Things We Think We Think #223


1. A bewildering, frustrating and infuriating week in this life of following Hull City. One of the worst defeats of our era, both in scoreline and performance, followed by a bitty, odd non-display against a vastly limited team when the toxicity enveloping everyone involved with the club became as visible as ever.

2. Derby had a hold on us after winning at the Circle earlier in the season, and it was always the toughest of prospects after witnessing our form fall off a cliff of late, but to be cuffed 4-0 with amateurish mistakes, half-arsed turns from big names and retribution afterwards, really did feel like a dagger through the heart of our season.

3. Steve Bruce dropped Curtis Davies for the game at Huddersfield and whatever was said or inferred about this, it seems clear to us that Davies, who made that stunningly bad error for Derby’s opening goal, was being scapegoated, surreptitiously, for what occurred in the East Midlands. The manager is also entitled to change his mind, of course, but it didn’t look good when Davies was stripped and ready to replace the injured Michael Dawson at Huddersfield, only to then be told to retake his seat as a formation change was preferred.

4. What a weird occasion at Huddersfield that was. Four goals and City coming from behind twice. Should be a sign of character that, but it was merely a symptom of being shorn of conviction in who they are and what they are capable of. Given how good and expensive – and proven – our squad, to be so shapeless and idealess is bordering unforgivable. The only reason we came back is because our opponents were incredibly limited.

5. The mood in the away ends this week has been interesting. Fatalism abounds, but no little irritation as well. There was a splendidly well-observed “City Till I Die” on 19’04” on Saturday, marking two years since the FA torpedoed preposterous idea of City changing their name. But anti-Allam chants were also in evidence. Were they prompted by the anniversary of the fans’ victory? Frustration at the season’s disintegration? Either will, ill-feeling towards the Allam family remains.

6. The Bruce Out school of thought seems to be gaining new pupils week on week, but what is to be gained by making a managerial change now? What managers are available that could revitalise our season at this point? Perhaps our view is coloured by the appointment of one time ‘temporary football management consultant’ Iain Dowie, but there doesn’t seem an obvious choice of candidate, and without one would you trust Ehab Allam getting such a massive call right? Automatic promotion is seemingly gone, but dropping out of the play-off race seems unlikely.  Steve Bruce still seems the best man to get us in form come play-off time, even if next season is a different story entirely.

7. Ahmed Elmohamady has had three excellent seasons with City, but this year’s performances suggest that he isn’t even remotely interested in a fifth, or even in impressing another club so they’ll take him. Sad. Really sad.

8. Wolves next up. We’re playing for nothing more than the opportunity to have the second leg of the play-offs at home. That doesn’t exactly quicken the pulse and we can’t imagine it’ll shift too many over-priced tickets, but somehow the manager and his players have got to regain some semblence of form before we enter those play-offs. Remember Watford in 2008? That could be us if we enter them still stricken by the current malaise. Steve Bruce could do a lot worse than simply pick his hardest-working XI and see if they can recover the situation.

9. A Fans’ Working Group meeting to discuss proposed alterations to the membership scheme was cancelled midweek, ostensibly because of the horror show at Derby. Some fans on fixed incomes or with children have suggested this may be their last season as passholders (or whatever they are to be called) if they are priced out by a lack of concessions, this needs to be resolved soon, and not  put off because of an individual game.

10. Since then, we’ve heard nothing whatsoever about the scheme or the club’s plans to reconvene a meeting of fans’ groups to iron out the problems. With that apparently not happening and the membership scheme nowhere near ready to be launched, we hope the club postpone their plans for its implementation. Proceeding with a system that is fine in principle but has significant flaws that the club apparently don’t want to discuss, and at a time when many fans are increasingly disillusioned, has the potential to cause damage both short and long term.

26 replies
  1. David Lovell
    David Lovell says:

    I’ve joined the Bruce out gang after the abject collapse of the team after the Davies mistake. He has run out of ideas, strategy and inspiration.
    Whatever happens this season it will not lead to a glorious re-energising of the playing side of the club for next season.

