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 Allam to accept civic hospitality from Hull City Council, given that that organisation is full of outdated dinosaurs and rugby fans (we accept there’s considerable overlap) who vary from indifference to hostility towards City, but maybe on this occasion he ought to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.