Things We Think We Think #235

TWTWT

1. A week to remember, though not entirely to savour. The nature of the defeat to Manchester United was incredibly tough to stomach but the manner of the performance was little more than sensational. The attitude, the commitment, the energy – all of it proved just how much this reduced squad of professionals feel it right now.

2. You’d almost rather be 4-0 down at half time and all hope extinguished than having a fully deserved point snatched away in second half added time. There was a grim inevitability to our being breached late on after gallantly repelling an expensively assembled team that lay siege to our goal for most of the second half. We were however, agonisingly close to our finest result against Manchester United in the Premier League era (because let’s face it the 0-0 at the end of 2014/15 was nothing to cheer as that game confirmed relegation and a win for the visitors couldn’t improve their league standing so they were on the beach, all but Marouane Fellaini who performed knee surgery on Paul McShane using his studs, but we digress) but as in 2008/09 (away) and 2013/14 (home) we had to make do with heroic defeat. Bah! Football is  a cruel game sometimes.

3. Our heroes in defeat are led by a man who, at almost 53, has now made it clearer than ever that he has done his time as a second-in-command picking up the cones from the training ground and is ready to be the main man picking the players instead. And, frankly, Mike Phelan could have done little more to prove his case so far this season.

4. Whether he gets it, of course, is still in the lap of the gods. A takeover, according to Ehab Allam’s programme notes at the weekend, has been agreed. The new owners have a huge decision to make and, with the transfer deadline approaching and the squad pleading for reinforcements, will need to make it quickly. Phelan’s healthy, mutually respectful relationship with the players makes him the obvious candidate right now. And you can’t argue with results, even if one of those results was a 1-0 defeat cruelly snatched from the jaws of a miraculous goalless draw.

5. We enjoyed Exeter very much. A westcountry summer’s evening in a pleasant city, a good match, a terrace to stand on, a result in 90 minutes, a decent run-out for some promising young players, a return to action for the mighty Harry Maguire. It’s just a pity that the draw for round three – Stoke City away – couldn’t match the appeal, or even hang on to its coat-tails.

6. There are those who would take the £14-20m that Aston Villa are purported to have offered City for Abel Hernández, but they seem to be ignoring the lesson learnt when we sold Shane Long to Southampton: a goalscorer in the hand is worth £12m in the bush. Or something. While it sounds like a staggering amount of money for Hernández, how much would it cost to buy even a comparable forward, let alone a better one, in today’s market where every new TV deal adds several noughts to already inflated contracts? Are there even any available this close to the window’s closure anyway?

7. There’s a goalkeeper incoming, whether or not we bolster the striking corps, as David Marshall signs from Cardiff for £5m. Those of an overly sentimental bent feel this is unfair on Eldin Jakupović, who has made a highly competent start to 2016/17, but he should be judged on his body of work, not just on recent performance. Then there is the wider picture to consider: there is doubt over Allan McGregor’s long term availability, and Dušan Kuciak doesn’t seem to be taken seriously as a contender for first choice. Marshall’s signing seems prudent, and good value.

8. City have struck a deal with Viking to get full match commentary on to commercial radio in the locality for the first time in many, many years. Now, bear with us on this, because it’s an odd one. Viking’s parent company, like most of the nation’s local commercial radio, has not been interested in live football for a long time because they rightly see it as not sound business (Viking has heritage sister stations in the whole of the north west and north east, Premier League hotbed areas, and none do football commentary, which is eye-watering in its cost), and by putting the games on their Viking 2 service (formerly Great Yorkshire Gold/Magic), listeners will either need to tolerate a muffled, passé AM frequency or purchase a DAB device which, as any digital radio owner who lives along the A63 corridor between North Ferriby and North Cave knows, provides a signal that is intermittent at best, while rights issues presumably mean neither City nor Viking can broadcast commentary online. BBC Radio Humberside isn’t perfect, to many, but it is available on FM, has an established set of good individual broadcasters working on the football coverage and provides adequate pre-match and post-match output (something it seems Viking won’t be doing, commencing their programme at the weekend just before kick off and ending it shortly after the final whistle). It isn’t a fool who wonders, without malice, whether this arrangement was suggested by the club as a riposte to recent BBC efforts to defy their ludicrously imposed rules on what they can say, what they can film and who they can interview and generally not act as mouthpieces for an autocratic, discredited regime. And no radio station, nor its parent group, would instigate a deal when a season has already begun – the lack of fanfare about the deal from Viking is notable (it’ll be interesting also to see if they pull the plug if City are relegated). It is presumably good business on this occasion for Viking, otherwise they wouldn’t have done it, but it just feels like an enterprise concocted entirely by the club, for entirely its own reasons, that has entirely nothing to do with City supporters or making new corporate partnerships, and entirely everything to do with pursuing petty private vendettas.

