Things We Think We Think #250

TWTWT

1. City’s win over West Ham on Saturday was streaky, improbable and accomplished late. None of that can detract from a result of serious consequence. We’re halfway through a brace of home fixtures from which the absolute minimum requirement, given our ongoing difficulties on the road, was probably four points. Three are already banked. And the season remains alive.

2. It felt in grave danger at half-time against the Hammers. City trailed after a wretched concession and had done little to suggest that even a draw could be salvaged. It’s tempting to let the euphoria of the eventual result mask the first half, but it was low-grade stuff. Worst of all, it was puzzlingly short of urgency, as though the desperation of the situation was somehow being missed by everyone on the pitch.

3. Still, if we’re to scorn the first half, let’s celebrate the second. A half-time substitution and a tactical switch saw a major improvement, quickly culminating in a sumptuous leveller, one of those goals we’ll never tire of watching. It set us up to lay siege to West Ham, a modest team playing modestly…but that didn’t really happen. When Grosicki directed his shot wide after we had struck the post, it felt like a rare and perhaps final opportunity to pinch the win.

4. Sometimes, luck goes your way. When West Ham inexplicably switched off at a late set-piece, Andrea Ranocchia capitalised with a fine header. But for the visitors’ sudden inattention, we’d have had to settle for a draw. It’d have been costly, as we were well aware that Crystal Palace were unexpectedly leading, but it’d have had to do. Fortunately, the sloppiness City had shown with West Ham’s goal was reciprocated, and the celebrations were long and loud.

4a. Apropos the second goal, we loved the poor steward’s unsuccessful attempts to douse the flare. Crash course in sand deployment for our fluorescent-jacketed friends, please.

5. Predictably, a lot of the pre-match discussion centred upon Robert Snodgrass. That he’s been almost entirely excluded from the post-match debate is testament to what a completely anonymous afternoon he had. That isn’t a trait you’d ordinarily associate with such a fiery character, but it’s true of his display on Saturday.

6. Results elsewhere this weekend were an odd bunch. Sunderland are surely done for after their latest defeat, while a draw in South Wales was a significant missed opportunity for both Swansea and Middlesbrough – the latter are in serious trouble, while the former have gained just one point in games against M’bro, City and Bournemouth and are heading quickly back into danger. Just a shame about Palace. The neutral observer may think that two are already as good as down, and it’s a straight fight between City and Swansea for the promised land of 17th. Such an observer would have a point.

7. With the exception of Manchester City next weekend and Spurs on the last day, the run-in is decidedly kindly, on paper at least, which was something we wryly noted last summer when the fixture list was first released. The principal games marked down as clichéd “must-wins” will be those against Watford, Sunderland and, of course, that seriously troubled Middlesbrough side in just 48 hours at the Circle. They can’t score goals at the moment, have just sacked their manager and replaced him with our own former assistant manager, and are set to come up against a City side close to invincible on its own soil with a head coach who hasn’t lost a home game with any of his last three clubs since Abba split up, or something. That fighting goalless draw at Swansea, while not massively helping either side, should serve as notice to City that our midweek opponents will journey down from Teesside at least determined to scrap like mad for something.

8. So what to make of the brochure sent out to current patrons of the membership scheme? Well, the first thing to jump out is the illiteracy of whoever wrote it (and Ehab Allam’s name is on it, so perhaps he is the author). Indefinitely is ‘ indefinately’, eighth is ‘eigth’, and the difference between ‘effect’ and ‘affect’ is misunderstood, as both are used. Incorrectly. When a Premier League football club can’t be bothered to get a document proof-read, or at least run through a spell checker, it’s clear they have utter disdain for the intended audience.  The timing of the brochure’s distribution is suspect too,  there were 14 days between games and this brochure arrived (and  was inevitably picked up by local press) the day before an important game.

9. March 2016: Ehab Allam tells the Yorkshire Post that “Clubs should be encouraged by a penalty system to ensure crowds are close to capacity. At Hull, it would put the onus on us to get things exactly right…to fine-tune efforts.”

April 2017: The latest fine tuning of efforts? To claim memberships are increasing, then announce the closure of the West Stand Upper. Every day is April Fools’ day when you’re Ehab Allam.

