1. Welcome to the 2014/15 season. We aren’t quite sure when City last started a season in July, or if they ever had, but it feels very early. Given that the new season will last until the second half of May, this is going to be a long haul.
2. It feels genuinely exciting though, for a lot of reasons. The main one is Europe: City begin the season on Thursday away to FK AS Trenčín, the first ever competitive European fixture in our 110 years. It’s still something we’re struggling to comprehend, but it marks yet another new high point for Hull City AFC.
3. We’re also in the process of assembling the strongest squad in the club’s history. Though you can never be certain until they don black and amber, if feels as though Steve Bruce has bought well this summer, bringing in players with genuine Premier League pedigree.
4. It’s Trenčín first though, in the Slovak town of Žilina. There was no little alarm here when their adversaries from the previous round led 3-0 on the night on Thursday night, because yes, we had already booked flights and hotels based upon a trip to Slovakia. The minor fright associated with that heavy defeat did reassure us of one thing though: FK AS Trenčín must be considerably weaker than City. We haven’t played a two-legged tie since 2008 so we’ve almost forgotten how they work, but anything other than defeat on Thursday should see us through.
5. It’d be nice to mark our first foray abroad with a win, but there is the possibility that City will be a little undercooked for this game. Trenčín have already played competitive fixtures this season, while we will actually be playing a practice game after this match. That means we shouldn’t take anything for granted.
6. There won’t be a match report as such from the FK AS Trenčín game. But there will be a diary of sorts. Yes, it will be filled with smug photos of City fans drinking beer in sun-drenched Euro-city-squares and tales of foreign derring-do. The game itself is likely occupy only a small portion of the overall word count. That may not be everyone’s cup of Darjeeling, but hey, indulge us this once…
7. Kudos to the club for pricing the Trenčín second leg at a tenner if tickets are bought in advance. It’s the prospect of seeing City play abroad that really appeals about the club’s first European adventure, and a home leg against a team few Tiger Nationals had heard of prior to the draw (and not to jinx it, but the possibility of City taking a healthy lead into the return match) could mean a low attendance if prices are high. £10 to see City’s first competitive home game against continental opposition? Well judged City.
8. So what can we learn from City’s pre-season friendlies? Nothing. Because they’re pre-season friendlies.
9. Well, apart from the home kit being rather nice. We’d prefer the old crest with the club’s name and nickname on, but it’s still a lovely looking kit.
10. Three nights ago, the club hosted the first of the new fans’ working group meetings. Intended to repair relations between club and fans in the aftermath of the name change débâcle, it has promise. The old FLC meetings with Adam Pearson saw perhaps the high point of club-supporter relations in recent times. It’s a small step in the right direction, but ultimately only a full repudiation of the name change will fully fix things. We long for that moment.