March 25, 2015


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


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


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.


Filed under: Match Reports — Matt @ 19:26

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March 19, 2015

Notes from the latest fans’ working group meeting

On Tuesday 17th March, the latest meeting of the Fans’ Working Group took place. Here’s what happened.

In attendance:

  • James Mooney, marketing manager of Hull City AFC
  • Henry Crane, catering overlord
  • Joel Bridger, member of the Safety Advisory Group
  • Ryan Kerr, from the Not 606 franchise
  • John Wilson, West Stand
  • Kate Ogram
  • Andy Dalton, hooligan
  • Peter Gamble, marketing expert
  • Geoff Bielby, involved in CTWD
  • Nigel Hill, “exiled while he’s still in charge”
  • Dave White
  • Nigel Edwards, East Stand
  • Ryan, South Stand
  • Bill Shirley, Senior Tigers
  • Ron Black, HCOSC chairman
  • Tony Conway, HCOSC
  • Ian Waterson, City Independent
  • Rob Harmer, Hull City Supporters Trust


Filed under: FLC archive,News — Amber Nectar @ 19:48

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March 17, 2015


Bit of a quiet one, this. There’s only the FA’s decision to reject the name change appeal, the scandal over Assem Allam’s commandeering of the Airco Arena, Steve Bruce’s new contract, disappointing draws against Sunderland and Leicester, the game against Chelsea this weekend, the toughness of the run-in and a nostalgic trip that allows a rare mention of Mark Calvert.

So, a quiet one then.

Filed under: Podcasts — Amber Nectar @ 11:24

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March 16, 2015

NEWS: FA reject name change appeal


News comes from the Football Association this afternoon: the game’s governing body has asserted that following Assem Allam’s request for arbitraton of his initial rejection on 9th April 2014, the club’s name is to remain Hull City AFC.

The tribunal has, however, “set aside” the initial verdict, paving the way for Assem Allam to make a second application and drag this squalid affair on for perhaps a third year. However, he has previously said “There will be no further application, that was once and it is done”.

If Mr Allam really is a man of his word, we trust that the matter is permanently resolved and our 110 year old name is safe for future generations to enjoy.

UPDATE: Here’s Assam Allem categorically saying there’ll no be more applications

Filed under: News — Andy @ 16:27

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Things We Think We Think #178


1: Ooorgh, that really did feel like dropped points at Leicester, didn’t it? Despite the reduction in numbers, it was still City’s game to take and that chance that Abel Hernandez didn’t put away at the end already feels like one of those that could come back to haunt us. City, as per Sunderland, looked handy at times and were the better side in the first half by a comfortable margin. So this wasn’t a game drawn through a poverty of ambition or a wretched performance, just though a lack of real cutting edge.

2: This isn’t us being unduly negative (well, no more than normal) but an inability to beat both Sunderland and Leicester (teams on the bones of their collective arses, confidence-wise), combined with a look at the forthcoming fixtures and worrying evidence of a resurgence from Burnley means that much work still has to be done by Steve Bruce and his players to keep us going as a Premier League club.

3: Two of our ex-employees took the limelight amidst all of this basement-battle tomfoolery at the weekend. Nigel Pearson has now managed to add a journalist (not always a sympathetic profession, but the unnamed hack was asking perfectly acceptable questions to the Leicester boss after the draw) to his list of offended parties in football, following a supporter of his own club and a player from the opposition. When he was our manager he was always in total control of his emotions – it was one of his many plus points – but now a grumpy, pressurised, abrasive, even nasty character is emerging. Leicester still look certainties for the drop but now, more than ever, he will be seen as part of the problem if and when they do return to the Championship.

4: George Boyd, meanwhile, scored a delightful goal to give Burnley their crucial, unexpected win against Manchester City on which both player and club could dine out for years, especially if the stay up. We liked Boyd. We felt he wasn’t used enough by Steve Bruce. And the flair players who have come in since his departure – Ramirez, Ben Arfa – haven’t exactly set us alight. Wisdom after the event is easy of course, but indirectly at least, the sale of Boyd is coming back to haunt us.

5: Tom Huddlestone’s two challenges were neither cautionable, but he was still an idiot for making the second tackle, knowing he was already on a yellow card. Yet it is still not set in stone that we’ll somehow be a quarter of the team without him, just because he still isn’t close to being the fulcrum of the team that he so effortlessly was last season – even if recent weeks have hinted at an improvement upon his winter torpor.

6: At first glance Chelsea feels, as usual, like a free hit, but afterwards it’s Swansea and Southampton away, followed by Liverpool. Suddenly, there’s no such thing as a free hit. As crazy it sounds, we’ve got to try to get something from the Chelsea game, anything that isn’t merely heroic defeat and a sense of pride. Points are now all that matter. Our run-in starts here, and it’s a tough one.

