1. God, what a dreadful display that was at Middlesbrough. The negativity that has surrounded City as a club of late took full hold of the team, with the first shot on target coming in injury time, a multitude of misplaced passes, a single goal conceded from a set-piece and a general absence of interest that bordered on the unprofessional.
2. Why does Mike Phelan persist with the 4-4-2 that evidently does not work? He has two attack-minded wide players who simply cannot make the contributions they are geared to make when playing deep and whose defensive frailties are exposed in the current formation. He has enough centre backs and central midfielders to account for the spaces in the middle of the park, and Robert Snodgrass can play behind whoever our fit striker happens to be.
3. That we lost to a hopelessly marked header from a corner was disgraceful. That the header in question was butted in by the foppish-haired, knuckle-kissing showpony Gastón Ramírez was beyond words. There was more wrong that just conceding from a set piece (again!) of course, Middlesbrough, with just a point more than us before kick off, looked superior in every way, their possession was purposeful, their movement quick and insightful, their creation of shooting chances was clinical even if the final effort on goal was not. This is Middlesbrough we’re talking about by the way, not Real frigging Madrid, but the way we stand and watch in a servile manner as teams enjoy long periods of unchallenged possession is really, really dispiriting.
4. We’re at peace with blaming everything on the Allams as, ultimately, they are culpable for everything that is cancerous within our club. They appointed Phelan (eventually) and starved him of proper support, both emotionally and financially, and their bullying, cowardly, oppressive, spiteful, selfish ways have seeped into all crucial aspects of the club. We can now imagine them allowing the situation to fester even more, especially if the takeover deadline of January passes without a sale agreed. There is nothing, literally nothing, within the club that says we have any kind of future worth looking forward to.
5. However. Pointing a finger at the ultimate cause for the toxic miasma emanating from the shambling zombie of a football club does not mean that Mike Phelan is himself exempt from blame. His stubborn persistence with woeful tactical choices, and then saying he thought it was all going to plan before conceding, when it clearly wasn’t, is rapidly depleting any good goodwill he gained when earning the (caretaker) manager of the month award.
6. The FA Cup draw. Swansea, the only team in the Premier League currently worse than us, at home? An unfathomably crap tie, that. The first four-figure crowd at the Circle in aeons awaits. And yet, having popped out of the hat just under an hour before kick off at the Riverside, it was still the highlight of City’s day. That’s how bad it was. It’s why we firmly believe it must be boycotted, because a message must be sent out that what’s been done to this football club is wrong, and will be fought. It could easily be arranged – after all, just who on earth is going to want to go and see it? We’ll probably take a lead from the Supporters’ Trust – but talk of match boycotts won’t go away, and if we’re going to do it, this is the match.
7. The received wisdom is that a fish rots from its head. We shan’t be bestowing upon the Allam family the honour of cranial analogy, and beside which, as good little Biology students we recall that piscine decomposition begins in the guts. That’s more satisfyingly appropriate. Think of that hateful family more as a foul, vestigial organ of the viscera, whose only purpose is to spread decay and rottenness. Then think carefully about how to extract that organ without killing the host.
8. Yes, there’s progress into the last four of the League Cup. This is to be celebrated for what it is – a club first. It was done in the hardest way possible, of course, on penalties, with ten men, against a side who were evidently better than us despite being a division lower, in front of a crowd suspiciously totted up by the faulty abacus in the accounts office. Yes, celebrate it. Then look at the semi-final draw – Manchester United, two legs, the first at Old Trafford. Whatever noises we may have initially made about its minimal but actual winnability, more recent events on Teesside suggest otherwise.
9. Kudos to the Supporters’ Trust for their forensic analysis of Ehabian malfeasance with ticket price proclamations and actions with the billboard that defiantly displays his venality on Anlaby Road. Ask yourself this: if you were a businessman thinking of entering into an arrangement with Allam Marine, given their record of untrustworthiness connected to Hull City AFC, can you be sure they won’t act similarly with you? Well, can you?
10. So, in summary, just fuck off, both of you. While there’s still a Hull City left.