Power, Corruption and Chinese Food

It doesn’t take a bean-counting genius like Chris Lee to know that our beloved Hull City are in a serious pickle. Sure, the arrival of former Coca-Cola Cup-winning boss Brian Little has seen a modest improvement on the pitch, but it’s behind the scenes that gives us the greatest cause for concern. More so than if the HDM informed us that accountant Lee was set to ditch his abacus and pull on his football boots once more.

Now apparently, in the financial year that ended July 1999, City recorded a profit of £32,000. Which means that the recently reported debt of over £1.5 million has been incurred in a year and a half. So that’ll be the eighteen months in which we drew Chelsea in the FA Cup and Liverpool over two legs in the Worthington Cup then? So much for Buch’s ‘promise’ to the supporters of a return to First Division football, all nicely encased in a 35,000 seater super stadium, in five years.

Since Nasty Nick arrived after a, shall we say, controversial spell at Sheffield United with close friend and DTI-banned director Stephen Hinchcliffe, we have come under severe scrutiny from tax inspectors, the FA – and even the police.

And we thought David Lloyd was bad! At least his failings were tempered with the knowledge that the tennis chap didn’t have the foggiest about how to run a football club, and was prone to passionate public outbursts that bordered on the mentally unstable.

Unfortunately for us, Buchanan DOES appreciate just how to run, and fleece, a football club successfully. And he delivers typically calm, con-man, ‘everything’s gonna be all right’ statements on an all too regular basis to the HDM.

Ah, yes. The Hull Daily Mail. That bastion of.. what exactly? Every game to come is a ‘showdown’, every game gone a ‘hard-fought battle’. The quality of match-reporting was never an issue, for every local rag will deliver the same, cock-eyed slant on their team’s fortunes. But surely none would steer clear of a story that would guarantee them record sales?

The fans in Hull have been waiting in vain for the headline ‘Where Has The Money Gone?’ for over a year now. At it’s best, it’s failure to deliver is just lazy journalism. But at it’s worse it smacks of a conspiracy. Why else would the paper faithfully trot out the old chestnut ‘Tigers set to sign Gary Jones/Kevin Francis/Gabriel Batistuta’ at every available opportunity over the summer when it was clear that something horrible was brewing in the corridors of power.

Why else would it continually report that we were ‘unfortunately’ in the middle of a transfer embargo like it was a perfectly normal thing that all clubs go through?

Where’s the investigating? The writers prepared to get their hands dirty? If they are being threatened or silenced by Buch’s minder mates, then that too is a story in itself for Christ’s sake! I worked at Blundell’s Corner for a while, not too long ago, and the then-chairman tried heavy-handed tactics to sway the then-Tigers reporter’s version of events. Kneecapping, I believe, was the preferred method of warning – but said chairman was told to clear off and the story ran. Not too long before he did a runner himself I might add.

So what’s changed? Is the Mail now simply a tool of propaganda for the club? Are we not interested in why Brabin and Goodison came to blows on the pitch on Boxing Day? Or what David Brown screamed at the Kempton fans? It’s not libellous to print what he said, but to my mind it’s clear that someone, somewhere, is deeming certain things ‘damaging or derogatory to the club’ and telling the Mail not to bother with it.

The non-reporting in the Buchanan case is both disgraceful and bizarre. When unpaid rent of over £118,000 forced two Lloyd vs. Buch court appearances, and the defendant tried the novel approach of counter-sueing tennis boy, claiming he owed him slightly more, where was the Mail to ask what the hell was going on? How can a grown man, in charge of our football club, actually believe you can counter-sue someone and ‘just call it quits’ in a court of law? That’s what the reader wants to know.

In fact, the reader wants to know a hell of a lot more. What exactly was the role of Stephen Hinchliffe? What’s happened to the team coach? Who is owed money in the local community by the City’s football club? Who designed that bloody badge and how much did he get paid? What’s all this about Mr Chu’s Chinese restaurant? Oh yes, and Where’s The Money Gone?

Phew. That’s a lot of stuff gone unnoticed there boys. Give us £30k and a car and I’ll come back and get your answers for you. In the meantime I’m trying to sign Gary Jones and looking forward to a blockbuster of a showdown on Saturday afternoon.

Andy Downie