August 27, 2014

PODCAST: TWTWT Podcast 43


The latest Amber Nectar podcast is up, with much to discuss. Michael Dawson’s arrival, the fun and games in Lokeren, the Premier League draw with Stoke City, and there’s even time for us to look back at the single most notorious Hull City match of the 1990s.

Filed under: Podcasts — Amber Nectar @ 11:06 pm

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August 26, 2014

Macarena, miskicks and Mierennest: A City in Europe travelogue


NEW KIT

Eventful, eh? Belgian hospitality at its best and worst over three days of following City in the Europa League play-off round. We’ve tried to remember as much as we can…

(more…)

Filed under: Euro Diaries — Matt @ 8:30 pm

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NEWS: City sign Dawson from Spurs


City have today signed Michael Dawson from Tottenham Hotspur for an undisclosed fee.

The ex-England defender has been a target of Steve Bruce for some time and finally agreed a three year deal and passed his medical at the KC this afternoon.

He’s the third player from Spurs to come to City under Bruce and becomes one of six centre backs in the first team squad.

Dawson, who spent nine years at White Hart Lane and won four England caps, is the younger brother of Tigers legend Andy, whom Bruce released in 2013 after ten years with the club. The two of them served their apprenticeships at Nottingham Forest.

Filed under: News — Matt @ 7:04 pm

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MATCH REPORT: City 1 Stoke 1


chesterj

City’s first home game last season was against Norwich, you’ll probably remember, we had a man sent off, very early on, we had a lead we held on to and we claimed three points that told this writer (even two games in) that we had quite enough to be staying in the Premier League, thank you very much.

Sunday should have been a carbon copy, City had a man sent off, rightly so. City took the lead, rightly so. They defended superbly and their opponents couldn’t break them down, just like last season. That was until the 83rd minute and some very, very, bad officiating. (more…)

Filed under: Match Reports — Amber Nectar @ 12:30 pm

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Things We Think We Think #150


twtwt

1. We were angry with Steve Bruce. His team selection at KSC Lokeren left a lot to be desired, and while all of us would suggest that the starting XI should still have been good enough to not lose the game (or, indeed, a goal) he was making a rod for his back by dropping the most prominent five outfield names that we have. Not including all, or even most of, Davies, Huddlestone, Livermore, Elmohamady and Jelavić was a massive risk, opening the manager up to accusations of not caring about the Europa League enough, despite the noises coming out of the club about how much it means to be partaking in European competition. And while we understand that the expense incurred by supporters can’t be paramount in the manager’s mind when making his choices, nevertheless many who’d arrived in Belgium by plane, boat, train and automobile and also paid for accommodation would have felt justifiably short-changed.

2. The formation didn’t work – playing 4-4-2 with James Chester in midfield and a debutant in his usual role was always hazardous – and the application of a couple of players left much to be desired. Robbie Brady needs to take a hard look at himself at the moment, as he’s starting to regress into the lairy loanee who didn’t know how to play for a team under Nigel Pearson. Yannick Sagbo’s big chance to impress totally passed him by, and given that his Premier League ban was about to end and Shane Long has been sold, it really was his moment. Harry Maguire, meanwhile, though a big unit and evidently a decent reader of the game, had spells where he seemed quite frightened. It would surely have been judicious to give him his bow alongside the club captain, even though Paul McShane did plenty to encourage him.

3. Allan McGregor is a goalkeeper and by definition will make howlers. There haven’t been many in his time, and the cliché about his place of birth has never felt more irrelevant, and the fact that only a brainstorm from a fine custodian gave Lokeren their goal will give City plenty of opportunity to claw it back at the Circle. However, the big guns have got to play, all of them – they have a three-day rest before Aston Villa away and then there’s an international break with which many of them will not be involved beyond putting their feet up in front of the telly. Those claiming that the Premier League is more important than the Europa League are discounting one crucial fact – it’s August. Qualify for the group stages and then assess the progress and the selections as we go along, depending on results so far. A lot of City fans who have ached for this European campaign will find it unforgivable if City chuck it away at the play-off stages because of trips to Burnley and Sunderland and home games against Crystal Palace and Southampton.

4. Talking of chucking things away, let’s get on to the thorny issue of what happened after the game. Actually, perhaps it isn’t that thorny after all – refreshingly the media, despite initially looking to extract some juice of English football hooliganism from a long shrivelled fruit, have all accurately reported that the City fans were treated poorly by the police, were ambushed by three score Belgian dunderheads who were banned from attending games, and did not react out of proportion or, in most cases, even at all. The Belgian police – a mixture of local bobbies on overtime and a few regional ringers from their equivalent of the SPG (ask your local Anti-Nazi League campaign group for more on that if you’re under 35) – led the City fans almost gleefully, lambs to the slaughter, past the very pub they’d vehemently warned us not to enter before the game and then stood around, faux-aghast, as the bottles rained down on fans of all ages and genders, not utilising any of the weaponry – guns, batons, watercannon – on the perpetrators. The response of the two football clubs has been good, and even Humberside Police hastily withdrew a predictable statement about City fans being to blame, but the Belgian authorities have not covered themselves in glory either with the decisions (ie, indecisions) and actions (ie, inactions) on the night or with their subsequent mealy-mouthed statement, which was short on facts, promises or apologies.

