scorer. It’s not a jolly thought that Eldin Jakupović could be in the starting line-up at Anfield next week, while opportunity suddenly knocks again for Paul McShane or Alex Bruce, and possibly Sone Aluko. This is why we have a squad, but that squad has to respond when misfortune befalls the first choice player.

8. By the way, Mr Motson, that’s Eldin Jakupović. Just in case you get to slum it in our presence again.

9. It won’t be easy at Liverpool, of course, but they aren’t at all reminiscent of the flowing, progressive and genuinely entertaining team of the post-Christmas half of last season that nearly passed its way to the Premier League title. There is a chance for City there which is clear and obvious. And while we’ve nothing against baby Bruce, it’s be nice to see McShane chosen as the one to wind up Mario Balotelli, assuming Dawson doesn’t make it back.

10. City are now 6/1 to be relegated, longer odds than eight other clubs and rarely feature in any analysis of the contenders for the bottom three. Our current points-per-game would extrapolate to 47½ over the season whole season, which would be approaching ten more than enough to stay up. It’s far far too early to stop worrying about it – after all, 6/1 is the same price City were to win at Arsenal, and that so nearly happened. But are we allowed to start looking up rather than down yet?

Filed under: Opinion — Amber Nectar @ 7:15 am

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October 13, 2014

Things We Think We Think #157


1. Something of a bolt from the blue was Nikica Jelavić’s surprising decision to retire from international football over the weekend. With Croatia likely to qualify for Euro 2016 and the player still in his 20s (and perhaps the form of his life), he’s effectively giving up playing in a major tournament, and perhaps two. It wouldn’t be a total shock if this decision is reversed in the coming months.

2. Quite a few City fans seem pleased about Jelavić putting club before country. Yet don’t we all want Curtis Davies and Tom Huddlestone to play for England?

3. Meanwhile, Andy Robertson’s stellar rise continued with a sparkling performance for Scotland against Georgia. We’d better enjoy him while we can.

4. Arsenal this weekend. Expect to hear southern dullards intoning “two niw, and you facked it ap”, as though that’ll somehow distress us. At least they’re charging a vaguely sensible amount for the game. It’d be nice to put one over them too. The Cup Final aside, memories of Arsenal are inevitably centred upon that afternoon in 2008 when City pulled off perhaps the biggest shock in the Premier League’s history; but we’ve since lost seven in a row to Arsenal. Some close, some controversial, and of course they have resources far beyond ours so there’s no real shame in that record – but it’d be good to see Arsène Wenger fumbling around for scapegoats next Saturday night.

5. Six months ago, we’d probably have been furious at Assem Allam blaming the fans for his unhappy situation – facing a second defeat on the name change and likely to sell a club he’d rather keep. Now we’re just thoroughly bored of his increasingly desperate cries for attention.

6. About that sale, then. Assem Allam’s relationship with the fans is worsening, and already significant numbers are irreparably alienated from the owner. Those numbers are only going to increase unless Mr Allam stops talking and starts keeping promises. Past form suggests that’s unlikely. Which makes us think, reluctantly and for the first time, that perhaps him selling the club and us all moving on may be the best thing for all concerned.

7. Stephen Parnaby, eh? He and his fellow political pygmy Steve Brady’s recent border spat doesn’t trouble us; AN doesn’t do politics. Whether the leader of East Riding Council should be using council time and public money to fawn over Assem Allam is a matter for his electorate to judge; it’s plainly not illegal and doesn’t require banning. Nor is an East Riding politician somehow less qualified to comment upon City than a Hull-based politician, because City’s support being drawn from the East Riding as well as Hull has long been evident.

8. What trouble us are his opinions. If he wants to gush about Assem Allam, well, fine. But his clarification to Radio Humberside that he would support Assem Allam in changing City’s name is something else. Again, it’s a view he’s entitled to have. Whether it’s wise for a politician to side against the majority of City fans is anyone’s guess. But it places him firmly in the minority, and firmly opposed to all known facts and figures.

9. We don’t need to wonder why so many politicians seek embarrassingly anxious to genuflect towards Mr Allam. The linguistically disadvantaged John Prescott is another, while Cllr Mike Whitehead – a PPC in Hull next year – also joins in…though the second does at least support the club. No, it’s fairly straightforward. Politicians crave the approval of the rich and the powerful. And sod the ordinary fan.

