Things We Think We Think #262

TWTWT

1. What a dismal week. There’s no shame in defeat against Wolves, though it starkly illustrated why we aren’t likely to serious challenge for automatic promotion. They were excellent, aided by City’s hesitancy both on and off the ball, and looked comfortably better than us throughout a sobering evening. Fair enough. We didn’t really expect to be competing for the top two anyway.

2. However, an unhappy result was lent a disastrous air by the news that Abel Hernández will now be out for most of the rest of the season. He’d already plundered a hat-trick against Burton and barring injury or the club cashing in, he’d almost certainly have ended the season as our leading scorer. He’d be extremely difficult to replace even if we tried; however, we probably won’t.

3. That sent a thin XI to QPR, with negligible support on the bench. Now, QPR are a fairly rotten side, much likelier to depart the division via its trapdoor than its ladder. To feebly lose to them really does not bode well for this season, and the early promise of Aston Villa and Burton feels quite distant.

4. And more injuries too. Campbell and Stewart will be unavailable for the foreseeable future, with Leonid Slutsky grimly forecasting more as he’s forced to call upon half-fit players. It’s a disgusting state of affairs to have the new manager so constrained by his employers, who’ve very clearly sold him down the river. Barring a very considerable change in policy from Ehab Allam, we are certain to be hopelessly unprepared for the long season ahead.

5. That isn’t likely to improve with the sale of Sam Clucas this week. £12m is a lot of money for a player who cost barely a tenth of that, but he can’t be replaced either, and it makes a mockery of the manager’s insistence that the supermarket was closed (that not his fault, obviously). We wish him well, as he’s grown to be an authentic Premier League player and his back story is an inspiring one.

5a. If Clucas, awaiting a move away, had really refused to play at QPR, why was he dressed in City apparel watching the game? It doesn’t compute and the player himself has denied it. It seems more plausible that he was made unavailable in order to protect the impending transfer fee.

6. Leonid Slutsky’s crestfallen post-match interview with a sparky David Burns was a tough listen. Well done to the BBC man for asking some tough questions, even though the man who should be answering them doesn’t have the guts or the decency to do so. Slutsky sounded thoroughly deflated and disillusioned, as all football managers who worked for that wretched family seem to become. His foray into the English game, for which he worked so hard, is not going how it should be. On a human level, we feel for him and the betrayal he’s experiencing. City fans: among the entirely justified loathing for his employers, let’s show him a bit of love this week, yeah?

7. To Doncaster, and it seems many are making this unglamorous journey with dissent on their mind. Bollocks to any equivocating this “get behind the team” and “it doesn’t help the players” drivel. What doesn’t help the team is having half of it sold every summer and not replaced. We’re going the way of Leyton Orient, Coventry, Blackpool et al, and while on-field success has helped to mask some of this, that’s no longer the case. It’s time for the protests to be ramped up and for the Allam family to know that their intentional mishandling of the city of Hull’s football team is not acceptable to the people who live in it.

8. Ola Aina. Already he’s causing a mild division of opinion. It’s clear that he’s a strong player, comfortable in possession and inclined towards attacking. But, the naysayers cry, what about the defending? Well, it’s a valid point. The (very early) evidence suggests that it isn’t his strongest point. We may just need to get used to that. The specialist full-back who rarely ventures beyond the halfway line is a dying breed, harking back to a time of greater specialisation but less flexibility – and of fewer players being capable of attacking. Like the specialist wicketkeeper, the out-and-out full-back may soon be only a memory of football from a different, slower and less versatile age – and Aina appears to embody this evolution in the game.

9. It’s temporary pleasure, but we did enjoy Ehab falling for the “give us a wave” trick at Loftus Road. The man really is devoid of self-awareness or shame. Still, from the brief joy of being able to call him deservedly rude names in response we then clock the mysterious besuited figures sitting beside him and wonder, hope, implore, beg even, that he is about to relinquish his responsibilities. Not that he has discharged these responsibilities with any element of, er, responsibility, obviously.

10. Harry Maguire played a blinder and scored a goal on his home debut for Leicester on Saturday while Andy Robertson turned in a fine display on his bow for Liverpool. We got £25m for those two, players who were then analysed at length by Match Of The Day, leading Gary Lineker to ask how we got relegated last season. Well Gal, it’s a hell of a story, so pour yourself a strong one and settle back…

28 replies
  1. StantonBish
    StantonBish says:

    With all the money flowing into the club it’s heartbreaking what is happening, sometimes I think a wet and windy Tuesday night fixture against Torquay at Boothferry park with 3,000 others hardy souls was better than the mess we are in now.

  2. Chris
    Chris says:

    Its not looking good!

    I`m on the positive side of the Aina `division`. He looks very quick and can clearly tackle, the only issue at present is a sense of position and experience, which he could learn quickly with appropriate experience. The absence of any cover in front of him is a problem. The defence will get a lot of stick this year playing behind midfield players with no inclination for winning the ball. We are desperate for someone like the much maligned Ian Ashby but that`s not going to happen.

