1. Where on earth to start with the Derby debacle? Oddly enough, it wasn’t that bad for the first half hour or so. City trailed, with Aina and McGregor about equally to blame for Derby’s opener, but we were in the game. Until Larsson missed a penalty. How does a professional footballer, whose actual job it is to direct a football in a particular direction, MISS a penalty? Having one saved is almost understandable, though still unimpressive when there are parts of a goal that a keeper cannot reach available for the taker. But to fail to steer a stationary football with no accompanying opponents into the available 192 square feet from a mere twelve yards…it’s baffling.
2. There are no excuses for what followed. 1-0 down having just missed a penalty isn’t a great situation. 4-0 down at half-time is impossible to salvage, yet that’s what City’s total capitulation following Larsson’s error ensured. It was as appalling a quarter-hour as you could ever wish to see at this level of football.
3. But how? Well, Leonid Slutsky erred with his team selection. Unless David Meyler was either injured or exhausted following international duty, his benching was a decision that’s tough to understand. So is the inclusion of Markus Henriksen, who offers disappointingly little when things are going well and virtually nothing when they aren’t. City were often overrun in the first half, and the team selection needs questioning as much as the application of those who were selected.
4. Kudos to Curtis Davies for not celebrating his goal (though we’re not fragile or juvenile enough to be emotionally scarred forever if an ex-player larges it a bit when putting one over on us) and bigger kudos to Davies and Tom Huddlestone as well for making a point of applauding the 1,054 City fans who made the journey. They never got chance to say goodbye; and neither did we. And they deserved applause back because they were and are excellent footballers and good professionals, and worthy of our continued respect.
5. Two big games this week. Going to Fulham is aesthetically pleasant but seldom easy; playing Sunderland at home is often vociferous and not always pleasant. It’s about time City decided what they are going to be – capable of swatting away distracted opposition at the Circle while grinding out agreeable performances and results on their travels? Currently it’s one and not the other.
6. And the Derby horror show reminded us of just how awful we have actually been away from home for a very long time. It’s not new territory, of course; our first relegation from the Premier League was aided emphatically by a winless season away from home, and there was joy and relief usually associated with last day escapes when that came to an end a few games into the next season at Norwich. But being so dreadful on our travels is embarrassing and must come to an end quickly.
7. We wouldn’t ordinarily concern ourselves with Ehab Allam’s utterances on Friday. They’re as banal, wrongheaded, self-serving and cretinous as you’d expect from him or his father. But…wasn’t it interesting that the club issued them on Friday, a day when the club was being lambasted by two different football authorities. It could be coincidence rather than distraction. Or it could not be.
8. Either way, having already secured for themselves a place in the gutter, it’s clear that the Allam family are now intent on establishing an even more subterranean position for their shattered reputation. Firstly, the club was censured by the Premier League for failing to offer concessions last season. The club misled us when saying concessions still existed, and have now been reprimanded for not doing so. Furthermore, City’s assertion that the rules were “ambiguous” is not true. They’re explicitly clear. City were unaware of them when acting to spite their own fans, and when the magnificent Hull City Supporters’ Trust began their determined campaign to reverse this assault upon our future fanbase, they simply hoped they’d get away with it. That’s evidenced by their refusal to implement concessions even now that their malpractice has been exposed, and as the Upper West Stand lies empty, no-one with an ounce of integrity or intelligence could contend that they’ve had a positive effect.
9. Friday didn’t get much better for City, when the Independent Football Ombudsman issued scathing criticism of the club for having chosen “not to co-operate” with an investigation into alleged mis-selling of these godforsaken memberships. It was, in their view, “unacceptable and unprecedented” for a club to not co-operate. Just think about that. It is literally without precedent that a professional football club in this country should choose not to assist into an investigation launched for the benefit of one of their own fans. It’s a squalid new low.
10. But it’s explicitly the wishes of Hull City AFC. The owners enact policies that intentionally harm the supporters of the club, which are then carried out (with varying enthusiasm) by employees at all levels. Be in no doubt: our owners viscerally loathe City supporters, and haven’t bothered hiding it for some time. Well, it’s mutual. But don’t for a second think you’re going to win, because you aren’t.