Things We Think We Think #273


1. Another wretched week for City. A tepid 0-0 draw at the Den and a startling collapse on Saturday garned just a point, while neither performance offers much cause for optimism. If we were still in denial about being a relegation battle last week, we’ve been firmly disabused of that notion now. We’re in a lot of trouble.

2. Match analysis shortly, but how City cope with the realisation of being in a survival battle will be interesting. We can’t pretend to be optimistic. Entering this sort of battle with an incompetently assembled squad of moderate loanees, a porous defence and a soft, fat underbelly doesn’t fill us with hope. The best that can happen is that following the absymal capitulation against Bristol City is that the manager (whoever that ends up being) and the players quickly realise the gravity of our predicament and collectively readjust their sights. Pretending we aren’t in a serious situation until the New Year is no good. We need to start fighting now.

3. And yes, “whoever that ends up being”. The circumstances of this specific defeat, plus the general wretchedness of latter performances, have brought Leonid Slutsky’s own position under the spotlight, not least by his own candid interviews in which he has tried to be dignified and honest and has sometimes looked consequently like he has located his own sword to fall on. Maybe it’s clever psychology from Slutsky – after all, a manager who dares his chairman to sack him may risk not being given the satisfaction and could prolong his spell as a result. If he really thought he deserved to go, he’d just resign. He seems an honourable man, and we’d like to think it’s not about the payoff he’d sacrifice if he just quit, so maybe putting the feelers out about his own precarious position could, by contrast, strengthen his stance within the club. We will forever feel that he has been dealt some truly rotten hands by the Allams, who sold all his best players from a very useful inherited squad, replaced them only partially, and on the cheap at that, and then told him to get on with it. Tactically there are questions to be asked, of course, but the abysmal way the club is run clearly seeps down to the coaching staff and the squad. Slutsky is culpable when a team he picks and schools chucks away a two goal lead at home to an ordinary side, sure, but some of the other defeats and drab displays have been telegraphed from the first minute and as such have not been about him nor the players, but about those in the hierarchy who apply the binds and gags in each transfer window.

4. And really, whether he stays or goes feels irrelevant. For as long as the Allams cash more cheques than they sign and continue to claim that City are the best run club going despite a weak squad, a befuddled, betrayed manager and a half empty stadium in a one-club city that has recently enjoyed Premier League football, an FA Cup final and a European campaign, it really doesn’t matter who the manager is. If Slutsky goes, it’d be to save his own sanity because his reputation isn’t shot. Football people know the true incompetents here, and they don’t wear boots or tracksuits.

5. We were probably indebted to Allan McGregor for the point at Millwall six days ago. Along with Jarrod Bowen, he’s been a rare success this season, and he made a string of saves you can’t guarantee will always be made. It ensured a point for City that wasn’t pretty, but wasn’t wholly without use – even if it did leave to a near-death experience for poor old Leonid, whose job seemed unlikely to survive the result.

6. Whether it does survive the Bristol City disaster is anyone’s guess. And yet it wasn’t entirely hopeless. After a dour arm-wrestle at the beginning, City assumed control from about 20 to 65 minutes, assuming comfortable dominance of possession and even creating a few chances with it. When the second went in, the match really did seem secure – Bristol had offered vanishingly little and while it hadn’t been convincingly, the Tigers had deserved the lead.

7. But when the visitors pulled one back, the panic was palpable. Shorn of any semblence of leadership and with Slutsky making a rotten pair of substitutions, an equaliser (probably from a set piece) always felt likely. And so a filthy leveller duly arrived. At which point the usual late goal to lose a game always felt likely, etc etc…

8. Although the detail from the meeting between the Allams and selected supporters is a bit scant, we have hope. The Supporters Trust is represented, and they have been trying to acquire reasonable dialogue with the Allams since formation, and this is the first time it has happened. While the Trust is involved, there is hope that a) City fans will be afforded some respect again; and b) the minutes of these meetings will be accurate and conclusive. For now, we should let the process take its course and see what emerges.

9. Not that attending their first meeting since November 2013 means anything just yet. Just turning up doesn’t guarantee that they’ve listened to or understood anything they were told, let alone decided to act upon it. Merely attending a meeting of carefully selected individuals is nowhere enough to consent to an “amnesty” of protests. Even righting a few of the grevious wrongs they’ve inflicted upon this wounded club is may not be enough. For some, there will be no amnesty until they’ve gone, and the long slog of repairing the damage is begun.

10. Finally, City declared an attendance of 14,762 on Saturday. Home crowds this season have been much discussed this season, with official announcements not always corresponding to what fans have seen this season. Tune into our podcast on Periscope tonight from around 7.30pm, we have some interesting numbers to share…

15 replies
  1. John from Brid
    John from Brid says:

    I became convinced we were in a relegation battle a few weeks ago when David Meyler was quoted as saying we were not, just as a few years ago in the premier league a certain player no longer with the club said” there are 10 clubs in the premier league that could get relegated, but Hull aren’t one of them, we got relegated.
    The substitutes on Saturday turned the game, unfortunately the wrong way, I don’t often notice Herring Gulls above the KC stadium but on Saturday they were hovering like vultures, were they waiting for Slutsky’s body to be thrown to them after the defeat was a thought that entered my head as we meakly capitulated. UTT.