5. The Lokeren fans who come to the KC on Thursday deserve nothing more than a massive welcome. That’s what they gave us, after all – from the wonderful mini-festival they put on in the town square, to the residents of the side streets applauding us as we walked to the stadium, to the home fans behind gates of their terracing clapping as we left, to the expressions of horror they offered after we got attacked. Restrictions imposed on them (as suggested on TV by some out of touch spokesman from the OSC), or us, upon beginning our pre-match preparations in Hull, would be disproportionate and disrespectful.

6. Are Stoke really, very bad, or did City just make them look that way with some backs to the wall excellence after a tragic but just red card for James Chester? City were so unfortunate not be able to hang on. The decision to give Stoke a throw in (For Liam Rosenior in 2014, read Roger deVries in 1971) was clearly wrong, but it doesn’t excuse the poor defending in that instance when we’d done so well repelling Stoke up to that point. City wasting time in the corner near the end was a bit frustrating too when you really wanted to see City get the win and prove definitively that City’s 10 was better than Stoke’s 11. Still, four points from six to begin with is not to be sniffed at, especially as we haven’t come close to full steam ahead yet and the European displays either side of our two Premier League fixtures have been a little disjointed.

7. Did we see the first failure of the Goal Decision System? It seems so. The ball was clearly over the line and the ref could be seen checking, then shaking his Hawkeye watch which apparently didn’t signal the ball had crossed the line, with the goal being ultimately awarded by the linesman. For all those clamouring for video refs (and some said a video ref would have reversed the throw in call, as if you’d want something as trivial as throw ins reviewable), this incident shows that technology doesn’t always solve the problem and shoudn’t be totally relied upon.

8. After Lokeren, we go to Aston Villa. A City player hasn’t scored against them, anywhere or in any competition, since 1987. This needs to change, as does the corresponding defeat ratio.

9. Michael Dawson is a stout professional and experienced defender. If we do get him signed up, he’ll be a fine addition to the squad and we’ll have six centre backs of quality vying for three places. Steve Bruce is evidently determined to have a British Isles base to his side, with the defence and the central midfield both looking almost indigenous. And, as an aside, if Dawson minor turns out to be even half as good for Hull City as Dawson major then we’ll have signed a very special player.

10. Can’t Help Falling In Love didn’t work before games at the KC and doesn’t work after them either. People are leaving the stadium and not joining in, all the best-known recorded versions (Elvis Presley, Perry Como, UB40) are way too slow compared to how the City fans sing it, and it’s a Sunderland song, as proved by the manner in which their fans totally outsang us via the stadium speakers on previous visits. City needs its own song, unused by any other club, and after watching a couple of hundred foot passengers on the Hull-Zeebrugge ferry stand with arms raised and sing every last note of Caravan Of Love last Wednesday (hairs on the back of neck right up), the club should adopt it straightaway, with lyrics printed in the programme for people who don’t remember the Housemartins. It’s obvious, it’s overdue and it really will work.

10a. Steve Bruce at weddings is so our favourite new Twitter feed.

Filed under: Opinion — Amber Nectar @ 7:45 am

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August 19, 2014

PODCAST: AN Podcast 42: Things We Think We Think


Here’s the latest Amber Nectar podcast. We look ahead to Lokeren and Stoke and back at QPR, assess the Shane Long transfer and remind ourselves of probably the nicest man ever to be a Hull City manager.

Filed under: Podcasts — Amber Nectar @ 1:39 pm

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August 18, 2014

Things We Think We Think #149


twtwt

1. It’s a great feeling to win on the opening day and have immediate points on the table. It’s even better to have done it away from home, and there’s even benefit in who we beat – that defeat will sting QPR and make the Premier League feel just that little bit more daunting now.

2. It wasn’t the most sparkling performance, we’ll allow. However, you get as many points for winning in a hard-fought manner than for silkily outplaying a side, and that deserve praise in itself. Keeping a clean sheet away from home against anyone at this rarefied level is a real achievement.

3. Steve Bruce had much to say on the subject of penalties after the game. He was absolutely right to say the current trend of awarding a penalty if the ball strikes (or appears to strike) a defender’s arm in the box needs to stop. That isn’t applying the laws of the game, which state contact between ball and hand must be intentional to be a foul, and when a defender has both hands behind his back in a clear attempt to NOT handle the ball, even if it should strike his arm, it is incidental and not a foul. Very rarely do defenders deliberately use their arms to block or control the ball, so very rarely should penalties be awarded when the ball connects with a hand or arm. Bruce was wrong to say we should have had a penalty for Nikica Jelavić’s tumble however. It is embarrassing when Jelavić goes looking for a foul rather than staying strong, staying on his feet and trying to make something happen (legitimately).

4. It was hard not to wryly smile at Harry Redknapp’s gushing over the performance of Rio Ferdinand, given that it was Ferdinand’s poor marking of James Chester that ultimately cost QPR a share of the points. At no point did Ferdinand look to see where the ball was as he used illicit means to halt Chester’s brilliant manoeuvre towards the ball.

