Things We Think We Think #260


1. Football is back! And if it was possible to be decidedly underwhelmed at the prospect of another season labouring under the ghastly Allams on Saturday morning, events in the early evening in Birmingham did at least make it feel less daunting.

2. Not that we can easily gloss over the first half. For much of it, City looked worryingly frail and disorganised. A side sharper than Aston Villa could easily have settled the game in the first third, and that really would have left us shuddering at the prospect of another 45 games. As it was, we’re back in the Championship, and spells like this are going to be ridden out more frequently. To keep it at 1-0, with a late flurry in the first half, always gave us a chance.

3. So it proved, as the second half was filled with encouragement. The previously lethargic Grosicki grew into the game, service to the hard working pair of Campbell and Hernández gradually improved and Aston Villa ceased being able to torment our full backs. This all made it possible for City to advance with authority rather than trepidation, and the equaliser – when it arrived – was fully deserved.

4. What a finish and what a moment for Jarrod Bowen. When Grosicki darted into the sort of space we were routinely denied last season and floated one over, it’d have been all too easy for a young, inexperienced player to wildly lash the ball high and wide when presented with the whites of the goalkeeper’s eyes. Instead, he demonstrated that his stunning matchwinning goal against Benfica last month was no fluke with a finish of steely composure. Well done that man (and what a great celebration too; elbowing a steward out of the way to get to the supporters will endear him further to the City fans for many a year). Well done also City for recovering a point from – according to the pre-season odds – the hardest game we’ll have in 2017/18.

5. Grosicki seems much better suited to playing down the right doesn’t he? Not only does it lessen the impact of a failure to adequately track back on our stand-in left back, it allows him to finish moves with his right foot. Despite being ambipedal, Grosicki’s end product was woeful last year when he was deployed on the left. His right footed cross for Bowen’s strike suggests we’re best starting him on that side.

6. Isn’t Leonid Slutsky a thoroughly affable individual too? His infectious personality makes it hard not to warm to him. In a club beset by difficulties, his radiant happiness stands out even more starkly. Lets just hope that grin remains intact.

7. After all, he works for Ehab Allam, who is clearly incapable of learning from, or even tacitly admitting his mistakes. “Absolute power corrupts absolutely” goes the axiom, in that people with too much power succumb to arrogance, believing their judgments always correct, and their wisdom infallible, despite evidence to the contrary. The summer of 2016 was evidence enough, when City’s preparation for a new season wasn’t just inadequate, it felt like an act of self-harm. That wouldn’t be repeated in the summer of 2017 would it? Of course it would, Ehab doesn’t learn, perhaps he just doesn’t care about anything other than the money we get from the Premier League even after relegation. What must Slutsky make of a summer where both left backs have, left? Robertson’s sale was understandable from all perspectives, but allowing the first player to ‘graduate’ from our relatively new academy set up to go, a local lad who was shamefully still on a scholarship deal earning £150 a week after making Premier League appearances, seems more than just careless. “The supermarket is closed” was Slutsky’s terse public response to the seemingly unending departures. He deserves better owners, and we wish him luck.

8. The signings he has made will obviously take a while to settle and gel. They also need to get to know the club, with one notable exception: Fraizer Campbell. At Villa Park, he made his second debut for City, two months short of ten years since his first. Reaction to his acquisition on a free transfer from Crystal Palace has been principally positive, which is a relief given that he has taken some unwarranted stick from City fans on the handful of occasions he has lined up against us in the two highest levels of the game. Campbell is now an experienced player, an England international, not completely proven thanks to a mixture of injuries and hefty competition for places, but if anyone knows how devastating a presence he can be at this level of the game, especially with a good supply behind and outside him, it’s us.