10. An interesting notion popped up on Twitter during the week – an account campaigning for a monument to Ebenezer Cobb Morley, the Hull-born father of association football. We wish him/her well. Campaigns of this nature aren’t easy, as we well remember from both City Till We Die and the attempts to make West Yorkshire Police see sense last year, but with enough application and organisation they can certainly yield results, as both of these squabbles illustrate.

Filed under: Opinion — Amber Nectar @ 6:57 am

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October 7, 2014


Filed under: Podcasts — Amber Nectar @ 9:03 pm

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October 6, 2014

Things We Think We Think #156


1. The victory over Crystal Palace wasn’t thrilling or stellar, but it was pretty assured. Palace arrived in good form but were comfortably outplayed all over the pitch. The first half was a little bit erratic, with Colin’s Palace successfully stifling City, but in the second half the pace was upped and Palace were eventually well beaten. Played, City.

2. Correlation does not imply causation, but City’s first League win and first clean sheet in a while all arrived on the same day that James Chester was restored to the side and 3-5-2 was resurrected. It could be a coincidence, but it didn’t really feel like one. Steve Bruce has more than earned the right to change the formation and personnel if he sees fit, but one thing the manager has already done well is correct himself if it isn’t really working. A Chester-less 4-4-2 wasn’t really going badly awry and we were close to pulling off a few results under it, worth remembering for the future, but an enChestered 3-5-2 just felt better.

3. So, impressive City, even if we know there’s more to come from the side than we saw on Saturday. But what of Palace? City are a better side and had home advantage, but any side at this level will still regard Hull City away as a winnable fixture. That Palace came seemingly lacking that ambition was very odd. In the first half they ceded possession right up to the halfway line, which made them extremely difficult to break down, but also put them on the back foot to an extent that wasn’t recoverable when they fell behind. Poor stuff from them. But City’s success last season came on the back of putting lesser and equal sides away at home. Encouraging to see that happen once again.

4. We needed it a bit too. A defeat would have left City on 6 points from 7 games, which you’d imagine could have quickly become 6 from 9 with trips to Arsenal and Liverpool approaching. That’s relegation form.

5. City kicked towards the North Stand in the second half against Palace – and with the more partisan supporters now in that area, doesn’t it make sense to do that all the time from now on? It’d have the added bonus of sending visiting teams away from the own fans in the second half too. Win-win…right?

6. Andy Robertson…um, there’s no clause in his contract saying we have to sell him if anyone bids a certain amount, is there?

7. Which is more irksome? The continued haranguing of Fraizer Campbell or the lack of acknowledgement for Damien Delaney, a genuine City hero of the 21st century, whenever either come back to the Circle? Both were prevalent yesterday. Mind you, Campbell did behave like an arse during the game and deserved barracking just for that, not for his past temerity to join other clubs instead of City. It’s daft because he’s a hell of a player, but on Saturday he expended his energy on fouling and whining instead.

8. We won’t waste much of our time or your time on Assem Allam’s Football Focus drivel. We’ve heard this ludicrous untruth-strewn nonsense before, it changes nothing and will not give him a prayer of persuading the FA to change their mind. That they only gave him a minute (from an hour long interview) and then Mark Lawrenson speedily and elegantly knifed his preposterous idea rather said it all. Grandpa Simpson yelling at clouds increasingly springs to mind when we see Mr Allam’s public appearances.

9. Burnley are preparing to charge City fans £37 next month. Football’s autocannibalism nears completion.

10. Meanwhile, a hearty gate for City v Palace. £16 is a good price, one that the club can be proud of offering its fans, and after complaining about £50 against Man C and the subsequent empty seats, it is was pleasing to see immediate proof that pricing football properly will attract support even if the opposition is not of global reknown.

Filed under: Opinion — Amber Nectar @ 7:00 am

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October 5, 2014

MATCH REPORT: City 2 – 0 Crystal Palace


If there’s one skill that separates really good footballers from people who merely play football, it’s probably the facility to use the outside of the boot. Sometimes one sees phenomenal skills with the ‘unnatural’ side of the foot from players that they make look easy, then any attempt to replicate it on the playing fields or back gardens of ordinary life usually ends up in a slice, a mishit or an air shot.

Nikica Jelavić clearly has no problem with using the outside of his boot. He scored the second and clinching goal of what was an oddly inconsistent game with the outside of his right foot, prompting those with a half-full glass to rave about the confidence and technique involved, and the rest to whinge that his left foot was clearly not much cop.