  2. HempholmeTigers
    HempholmeTigers says:

    Deano made an interesting point on Saturday before the game. Said at a recent training session he attended nearly all the team in the room were either on their phones or heads down texting or whatever. When he played, phones were banned during sessions – players were expected to talk to each other and bond as a team off the pitch as well as on. Think he has a point.
    3/4 a wretched situation for a very likeable and honourable man who’s been sold down the river by the Allams. Not forgiving some of his decisions – the substitutions on Saturday – why? but the poor guy has nothing to work with esp. in defence.
    8/9 does anyone truly have any confidence in the Allams actually listening let alone doing anything meaningful to repair all the past wrongs they’ve inflicted on our club? But at least they can tick the box that there’s been a meeting and dialogue with the supporters. Meaningless and futile. For pity’s sake Allams – GO!!!

  3. Jimmy Weekly
    Jimmy Weekly says:

    A sober, and sobering, TWTWT. Thanks. Jarrod Bowen is quoted in the HDM saying ‘It is not as if we have been going out there and playing awful and getting battered four or five-nil every week. We are playing well …’. Good player, but living in cloud cuckoo land so far as the performance of the team goes. No win in 6, 15 goals conceded in those games, 2 points out of 18. If this is City playing well, I’d hate to see us have a bad run.

  4. Bill Baxter
    Bill Baxter says:

    No leader on the pitch, no leader off it.
    Slutsky should go now (obviously he won’t resign), he is putting up no fight whatsoever & it seems he has just laid over & died.
    Surely this will be having a detrimental effect on the players as well?
    His press conferences have become an embarrassment.

  5. Snaggletooth
    Snaggletooth says:

    Jarod Bowen is playing well. If he thinks the rest of the team are playing well, that’s fine. If he realised how bad some of the others are he might not have that consistency of application.

  6. Dave
    Dave says:

    The Bristol City is the first game I’ve missed this season, and I have to say I was gutted to see us actually winning 2 nil having not gone to the game. Trouble is the results of late have been so predictable, you just know if the other team scores, they’ll probably go on and win – regardless of the lead we have. And so it happened, 2-1, 2-2 and then with 5 or so minutes to go we’re guaranteed to let one more in, 2-3.

    Whilst Slutsky has been dealt a bad hand, I don’t think he’s done anything in a bad situation to help himself. Admitting you don’t know what to do in a press conference can’t give the players you’re trying to lead much confidence. I’d rather Slutsky looked to the Under 23 team, better to have some raw passion in the team, then some can’t be bothered loans.

    We’ve got some tough games coming up, Wednesday (A), Brentford (H), Cardiff (A), Leeds (A) and Derby (H) – Can only see points in the Brentford game unless something changes.

  7. Bill Carson
    Bill Carson says:

    Bill Baxter hits the nail in the head, a complete lack of leadership, from the Boardroom to the manager to team!
    Mobile phones should have NO place in the dressing room.
    Yes we played well until 65 mins but once the first goal went in for Bristol City, the writing was on the wall.
    Unsure about Adkins, given our perilous position, so I’d push the boat out to get Pulis. Keep us up this season, Instill some discipline, grit, organisation and sort the defence out for a challenge next season.
    Seeing so many empty seats is embarrassing, and indicative of the pricing policy and relationship between the club and its supporters (customers!!)

  8. Richard pearson
    Richard pearson says:

    I’d like Pulis in charge but it’s a dream. Can you imagine a determined man like him “working” with Allam? It’s a great idea, though, and he’d put some discipline where it’s needed. Sorry for poor Slutski as most of us are, but he was a fall guy recruited from where our notorious owners were less known.

  9. Brian Hudson
    Brian Hudson says:

    Please, not Pulis! A dishonourable man, with limited tactical nous, always working from a defensive base. Where are our defenders? None of the current ex-Premier managers currently out of work appeal – perhaps we can hope fpr a repeat miracle from the Allams, and they will turn up another Marco Silva!

  10. Ozzie
    Ozzie says:

    Maybe the Slutsky situation is playing right into the Arab’s plan to send us quickly down the hill to Hell. He won’t go on his own accord and sacrifice the payout, they don’t want to pay him out and recognise his ineptitude is working for them! Its now part of the strategy…..just saying!!

  11. Bill Carson
    Bill Carson says:

    Some very good points made above but also some ridiculous statements.
    Slutski seems a decent guy but he has appeared tactically inept and his whole persona and body language of late has done us no favours,
    Yes, just like Mike Phelan last season, Slutski was dealt a poor hand with his inheritance. Did he choose the players we brought in? I would guess he chose Hector, Aina and Tomori, Larsson and the Aussie.
    I would also bet that if we could get Pulis we would see a side finish around 9th this season.

  12. Blackadder
    Blackadder says:

    Pulis won’t come to Hull City, he knows that one of the Premier League teams in the bottom six, West Brom excepted, will come for him by early January. We do need a manager like him to organise the midfield and defence and make a couple of signings but the field is limited. The Allams are a known factor now and most managers will think twice before risking their reputations by signing up for a large dollop of Allam bullshit. The tactic of saving money by bringing in inexperienced loan players has backfired with a vengeance and we are rapidly dropping towards the bottom three, I’d take Lambert over Adkins but Slutsky has to go and soon before it’s too late.

  13. Bill Carson
    Bill Carson says:

    Blackadder, I’d take Adkins over Lambert.
    Pulis May be tempted, as unlikely as it at first appears.
    Swansea are known for playing good football so he wouldn’t fit in there.
    West Ham, Everton, Palace have all replaced managers. Brighton, Huddersfield and Newcastle all unlikely to change. West Brom he has just left, Stoke he left.
    So limited opportunities in the Premier League.
    Wales? Money might be a problem, plus they’re expose when Bale is out.
    So City might not be such a bad option.

  14. Blackadder
    Blackadder says:

    Well you make a good case for Pulis Bill and he would certainly be the man we desperately need, he won’t take any bullshit from uppity owners either.

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