10. We were as stunned as anyone when Jake Livermore was picked in England’s starting XI against Germany – we had gone on record both here and in our podcast that he would be on the bench for both games – but kudos to our recently exited midfielder for not only playing, but playing well, and making the more cutting, condescending doubters admit that he might have something to offer his country after all. It’s one of those occasions where we couldn’t be more pleased to be wrong – we just wish he was still playing for us at the time Gareth Southgate decided to include him.

8 replies
  1. Keysersoze_69
    Keysersoze_69 says:

    Every day is April Fools’ day when you’re Ehab Allam.

    That’s a T-shirt slogan waiting to happen. I’d buy it.

  2. Jimmy Weekly
    Jimmy Weekly says:

    #8 goes for the big screen stadium announcements as well as the membership brochure. At the Swansea game, the advert for the home match v West Ham said that it would be at the London Stadium. This Saturday the advert for the Middlesbrough game said that it’s on ‘Saturday 5th April’. Do City actually have someone in charge of communication? If so, they ought to get their act together.

  3. JohnK
    JohnK says:

    Point 3. Agreed the half time changes and Marco’s little “chat” did us the world of good, but why can’t he set us up to be far more competitive from the start? Not for the first time he has made changes mid game to great effect but does this not suggest that he got something wrong in the build up? Admittedly games are a fluid thing but to see us be so poor in the first half was difficult to take and a better side than West Ham would have given us a mountain we couldn’t have climbed by half time.
    Point 5. I must admit that I wasn’t one of those fans that bemoaned Snodgrass’s departure to West Ham in January. Yes, I accept that he remains are highest goal scorer but his performance on Saturday was very representative of many performances that he gave in City colours during far too many games. His set piece ability was indeed a thing of beauty but take that out of his game and he is pretty average for the Premier League.
    Point 6. The table is looking pretty interesting. I don’ think there is any team from Bournemouth (11th) down that can be feeling too comfortable at the moment. Yes, Leicester are on a run a form and there are a couple of other sides that you wouldn’t expect to be in the relegation mix, but Saturday’s results did throw the cat amongst the pigeons and come Wednesday night things could look tighter still. Its all to play for, no doubt.
    Point 7. I haven’t enjoyed the kind of business success that the Allam’s have but the decision to close the upper west stand is incredulous. Can you imagine a supermarket for instance thinking that it would be beneficial to close part of its store down due to reduced business. I think that what they would do is try to understand why the customers are staying away, create some hype and interest through marketing and perhaps, based on their research, make being a customer a more attractive proposition. All of those options are available to the Allam’s. On Saturday the attendance was 20,000, so the reality is they need to sell an extra 4,000 tickets to fill the place and probably significantly less than that to make it economically viable to have all areas of the ground open. I just can’t imagine that Hull City, as a Premier League team, closing part of the ground due to lack of interest.
    Point 10. I’m happy for Jake Livermore getting the call up and playing for England. Would he have had that call if he was playing for Hull City though? I think not! Discrimination in football is alive and kicking and is much deeper than you might think. Perhaps if the owners get another chance to try and change the clubs name they should consider Manseapoolhull City as an option!!

  4. gjhdurham
    gjhdurham says:

    JohnK makes some good points above, and it’s a shame that other things than the next game have come up…again! Weds night’s game v Bro is so so important. A win and Swansea for one…they only got a draw…will be nervous! I really couldn’t care less how well we played Sat now…we got the 3 points. Another flucky pass from Groswicki to Robertson for a goal will do quite nicely!! Good run and header from Rannochia for the winner!! More of the same please!
    Believe Robbo said they got a bollocking at half time. It’s about time they got stuck in from kick off!! Surely the players can see some light at the end of the tunnel and should be copying the Leicester revival! COYH!!!

  5. Bartontiger
    Bartontiger says:

    I thought Mr Allam might have backed down and reintroduced concessions. Yesterday it pained me to email Hull City and give my 2 months notice to cancel my season pass.

  6. ann guy
    ann guy says:

    I thought the same Bartontiger, or rather hoped he would bring them back, feel so sorry for young families, we at least enjoyed those years where we passed on our passion for city to our kids. Just about to retire so will have time to go to away games, but we have lost our friendship circle in E7 now. Cannot comprehend how the FA have seemingly, stood by and allowed this unfair treatment of passionate fans to thrive without interfering or commenting on the injustice of it all. Isn’t that what they are there for and paid well to do? Maybe I’m missing something, apart from the football, that is.

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