OPINION – Turner sale could hugely change perception of DuffMan


City fans are currently crossing their fingers, legs and hearts as well as offering prayers to the god of transfers, in the hope that City’s prized asset  Michael Turner will not be sold on deadline day, Tuesday.

Manager Phil Brown, rather than categorically stating Turner is not for sale as he should have, has said the club would listen to ‘mammoth’ bids for the frankly superb centre-back, hinting that chairman Paul Duffen is quite open to the idea of flogging the finest player in the club’s history. Such statements invite bids from other clubs, and though we’ve said no to Liverpool, Sunderland now look poised to break the Tiger Nation’s collective heart by taking Turner, a player unanimously loved, to the Stadium of Light.

That we would even consider selling Turner raises many questions, first of Phil Brown, but mostly of chairman Paul Duffen…  

Why would we even consider selling our best player, thus drastically weakening our team and making another team who, regardless of ambition, just lost to Stoke and therefore could be a side not too many points from the drop zone, significantly better?

If we have money to spend, after all we are meant to have bid £12-15M on Real Madrid’s Alvaro Negredo, then why are we so bothered about cashing in on Turner, who we supposedly value at £12M, but would probably accept £6-8M for? Do we need the money? That question, while unanswered, not only casts doubt over our fiscal health, but also raises the nauseating possibility that perhaps we weren’t entirely serious about signing Negredo, and given Duffen’s love of appearing in the media, could just have been done so he and the club are seen negotiating with Real Madrid. Ugh, just the thought of that is shudder inducing.

It can’t be argued that Duffen loves appearing in the media, and I mean LOVES IT. Watch the video of the Altidore/Olofinjana signing press conference and see how many times, after already having mic time, he interjects when questions are put, not to him, but to the two players.

DuffMan has enjoyed a remarkably long honeymoon period since he took over the reigns from Adam Pearson, courtesy of the clubs’ promotion to the Premier League in his first year in charge. Because we’ve enjoyed unprecedented success on his watch many questions have gone unasked. Questions about the ownership structure of the club for instance.

We still don’t know anything about the people behind Duffen, property developers Russell Bartlett and Martin Walker, two years after the takeover. What is their day to day role in club affairs or do they leave everything in DuffMan’s hands?

In the summer our list of vice-presidents swelled from a couple to 14 people, here are the names… Ian Blakey, Jack Brignall, Mike Whitehead, Peter Chapman, Kristen Chapman, Jonathan Leafe, June Ann Carson Leafe, Eric Silver, Neil Hudgell, Ehab Allam, Tony Webster, Paul Robinson, Dave Wood and Armando Sanchez.

Do you know who any of these people (except familiar name Ian Blakey) are? Did you even know they are now VP’s? Now, there is of course nothing wrong with increasing the size of the board, but wouldn’t you like to know about such a change? Given our turbulent past in the boardroom the de facto stance of City’s fans is to not invest complete trust in those who run our club. Adam Pearson was an exception and trusted, wholly, but he earned that trust, and trust must be earned, not given freely like toys in packets of Corn Flakes.

Such trust must be held back when you read that  the club have failed to submit accounts for the 2007-2008 season, these were due in May but have not yet been filed, and failure to submit accounts is a criminal offence.

Perhaps more worrying is the knowledge that Tiger Holdings, the parent company, have failed to supply accounts that were due in February. Why is this? Furthermore why is this information published by Private Eye magazine and not once even hinted at by the Hull Daily Mail, who’d rather print Peter Swan’s bullshit about making the KC Stadium a fortress, an article that gets rinsed every year about this time.

Questions about the non-submission of accounts would previously have been asked by the Fans Liaison Committee, a group taken seriously by Adam Pearson but disbanded by Paul Duffen, who no longer has to face such questioning.

On a personal level, does Duffen really, and I mean really understand the game? He certainly doesn’t appear to possess the same industry nous as his predecessor Adam Pearson, who had his finger on the pulse of every level of the game. This lack of knowledge is never more apparent as when we make bids for players. We bid £6M for Fraizer Campbell, who later joined Sunderland for £3.5M. Now the deal probably has clauses that mean the initial fee could rise to £6M, and we don’t know what those clauses are, but that seems quite a wise approach, paying less now and gladly paying more if it all works splendidly, and if it doesn’t, you’ve saved up to £2.5M. City though bid £6M straight up and then marvelled at their own show of ambition.