7: A wider look at the relegation battle suggests that Leicester are probably gone now, and QPR are leaving themselves an awful lot to do as well. Burnley’s remarkable win on Saturday gives them hope, but it’s Sunderland who ought to be particularly afraid today. Hammered at home by Aston Villa and with unrest among the natives, if anyone’s going to rescue any of the bottom three, it could well be them. Though a few iffy results for City, and we could quickly be back in serious trouble. It’s still all to play for.

8: The Airco Arena is to be converted into an all-weather indoor football pitch for City to use and receive additional accreditation in their bid to elevate the standing of their youth set-up. So far, so good. Except that it now appears that doing so will see multiple community users of the arena evicted at a month’s notice and with grave consequences for their own sports and pastimes.

9: We’ll be blunt: netball, basketball and so on, we aren’t terribly interested. Most people aren’t, it’s football dominates the city of Hull, as it dominates nationally and globally. But that isn’t really the point – some people ARE very interested, and a sporting passion is always to be applauded. Therefore, as supporters of Hull City AFC, we feel a little queasy at reading things like “disabled sportspeople evicted for millionaire footballers”. That’s a bit simplistic and not 100% accurate, but nonetheless it’s hard not to feel uneasy.

9a: This isn’t airy-fairy wouldn’t-it-be-lovely wishful thinking though. There’s a hard-headed business angle to it all. Like any football club that draws its support almost exclusively from one area, we are wholly reliant on the community of Hull and East Yorkshire for fans. We cannot exist in isolation from them, let alone be seen to act antagonistically towards it. There will be some who participate in minority events at the Arena who also support City, and feel torn. There’ll some who use its facilities, or know people who do, but don’t support their local football team, and who will now be much less inclined to ever do so. Once more, we find ourselves shaking our heads in utter despair at the narrow-minded short-term thinking from the club, which is now viewed by far too many in the city as high-handed, uncaring and arrogant.

10: This is probably not malignancy on the part of City, just a simple lack of foresight. Why did no-one realise this’d be necessary? And who on earth actually investigates the club’s potential actions for such adverse consequences and publicity as this? The answer is surely no-one. Seriously, City, if you need a help with this sort of thing, there are thousands of people who can easily help. Even if the chairman did once slander them all as hooligans.

Filed under: Opinion — Amber Nectar @ 08:32

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March 14, 2015

PREVIEW: Leicester v City


Leicester. It’s must-win, this. For Leicester.

Or so says their manager, the former City boss Nigel Pearson. He’s probably right. Four points adrift at the bottom, seven from safety and nine behind the Tigers, the window for them to stage a remarkable recovery is almost shut. By 5pm today, it could be closed completely.

That’s the incentive for City, who would be able to rest just a little more easily tonight knowing that one of the three relegation slots is effectively filled, that that there are only two remaining and that we could enter the 30s, probably just a win and a couple of draws from safety.

Sounds easy, doesn’t it? But City’s disagreeable habit of coughing up cheap 1-0 defeats in games such as this all season long reminds us it won’t be. Leicester, knowing anything but victory is useless, will be fighting for their lives, and in Pearson that have a wily, obdurate manager who will not be accepting defeat yet.

As well as the division’s lowest points tally, Leicester also have the worst home record in the Premier League; that outstanding 5-3 victory over Manchester United must feel quite distant now, and has been added to just once at the King Power Stadium. City’s away form is hardly stellar, with two wins from 14 and defeats in half of our fixtures on the road, but we’ve actually gained more points on the road than Leicester have in Leicester.

What this is all means for this afternoon is anyone’s guess. Likewise, the two managers’ approaches are an interesting mystery. Will Steve Bruce send his side out for the kill, or will we sit back and hand the initiative to a team in need (see Burnley away)? Will Pearson go all out for victory, or will he be more circumspect, hoping his side can play their way into the game and snatch a narrow victory?

City have no new injury worries, which makes in a change in this ill-starred season. Mohamed Diamé is not quite fit enough to be in contention, though it’s close. Leicester will welcome back Kasper Schmeichel, but see Knockaert and Hammond unavailable.

City have won twice in Leicester since regular resumption of regular meetings nine years ago, a 1-0 win in 2006 and 2-0 win on the way to promotion in 2008. Historically, we actually have the edge over today’s hosts, with 28 wins to 26, though our last two visits to this part of the world have been defeats. Home advantage is enough for Leicester to be the bookies’ favourites, available at 6/5. City are as long as 3/1, while a draw that does little for City and even less for Leicester is 12/5. C’mon City.

Filed under: Match Previews — Andy @ 05:57

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March 11, 2015

NEWS: Bruce to sign new City contract


Hull City AFC have this afternoon confirmed that Steve Bruce is to sign a new long-term contract.

Previously on a rolling contract, the man who’s amassed an unprecedented number of claims to be “the first City manager to…” has committed his future to the club for an as yet unspecified period, likely to be another 2-3 years.

Despite City’s occasionally rocky form this season and underachievement in all three Cup competitions, the huge store of capital Bruce built up during City’s promotion back to the Premier League and last season’s FA Cup final appearance have seen his popularity at the Circle remain unaffected and although plenty of other clubs in the bottom half have dispensed with their manager, that’s never seemed possible or desirable for us.