It matters not. It was a fine finish at a stage when an enterprising but not especially talented Crystal Palace side were chasing the game, and it gave City a first Premier League win since the opening day. A thoroughly welcome victory too, given recent issues with undermanned defences, overstretched midfields and potty-mouthed owners. (more…)

Filed under: Match Reports — Matt @ 6:45 am

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September 30, 2014

NEWS: FA confirm Hull City AFC arbitration


And still the madness continues…

The Football Association have this afternoon confirmed that Hull City AFC is seeking “arbitration” over their attempt to rename the club. The original application was rejected on April 9th after several months of acrimony and widespread opposition among City fans and in the game at large; and while the FA possess “absolute discretion” over such a decision and no right of appeal is thought to exist, sadly Assem Allam has declined to take the decision with good grace and is proceeding with his folly.

This “arbitration” will be confidential and is likely to consume at least a couple of wearying months, ensuring that the owner has presented Steve Bruce with an unwelcome distraction for most of the rest of 2014. The issue ought to be settled: the original rejection came after opposition from City fans, the wider footballing world, Supporters Direct, the Football Supporters’ Federation, the East Riding County FA and the FA itself, all of whom said no.

So what part of “no” does the owner of Hull City AFC not get?

Filed under: News — Andy @ 6:37 pm

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September 29, 2014

Things We Think We Think #155


1. We always feared that City would go out of the League Cup weakly and disappointingly, but they almost transcended the City teams of the past on Wednesday night in the way they so blatantly and criminally failed to progress. To be 2-1 up with three minutes to go and still lose, without extra-time being required, was some going even for City.

2. It bruises us to make comments like the above, because more than ever do we want the club, the team and the coaching staff to take the competition seriously. The number of changes to the team and the resultant snatching of defeat, even allowing for its dramatic appearance from the jaws of victory, once again suggests a lackadaisical or casual attitude to any football competition which does not involve the Premier League. To us, the cup competitions represent something we can win, something we can enjoy, something we can nurture, something we can put permanently into our history. That’s twice now that this has been tossed away by club policy and decision-making that puts finishing mid-table in an unwinnable and often unlikeable league ahead of actual glory as a direct consequence of winning football matches.

3. West Bromwich Albion are now going to Bournemouth for a place in the quarter finals. Their fans will have a top night out, their team will probably win – especially as their manager is fighting to prove himself and may see a League Cup run as something to enhance his prospects – and then they’re in the quarter finals. Or alternatively, Bournemouth will be in the quarter finals. That’s Bournemouth. Not City.

4. And given that the Premier League champions were our next visitors, there seemed little sense in removing the momentum from a couple of entertaining and high-scoring, if winless, matches against West Ham and Newcastle by altering the entire team. Manchester City should have been regarded as a free hit and the team Steve Bruce picked should have been motivated to have a pop at them whatever the scenario.

5. While still a defeat, the Man C game waas a little more heartening. City turned around a seemingly hopeless situation in the first half, admittedly aided by an own goal and a penalty, but their recovery reminded us that we are a team with heart and ability.

6. Nikica Jelavić has starred in recent weeks, and seems to be relishing the opportunity to be City’s senior striker. Far from being lost without his intended partner-in-crime Shane Long, he’s flourished of late. His darting runs and work off the ball are a delight to watch, and the addition of goals to his formidable skills make him a serious player at this level.

7. Defensively, how long before Steve Bruce changes things – and to what? Will he go back to 3-5-2 in order to accommodate James Chester back in the side and re-establish the formation we’ve always looked more secure with? Dare he drop England international Michael Dawson? Questions with no obvious answer, but the more the Goals Against tally rises the more pressing they’ll become.

8. We aren’t overburdened with points at the moment, even if the entertainment level is agreeably high. Crystal Palace at home next week is a game we could really do to win, particularly with some fearfully difficult games approaching.

8a. It’d be nice if the score and the time weren’t removed from the scoreboard in the 18th minute as well.

9. There’s been no shortage of complaints about the pricing of the Man C fixture. £50 only makes sense if you’re seeking to extract every possible penny from City fans – and in fairness, there’ll be those at the club whose job that is. But it results in empty seats (bad for the team), is obviously bad for the fans (either ruthlessly fleeced or priced out) and means that City are not representing the community as a whole. It’s a pity because the club has been rightly praised for lowering some matchday prices to just £16, but this simply undoes all of that. Have another think about it, City. For the club’s sake as much as us, because once people are priced out of going they may lose the match-attending habit altogether. And no-one wins if that happens.

10. Assem Allam’s done an interview for Football Focus next Saturday. Our commiserations to those at the club who’ll have to clean up the resulting mess.

Filed under: Opinion — Amber Nectar @ 7:06 am

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