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…