With City still not clear of danger this season, this new provides the club with some vital stability despite the on-going off-field distractions and is to be warmly welcomed.

Filed under: News — Andy @ 18:04

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March 9, 2015

Things We Think We Think #177


1. Sunderland was two points dropped as much as one gained when one takes an emotive look at events on Tuesday night, but at least we didn’t lose to a rival in the bottom section of the Premier League table. A third straight Premier League win at home – which we’ve never done – would have been handy as well as historic but we’re still in a good position, and results the following evening very much went our way.

2. Steve Bruce could ‘have’ Gus Poyet for breakfast, we reckon. But what a weird spat that was, coming from a situation where neither manager could possibly have known for certain whether Jack Rodwell had dived or not. It didn’t look very savoury for two men of an age where they should absolutely have known better to be trying to handbag one another in the technical area.

3. Leicester away is pivotal, isn’t it? We could put away one of our relegation rivals probably for the rest of the season, bloody the nose of their beleaguered manager a little more and give some of the less forgiving elements of the City support even more reason to crow at Nigel Pearson, even though he left the club because he couldn’t work with the Allams (hardly a view to be unsympathetic towards) and pretty much saved us from going out of business by doing necessarily drastic things with the first team squad. But we can put our own feelings towards our ex-gaffer to one side; this weekend’s game is very much about beating his team, not getting one over on him.

4. Pearson is correct to say that this is a must-win game for his side. Fail to do so, and you’d have to conclude they’re gone. That’d leave only two places to avoid, places that QPR and Burnley look eminently capable of filling. However, it’d still be nice if City could stride clear of danger rather than relying on the inadequacy of others.

5. Those banners featuring quotations from City terrace songs do not include any that feature the word ‘City’. If you take pettiness, add a dollop of insincerity, chuck in a smidgeon of myopia and a huge portion of cowardice, then forget to include any sense of shame, you have the Hull City marketing department.

5. The grim saga of the name change grinds remorselessly on. As has been extensively noted, Assem Allam’s wish to prolong the whole sorry situation demonstrates that his wish to spite the fans and Hull City Council outweighs any concerns he claims to have about not providing distractions to Steve Bruce and the team – them being thankfully proving themselves to be above his tawdry machinations. Yet, an interesting observation was made by the Supporters’ Trust in the week – the FA has already specifically promised that “once a decision has been reached it will be published“.

6. That leads us to two possibilities: that the FA have not decided, and are late in doing so; or that they have decided to break with their previous undertaking for the benefit of the man who hysterically accused them of “prejudice” for daring to ask Hull City fans about Hull City’s name. Either way, Mr Allam continues to cause disruption and ill-feeling and worry continue to stalk the terraces. Someone, please, have the nerve and decency to put this issue out of our misery. Given that Assem Allam famously holds City fans in complete contempt, that’ll probably have to be the FA.

7. Meanwhile, it makes obviously poor business sense, as it always has. Hamstrung by uncertainty, the club cannot plausibly begin to sell season tickets yet, knowing that plenty will not countenance buying them in the advent of the FA inflicting disaster upon us. Even a promise that refunds would be provided w0n’t wash, Mr Allam not having an entirely unblemished record of sticking to his word.

8. Starved of information, some City fans direct their ire towards the local media. That’s understandable up to a point, as neither major media outlet in Hull has covered themselves in glory (though the Hull Daily Mail at least apologised for not knowing the name of the club it’s covered for 110 years on Saturday). But don’t shoot the messengers. The enemy is not local journalists a bit afraid money and power, it’s Hull Tigers.

9. Each top flight club is given £200,000 from the Premier League to put towards subsidising the cost of away games. City spent some of this money on coach travel to Arsenal last autumn, presumably leaving plenty over. The Fans’ Working Group, at its first meeting in July, advised City to spend it on discounted tickets (the club themselves concurring at the time that travel-only was “not entirely successful” the previous season). That group expressed surprise in October upon learning that Arsenal had already been subsidised by coach travel only and not tickets, and appeared to have a firm agreement in December that it’d be done by tickets-only in the future. This is a club is notoriously awful at listening to supporters and doing what it says it will, so we shan’t hold our breath – but who knows, perhaps there’ll be announcement soon that’ll pleasantly surprise us.

9a. We’ve been told to expect another meeting of the Working Group for some weeks now. Nothing yet, but we’ll be soliciting queries and comments the moment one is arranged.

10. Undeniably good news that City’s request for a re-audit of their youth set-up has been granted by the FA. When City very narrowly missed out on Category 2 status in October we thought it unfair that a reassessment couldn’t take place until perhaps 2016. The FA say that youth investment is important, and their decision to fast-track our application is consistent with this. We’ve also said before that the Allam family don’t get the credit they deserve for their attention to Hull City AFC’s youth set-up (though that’s their own fault for overshadowing it with other things), however it’s good to see that things may progress more quickly than first hope.

Filed under: Opinion — Amber Nectar @ 07:00

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