Things We Think We Think #221


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.

16 replies
  1. Bill Carson
    Bill Carson says:

    Great piece, exactly how I feel about everything at the club just now.
    Never thought I’d see the day when I was priced out of watching City but that day may have arrived.
    37 years of loyal support, I’ve already been moved once, which I vented my displeasure at.
    I’d rather not go than sit in the cold, dark miserable South Stand.
    TTWT221 = Excellent.
    Any hope anyone?

  2. Michael Coates
    Michael Coates says:

    As always asks the right questions.
    Surely this is now how to not run a club!
    Owners with money but no idea what so ever what a club means to fans then keep pushing them to except ridiculous new changes till enough is enough,
    We need to protest these changes quick.
    But I’m afraid quite a few fans ie youngsters & now OAPs will just not renew, or change seats.

  3. Chris Stern
    Chris Stern says:

    Spot on if I may say so. In my case, as I spend several thousand pounds a year traveling to Hull from Greater Manchester and to nearly every away game, a hundred or two either way to get into the KC for a season is not overly important. The removal of all concessions and forced movement most certainly is. The patronising offer that I can come down (90 miles) to the stadium to be offered a new seat in an exciting new atmosphere makes my blood boil. I’m not given to bad language but if I take up this unmissable opportunity I might just use some. I went through years of participating in atmospheres under the east stand at BP. Friday’s match was a the first I’ve missed since Cardiff away. I have a to admit that I laughed when Middlesbrough scored. I love Hull City, I get a buzz every time I go to a match win lose or draw. I like the friends I’ve made. Allam United or Allam Destructive, as it might be called, isn’t my club. It hurts like hell!

  4. ann guy
    ann guy says:

    I am 66, and belong to a large family of very long standing city supporters. We’ve been through it all together over the years and have always fought against unfavourable decisions Made by, in our opinion, deluded owners. I travel to games home and away which sometimes I struggle to afford. However, I have always argued that the camaraderie and entertainment at city games are well worth the effort and money. No longer the case. It’s heart breaking and will leave a huge gap in both my and my family’s lives.

  5. Richard pearson
    Richard pearson says:

    Every sympathy with Chris Stern. There you have it. A fan who goes everywhere to follow his club but smacked in face by the insensitivity of the owners. All City fans, even ones who have supported the club before the Allams ever knew where Hull is, are treated with apparent contempt. The owners have no interest in football or they would be down at the KC backing the their club.
    Sorry, but my gratitude account is now overdrawn.

  6. John from Brid
    John from Brid says:

    Back to the football for me, Bruce has said the players are a bit nervous at this time of the season. Could someone ask him why Burnley and Brighton players are not nervous and getting good results. Not just getting at Bruce though, a few weeks ago our illustrious captain said ” Hull City will finish in the automatic promotion places, but I don’t know who the other team will be ” that is looking a bit optimistic now, like the defender who said last season there are 10 teams that could get relegated from the premier league but Hull are not one of them. Regards the booing at recent games, I think it is counter productive. Booing at the team and the fans ( 19.04 chanters ) is not the right way to go.

  7. Dr Seuss
    Dr Seuss says:

    The Boro match was on Sky and I “gave way” to my wife who wanted to watch something else. To be honest I was so hurt by the owner’s actions that I couldn’t have watched it anyway. Of course though I followed it on the BBC website. Kept flicking to it every 5 mins or so. When Boro scored I closed the ipad. And you know what, I didn’t care. The first time in fifty years that it hasn’t hurt us losing. I paid up my membership of HCST though so the hope is still there that someday I might get back to watching City but not while the Allams are there. No thanks.
    So I’ve got £600+ pounds free this August and I’m going to “waste” it by going to see my 7 month old granddaughter in Switzerland a couple of times. At least I know that she’s glad to see me. At the KC I’m just an annoyance, a barrier to “progress”. He can shove his “gift to the community” right up his fat arse.