    … and the weaker we get the less interested any decent player will be to join us…

  3. WSM
    WSM says:

    Ramp it up to the max. AN has been predicting this outcome for a long time and it’s come to pass. The Allams simply must go, whatever the short term cost/impact.

  4. Tom
    Tom says:

    Allams played big part in relegation from top tier with their stubborn naming attempt causing disharmony with fans, if they were clever they could have built on top of a strong core squad and be rewarded with top tier money and adulation from the people of Hull.
    Instead, any asset is stripped and no communication given as to affect their story as a gift to the city. Just give the club to the fans now

  5. Michael Coates
    Michael Coates says:

    I fully agree with all your points, but this family seem to want to hang on to the club.
    Is it because they are making more money from the loans ,running the club, than they make from their core business?

  6. Dave
    Dave says:

    It’s interesting that Slutsky is now questioning the decisions behind closed doors, if history is anything to go by, the Allams don’t like answering questions, tough or not, I hate to say it but wouldn’t put your money on Slutsky still being in charge in the next couple of months never mind the end of the season.

    On a separate note, it’s not the selling of players that’s really annoyed me, as that is football, it’s the constant lies, being told “next week” for new signings “the shop is shut”, and within days seeing all promises out of the club are in fact lies,, it’s getting so boring now, and it’s completely unfair on fans. We’ll do what we’ve done every year, 5/6 rushed signings at the end of the window. Then the same will happen for the next two years, whilst there is money to be made from parachute payments and money to be made in sales, the Allams will hang on.

  7. ann guy
    ann guy says:

    The Allams have long since resorted to the old adage, “Never apologise, never explain.” This agenda has been known to weaken any enemy/ opposition. Don’t allow it to succeed City fans, Stay focused, strong and united… Just sayin! Oh yeah and my husband, retired accountant says, we won’t be able to access activity in July,August club accounts till around next May. Now there’s a key month!!!

  8. John
    John says:

    Usual good article that tells it how it is. Len has already said much more in public than Nick Barnby did and we know what happened to him. The players simply cannot go on without reinforcements of at least six more. Len has an empty tool bag for the job and with more playing with injuries those injuries will get worse. I don’t like to say it but Hull City is almost completely broken and yet no word from the family or the so called head of recruitment. It really is a mess and hard to see a way back.

  9. Richard Wilson
    Richard Wilson says:

    Again a fine explanation of events and agree with everything. Now is the time for strong, constant protest against the Allams, however I’m unsure how best to do it. Am sure there are thousands thinking the same but we need a joined up response rather than individuals venting their anger. Supporter groups need to be at the forefront. My biggest bugbear is the weak response from our local rag, the Hull Daily Mail. Not blaming the Sports Editor or Phil Buckingham, its the editor Hodginson who is piss poor. He has the authority, resources and power to really go after them but does nothing

  10. Blackadder
    Blackadder says:

    The problem being that the Allams are indifferent to protests large or small, their disgraceful scrapping of concessions and driving away of long time fans says it all. They will make money if the team plays in an empty stadium, parachute payments are coming in for two seasons, the squad is small and so is the wage bill, they can sell off as many players as possible. They don’t care about relegation, and when all of the juice has been squeezed out of the club they will sell it for peanuts and walk away with a bulging bank account and no conscience!

  11. Richard
    Richard says:

    What I don’t understand is that when the Allams invest, they have generally recouped their investments. Magiure, Clucas, Robertson were all bought for small fees and shipped on for a large profit. Why not continue to do this? If they’re only interested in the money (although someone interested in only the money could have got a lot more for some of our players…) then surely they’ve seen a template for themselves. Fill the team with lots of young, promising players. Assets you can sell, not just loans.

  12. John from Brid
    John from Brid says:

    If this is how the Allams do a rebuilding job, I don’t want them doing any work for me.

  13. Bill Baxter
    Bill Baxter says:

    I don’t get all this sympathy mallarkey for Slutsky.
    Surely he would have known about the problems at the club & the Allam’s reputation?
    I’m sure he would have asked his contacts in the game about the situation, if not then he’s a bloody idiot who doesn’t deserve to be manager of a football club.
    No sympathy with anyone who works for the Allams, they should know what to expect.

  14. Jimmy Weekly
    Jimmy Weekly says:

    Understandable annoyance at the way things are this Monday morning. All looked better last Monday morning. I predict that things will look different in 10 days time, when the transfer window shuts. We’ll have a stronger squad, Slutsky will decide whether it’s one he can work with or not, and (re #9 that you tease us with) may be even the sale of the club will be on the agenda again. I did wonder why Ehab bothered going to QPR,. He’s not much of a football fan so must have had some reason other than to enjoy the match.

  15. Kemptonite
    Kemptonite says:

    #7 it’s neither drivel or bollocks to say get behind the team and it doesn’t help the players. It’s a judgement to make, especially with a load of under 23s making their debuts. The balance between support and good humoured, intelligent, and effective protest at City has been exemplary in the last couple of years, and even before that, tennis balls, Pinder, and all.

  16. TigerCola
    TigerCola says:

    If the Allam’s are only interested in the money, and I have no reason to believe anything else, we need to stop giving them our money.

