1. After the dull mediocrity served up at Middlesbrough…where did THAT come from? Six goals equally shared, terrific football from City, heart, desire and skill – it all served up to make Saturday’s 3-3 draw with Crystal Palace the most uplifting afternoon at the Circle in months.
2. That was despite not winning, too. That late equaliser could return to hurt us, assuming we manage to come anywhere near to avoiding relegation, but it still doesn’t feel much like two points dropped – rather, it feels like one gained, in scintillating circumstances amid a plethora of positives. It was wonderful to see City set up to attack and playing in the way they did. Never mind the wider picture, this was a superbly entertaining football match.
3. Adama Diomandé was magnificent. Charged with leading the line in the complete absence of fellow forwards, he did brilliantly, with a performance of character, determination and no little skill. Tom Huddlestone was awarded the official man of the match, and he did indeed have a influential afternoon, but Diomandé was a revelation. After almost single-handedly transforming the West Brom game sixteen days ago, he commanded this one throughout. A hugely impressive display.
4. Huddlestone, afforded space by a ragged Crystal Palace side, dictated the pace of the game and produced a silken display of passing that was all the better for occurring closer to the visitors’ penalty area than ours, rendering it as effective as it was aesthetically pleasing. He’s probably secured a starting berth over Christmas.
5. Mike Phelan had attracted warranted criticism over recent weeks, but it was refreshing to see him rectify recent errors by changing both personnel, formation and attitude. 3-5-2 worked splendidly, the reversion to many of the men who got us off to a flying start this season was vindicated and the positivity was a delight.
6. As was the character shown after going 2-1 down.
7. We have to be realistic, relegation is still a distinct possibility, but if it comes it will be much easier to stomach if City battle the drop with positivity displayed over 90 minutes in games, as it was on Saturday, rather than only going for it for 45 minutes as we’ve done in previous home games. The Southampton and West Brom games yielded good results, but the Tigers were still needlessly submissive for a whole half in both. You can’t ease into a street fight, and avoiding relegation will need us to cease being timid. Positivity pays off.
8. But…Robert Snodgrass. That was an ugly piece of cheating, and even deflecting things towards Zaha and Palace in general, who’ve been notably collectively unsteady on their feet for a few years now is only a whatabouting distraction. It was particularly boneheaded given that he’d just been rightly cautioned – had City been reduced to ten men inside half an hour, as ought to have occurred, none of the stuff we’ve enthused about above would have happened. Don’t do it again, please. There are kids watching who’ll try this on a Sunday morning, and remember that you play for Hull City – it’s supposedly okay for the Sky Sports Super Clubs (or inexplicably fashionable London teams) to do it, but given the response it’s had, your every tumble from now on had better be legitimate.
9. Brian Bulless was born and raised in Hull, played more than 350 senior games for Hull City, didn’t play for anyone else, stayed in the city all his life and supported the club he served so magnificently until the day he passed away, earlier this week. He supported the ‘CITY TILL WE DIE’ campaign with a photograph of himself holding one of the scarves emblazoned with the mantra and epitomised the literal meaning of the phrase that fans uphold so readily in a way no member of the Allam family could ever begin to understand. The tribute to him pre-match on Saturday was superb and while we again extend our sympathies to his family, we feel his is the kind of long life that should principally be celebrated.
10. Our admiration for John Oxley, who paid £2,500 to engineer an opportunity to protest on the pitch at the Allams’ savage, venal destruction of our future support, is limitless. We hope he got his banner back, we hope (though don’t expect) City don’t ban him and trust he feels his money was well spent. He shouldn’t have to buy himself another beer this year.