You could of course argue that City were just determined to get their man and admirably showed they meant business by making a substantial bid up front, after all deals concluded since then, such as the purchase of the seemingly four-lunged Kamel Ghillas for less than £2M, look very good indeed.

Giving him the benefit of the doubt on that score then, is there anything else about Paul Duffen that raises ire? Some may see his mixing with the supporting hoi polloi in the stands before games as a good thing, but others detect a whiff of Ridsdale-ism about it, it can be interpreted as the act of a man who enjoys the limelight and adulation while the team exceeds expectations just a little too much and perhaps he should be more concerned with the serious business of being a chairman, like submitting the clubs accounts in a timely manner for example.

Then there are accusations that he’s too pally with the manager. While it’s undoubtedly important for a chairman and manager to have a good working relationship, it sometimes feels that Duffen and Phil Brown are a little too close. The reason most chairmen maintain a professional distance from the manager and don’t get too chummy is because they know that down the line they might have to issue them a P45. Phil Brown has met his objectives every season he’s been here, he kept us up in the Championship soon after arriving, took us up via the play offs in his second year and maintained our Premier League status in our inaugural top tier campaign.

Talk of sacking him right now is therefore foolish and only suggested by the ignoramii who have their opinions formulated for them by hyperbole spouting tabloid hacks.

But lets talk hypothetically for a moment, say that this year City have a run of form akin to the one that saw us just stay up courtesy of other teams ineptitude and such form sees us rooted within the bottom three come New Years Day. At that point, the question of whether we need a new man at the helm would be a valid one to ask (and I sincerely hope it’s one that won‘t need asking as even considering Phil Brown‘s flaws, I like the man, and he‘s done many, many good things for Hull City). However, can you imagine Paul Duffen sacking him in such a happenstance? I find it hard to envisage at this point, because the two of them appear bezzy mates.

No manager needs to permanently have the sword of Damocles hanging over his head, it’s not conducive to stability at a football club, but there should always be the unspoken possibility that if things go very, very wrong, then the Chairman will put the clubs interests over friendship with the manager and make a change. As things stand, I just can’t see Brown being ejected even if we get relegated. I’ll say it again, at this point I firmly want Brown to remain as manager, he has earned some security, but no manager should be immune from responsibility if things go disastrously wrong.

As well as the chumminess factor, another reason I can’t see him sacking Brown in the event of catastrophic failure, is that I don’t think Duffen would relish having to appoint another manager. I’m not convinced he’d know where to even begin a search for a new boss.

Brown was appointed by Adam Pearson, albeit with Duffen’s blessing, and if it was needed,  would you trust Duffen to make a good choice if he had to recruit later this year? He might attract a big name, but that doesn‘t equate to a good manager, does it Tony Adams, Bryan Robson or Roy Keane?

These nagging doubts, are as stated, all hypothetical, and perhaps exist only in my head. We should concentrate more on reality than intangibles, but the reality is we appear ready to cash in on our most valuable asset, Michael Turner.

The signing of Paul McShane on a permanent contract looks to address our needs at right back, but by selling Turner we would create a huge gaping hole in our central defence that an erratic Kamil Zayatte and Mouyokolo, a player with second division experience in France, would struggle to fill. True, Turner was a lower league player before entering the Premier League with City, but he had the comfort of time to establish himself in our first XI before making the step up. The excellent Anthony Gardner’s less than stellar fitness record further compounds the problem you’d face should you sell a player who didn’t miss any part of our first Premier League campaign.

What’s more, Turner has never expressed any desire to leave Hull City, and if he’s considering it now then that’s because the manager has publicly mulled over the possibility of us moving him on, rather than making the player feel 100% loved by saying we are not selling him, instead unconvincingly voicing that we hope he won’t go.

That statement will seem very hollow if we sign a replacement for Turner on deadline day, as any such move will not have just been engineered on deadline day. For a team tipped by many pundits to be facing the drop, the entirely avoidable sale of Michael Turner is potentially transfer assisted suicide. If Brown is prepared to let him go, then such a move would have to be sanctioned by the man in charge of the purse strings, Paul Duffen

I’m aware that this article may come across as the paranoid rantings of a hopelessly cynical fan who should be grateful for City’s current standing in football’s pantheon and to the men who‘ve manufactured the elevation. There is no doubt that we have much to be thankful to Paul Duffen for, and he gets unreserved thanks for those things from me, but that does not exempt him from criticism entirely, either now or in the future.

