1. What a gnawingly frustrating evening Saturday proved to be. City haven’t looked as lacking in fluency as that in any game this season. There’s no obvious explanation either. Sheffield Wednesday obviously performed very well, but City anywhere near their best would have won that game. So why the tepid showing? It’s a mystery.
2. Perhaps the most disappointing aspect of Saturday’s defeat was the eagerness in which some of our fan base displayed in putting the boot into City after one poor showing. We’ve said before that City have spoilt us with their superb football this season and that’s exactly how some chose to behave after a rare defeat, spoilt. “I think I’ll go to the ticket office and demand a refund” said one bitter fan as he filed out of the ground, well unless your ticket said admission to a Hull City win, you have little grounds for a refund, sir. Everyone was frustrated by defeat when earlier results gave us a chance to get nearer to top spot and put daylight between us and the chasing pack, but the outpouring of bile at the ground, on radio forums and Twitter was utterly disproportionate for the season we’re having.
3. It’s a pretty appalling thing to suggest that Jakupović was feigning injury to mask his considerable blushes after a truly terrible showing – yet that niggling doubt won’t go away. Surely a professional footballer would never stoop so low. We really want to believe no City player would ever be so pathetic.
4. If he has sustained any sort of injury and can’t play on Tuesday – who on earth is going to go in goal? Mark Oxley is cup-tied, Ben Amos is back at Manchester United and Joe Cracknell is barely out of school. Emergency loan? Trust young Cracknell with his first ever senior performance? However disappointing he was on Saturday, City could really do with Jakupović being fit.
5. Who else is likely to play at Orient then? Make the first team finish the job and try to re-establish some fluency against lesser opposition in a lesser tournament – or make the second string XI redeem itself? Now there’s a tricky one. We suspect Mr Bruce will stick with his fringe players.
6. Two weeks ago we wrote to the new Police & Crime Commissioner for this area, Matthew Grove – the winner of November’s election to the post. We wanted to ask whether the impeccable conduct of City fans in the Leeds and Huddersfield games will mean the end of pointless lunchtime kick-offs. We’ve not yet received a full reply as it’s apparently not under his jurisdiction, but we have been promised one soon by whoever actually makes these decisions. We’ll reproduce it upon arrival.
7. Psychology has always been as much a part of management as team selection and tactics, and Steve Bruce’s handling of Cameron Stewart’s mindset after the Orient game was masterful. His public chiding of Stewart for being unfit was followed by a quasi-apology and public praise that the player had responded in the desired way by training like a ‘beast’. The demise of Cameron Stewart has been a big disappointment, though it hasn’t been evident for some time the lad clearly has bags of talent, and hopefully Bruce can draw it out of him.
8. Such psychology may be needed to halt Jay Simpson’s slump too, his belief-free spot kick was emblematic of his loss of form and makes his impossible goal against Wolves seem like an eternity ago. When he was on form earlier this season some suggested that Barmby was very wrong to leave him out in the cold last year, but the lack of confidence shown in his last few outings replicates the Jay Simpson of 2011/12 who didn’t justify selection. Jay, leave penalty kicks to a German.
9. Away from City, but are we close to reaching a tipping point on ticket prices in this country? The national media’s love affair with the current English champions has come in handy for once, with plenty of publicity afforded for them sending back nearly a thousand tickets for their game at Arsenal yesterday. £62 for a regular League game is just insane. £28 for Sheff Weds at the Circle on Saturday was too much. Anything north of £20 for a second tier game really is pushing it; yet it’s almost always a fair bit more than that. It’s perhaps a little early to be sure, but there are increasing signs that football fans are going to vote with their feet very soon if the madness continues.
10. We saw signs of this on Saturday. Television or not, crap season or not, it was a surprise to see a club of Sheffield Wednesday’s stature bringing such a modest support to Hull. Similarly, a total gate of under 17,000 is a disappointment. It’s too expensive – but do City have any intention of doing anything about it? A week after spending £3.5m on players is perhaps a bad time to suggest the club reduce its charges, but if thousands can’t afford to go and see these new players in person…