Things We Think We Think #97

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1. City’s promotion celebration party on Wednesday was enjoyable enough once the players and manager came out to receive their well-earned adulation, but a four-figure crowd for it rather speaks for itself. It may be galling for the Mr. Allam to accept civic hospitality from Hull City Council, given that that organisation is full of outdated dinosaurs and rugby fans (we accept there’s considerable overlap) who vary from indifference to hostility towards City, but maybe on this occasion he ought to have swallowed his pride, smiled for the cameras and got the Tigers out on the streets of Hull, not cocooned in the football stadium for an event that necessitated two separate trips there to attend for non passholders .

2. After all, if he does wish to get his own way in the end, he’ll need public opinon on his side. They may not be strangers to witless paranoia and long-term enemies of rational conduct, but nonetheless it’s worth observing the visceral hatred one part of the eggchasing fraternity has towards City’s owners. It’s tempting to dismiss them as a stupid irrelevance, but their stroppy opposition is an obstacle to his grand plans.

3. Bickering with the Council via the media advances whose interests exactly? Allam Sr. reiterated his stance that he will not negotiate again with the Council, but where does that leave us? Pursuing a stadium in Melton? How can Hull City leaving the city of Hull possibly be a good thing? Furthermore, noises from the club this week have suggested a financially cautious approach to life in the Premier League, certainly when compared to the profligacy that left us needing Mr. Allam to step in just to keep the club afloat in the first place, and this is a good thing. But given how much the Allams have already put in, and both MD Nick Thompson and predecessor Mark Maguire have spoken of perpetual financial life support from that family thus far, what will adding an out of town stadium to that tab do for hopes of fiscal independence any time soon?

How much would a new stadium cost? When factoring in infrastructure costs to the bill for an actual stadium you’re looking at a minimum of £50M, and don’t expect East Riding Council to offer up much money, they can’t afford to mend the potholes on some wretched stretches of road, let alone help fund the road access to a new ground for a club in a very good ten year old facility which more than meets their needs. Attendances were pitiful this season for a side chasing promotion, only our final day ‘Premiergeddon’ battle with Cardiff sold out. How many games will sell out next year? City could probably sell 70,000 tickets against Manchester United but so can every team, but when Norwich, Swansea, Fulham, Stoke and Cardiff come will we sell out? In 2009/10 our second Premier League season, we got 22,822 against Wigan, 22,999 versus Bolton, and 23,759 when hosting Birmingham, and unless you’re selling out every game, you don’t need a new stadium.

4. What the club really could do to upgrade is their training and academy facilities. Millhousewoods Lane was an adequate base once, but no longer if we have long term top flight ambitions. It’s not as sexy to talk of new training grounds, but it’s a more pressing need than another stadium.

5. When he was our owner, Adam Pearson spoke several times about an agreement already in place for City to fund expansion for the KC Stadium themselves when needed, and any extra tier built would belong to them, giving City a percentage of stadium ownership. That means City and their owners would not be ‘paying for improvements on a rented house’, they would be purchasing a stake in our home as well as improving it for the club’s benefit. Such a deal could be reached with the Allams and the Council if our owners were willing to negotiate, although they’ve recently ruled out ever doing so. The Allams simply cannot reasonably expect the Council to just give them the freehold for promises of sports village investment, the KC Stadium is a municipal capital investment and there are laws regarding how such entities  are passed on. This stand-off between both parties benefits neither, and harms the reputations of both.

6. We are childishly excited at the prospect of spending a week in Portugal with City in July. Let’s hope the club get a couple of good friendlies, and they may wish to consider the idea of putting together travel packages and arranging a supporters’ event while over there too. Nothing will ever top China in 2009, but pre-season tours are fantastically good fun and we can’t wait to file a drink-sodden report from it.

7. It’s tempting to laugh at the remarkable fate that befell Leicester yesterday, and to glory in Nigel Pearson’s discomfort. The manner of his leaving and his ostentatiously aloof demeanour make it difficult to sympathise with him; but had he not done a lot of the spadework to stabilise City in 2010/11 and steer us away from a Wolves-like fate, we may not be in a position to await Premier League football next season. Chortling at Leicester’s deluded fans, in the other hand, is most definitely a pleasure in which to indulge.

8. For all that, we’d be very pleased if Steve Bruce quickly embarked upon a spot of carcass-picking in Leicestershire, starting with a bid for Kasper Schmeichel.

9. If this weekend had seen the end of the football season (play-offs excepted), what a pleasing high it could have finished on. A surprisingly good FA Cup Final and the ever-satisfying sight of the underdogs besting the favourites – we could have carried the happy glow of that throughout the summer. Instead, we were straight back into the Premier League circus, and Wigan Athletic’s glory was instantly eclipsed by their own probable relegation. Football’s ability to shoot itself in the foot is truly a universal constant.