Right now, there is little criticism, only questions that remain as yet unanswered, but if we sell our most valued asset for a few quid and several Sunderland reserves, then DuffMan opens himself up to a whole heap of criticism if the needlessly risky gambit fails and we find ourselves back in the Championship this time next year, and the questioning will grow ever louder.

19 replies
  1. Hullboy
    Hullboy says:

    Great read, and certainly raises some interesting points. Duffen does seem a great chairman on the surface, but we are somewhat in the dark over what goes on outside of the public eye.

  2. Mel U
    Mel U says:

    Total rubbish. This article is so far off the mark that it beggars belief. Roswell and the JFK spring to mind. NO research. A false representation of facts and to be honest it disgusts me to read it.
    The VP’s include such nobodies as the owners and employers of hundreds of Hull City fans!
    One of the founders of the internet! Guess what they ALL are local self confessed supporters of HULL CITY. This type of rubbish posted without foundation is destructive to the club, not constructive.

  3. Glenn Williamson
    Glenn Williamson says:

    When will all the City fans realise ad accept that we can manage quite well without Turner as we are not a one man team.

    It is time for him to move on as his head hs clearly been turned a it was clear to see against Spurs.
    Turner himself can easliy state that he does not want to leave but all media repors show thathe is interested so where has his loyality been and why should Duffen or Brown take all the Flack.

    Good luck and move on.

    Without Duffen and Co we would still be in the Championship / First division

  4. TigerPhil - Hessle
    TigerPhil - Hessle says:

    This is a tough time in the recent history of the Tigers. There are rumbelings going on- an undercurrent of discontent.

    I like MT- very good player. I feel that going to Sunderland is not really a big step up- which is what his form and ability deserve. I was fully expecting someone of the ilk of MON or even Moyes coming in for him- something I would see as a good move for him.

    As for Dufffen- I have spoken to him on a nuimber of occasions and he does seem very genuine. He seems to be 100% Hull City.

    I have no problems with all of these VP’s that are on here- and I recognise a few of the names- as long as they are Hull City 100% and are in the best interests of the Tigers.

    Nagging doubts will persist- I was not too chuffed that the fans liason comittee was disbanded- although not many of the other PL sides seem to have them…

    I will of course reserve judgment on the ins and outs until the end of the transfer window- as long as we end it stronger than when we started it then we will have done well. I hope MT does not go to Sunderland if he is transferred- as I do not see that as a good move. Hopefully it won’t matter….

    I do feel that the £12M that is being bandied about is related to a clause in his contract- for me we should really be looking higher- the market is there for higher monies and we should get top pound notes for him…

  5. Pob
    Pob says:

    Interesting article, and questions that do need answering but will come out in the wash.

    MelU is one of those who hold court on the awful HDM comments section isn’t he? He says facts are misrepresented but doesnt say how, says its wide of the mark but not why. Put some substance in your comments man!

  6. ha pedersen
    ha pedersen says:

    It does not take a genius to see the way Hul City are heading.All assets will be sold off,the Essex
    lot will clear off as will Duffen.The Essex mafia who apparently owns the club will run away with fat payoffs, perhaps the will leave one of the newly appointed directors as a scape goat.Turner could and should.expensive transfer market.Having talked up the wonderful Turner is like fattening the calf before taking it to market and tellling the fans they did not want to sell him is nonsence after all of Browns manipulations to get a solid gain.We have been in lower divisions before,we have had good managers before perhaps we might get one again when we are relegated after having sold of our best players.It would be again be excited to watch City being promoted who can forget delerious unbeliveable joy against Arsenal,Tottenham and West Ham .
    But pleae spare us all the guff about not wanting to sell Turner all the brainded noncence about players being too expensivenonwence about players being too expensive.Players will cost whatever someone is willing to pay for them.You can fool some of the people some of the time but not all of the people all of the time.