  8. Bond
    Bond says:

    We sit in the upper west, and pay for a family of 5 season tickets, 3 are concessions because of age.
    We chose our seats and have paid the most of any area in the ground, without complaint for years, only to be turned out of our seats.
    We have made friends of the people around us and meet at away games, we will now be forced to separate.
    I also follow the team on all away games along with at least two family members, it is what we look forward to.
    Last season I paid £1,860.00 for our seats, this season will be £3,050.00in a similar pitch side position.
    2014/15 season we had a 30% increase in season ticket prices, then after being told we would have no further rise we had an immediate 8% rise last season along with relegation.
    Less than 12 months later we are being told we have to pay a staggering 64% more to sit in seats we have been ordered to move to.
    I am sorry to say we will no longer attend home matches.
    We may continue to attend away matches, but can no longer stomach what is being done to this football club’s fans at their own ground.
    To Assem and Ehab good luck with your progressing of the football club, you have worn us down with your dictatorship of this club and your disdain of us, the fans and have almost destroyed any passion we once had for this, our football club and that is from people that are most loyal, that once appreciated your stewardship.
    We desperately hope to return to home games if anyone ever takes on the club and restores some sort of normality but I think by then we may all have found other ways to spend our money and our weekends. goodbye city and bloody good luck!!!

  9. BazzaBeverley
    BazzaBeverley says:

    As a supporter of exactly 50 years standing, I couldn’t imagine not supporting my club. I feel as passionate now as the day I started following City in 1966. Owners come and go, and frankly there have been some poor ones, to say the least, in that time, but nothing has deterred my support, nor will it. And whatever the failings of the present owner, he is not responsible for the downturn in form.

  10. Cayman Tiger
    Cayman Tiger says:

    Crikey some honest heart felt sentiments above. Respect. All that is until Bazza’s last sentence. Allam is infact directly responsible for the downturn in form, due to the fact he didn’t sack Bruce last season when he should have, it ultimately comes down to that imho.

  11. Bill Carson
    Bill Carson says:

    All about PR and clearly our club are useless at it.
    E.g. Our average adult season ticket this season (way too high).@ £550.
    Reduce this to £395 and sell more seats.
    OAP (pensions have stagnated with low interest rates) freeze or reduce.
    Kids tickets (fans of the future) freeze or slight (5% max) increase. Result overall savings for the fans, no disruption and probable attendance increase.

  12. Les
    Les says:

    Heartbreaking stuff on this thread and the Membership scheme news piece. People considering not doing something that has come naturally for years. It’s backed up by what I’ve been told face to face by some people, that they can no longer afford to watch professional football with his own children in his own city, and even if he could the social element of sitting near known people is a big part of supporting the club will likely be gone. For all their Tripadvisor review bullshit, there is a lack of understanding that supporting a club is as much about who you support it with as the ‘product’.

  13. Eastmidstiger
    Eastmidstiger says:

    Point 3 – how does that not point back to the Manager, surely it obviously points to gaps and flaws on the training ground, which is something we have been seeing in our attacking side of the game, or lack off attacking in most cases, ever since the current Manager was appointed?

  14. Bill Carson
    Bill Carson says:

    Les – spot on. When we had terraces we all stood where we wanted, with the people we wanted to stand with. Then came seating which disrupted this but we booked with our mates. Then City decided to move the away fans, more disruption. Now, even if we can afford to go, a guy with his son will be forced to sit in the cheapest seats, whereas his mates, who now have cheaper seats, will want to sit wherever they feel most at home.
    This zonal pricing scheme is ideal for the theatre where people sit quietly and applaud politely, it does NOT fit with football.
    The attendances and at times the atmosphere at City has been crap this season. Imagine how bad it will be if this piece of garbage goes through?
    Why can’t owners listen to and understand football and the fans that made the game, the greatest spectator sport.

  15. gjhdurham
    gjhdurham says:

    Sad that there’s so much about next season ticketing, and not more on the current fading promotion campaign. Understandable though…
    It gives no pleasure to say that Bruce is fulfilling my prophesy of failure to get automatic promotion due to dropping points from his crap tactics, failure to inspire, etc. Seen it all before! The only question is can we scrape up through the Playoffs. This seems a tough ask with the strike force available…while others strengthen. The situation is becoming more dodgy than I imagined, which is ironic considering we weren’t too bad at Bro…inspite of leaving our key striker on the bench!
    Bruce doesn’t exactly lose the dressing room, but he does seem to lose two or three players each year. Bad time to upset Abel. Was it not playing him v Arsenal? Like Curtis last year, Elmo’s not been on it alll season… Promotion may hinge on getting Abel back onside….if he doesn’t get injured on international duty! Still he’ll be too tired to play for a week or two…won’t he?

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