10. Nonetheless it offers one particular cause for optimism: if Wigan can win the FA Cup, so can City.

25 replies
  1. Bartontiger
    Bartontiger says:

    The Allams, as we all know, have been the saviours of Hull City as a football club. Please do not undo all the good work pursuing this new stadium folly. As quite rightly said at the moment we don’t particularly need a new stadium. Adam Pearson even knew we didn’t particularly need a stadium extension immediately.

    Hull City fans are bloody fickle and 3 or 4 seasons of Premier League mediocrity will leave us like Wigan struggling to sell out the majority of home games.

    As quite rightly said sort out youth development and training facilities first after all who wants a new 35k capacity stadium completed in 3 years time and finding us in League One?

  2. Mike
    Mike says:

    Great ‘Things We Think We Think’ yet again. Love Monday mornings!

    Regarding point 3, I think it’s a little unfair to judge our attendances on those numbers. I think a more indicative number in the percentage of home tickets sold. Bearing in mind the Premier League rules force you to provide 10% of the capacity to away fans, and if I remember rightly, Wigan, Bolton & Birmingham didn’t bring many fans at all.

    I wouldn’t see any harm in adding another 5,000 seats to the KC Stadium, especially when you consider the average Premier League attendance this season is around 36,000. We definitely have the potential to be a bigger club, but we can’t do that with a 25,000 seater stadium. UTT!

  3. Johnny Yen
    Johnny Yen says:

    Your final point about the FA Cup is the winning card to slap down on the table in any argument with people who’d rather be a big fish in the small pond of the Championship than a whipping boy in the Premier League. We should take the League Cup deadly seriously next season too.

  4. suttontiger
    suttontiger says:

    Top Report again but goes without saying.

    Desperately need a mediator in this mess with the Council – Lord Haskins has offered his support. This needs to be done asap.

    Adding an uppper tier to the East Stand at the Club’s and not the Council’s expense is a priority along with the training ground/academy.

    The foundations were never put in plave for this extension and so a stand alone ‘building’ would surely be easy to sort in terms of ownership?

    The stadium will be sold out all season even though the current 25,404 capacity will never be reached with the local plod.. thus 5000 more seats enables the Club to surpass this figure without the segregation anomolies.

    As pressing a problem is the scheduling of FC matches – I was shocked on my week break to Spain to learn that FC played a SL game at the KC the fucking night before we played Cardiff for the richest prize in Sport – this cannot be allowed to continue.

  5. gjhdurham
    gjhdurham says:

    Agree with much of this Opinion….especially training ground comments as this determines reserve, etc leagues! Also with most of above comments. Was only thinking something similar yesterday when looking at Stoke’s gate, etc. A standing area behind the North goal would put up numbers also, and improve atmosphere?
    Noted point 10: Seem to remember Phil Brown being sneered at by some for expressing such ambition….OK for the Allams to express such a European entrance ambition…? Football fans, eh!?

  6. Geoff
    Geoff says:

    Can’t believe you didn’t mention bruce getting his hands on the premiership trophy – even if it was just to give to ManUre.

  7. Westander
    Westander says:

    Re: attendance, I don’t think that the club helps by its’ complicated pricing arrangement based on several different parameters, who city are playing, where you are sat, how old you are, etc., it doesn’t make buying a ticket that straightforward for anyone who has to watch the pennies. Also, concessions for disabled fans are not available on the internet booking service!
    I renewed my pass but it was not the lure of Premier League football that convinced me to do it, it was my son. The pricing for children is pretty good and going to watch city gets him away from his xbox for a couple of hours!

  8. Clint Naysmith
    Clint Naysmith says:

    When you increase the size of a football stand, you build most of it behind the current stand, not on top. The front few rows of an upper east stand may over sail TD existing seats, but the rest wouldn’t – the upper west stand demonstrates this.

    There is room behind the current east stand to build another tier, the outer concourse is wide and the grass bank that supports the path leading up to the railway bridge can be removed. The strength of the foundations of the existing east stand is pretty much irrelevant.

  9. Amber__Nectar
    Amber__Nectar says:

    Geoff, why would we mention that? Bruce was there, as the first Manchester United captain under Sir Alex Ferguson to lift the Premier League trophy, to present it to the last Manchester United captain under Sir Alex Ferguson (or, as it turned out, Ferguson himself). His current job bore no relevance to yesterday. Yeah, we could say something like “how great to see the City manager picking up the Premier League trophy” except it would be pointless, repetitive and witless, would contribute nothing, and would take up a place in TWTWT better filled by something vastly more important.