  7. Midfield General
    Midfield General says:

    Given the ‘turbulent’ regimes that haunted City in the decade following Don Robinson I can see why City fans would feel slightly jittery. Rather than create a conspiracy theory, Les has simply pointed out that there are some questions which we would like to know the answer to in order to dispel any fears.

    I think contrary to Mel’s assertions that this is based on fact. We have had a sudden increase in the board (which I admit was news to me) and the majority of those names were previously unconnected in any formal way with the club. There are no accounts posted and that is a criminal act. I fail to see where the lack of research is.

  8. Steve
    Steve says:

    All assets sold off? What utter rot.

    Let’s have a little perspective here and take a look at the players that have been brought in so far this season:

    Moyokolo £2.5m
    Olofinjana £3m
    Altidore £2m (upfront as part of the loan deal)
    Ghilas £2m
    Hunt £3m

    That’s over £12 million in transfer fees alone and doesn’t take into account their wages and bonuses.

    So far we’ve sold Rickett’s and er, that’s it. If Turner goes it will near enough balance out what has been spent so far. If we then bring in Benjani and possibly another defender, it will mean we have spent more than we have sold, so take your asset stripping nonsense and stick it where the sun don’t shine!

  9. Steve
    Steve says:

    It is only a criminal act if the accounts don’t get posted at all, it is’t a criminal act if they are posted late. Realistically, the club have until May next year before they need to start thinking about going on the run. They have posted their annual returns, so I doubt there are too many nefarious deeds going on…

    MIKE HALL says:

    A very good article. One point that you failed to detail about the ineptitude of Duffen, was that he failed to insure a player with a value of £5 million and a history of chronic injury, namely Jimmy Bullard. Similarly interesting were some comments made by Sam Ricketts on his departure form the KC.

    As a company owner, I am shocked and appalled at your revelation about the company accounting that could leave the club open to intense scrutiny and the delay in submission strikes me as all is not well.

    Should we sell Turner, was it mind of an expectation of relegation this campaign and re-building for another assault form the championship in the years to come. Cries of Duffen ‘out’ might well be heard before the end of the year…

  11. Jon
    Jon says:

    I think whoever wrote this article has an agenda and includes or excludes information to suit that agenda. It reminds me of the hate campaign against Martin Fish who was fleecing Hull City along with the Needlers and Terry Dolan when there was nothing to fleece. The kind of lunacy that landed City in the hands of Lloyd, Wilby & Hinchcliffe.

    The writer seems to be unaware of the role agents play and that in demand players can pretty much do as they want. Sunderland get almost double City’s gates. City’s gates seem to be falling (see figures for the Bolton game) so the logic of extending the stadium depends on it being sold out every time City play. Sunderland have more money than Hull City. That might make them better bets to stay up than City.

    Man U couldn’t hang onto Ronaldo but the writer reckons City should be able to hang onto Turner.

    “It can’t be argued that Duffen loves appearing in the media, and I mean LOVES IT. Watch the video of the Altidore/Olofinjana signing press conference and see how many times, after already having mic time, he interjects when questions are put, not to him, but to the two players”

    So it’s smart to let the hacks rip into the players without anyone keeping an eye on them? Even government ministers have media advisers who close down interviews or kill off certain questions.

    As long as Hull City are getting gates of under 25,000, they have to survive by selling on players they have developed. It’s a fact of life. If Hull City got 80,000 every home game, we’d be stealing other club’s players.

    Trying to weave a series of conspiracy theories out of these facts is poisonous to the club.

  12. Les
    Les says:

    “Man U couldn’t hang onto Ronaldo but the writer reckons City should be able to hang onto Turner”

    Ronaldo had professed a longing to play for Real Madrid some three years before he got the move, as far as I know, Turner hasn’t always dreamed of playing for Sunderland.

    Also, Man Utd sold to help ease their well publicised debts. If City NEED to raise money, then why bid £12M for Negredo?

    I’m perplexed by some of the reactions here, all I have done is asked questions, and in each instance said it could hint to something unappetising, but equally everything could be rosy, it’d be nice to be certain either way though eh?