  2. Evie
    Evie says:

    Very honest article. As a Boro fan who follows City as my 2nd team, I had great hopes of us going up together and that seemed really possible at one stage but I now feel the fight has gone out of the team. I held an East stand season ticket until last year, but once the “shuffling” of fans combined with the raised fees and caustic comments of the Allam clan it changed everything for me. You have made a valid point about “Elmo”, loved to watch him play but the spark has gone, he’s not the only one though and I just wonder how much the Allams control what Steve Bruce does and says (thinking Barmby) I will still keep hoping for Brighton and Burnley to bottle it and would love us both to go up together still x

  3. Bill Carson
    Bill Carson says:

    Completely agree with you on point 6 and the spectre of another Iain Dowie.
    A Huddersfield fan I know told me pre-match that his team were awful!
    He also commented that our team looked overweight and unfit?
    6 wins (on paper and with our squad) is achievable. However I sat and watched on Saturday and barely cheered Diomandes equaliser. Too little too late.
    It’s surreal that we are so close to a return to the Premier League and yet most of us feel completely deflated.
    Ref: The play offs – our main aim now has to be to avoid Derby.
    The membership scheme (as it stands) is going to force a huge exodus of families and long standing OAP’s from our ranks. This is sharp contrast to Huddersfield who are on course for 15,000 season ticket sales before THIS season is finished.

  4. ann guy
    ann guy says:

    Disheartened, disillusioned, disappointed but I’m still NOT a disinterested city fan of 50 years. However, I cannot afford to renew my membership next year if the plans for lack of concessions goes through. Why would anyone not reward loyalty? City will always be in my heart but my voice, in support at the KC and away, will be silenced. One way of weakening the” City ’till I die” chant I suppose.

  5. Mike
    Mike says:

    40 years I was going until this season.. just don’t get excited anymore with players acting cheating on massive wages for doing Fuck all.. I’m getting more enjoyment watching hall rd hull utd and Ferriby.. this squad is the best squad in the championship by a country mile.. but certain players ain’t prepared to graft.. just stroll about… I’ll always be a city fan but just can’t afford you go anymore..

  6. Bond
    Bond says:

    To dig Davies out publicly when we already know Bruce has issues with Curtis, one of our better players this season spoke volumes, our midfield let the defence down badly in the Derby game, one slip and you are dropped!
    Saturdays line up left Harry being very uncomfortable on the left where Curtis is usually peerless, Alex was woeful in the centre and when he berated Elmo for the first goal, shocking, I was pleased Alex was put right by a McGreggor blast!
    Why is Meyler not being used? I was baffled when I saw the team. And Diame, he has been a passenger for the last 7-8 games, I cannot see what Bruce see’s in his selections at times, it just seems so, so desperate now!

  7. Officer Crabtree
    Officer Crabtree says:

    “Completely agree with you on point 6 and the spectre of another Iain Dowie.”

    I disagree entirely. That was a different time, a different team, different everything. And as we saw the season afterwards, City were just plain awful in 2010. A very good manager – Nigel Pearson – took almost six months to get us looking anything like a half-decent football team again. Dowie hardly covered himself in glory but we were already broken.

    In 2016 we have the players to go up. We have the best squad in the division. We are just poorly led. We’ve been poorly led ever since the closing stages of that first season back in the Premier League in truth. All Bruce has done since we beat Cardiff 4-0 at their place is – at very best – meet expectations. For much of the time he’s not even managed that. This has all come while he’s been going out of his way to back the Allams in whatever vile way of running our club they are dreaming up, and spending sums of money that teams we should consider our peers can only dream of.

    It may well be that Bruce turns things round and we go up via the play-offs. We have a bunch of big name players who, I suppose, might just come out and play in the big games. Bruce’s record of closing out seasons doesn’t inspire confidence, but you never know. However, he’s shown this season why there wasn’t a group of clubs beating down his door when he found himself out of work after getting the axe at Sunderland. We need rid. That applies as much to now as it does to the end of the season, when it seems inevitable that it’s going to happen.

  8. City Tiger
    City Tiger says:

    I’ve always liked Bruce but it feels more and more like he has just ran out of ideas and the players know it. Sure, we might not gain much by making a managerial change right now, but then, what have we got to lose?

    We have a team severely lacking in confidence and on a significant downward spiral coming into the most important part of the season. I don’t see that changing with Bruce in charge. Conversely, bring in a new manager now and it might, just might, give us fresh impetus to see us through the play-offs.

    Even if that doesn’t prove to be the case, we will probably be no worse off than we are with Bruce but the new man will at least have a months head start over the summer to assess the squad and draw up a shortlist of targets. That is, of course, assuming it’s a permanent appointment and not caretaker manager bullshit.

    Of course it’s all hypotehical, I really can’t see the Allams sacking Bruce unless he has some kind of Barmby-esque epiphany.

  9. Jonty
    Jonty says:

    People keep referring to the ‘toxic atmosphere’. I think we can attribute the source of the toxins quite easily, and until the source is removed things will not get better. Like many others I will be reducing my attendance considerably next season unless the Allams have gone.

