1. The wheels, if they have not yet quite fully fallen off, can no longer truthfully be described as securely attached. A season of rich promise is slowly, horribly disintegrating in front of us and no-one seems to have any idea as to how it’s happened or how to fix it. And having only just adjusted ourselves to the unhappy fact that the title is out of out reach, we now fear that City’s automatic promotion prospects are similarly vanishing.
2. Middlesbrough away followed the same maddening pattern. Loads of possession. Relatively few chances, and wastefully spurning those did at arrive. Being undone by a sucker punch at the other end. All followed by Steve Bruce’s increasingly grating post-match reflections, a form of uncomprehending ruefulness.
3. Not that Steve Bruce should shoulder the blame for 2015/16’s near-collapse alone. His players are highly culpable. They know it, too. Their collective decision-making has dramatically worsened of late, with panic clear to see whenever they approach the opposing goal. Hence the infuriating quantity of hopelessly over-ambitious shots flying miles off target from outside the area, the incessant playing of the wrong ball in the area, the collective fear of getting into a goalscoring area. And so on.
4. Bruce’s decision to drop Hernández for Aluko naturally prompted debate, and given that the former is our leading scorer and the latter is, err, not, it’s understandable that many eyebrows were raised. In the end, Aluko played tolerably well and Hernández hasn’t exactly been free-scoring of late anyway. It probably mattered little; it’s not just a personnel issue, it’s a confidence and attitude issue.
5. It’s clear that the Allams have endorsed this controversial membership scheme on the proviso (and with the expectation) that Hull City will be contributing to the next Premier League season. That the latest hare-brained, spiteful, badly-spun project which instigated a round of furious collective backlash from the supporters has coincided with a sharp decline in form for the team is quite poetic, as the number of people who will tolerate and invest in such a dastardly, schismatic plan will be a good deal lower if at Championship level. It’s almost worth a) stomaching the idea for a few weeks, and b) maintaining the bad run of results just to see the undoubted hammering to their gluttonous egos they would take. Because everyone is going to pay a three-figure top-up sum for the same football in the same seat in 2016/17, yes?
5a. We speak unseriously, of course. We’re desperate for a return to the Premier League. The consequences of not making it this season, with a likely summer firesale/managerial departure/falling gates/£80m debt, are quite hideous.
6. The Allams really do take a holistic approach to outraging supporters of the club. They’re not content with riling only those who value the club’s historic identity, fans with disabilities (by removing concessions), people who expect tickets bought from self-service machines to be recognised by turnstile scanners and East Stand patrons evicted at short notice to make way for away fans. No, they are truly inclusive, now targeting children and those of pension age for upset by removing all concessions. In a perverse way, that family’s ability to systematically anger everyone is impressive.
7. Let’s be clear: a membership scheme has plenty to commend itself. It could, in time, be quicker and simpler. As hinted at under the current proposal, there’s scope for price reductions, albeit ones causing possible disruption. But when the scheme was presented at the recent FWG meeting which we attended, numerous issues were raised, not the least of which was the intolerable eviction of South and Upper West patrons. Not enough of these issues have been adequately resolved. The problems raised at that time, and since its hasty unveiling last week, suggest that this idea is not yet ready. It could be the way forward in time, but that time is not now.
8. ‘Earn your stripes’ is a snappy slogan for a membership scheme, but it’s also highly insensitive. We’d imagine an existing passholder in the West Stand upper who pays for a child or children to go with them, facing both eviction and a likely net increase in seat costs for the group, wouldn’t be too happy at being told they need to ‘earn’ those imposed changes. Similarly, whoever tweeted ‘stay together‘ on the club’s Twitter account in the wake of the Middlesbrough defeat, failed to consider the irony of those words when the club are suggesting seat moves for a lot of people which will split up groups who’ve formed bonds after years of sitting together.
9. We’re pleased Curtis Davies, a fine defender and a very good pro, has signed a new two-year contract after months of waiting. We’re suspicious of the timing, however, with the news coming out a few hours after the City social media feeds were on the point of exploding through indignation while the club’s name was being blackened on local radio.
10. Given that March has been a horrendous month for City on and off the pitch, it’s probably handy that we now don’t play again until April. Quite why the traditionally exciting Easter weekend for club football has been sacrificed for a couple of international friendlies is beyond us, but the break will probably do everyone associated with City a bit of good.