9. While there will always be reservations about local commercial radio’s effectiveness to deliver good football coverage when, unlike the oxygenated BBC, it lives and dies instantaneously by its audience figures and revenues, there is nothing in the Viking 2 deal to blame the radio station for, even going as far as the non-appearance of the much publicised first commentary of the season on Saturday due to a technical fault (they do happen, even to the BBC). But the decision by Ehab Allam to not renew terms with BBC Radio Humberside because he disapproves of their awkward, irritating knack of questioning his regime (which they generally did fairly, and with balance) is yet another example of his over-inflated sense of worth, a man of incompetence and spite who thinks he is the bees’ knees, and woe betide anyone, such as an experienced local journalist steeped in the objectivity that the BBC always strives to show, who dares to think everything Ehab does is not necessarily flawless nor open to close examination. Dave Burns is clearly upset, judging by his tweets on the subject. He is right to be – even his detractors have been able to admit that they would rather he and his station were there on matchdays than not. We wish Viking 2 well but can’t help but fear they are in cahoots with a truly poisonous client who will prove deleterious to their reputation, and Saturday’s no-show, irrespective of the true reasons for it, felt somehow symbolic of the deal itself.

10. The 2017/18 home kit is quite nice, good work Umbro. Shame it doesn’t have the club’s name on it.

12 replies
  1. Michael Coates
    Michael Coates says:

    Straight back Amber Nectar to a well written piece again.As you put it, the world of Ehab is getting ridiculous, sack the groundstaff, get rid of the radio station who dare to disagree with him.
    The number & quality of players who left during the summer suggest many of them couldn’t wait to leave. How many times have we heard ” we offered a new deal but it was too late”.
    We need a good six more players before the end of this month, or Ehab will see many more vacant seats I’m afraid.

  2. Brian Jonestown Massacre
    Brian Jonestown Massacre says:

    I really enjoy Amber Nectar and a good piece yet again.

    I know some people find Swanny and Burnsey irritating but I was appalled at the way in which they were dropped, at the end of last season the Viking commentary was awful and without the detail and understanding of the club that both Burnsey and Swanny brought to the experience. As you have pointed out, From Barmby to Pearson to Brucey to Silva, Burnsey never shied from the real questions we wanted to hear…how many people have left the ground looking forward to him intervening the manager after a crap performance? Yet again Ehab has proven his ability to marginalise the supporters before the season has begun with yet another act of petulance and nastiness…..when is he going to work out that as long as he continues to behave in the way he does the only place he is going to be perceived as anything remotely positive is Twatsville! COYH

  3. mark bell
    mark bell says:

    Its clear the Ehab don’t give a damn how we supporters feel he is above having any feeling for this club because its a business . I used to like the family and see them as our saviours but little by little all feelings have been eroded which has left a bad taste, I now feel strongly enough to say these people have no fear at all and enjoy having the money not to give a shit and now see it as a vendetta . For this club to have any success again these people need to leave our club but I also feel they haven’t finished destroying it yet.

  4. Tim
    Tim says:

    Nice piece as always guys, thanks! To #4, not just “elbowing a steward out of the way to get to the supporters” but to his Dad no less. Great family moment – also celebrating with his little sister afterwards. Even more well played that man!

  5. Officer Crabtree
    Officer Crabtree says:

    “Burnsey never shied from the real questions we wanted to hear”

    He did for much of the name change saga, in which the Allams got too free a run from Radio Humberside in particular. The horribly, horribly flawed ‘ballot’ was waved through in the local media as if it was legitimate. It wasn’t. It really, really wasn’t. And that was hard to stomach for many.

    That’s a blot on an otherwise decent landscape, however. For a start, the manner in which Dave Burns tore apart Humberside Sport upon his return around the turn of the millennium is something we should be thankful for. Lest we forget, the station was obsessed with rugby league at that point, and under Arsenal fan Dave Gibbins the football clubs would be treated with disdain. If a City game didn’t kick off at 3pm on a Saturday, you’d often only get a half-time on full-time report on the game (briefly interrupting whatever was on the regular schedule). Burnsy made football matter to the station. He also has to deal with having to be all things to all people. That’s a tough act to pull off where football is concerned. Yes, people will dislike him, but on the whole he’s as good as you’re like to get on that sort of thing.