5. The post-match attention focused on James Chester’s contribution to the game, and not just for his goal or the wrongfully awarded penalty. He’s been overshadowed somewhat by Curtis Davies in the last twelve months, but he’s continued to perform consistency and with growing maturity. We’ve always known he’s an outstanding talent, and it’s nice to see the the rest of the world catching up.

6. Apropos of outstanding talents…Andy Robertson doesn’t look bad does he? Some debut, and potentially some player.

7. We head into our next European adventure in good heart. Three games, two wins and only one goal against – the opening signs of the 2014/15 season are promising. However, KSC Lokeren will be a severe test. The Belgian Jupiler Pro League is significantly weaker than the Premier League, but its leading clubs are certainly good enough to give us a game. Hopefully the near-disaster against FK AS Trenčín will spur City on – because the rewards, the Europa League group stages, are so exciting we can barely stand it.

8. Shane Long’s sale was sudden, wasn’t it? But given that he wasn’t that prolific, only played for us for seven months and had become as renowned for his simulation as for his ability, few will cry salt tears over his departure. Especially as the fee – £12m – feels like a licence for City to print money. Steve Bruce could sign three new players with that. We will, however, lack in sheer pace up front now, unless Bruce has someone in mind who can replicate Long’s electrifying speed on the pitch. We wait and wonder.

9. The next Premier League game – should anyone care, given that all we can personally think about is emptying the bar on the Pride Of York on Wednesday night – is against Stoke City at home on Sunday. We could have had a tougher start, all told, but even so they’ll be useful and, having lost to a wretched Villa team at the weekend, will be trying to make amends with some urgency. Nonetheless, the possibility of six points from our opening two League fixtures is most appetising. We’d probably only need another 30 points on top of those…

10. What a pity the club sent out season cards with “Hull Tigers” on it. We’re told the club is privately apologetic for what was a genuine oversight. Fair enough, though making that regret public wouldn’t hurt. Though for some reason, we’re probably more irked by “meeting’s” on it. See us after class, City.

Filed under: Opinion — Amber Nectar @ 7:50 am

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August 14, 2014

NEWS: Record £12m fee as Long goes to Southampton


brucewise

Shane Long has joined Southampton for a record-breaking £12m fee.

The Irish striker leaves the KC after just seven months with the Tigers, with the price tag proving too great for Steve Bruce to resist.

Long, 27, scored four times in 15 games for City but missed the FA Cup run last season due to featuring for West Brom in the third round, prior to joining the Tigers for £6m. His last games for the club were the Europa League third qualifying matches against AS Trenčín, against whom he won the penalty missed by Tom Huddlestone in the first leg.

Long was not prolific, nor did his habit of throwing himself to the ground endear him to a chunk of the City support, but his enthusiasm and especially his pace will be missed, and hopefully Bruce has someone equally as lively in mind as a replacement. It’s also believed that Long’s wife was always reluctant to move north, something which the player himself may have cited when news of Southampton’s interest first broke.

The fee, which some City fans will consider humrously astronomical, is three times the previous record received by City for a player – the £4m Sunderland paid for Michael Turner in 2009 – and rumours continue to circle that Bruce is planning a swoop for England striker Danny Welbeck, who wants to leave Manchester United.

Meanwhile, it seems now that any two from Sone Aluko, Nikica Jelavić and new signing Tom Ince will be vying for the striking roles in City’s opening Premier League fixture of the season at QPR on Saturday.

Filed under: News — Matt @ 4:29 pm

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August 12, 2014

PODCAST: Latest AN podcast now online


And in it, we talk about Europe! A lot!

And we reluctantly preview the QPR game. After all, it’s not a European game, so why bother?

Also, one of our number almost once had a Boothferry Park floodlight in their back garden, you know. If that’s not going to make you download lovingly, nothing will.

Filed under: Podcasts — Amber Nectar @ 11:47 am

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August 8, 2014

NEWS: City drawn against KSC Lokeren in Europa League


KSC-Lokeren@2.-new-logoHull City’s next opponents on its historic European adventure will be Belgian side KSC Lokeren, after today’s draw paired them in the play-off round.

The Belgians, who finished fifth in the Belgian Pro-League last season, came out of the draw first and so will host Steve Bruce’s men in the first leg at the Daknamstadion on Thursday August 21st, with the return at the Circle a week later.

The convenience of the trip when one considers a handy ferry connection between Hull and Zeebrugge (a short train ride from Lokeren) suggests that take-up of away tickets for this one may be very brisk indeed. The winners will go into the group stages of the Europa League and guarantee themselves further continental occasions for the rest of 2014 at least, so the incentive to win will be considerable.

City qualified for the play-off round after beating AS Trenčín 2-1 at the KC last night, winning also 2-1 on aggregate. KSC Lokeren enter the competition at this stage. They also reached the play-off round two seasons ago but lost to Viktoria Plzeň of the Czech Republic.

Filed under: News — Amber Nectar @ 1:14 pm

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