1: We commit ourselves to ten bits of opinionated posturing each week with these articles and yet now, as we finally allow ourselves to take stock of everything, we have to try to review the season and express our hopes for the future in ten bite-size chunks. Perhaps saying “what a bloody amazing season” over and over again will suffice?
2: After all, it was just that. Amazing. We stayed up, comfortably. We attained our highest ever league position. We reached the FA Cup final. We qualified for Europe. Come on, we are still Hull City, right?
3: And that’s only half-joking, of course, as the manager and players have had to achieve all this while verbal warfare went on throughout the campaign between the supporters and club owner. That the whole Hull Tigers farce didn’t derail the season completely is a massive tribute to the playing and coaching staff and yet still bordering on miraculous. Even though the battle was won by the exceptional City Till We Die campaign in April, we worry that the war is still to be fought, judging by Assem Allam’s typically ill-timed comments just before the FA Cup final.
4: If he does try it again next season, we will never forgive him. We’re already heading that way after he shifted our biggest singing section at the KC to another area of the ground without asking them, then whacked up the season ticket prices for the ordinary supporter (but not the corporate lickspittles) by 30 per cent. The man is a shameless bully.
5: By quite a contrast, Steve Bruce has been simply magnificent for City, hasn’t he? A clearly gifted manager, motivational, astute, daring when required and conservative at other times, it seems he has really, really taken to our club and we’re very happy for him to do so. The stuff he has delivered in two seasons and the quality of player he has convinced to don the black and amber (after a season of seeing Tom Huddlestone treat a football with the kind of love, respect and sensitivity of which Barry White would have been proud, we still can’t quite believe he does it in Hull City’s name) makes him quite easily the best manager we’ve had. The achievements of Cliff Britton, Colin Appleton, Brian Horton, Peter Taylor and Phil Brown will always remain gratifying and obvious, but this is very, very different.
6: Huddlestone’s impact only partially explains our success though, as the purchase of Curtis Davies has been nothing short of a revelation. He wasn’t necessarily welcomed with a ticker-tape parade – we bought him from Birmingham, after all – but his displays of maturity, calm, timing, leadership and courage at the back have had City fans purring like docile pussycats all season. He is, very simply, a phenomenon. And a word for Allan McGregor, whose arrival meant that we actually had a goalkeeper for the first time in aeons who was ours, actually ours. And a fine one to boot.
7: Kudos also to the players who have stepped up from the Championship and not looked remotely out of place. Liam Rosenior, James Chester, Ahmed Elmohamady, Robbie Brady, Paul McShane and especially David Meyler have all played major roles this season and have responded superbly to Bruce’s faith in them.
8: Imagine what a full season of Nikica Jelavić and Shane Long playing up front will be like. And if we can get to an FA Cup final without them, well…
9: This week’s housework has seen Robert Koren and Abdoulaye Faye leave the club, and both depart with our warmest regards. It’s something Nigel Pearson should be thanked for again and again that he managed to persuade Koren, who will have had plenty of suitors after he was surprisingly released by West Bromwich Albion in 2010, to come to a club that was on its arsebones, skint and scarred by the egos and cliques of the previous regime. Koren was convinced, then for four years he was convincing. He scored a mixture of brilliant long range goals in the Championship and was a steady, professional and wise presence in the dressing room this season even as his powers on the pitch began to wane. As for Faye, well the man was just a monster, wasn’t he? Jolly off the pitch and petrifying on it; when we needed personality and out-and-out aggression at the back, especially as we looked towards promotion last season, he supplied it. He was never going to be involved much this season but it always felt a better squad for having him in it.
Talking of this week’s events: we very simply would like to say one word to Matty Fryatt: Stay.
10: Off-diary stuff notwithstanding, the next date to look forward to on City business is in the middle of July, when the identity of our opponent in our first ever European game will be narrowed down to one of two, and then on July 31st we take to the field against whichever one of them comes through their qualifier. Just like signing Huddlestone, just like reaching the FA Cup final, just like going 2-0 up in said game, can you believe this kind of thing is really happening to us?
As a footnote, thanks for your continued support for Amber Nectar, your comments here and on the forums, your social media input and your enthusiasm for the podcasts (the last one of those is coming in the next 24 hours). We never go a day without being incredibly grateful. Enjoy the World Cup and have a great summer. Reh.