9. Sam Allardyce has, we hear, been unable to persuade John Terry out of retirement and rejoin the England squad. The national side took only three central defenders to the European Championships and such is the dearth of quality English centre backs, the new England boss has felt compelled to turn, fruitlessly, to a nigh-on 36 year old of baggage and dubious character. Having watched Curtis Davies repel everyone in the Premier League who has dared share a blade of grass with him this season, we feel there is an obvious solution right here in Hull. Nobody should think we’re joking either – it’s supposed to be a new dawn of picking players in form, and it’s about bloody time City had a serving England international. There isn’t a sensible reason for not calling him up to the squad this weekend, especially as Chris Smalling is currently unable to get into the Manchester United team and John Stones had to go off early in Manchester City’s game at the weekend. Allardyce has instead gone for 35 year old Phil Jagielka, which is just baffling. We do, however, think his decision to not call up overhyped ex-City loanee Mark Noble, a player he knows extremely well and relied upon heavily when he was manager at West Ham, is very funny indeed, not to mention correct. Maybe all the obsessives in the media about a very ordinary midfielder will shut up now.

10. One final note for the departing Allams: good riddance. You took over full of wild promises about community, philanthropy and togetherness; you blew it with your self-importance, dictatorial nonsense, spite, inadequacy and hatred of the Hull and East Yorkshire people whom you had cajoled into investing so much of their hopes in you. We want your spectacular failure to haunt you to the end because your wretched and tyrannical reign will never be forgotten, nor forgiven, by Hull City supporters.

13 replies
  1. Paul
    Paul says:

    Just to temper point 10 slightly, they haven’t gone yet. Won’t believe it until they have. Hadn’t heard of the Allams until they took over, will they no go back to being anonymous again please.
    An additional concern is what booby traps will they leave behind? One final act of sabotage?
    Amazingly some poor simpletons still defend them and they’re motives. I just thank Hull City Council for not giving them the ground as we’d have been stuck with them forever had they done so.

  2. Michael Coates
    Michael Coates says:

    Great piece again, oh how I love point 10, well done!!
    If/ when the new owners takeover I wouldn’t be surprised if they go about buying the stadium in a much more business way than the Allams.
    Also if they do manage to succeed where the Allams failed miserably in running a club & stadium successfully, I am sure the Allams will realise that with a little effort what could have been achieved.
    Hopefully we shouldn’t be going through all this again in a few years time.
    I just wish the new owners good luck in their new venture.

  3. Bill Carson
    Bill Carson says:

    Ref: Point 6 – Completely agree that we keep Hernandez.
    £10M 2 years ago is worth £20M in today’s ludicrous transfer market.
    Point 7 – I like the Jak and hope he keeps his place. Personally I’d sell McGregor.
    Point 9 – this is precisely why I and many others stopped travelling to England matches. Curtis has been outstanding this season and he is a natural leader, perfect for a young England side.