    This whole thing does smack of a petulant act by the Allams. Irrespective of anything else, look at the timing of the announcement – less than a week before the start of the season. Wouldn’t they have known long before that that they were going to go with Viking, but just happened to announce it at a time that would cause the maximum inconvenience for a dissenter? Bizarrely there still seems to be a small number of City fans who wish to give the Allams the benefit of any doubt on such things, in spite of all that’s happened in the past few years. I know, imagine being that person…

  6. JohnK
    JohnK says:

    Welcome back to my Monday morning’s Amber Nectar! Happily taken a point away at Villa before the game so I guess satisfaction was achieved. The manner of the first half was a worry but Leonid’s ability to make the necessary changes was pleasing to see as was the end product.
    I was really happy to see us start with Abel, Frazer and Jarrod up front. How many times have we seen a City manager start with 3 forwards for an away game when we were considered underdogs? Even when Frazer was subbed in the second half we had 2 up front.
    I would argue that we have the most potent strike force in the division, are those 3 not worth 50 goals this season, and to see it being used was a real joy. I hope this style continues.
    On point 6, yes you are so right and judging by the photos you see of him with fans on social media his affable and charismatic nature seems to be the genuine article.

  7. JesusJuice
    JesusJuice says:

    @JohnK bold claim about the potency of the City front line. It’s steady, goals will be gleaned from the 3, but make no mistake we are light up top compared to many of the promotion hopefuls.

    Incomings have been a shortfall in recent seasons as the Allams seem to be quickly suckling at the teet in exasperation of their initial investment cash.

    Top 10 is achievable, 11th would be my estimate – which would be a solid if unspectacular effort given the dire straits City could we be in if our transfer policy looks set to continue – who the f am I trying to kid, of course, it will continue.

  8. Bosco
    Bosco says:

    Excellent TWTWT, looking forward to the Podcast tonight.

    Agree re Slutsky, he is a breath of fresh air and encouraging that he switched Grosiki to the right, I wonder if he had worked that out during pre-season, or not?

    Shame re Burnsy, I like him and enjoyed listening to the pre and post match interviews as we leave the stadium. More Ehab nonsense.

    Great goal by Bowen,. nice celebration and I loved him telling the Villa fans to be quiet as he ran past the goal.

  9. Bill Carson
    Bill Carson says:

    Swanny (ex L#%ds) was at times annoying and flawed but I loved Burnsey.
    Shocking decision to take this from Radio Humberside. Although I won’t miss having to listen to the managers of GrimbytheSea and sCUNThorpe.

    Ehab said he recognised the mistakes of last year but then repeats them this year. What’s the saying? Anyone can make a mistake but only an idiot repeats them.

    Where is the communication from Ehab that he promised???

    It just gets worse.

    Perhaps Abramovich might fancy a new challenge? Sell Chelski and buy Hull City?

  10. JohnK
    JohnK says:

    @jesusjuice Campbell and Abel proven at this level and Bowen with the enthusiasm and name to make for himself gives me a positive feel. However if they don’t get the service then their potency will be diluted and that’s the area we have some fragility. Turbo proved that point on Saturday, first half the forwards weren’t in the game, but nobody except McGregor was really. I am the epitome of optimism I understand but there is no better time to be positive than the beginning of the season. I back us for a top 6 finish!!

  11. gjhdurham
    gjhdurham says:

    Agree many of the above comments. JohnK especially as I like the optimism, but agree that the midfield is needed to give our front men the chances. Will Mason return in a form capable of withstanding this tough division? Need some more quality signings and tighten defence. Encouraged that Slut seems capable of making useful adjustments in the game.
    Pleased to see ex players tweeting, etc in praise of Bowen. Onward and Upward. UTT!

  12. Bill Carson
    Bill Carson says:

    For all the doom and gloom and despite needing reinforcements. I’ve had a few quid on us to be promoted @ 5/1.
    Yes we have our issues, mainly off the field, yes our attendances this season, could be embarrassing but we have (given a speedy recovery for Mason & others) a decent starting XI.
    Every club in the Championship, with the exception of Burton and Boro, has off field problems too.

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