  10. Steve Brown
    Steve Brown says:

    Being a proud Tigers fan for fifty years with all the ups and many downs I know that it’s easy to be depressed after two awful months continuing too far into April. We had a great January that showed we can be what we all thought we were: the best squad in the championship with the best manager. Now we’re wondering if we will even make the play offs.
    Forget the disputes with the owner and the terrible seemingly uncaring, bumbling management at the top we are depressed primarily because of the results. With a great owner and great management and these results we would still be depressed. First and foremost get it right on the pitch!
    For me with all his problems Bruce is still the man to manage the team at least to the end of the season and we will find it hard to find any better in the summer. We should however be thinking of his assistant. Phelan is a poor duplicate of Bruce. Strong in defense, clueless in attack. Just who is training and coaching our attack? (Or our midfield for that matter.). Bruce needs help, real help, in these areas. Fix that problem and turn our current attackers into a super fit, tactically aware and well drilled attack force to match the strong defense we have in general turned out this season and we could rightly claim to have he best squad in the championship with the best management team and we’d have the results to prove it. On his own Bruce can’t make it. With real help we’ll all be singing his praises.

  11. Shuffle
    Shuffle says:

    HDM were reporting Villa would compensate the Allams 2 million quid for Bruce.

    Bite their hands off. That would be the deal of the season. He should have gone after last seasons meltdown. To keep the squad he has and still be only 5th is criminal. The real sadness is that with no promotion this year, many players will be off and a major rebuilding needed to keep us even in the Championship…

  12. Bunkers Bill
    Bunkers Bill says:

    We are now belatedly seeing the results of 3 years of Allam (mis) rule. Dating right back to 3 years ago when they refused to have a street parade to celebrate promotion, the slow disengagement of the Hull public is now evident to the extent that we are the 5th best supported team in Yorkshire (6th if you include Middlesbrough) rather than the first as we should be, as we attempt to get back in the PL after two recent spells there and a Cup Final appearance.

    Concentrating on their paranoid schemes to avoid turnstile fraud, our owners are now harrassing and alienating the hardcore support. In the meantime gates tumble, the team falters, the manager loses his mojo, the players lose their unity and sense of purpose and the whole thing unravels before our eyes.

    No attempt to talk up our promotion bid or support their manager, the owners continue to avoid any sign of encouragement to the teams and its manager.

    What a shambles- it reminds of Watford were when we played the in the playoffs in 2008. A club with no buzz or belief, and who got hammered in the ply off semi finals.

  13. Bill Carson
    Bill Carson says:

    Dowie was the worst appointment in the history of Hull City, a complete idiot. I don’t disagree with those calling for a change but state a credible alternative please?
    Either way we all need to stick together and get behind the team. The support at Huddersfield was superb. The team should be ashamed of themselves and now roll up their sleeves and start putting some effort in.

  14. gjhdurham
    gjhdurham says:

    …but the main thing is Bruce Jnr has 5 games to cement a place in the N. Ireland squad for the Euros! You must see this prospect as the key aim for the season!
    BB comment: SB doesn’t need help from the Allams to be useless and ineffectual!

  15. Bunkers Bill
    Bunkers Bill says:

    Sad to see some fans concentrating on their own anti SB agenda rather than backing us to go up when we still have a very decent chance of promotion.

  16. Bill Carson
    Bill Carson says:

    We have six games to regroup and ascertain who is up for the fight.
    Can we finally get something out of Diomande?
    Play-offs, Brighton / Boro – we have the beating of both of these sides. Sheff Wed – nothing special and beatable.
    Derby – the ones to avoid.
    In Bruce we have to trust.
    For all the criticism (much of which is justified) he has achieved – our ONLY ever automatic promotion to the Premier League. FA Cup Final, League Cup Q/F,. possible 2nd promotion???

  17. Eastmidstiger
    Eastmidstiger says:

    Here’s to the boo boys at the Derby game, well done you morons, I get and fully understand the frustration at half time and at the end, I also paid £25 for that disgrace, but with the majority of the players darting for the changing the room in their quickest move of the night what really turned my stomach was when a small party of the players, led by Snodgrass in particular made the effort to walk the long slow walk over to the corner of the away fans to show their respect only to be greeted by boos, you could see the look of horror on his face, is it coincidence that the next game against Huddersfield was the worst performance Snodgrass has ever put in? Before everyone jumps on the blaming the Manager and the Owner bandwagon have a f’in good long look at yourself and ask if you have helped or hindered this season, where I live the City supporters are now being singled out for all the wrong reasons, yes we have reason for discontent but look up the word “supporter” in the dictionary and see how you fit as self claimed HCAFC supporter. Come on Ull lets get together again for the final push – a sunny day out in Wembley. It’s the only way.

