Things We Think We Think #249


1. Another away game, another defeat. The sharp-eyed will have noticed a pattern: City play a game outside of East Yorkshire, they lose, they come home promising to do better, and the whole dismal thing repeats. Look – there’s no shame in losing at Everton, who are very firmly in the second tier of Premier League sides. The problem is that previous failures on the road have left us needing results in this type of fixture. And we didn’t really get close.

2. Sure, it was only 1-0 for most of the game, and the scoreline was given an unfair tilt late in the game. But that argument falls apart when the shocking lack of shots on target is taken into account. We pose next to no threat to opposing sides on their own turf, meaning they can attack with little fear of the consequences. And, eventually, we concede.

3. The early goal was a killer. It’s always a relief to rapidly lead in a game you’re expected to win, and it soothed any nerves any Everton fans who hadn’t studied the “Away” section of the table may have felt. It wasn’t a notably brilliant move, but it was far too good for City, whose leadenfooted response was alarming.

4. That red card, eh? It’s a wrong decision, but it also has to be filed under “can maybe see why it was given”. That probably means that an appeal is doomed to fail; however, we’re doomed to fail whether Tom Huddlestone misses three games or four, should it be extended if the FA view an appeal as vexatious, so it’s worth a try.

5. Let’s try for at least one positive. After falling behind, we didn’t let the game run away from us (even if that event was deferred rather than postponed). City rarely looked like levelling, but it only takes an instant to equalise, so…oh sod it, we’re really clutching at straws here. You know it and we know it.

6. Results elsewhere were a funny lot. Palace’s streaky win was a cause for Saturday afternoon despair, but Swansea, Middlesbrough and Sunderland all remain accommodatingly toss as well. We aren’t cut off, and with two extremely winnable (and in truth, must-win) home games approaching, even this grim situation isn’t quite yet terminal. Even if the echoes of 2009/2010 are growing by the week.

7. Harry Maguire had a lot of columnists and pundits talking up his case for a place in the England squad, but unsurprisingly, he didn’t get the call from Gareth Southgate. Intriguing that Jake Livermore, of this parish until January, is back in the squad for the first time in five years, however. Notwithstanding the further propagation of the long-held belief that players, irrespective of their form, only get into major international squads after they’ve left City (36 league appearances for Spurs, one cap; seven for West Brom, one call-up; 90 for City in between, sod all), it does look an odd choice. We like Jake. We rate him as a very good midfielder, a good guy, a team player and obviously this return to the international fold takes him back to the top of a sport where he had very recently hit a horribly personal rock bottom. But we just don’t think he’s good enough.

8. If he plays in either of the games, he’ll become the first footballer to play for England after leaving City since Brian Marwood’s notorious nine-minute cameo against Saudi Arabia in 1988. If you want to fly a flag for Fraizer Campbell at this point, you carry on, but he was never ours so we don’t think he counts. We’d like Livermore to achieve this feat for his own personal redemption reasons, but sentimentality has no place in the international game and we suspect he’ll watch both matches from the bench.

9. Throughout the week, the club have been calling fans to ask if they’re interested in ongoing membership. Harmless, even proactive you may think, even if no information was divulged about the prospect of concessions for 2017/18 – except that they’ve been introducing themselves as calling from “Hull City Tigers”. Whoever’s bright idea it was to seek to pointlessly antagonise fans in this way should be sacked (or encouraged to remind his father that his promise to sell the club within 24 hours of being told to piss off by the FA is close to three years old).

10. “Crisis clubs” are nothing new in football – we’ve been one and seen plenty of others down the years (and no, you pathetic snivelling wretches at Arsenal, you aren’t even close to being one, however earnestly the self-pitying mantle of victimhood is claimed). However, they don’t get much closer to the brink than Leyton Orient, who may actually go under today. They’re already as good as relegated from the League, but their very existence is authentically threatened. We’ve long since forgiven them for the play-offs in 2001, and prefer to remember recent Cup wins there, victory in 1999 that gave impetus to the Great Escape, and for the generation before ours, that ridiculous 5-4 win in 1984. They’re an affable, inviting London club with a decent history, were screwed over by West Ham’s stadium move and appear to deserve better – we wish them well today.

6 replies
  1. gjhdurham
    gjhdurham says:

    Re Nos 2,5 & 6: while it’s 1-0 there’s always a chance of sneaking a goal, so I find the above comments a bit inane! Palace won without a shot on target thanks to a criminal own goal of brown envelope proportions!…and remember that West Ham game! Last week came across an Italian West Ham supporter in Rome laughing about that game! Conversation started as I was wearing the colours…
    Re 4: won’t win on appeal IMO. In spite of worse getting yellows on Sat.
    Re 7: Maguire lost his man far too easily, as did Robbo…although I expect that!

    Need to rediscover the pre Portugal form to survive! Evandro back might help…

  2. John from Brid
    John from Brid says:

    I listen to a lot of so called experts and pundits about Thuds red card but always like to wait for Dermot Gallagher on Mondays to explain it in quite clear unemotional terms, he said Yellow so APPEAL !

  3. Bill Carson
    Bill Carson says:

    Off piste but I thought the £30 cap on tickets was supposed to cut the cost of football? Yes (as is the case at the KCom) if you’re a single bloke but not if you take children, as the other clubs have simply increased the cost of kids tickets!

  4. Brian Hudson
    Brian Hudson says:

    I was at Goodison on Saturday, and find the level of sympathy offerred to City welcome, and a touch surprising. From our position on the halfway line Hudd’s tackle looked more over the top than it was, and the sending-off was no surprise. However, his absence meant that we gave the ball away less, and we didn’t pass the ball across midfield as much. Playing three at the back will always invite the opposition to play wide, which Everton did – fortunately never with much threat (apart from the goal) – but we need to be a little more reactive to that threat. Giving the ball away carelessly continues to cause problems, especially when there is no real pressure. Finally, two points; how on earth has Gareth Barry survived for so long? Tackle after tackle is potentially leg-breaking, yet rarely penalised; and when will referees begin to judge 50/50 balls fairly,and stop penalising the away team? Rant over (for the time being)

  5. Bill Carson
    Bill Carson says:

    Back en piste, excellent post, spot on and love the references to Arsenal and Frazier Campbell.
    Brian Hudson spot on re: Gareth Barry. After what he did to us a few years ago he’d have been worth a red card!

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