    Stop buying any official merch, food, drinks and programmes from the club and around the stadium. If you have chosen to keep going to home games then make sure the only money you give them is the cost of the ticket. Reducing attendances and sales of food etc will start to impact them. Sadly not as much as the TV money but it’s a start.

    I’ve stayed away from the circle and haven’t spent any money on new shirts or other official merch since the Lokeren home game.

    The first game after they leave I’ll be back with a new home shirt.

  17. Steve
    Steve says:

    I’m rubbish at money matters, but my partner has run 3 successful businesses. She tells me that any losses made by a football team can be written off against tax on their other businesses. (If one business loses 10 mil then they pay 10 mil less tax on another) How much the owners who will be directors and shareholders can pocket depends on the complexity of contracts The Allams are shrewd businessmen so I guess the contract will be well written in their favour. . Just what this means in terms of how much dosh they can pocket from sales and parachutes without suffering financial pain resulting from a failing football team is beyond me.

  18. Bill Carson
    Bill Carson says:

    6 quality signings required before the deadline or we looked doomed this season.
    Ehab stated that he wouldn’t allow another transfer shambles to happen and yet he has.
    Zero communication.
    The vast majority of our assets sold,
    Little reinvested.
    Grosicki will be bound to follow Clucas!
    Cash rich but morally bankrupt owners!
    We’re doomed!!!!

  19. ann guy
    ann guy says:

    My husband, who is a retired accountant, tells me that any losses made by City could, in general, be set against any profits of other companies in the Allamhouse group, but the set off would be against profits, not the tax on those profits. So, for example, if Allamhouse had profits of £10m and a potential tax rate of 20%, and City had losses of £10m, setting one against the other would reduce Allamhouse’s tax bill by £2m, not £10m. So it would seem very doubtful that the Allams would deliberately cause City to make losses just to save tax, but like most of us, we are completely at a loss as to what their strategy is.

  20. Ambertigerfan
    Ambertigerfan says:

    ann guy: “..strategy..” now that’s far too complimentary. This is classic “Mission Creep” as per Gallipoli in WWI and we all know how that one went.

    Basically, Allam Jnr.. is making it up as he goes along, guided by selling the assets on the cheap [accrued from the Steve Bruce era] and then barely/ if at all replacing them.

    City are screwed until the parachute payments expire. Maybe (and that’s a big maybe) they’ll sell the club then. By this time City will be languishing at the bottom of old Division Four. There is our “gift to the community” Egyptian style.

  21. Bill Baxter
    Bill Baxter says:

    I’ll make a further comment on it Rottenborough:-

    Why the fuck do people bother going to these meetings?
    It’s obvious they’re not going to answer any of the questions we really want answered or stop using ‘Hull City Tigers’ any time soon.
    You can ask them politely until you’re blue in the face, you’re just wasting your time.
    Grow some balls & stick 2 fingers up to the cunts.

  22. Peter Matthews
    Peter Matthews says:

    Having just celebrated the 50th anniversary of watching my local team by visiting the place I watched my first ever live game, Villa Park, (Villa v City November 1967), I have seen them through lows and lower, only in the last 10 years have I seen relative highs, (although I probably enjoyed the early 70’s as much when we were quite good without the success). Unfortunately I will not protest at a game, or stop going because I support the team not the owners/board/directors. However I will, and have done everything to register my disgust at the manner in which the current incumbents are running the club, having written to them and stopped buying any official merchandise. But I really don’t think they give a flying f*** what any of us think or do, so I will resolve to keep supporting the players and manage my local team, and hope that they eventually sod off.

  23. Ozzie
    Ozzie says:

    I have said it before….these Arabs lost face in the renaming debacle and will not rest until we are destroyed. But in the interim they will milk every last penny……whilst smiling to your face but hating your guts!

  24. gjhdurham
    gjhdurham says:

    I find it surprising that no comment on the shove in the back for QPR’s winning goal seems worthy of comment. Just read a report from a QPR guy that highlights this and expresses surprise that the Hull team didn’t protest it too. We’ve been too soft for years now! Lack of leadership on the pitch? Of course, it doesn’t fit the desire to to have a go at the Allams…does it? Yes, we know they’re fcuking the club up but…
    Also think Slut could have done better too. Many note the defensive Aina weakness, so why not push him forward and bring Lenihan on. We only used two subs. Grot doesn’t exactly kill himself either so a sub for him could have helped stem attacks….or mount ours!
    If Grot goes, will it matter much? Rumours of a good ish young LB from Swansea and a decent attacking mf from Arsenal coming in. Matches the desires posted above…could be good young signings…. Toral looks like a young more mobile Thudd from the video clips. Need a striker or two though.
    The Cup game at Donnie looks to be sacrificial…. Going to be a long week…

  25. Paul
    Paul says:

    As always a great read, agree re comment about QPR winner, has there ever been a clearer foul? Seems like the players have lost heart already which isn’t surprising I suppose.
    Can’t believe how bad the last few years have been, which is ridiculous when you think what leagues we’ve been in but has it been fun? no. All very sad and two people who I’d never heard of until 2010 are to blame……..

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