  18. Jimmy Weekly
    Jimmy Weekly says:

    It’s rare in my City-supporting life, dating back to the 1970s, that we haul ourselves back with a last minute equaliser in a feisty Yorkshire derby to sit 4th in the second division. That this is met with harsh criticism and misery by what seems to be the majority of my City-supporting friends is disappointing. I understand their reasons, but as for me I enjoyed Saturday’s game, loved the one the Saturday before, was impressed in midweek by Derby fans and team in what is always a difficult game for us, and am looking foward to the play-offs and a real shot at bouncing straight back to the Premier League.

  19. Bill Carson
    Bill Carson says:

    East Midz and Jimmy well said.
    I did think our fans were superb at Huddersfield though.
    We do still have a great chance of promotion and via Wembley and another rare historic day in our 112 year history.
    Remember 1981 or facing football oblivion thanks to Mssrs Fish, CHEATham and Dolan?
    Now look at where we are!!!

  20. Officer Crabtree
    Officer Crabtree says:

    “That this is met with harsh criticism and misery by what seems to be the majority of my City-supporting friends is disappointing.”

    The criticism and the misery is based around the wider situation than it is the Huddersfield game in isolation. Indeed, had we – as we should have – beaten MK Dons, Forest and Brighton or Sheffield Wednesday at home, we’d have no doubt seen it as a point gained. But we didn’t. Indeed, Forest and MK Dons are in wretched form – they have been for a long time – and we failed to capitalise on that.

    We shouldn’t have gone down last season with the money we spent and the players at our disposal. We did. We should be in touch with automatic promotion this season. We’re not. We will, it seems likely, be heading into the play-offs as the team in the poorest form of whatever quartet makes up that group. And yes, promotion through a win at Wembley would no doubt be better than achieving it through a gritty 0-0 draw at Bolton, but it’s a chance we really shouldn’t be having to take. I don’t think – as Bill Carson says – we’d have a ‘great’ chance of promotion via the play-offs. Statistically, obviously it would be a one in four chance, with us being in the worst run of form of that four. That’s not ‘great’ to me.

    Over the course of the past two season, a relegation and failure to go back up with the players we’ve had at our disposal and the money we’ve spent would represent failure. Our history is irrelevant to that. We’re not the team of the 1990s anymore.

  21. Bill Carson
    Bill Carson says:

    Officer C – your points are all valid but you , as a long (suffering) standing fan know our history and we have no god given right to win this league. We now have six “on paper” winnable games,.we “should” win at least 4. I don’t agree that Wednesday and Brighton were games we should have won. Both are decent sides and both did their best to frustrate us and defend deeply. MK.Dons and Forest should have been 6 points. However it is the (albeit unlucky) defeats to Burnley and Boro which has closed the automatic promotion door. All we as fans csn do now is accept that we are in the play offs and roar our team on to success.

  22. Jimmy Weekly
    Jimmy Weekly says:

    I don’t disagree with any of the good Officer’s facts. You can’t disagree with facts. My point is that I’m enjoying the season. Just thought it worth saying that not everyone shares the misery.

  23. Officer Crabtree
    Officer Crabtree says:

    Bill – I don’t believe that we have a god-given right to win this league. But I also don’t see why our history should preclude us from expecting to win it (or – as I was demanding – be in touch with the automatic promotion places) given the players we have and the money we’ve spent. We’re a completely different club now to what we were in 1996, 1976 and 1956. My point was more one regarding expectations of Bruce anyway. He’s failed in meeting not-unreasonable expectations for two season running now. Very, very few managers in the Football League get away with that.

    Jimmy – I’d be more inclined to call it ‘disappointment’ than ‘misery’.

  24. Bill Carson
    Bill Carson says:

    Officer C – I too am very deflated.
    Seeing Middlesbrough 12 points clear of us and knowing that we are better than them is gutting.

  25. gjhdurham
    gjhdurham says:

    Only just realised that the ref that sent off Moses was from Cleveland…Teesside! Should he even have been in charge of this game!
    Bill C…interested in the comment about fitness from the Huddersfield fan. Believe I posted a comment on this a week or so ago…training, shooting, set pieces, etc.
    Been thinking that Dawson and the defence in general were giving the opposition that yard or so too much space recently…and it’s cost us. Losing Dawson for awhile may not be a bad thing if Davies and Maguire play. Think Bruce Jnr has been poor in Cup and last game. I wondered if we were trying to play zonal marking! Make Davies Captain again with licence to kick bottoms.
    We can still do it through the play offs but need to play those up for it with 2 strikers…IMO!

  26. Bill Carson
    Bill Carson says:

    GJHDurham- agree with every point you made and no, surely a ref from Cleveland shouldn’t have been in charge of such a crucial game.
    The overweight comment is interesting – I wouldn’t have said they are but if others have noticed???

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