    And calling them ManUre takes you into the territory of the crass nu-fan who thinks Tim Lovejoy is a god and that Football 365 is the principal voice of footballing reason. I’m sure you think neither of these apply.

  10. suttontiger
    suttontiger says:

    Clint – I agree there is ample room to build a standalone ‘up and over’ East Stand Upper on that side of the ground.

    The ‘strength’ of the foundations are not irrelevant if as many seem to think extending the existing East Stand directly above can easily be done (at least without disruption)

  11. richard pearson
    richard pearson says:

    Oval balls and spherical ones will never mix (no, don’t ask!!).
    The damage RL does to the playing surface is obvious and now we will be expected to provide a pitch fit for the country’s best footballers. I could not believe how bad the KC pitch was for our last few games. Is there no possible means of getting Hull FC out of the KC and into their own ground? Development and ground share at Ionians, perhaps? – spherical balls all. Financial backing would be a small price to pay to rid us of Hull FC – I’ve a tenner to start the collection.
    Don’t gloat over NP and Leicester, sympathise! – it could happen to any team and it was awful. Remember Deeney’s baiting of City fans recently at the KC? Who backs Watford now?

  12. Dan
    Dan says:

    Perhaps the uneven surface leveller of this season will work in our favour next season ?

  13. Bill Baxter
    Bill Baxter says:

    Richard, it’s been a shared stadium from day one & will continue to be so until such time that the council relinquish control.
    Hull F.C. have just as much right to be there as City, get over it.

  14. Les
    Les says:

    I used to be of the ‘get out of our stadium’ mindset but realised it’s a bit cunty, regardless of being the primary tenant, regardless of being Premier League. That stadium was the catalyst for our rise up the leagues and it was built for us gratis, and all this sack off the KC and move to Melton bollox just strikes me of ungrateful, entitled cuntery. The day we move to Melton is the day I let go of supporting ‘Hull’ City.

  15. Officer Crabtree
    Officer Crabtree says:

    Aye, regardless of the arguments for or against the Allams or Hull City Council, it should be remembered that the latter are about as important in our recent history as the former. Hull City Council have their faults, but they didn’t have to build us a stadium fit for the Premiership while we were languishing in the fourth tier. That money could have gone to many, many other areas within a city that has been shorn of investment for a long time. To paint the council as the enemy so soon after this has happened is unfair. And ‘Getting rid’ of FC isn’t an option. The stadium was built for both clubs and that’s how it should remain.

  16. Paul
    Paul says:

    Agree with Les, and we are only where we are BECAUSE of Hull CC and the sale of Kingston Communications in the 1990s. We became the club we are now due to moving grounds and the immediate impact that had on the club, its perception and its attendances. BP was falling down and we would be still 3rd/4th division without Hull CC and Adam Pearson’s vision back then. One will always be grateful to the Allams and hope that they push us to greater things but one cannot forget that this was built by the council for the community, and as much as it pains me the egg chasers included in that. That said Hull FC do need to be more accomodating towards city and when they play their games as the long term success of the KC is down to City as it is City who sell many more tickets and bring in much more revenue.
    The groundsman also needs to get his act together!

  17. Geoff
    Geoff says:

    Well thats me told and amused me. You are quite right that there were more important things to discus. I just liked seeing our mangers with the trophy so soon after being promoted. I am not a die hard fan, but went to my share of games before I left yorkshire at 13 and do follow from a distance – you’re weekly post keeps me very welll informed thanks for that.

    and finally who is Tim Lovejoy?

  18. Officer Crabtree
    Officer Crabtree says:

    “and finally who is Tim Lovejoy?”

    You’re a lucky, lucky man, Geoff.

  19. breadvan
    breadvan says:

    There seems to me so much tetchiness and angst out there. Someone needs a nice hot mug of cocoa and a biscuit. We did get promoted you know.

  20. Fez
    Fez says:

    The council of the day, that built the stadium are to be commended. The council of this day are to be comdemned for the manner of their arrogance towards Hull City AFC; the Lord Mayor included.

    Why any professional competitive sports-team is expected to put a lid on it’s ambition is totally beyond me; nowt so incredibly lack-lustre as the incredibly lack-lustre.

    A 35,000 capacity stadium is necessary to match the ambition of the owners – the one we have is lack-lustre!

    There was nothing wrong with the ambition of Phil Brown, it was just everything else.

    I thought the pitch against Cardiff actually won plaudits for its condition?

    Please, please lets have some focuss and ambition (again!) on a new Keeper and a new striker; that’s the top and bottom of it. 😉

  21. Occasional Fan
    Occasional Fan says:

    Fez.
    We’ve just averaged around 17,000 crowds for a promotion season playing (at times) some splendid football. Tottenham only average 35.000. Why do we need a stadium of that size?

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