1. Another week starts with the Allam family still parasitically attached to this ruptured club. Early last week saw the apparent withdrawal of interest from the Chien Lee group, with David Burns suggesting that it’d become “too difficult” – code into which we infer that it had become “too expensive, and besides which the Allam family are absolutely impossible to deal with”.
2. Meanwhile, Sky Sports News will need no telling that the January transfer window opens in 49 days. It seems unlikely that City will be deloused in time for its opening, and every day this is delayed reduces the chances of a fresh start by its closing. It’s already possible to conceive of Ehab Allam sabotaging not just the summer, but also the winter, and with it the full season.
3. Meanwhile, the club labours on, completely oblivious to its own supporters. We haven’t heard anything from City’s new Media and Marketing Manager since he took up what is obviously an incredibly difficult role (again, good luck Tom) and needless to say the Allams don’t even pretend to give a toss any longer so we don’t know what, if anything, the club wants to do in terms of reconciling itself with the fans. However, that’s a process that is going to take a long time no matter what – the sooner it’s started, the better.
4. What a crass, boneheaded tweet the club sent out on Thursday afternoon, gloating that its average price is “below the Premier League average“. It’s really pretty disgusting for a club that’s vindictively removed concessionary prices to punish the elderly and drive away future fans to smugly congratulate itself.
4a. How in God’s name did the communications people at the club think this was a good idea? The reaction on Twitter was savage, and deservedly so.
5. We also enjoyed the club feeling the need to whine to the Hull Daily Mail about why the crowd figures it announces on the day frequently bear little resemblance to the actual number of people inside the stadium. Interestingly, it suggested that the correct crowd figure is usually available the next day. There’s therefore no excuse whatsoever for the club to not begin publishing this. Purely in the interests of accuracy, of course.
5a. We’re prepared to offer Mike Phelan the benefit of the doubt over a tactless claim that more entertaining football would be exclusively sufficient to refill the ever-growing number of empty seats on humiliating show at each home game. There are plenty of antecedents in the Allams’ personal dictionary of modern quotations to suggest Ehab told him to say something to this effect.
6. In the seconds after City’s victory over Southampton nine days ago, a single supporter ran from the East Stand to congratulate a few players. He was met back at the East Stand by three stewards and pretty forcibly kicked out. Compare and contrast with the Manchester United fans who ran onto the pitch before the game was finished, who were gently assisted back to their places. You either get thrown out for this, or you don’t, but it’s puzzling that City’s steward treat our own fans much more poorly than visitors. Puzzling, though obviously not surprising.
7. We’re pleased to see that safe standing is now so far up the agenda that it forms a part of Premier League meetings. It’s an idea whose time arrived years ago, but it does feel as though we’re inching ever closer to success. It really is incredibly simple: if you want to stand you should be allowed to, and if you don’t want to, you shouldn’t be made to. The present situation of forcibly mixing fans with completely different preferences is stupid and intolerable. City are on the record as supporting this, though so much has happened since that we’ve no idea if that remains their official preference. A clarification that the club would seek to introduce rail seats if permitted would be very welcome.
8. It’s also interesting to note that the Premier League is now going to compel its members to offer “a block” of accommodation at “pitchside” for away fans. That sounds great, and will avoid City fans being bunged in a remote upper tier on our travels. But this thing about “a block”…doesn’t that risk some clubs deciding to offer literally that and continuing to maroon the majority of away fans far from the action? And as bad as being in a third tier is, being split up could be even worse.
9. Sunderland on Saturday, now there’s a relegation six pointer. Both sides will have their tails up after wins last weekend, and while the winner of this won’t guarantee anything for themselves, they’ll ensure a horrible week for the loser. We wouldn’t quite go so far as to say we’d take a draw, but we can certainly imagine worse outcomes.
10. There’s another Premier League game after that, but already our minds are wandering towards Newcastle at home in the League Cup. City have priced this game well for adults, predictably disgracefully for concessions, but by turning down a request from Newcastle for more tickets (encouraging them to offer a beamback), the onus really is on City to get this game sold out. It’s a Cup quarter-final, which is a terrifically exciting prospect – but given the malaise among the fans, the fact it’s “only” the League Cup and “only” a Championship side game, there’s a lot to be done to avoid the usual thousands of empty seats. Over to you, City.