    There is no agenda, I’m certainly in no position to ‘oust’ Duffen if that’s what you’re implying I want, it’s just the consideration of thoughts by one season ticket holder. Also, I have accused no one of asset stripping, nor have I cast aspersions over the new vice presidents, I’ve merely listed their names, not accused them of infanticide. Cuh! If Jon and MelU want to be reminded of hate campaigns and be disgusted at ‘poisonous’ and ‘destructive’ conspiracies, that’s their prerogative, but they should perhaps read every word of the article again rather than picking out parts deemed ‘unpatriotic’ or some such.

  13. Hullboy
    Hullboy says:

    Personally I don’t think there is anything wrong with the article. It raises questions, and doesn’t make up any statements like the papers might. Perhaps everything is perfect in the land of City. But then it might not. We’ve had our troubles in the past with the running of the club and none of us want to see that sneak up on us again. As far as I’m aware we don’t have financial problems. 12m was going to be spent on Negredo without it being based on the sale of Turner. Surely then that money should still be available. If it is and we sell Turner then we may end up the first club to be relegated from the Premier League with a large bank balance. I would be gutted if Turner left our club at any point, but to leave to a club like Sunderland (no disrespect to them) is a pain. What really bothers me is that we’re thinking of selling him so close to the end of the transfer window.

  14. Mat swanland
    Mat swanland says:

    a very good article and is something i have wondered for a while about where the finances have gone? i think now is the time we have to resign our self to the fact that the negreddo deal was proboboly an engineered piece of duffen propoganda to disguise an underlying problem. also it must be said that i think even if we had of been succesfull with our bid theyre like the benjani transfer would of been a problem over personal terms. It would be interesting to see how much Mr duffen pays himself in salary. I will say this come 5pm tommorow if we have a new striker/ midfielder with legs and good quality centre defender, i will take all this back. but if we dont sign anyone, and may i just say their is a strong chance of that as we cant seem to sign anyone who has a BPL reputation at the moment, then we as fans do need to start asking questions such as where has the 30 million plus 10 million for turner gone? because so far we have been outspent by teams like wolves and stoke , who incidently have been far more succesfull in their dealings than we have. they have a chairman who rarely see in the media but when they want a player they seem to get them. What happened to the blow your socks of signing phil brown infamously promiced us. I think the players we have bought such as altidore and ghilas will be good players. but will they score the goals to keep us up? no they wont and neither can we expect them too, that is why collectivly for the pair we payed under 4 million pounds. Les makes some good points and i find it ridiculous that Mel u who i sadly had to endure watching commenting on the HDM thread ruthlessly just calls it rubbish. He makes some good points and the fans role is to hold a chairmen to account otheriwse you end up like leeds utd or Birmingham city whos chairman kept a lot of the clubs financnes to him self.
    I would like to finish by saying i am an big admired of phill brown and i think we can grow under him but i do think he cannot be immune, and i agree with les in that he seems worryingly close to Mr duffen , i.e going on golfing holidays together etc.

  15. Jon
    Jon says:

    Turner hasn’t gone yet. Brown’s trying to hang on to him. Maybe Brown knows of someone who can replace Turner who’ll cost a bit less giving leeway for people to come in during the january transfer window. We don’t know but on one hand Duffen is criticised for saying nothing then he’s criticised for mentioning transfers before they’re done and dusted.

    Of course we all want Turner to stay but if we can survive in this division without him and stay solvent while others are going bust, that’s sound management to me. Duffen and Brown got us into the Premier League. I hope they stay as long as possible because I don’t know who would do a better job that would come that we could afford.

  16. JV
    JV says:

    Perhaps he wants to play for a bigger club with less chance of going down?

    Duffen and Brown have nothing to do with Turner’s decision so this argument is flawed Les.

    Reading the above proves how small minded a lot of you are and why we are regarded as a small club. Before we came up we knew we may lose players to bigger clubs.

    The price is right and he’ll get better wages. Football is a business and here is a successful transaction.

  17. Jon
    Jon says:

    I wonder if Turner may stay simply because he’s happy in Hull. Let’s not forget Sunderland seem to flash the cash every season and it never seems to do them any good. Turner will be aware of that. Of course, players that move clubs often do nicely out of it financially. You can’t blame the guy for wanting to make more money and Sunderland are richer than Hull City.

  18. Sharpy
    Sharpy says:

    He has gone. It appears the lure of playing for Steve Brue is too great.

    As one defensive problem is solved, another is created.

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