1. There’s no fun in losing, even if the game that resulted in defeat was highly enjoyable and exciting. That said, if we’re to lose games (and there is a pretty good chance we’ll lose a few more between now and May) then it’s better to lose as we did at West Ham, than it was at Middlesbrough. Since City meekly lost beside the River Tees, seemingly resigned to the fate of relegation, the Tigers have shown some fight, some pride, some enterprise and they’ve made us feel a stirring of pride in them as a consequence, even if we’ve picked up just the solitary point out of the nine on offer.
2. City were nothing short of magnificent at the oddly rebranded Olympic Stadium. They took the game to the hosts, fashioned several goalscoring chances and pretty much dominated proceedings. Only some fractionally errant shooting, which saw the ball strike the uprights rather than the netting, saw us come away without the point(s) we we so richly deserved.
3. A trio of young players, Harry Maguire, Andy Robertson and Sam Clucas were a revelation against West Ham. The post-Boro transformation of Clucas, no longer shackled by solely defensive duties, has been rewarding to witness.
4. West Ham remain a joyless club, with charm-free supporters, now viewing their football in a purpose-built, state-funded stadium, albeit one with a purpose that wasn’t and never will be football. Still, they won the World Cup, something of which they obviously seldom choose to remind us, and so probably deserve a taxpayer-funded luxury home, don’t they? Leyton Orient? Nah, you don’t count. And, to top it all, the spectacularly overhyped Mark Noble, beloved of the media but rightly ignored by England managers and disliked by City fans for being so crap on loan with us, scored the only goal. We were irritated by his being described by one TV commentator as “ever-reliable”, given that he had earlier headed the ball, unchallenged and entirely panic-stricken, against the frame of his own goal. Not the actions of someone “ever-reliable”. Had he ever been allowed within dashing distance of an England cap and done that on duty for his country, you can imagine it would have been easier to just blame John Stones instead.
5. Defeat at Tottenham earlier in the week was easier to bear, just because it was, well, Tottenham. They’re as a good a side as West Ham are not. Our last four league meetings at White Hart Lane have ended 0-0, 1-0, 2-0 and now 3-0. The only reason we don’t bank on there being a 4-0 reversal next time we play them is because we don’t actually know when that will be, and it won’t be in the same stadium anyway.
6. For all that, at 1-0 down there was that moment when Jake Livermore should have scored. He had two chances, one as a result of the other, and couldn’t put either of them away. Even though Jake’s job isn’t to score goals, and we’d have probably had to endure the slightly sick-making spectacle of his refusing to celebrate the goal had it gone in, he still should have stuck it away. That a hitherto complacent Spurs then went up the other end and secured the points in minutes was as inevitable as it was disheartening.
7. The holiday period. Home games against Manchester City and Everton, then the seasonal highlight of a trip to West Brom. Nine points? Stop it. Seven, six, five, four? Optimistic. Three? A start. None? Entirely possible.
8. The Hull City Supporters’ Trust’s call for a boycott of the Swansea FA Cup game is a sad but necessary step. It’s upsetting that the club is being wilfully mismanaged to the extent at which an organisation dedicated to encouraging support of the club feels it must advocate the withdrawal of that support for one game, and given that this has never been done for a home fixture before, a stark reminder of just how calamitous the Allams’ misrule is becoming.
9. So, we endorse the call for a boycott, and will not be attending. However, this must – MUST – become something that unites rather than divides, even if you choose to attend. And that is absolutely your right, incidentally. Anyone criticising a fellow City fan who wishes to go is unwise to do so. You may be on a run of games, or flying home as a special occasion, or just enjoy your Saturday afternoon at the football too much to give it up. Fair enough. But while we’ve never boycotted a City home game before, we HAVE given an away game a miss: Huddersfield, and Bubblegate, in Spring 2013. City fans left the away end deserted, and West Yorkshire Police have never since attempting a similar criminalisation of football fans. This boycott is merely a means to an end rather than the end itself, but by leaving the ground empty it’s the opportunity to make a clear point: that if the Allam family does not sell this club to someone who will run it properly, this is what our future could look like.
10. The American essayist Waldo Emerson’s once wrote: “Shallow men believe in luck, believe in circumstances: it was somebody’s name, or he happened to be there at the right time, or it was so then, and another day it would have been otherwise. Strong men believe in cause and effect.” If we’re to believe in cause and effect, guess who we’d ultimately blame for City being bottom of the league?