  4. Officer Crabtree
    Officer Crabtree says:

    “Those of an overly sentimental bent feel this is unfair on Eldin Jakupović, who has made a highly competent start to 2016/17, but he should be judged on his body of work”

    His body of work’s pretty impressive though, isn’t it? I feel that Jakupović unfairly is judged by a lot of City fans primarily on that disastrous debut against Sheffield Wednesday. He’s still recovering from an abysmal first impression – something keepers often struggle to bounce back from – but since then the pluses hugely outweigh the minuses with Eldin.

  5. JohnK
    JohnK says:

    Re point 10. For anybody in business or has an interest in business, the Allam regime at City is a great case study, in fact should be used to teach students of the subject at business school. If there was ever a case of “out of the jaws of victory they grabbed defeat”, this is it! For those regular readers of this column I did for some time support the Allam’s, and got my fair share of abuse for doing so. But every time I thought they had stretched the boundaries of what is reasonable, they managed to stretch them again and therefore left supporters like me with less and less opportunity to defend them or their record of developing the team. And that’s just the great shame of it, we have had the most successful on field period in our history but the end of their reign has created apathy and frustration, even though another Premier League promotion was secured. It’s incredible really. The Allam’s could have had a bloody great big statue erected on the balcony of City Hall in their honour if silly and selfish decisions had not been made, their legacy could have even surpassed Harold Needler, who for those of us of a certain age still give thanks to his foresight and investment into the club, 50+ years ago. I don’t know Assam Allam but I know people that do know him personally and I am told he is a generous family man. I personally wish him good health and with a little hint of sarcasm gives thanks for most of the memories and perhaps more importantly the case study!

  6. Rottenborough
    Rottenborough says:

    JohnK

    The description “generous family man” is incompatible with a man who tells others they are hooligans and can “die as soon as they want”.

    This “generous family man” raised a son who tells fans of HCAFC they are irrelevant.

    Those utterances are not recent, latter-day incidents.

    Point 10 of this TWTWT is spot on as far as I am concerned

  7. Bill Carson
    Bill Carson says:

    Point 10 – be careful what you wish for!
    Google search on our prospective new owners throws up an article which the Premier League will be looking in to.

  8. Officer Crabtree
    Officer Crabtree says:

    There are certain things that people say that, frankly, is just plain shit.

    “Point 10 – be careful what you wish for!” is one of them.

    What does this imply? That we should put up with the shit – the horrible, fetid, cholera-ridden shit – that the Allams have been throwing at all and sundry for years because the next lot that come along might be worse? Wrong.

    That we’re going to be in too much of a celebratory mood/too thick to see that our new owners might not be as pure as the driven snow? Wrong.

    I – and I’m sure that the vast, vast majority of the fans of Hull City – will call out any new owner the minute they start taking actions that are not to the benefit of the club. Just because Lloyd was an egotistical spoilt child didn’t mean we were wrong to campaign against Needler/Fish. We just did our best to get rid of him and move to something better. Just because Hinchliffe and Buchanan were crooks didn’t mean we were wrong to campaign against Lloyd. We just did our best to get rid of them and move to something better. We got Adam Pearson and the modern-day Hull City was built.

    Given your history, Bill, it would hardly be surprising if those of us who did call out new owners on any nefarious actions were told on here by yourself to ‘stop moaning because they’ve put their hands in the pockets’ or some such other nonsense, would it?

    I wish for the best for Hull City. I wish for a club that – from top to bottom – makes me proud, makes me want to be associated with it, makes me travel huge distances across the county at a large social cost to see us lose in a dispiriting way, and come home knowing full well that I’ll be doing the same the following weekend. The Allams have offered none of that. So I wish for someone else. And if they don’t deliver I’ll wish for someone else. Accepting the status quo because something worse might come along would have us still being run by Martin Fish, still tweaking his plans for the redeveloped Kempton.

  9. Bill Carson
    Bill Carson says:

    Officer Crabtree – you are right that we shouldn’t put up with the status quo in fear of what might come along. I agree with you.
    Not sure if you’ve seen the article I saw on our peospective new owners and if true then they shouldn’t pass the fit and proper persons test.
    We would then have to find new owners.

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