1. ‘Mutual consent’.
It’s never mutual consent is it? One side makes a decision that the other side has to live with. The term, in a sporting context, euphemises that either someone has walked away from their job or they’ve been sacked, and in this case it’s the football club who most need the appearance of being part of the decision making process. After all, the now departed Leonid Slutsky (a man who can’t be any good at poker since he wears his heart, liver, kidneys and bladder on his sleeve) was openly stating he was considering his position while Ehab was on his yacht on the Côte d’Azur.
2. Leonid Slutsky had his failings: His team selections confounded, there was a sense that the players didn’t quite grasp his philosophy and his substitutions were often ineffective, sometimes deleterious. There remains however, the belief that he was sold a lemon, trussed up like Houdini and expected to make silk purses from an array of manky sows ears found discarded in a tenfoot. Slutsky was a deeply personable and likeable man, who showed more deference to the club’s history and identity in 177 days than our owners have in 7 years. His tenure has ended in failure, but there’s no rancour here, we wish you well Slutskisha.
Ты заслуживаешь лучшего чем Ehab. Удачи в будущих начинаниях.
3. “[Slutsky] has acted with complete honour” said Ehab. If Nigel Adkins has attended the last few City games after being sounded out by the club, then Ehab should not talk of a quality he knows nothing of. One wonders if Ehab even cares about appointing a manager capable of avoiding the drop or if he is just seeking to fill a vacancy, caring only for parachute payments, which come in regardless of our current standing in the league. If he did care you’d suspect head of recruitment Lee Darnbrough would be departing at the same time as Slutsky and head of strategy Oleg Yarovinsky, after a summer transfer window that has been disastrous in terms of giving Slutsky the tools to do the job. If however, assembling a squad of kids, frees and loans that will struggle to be in the top 21 of 24 Championship clubs while selling any playing asset of value, leaving parachute payments unspent and trouserable is your goal, then you’re probably satisfied with the head of recruitment’s work.
4. In a parallel universe, Ehab Allam is a decisive man. He makes bold decisions based on unmatched football knowledge that stand the test of time, creating the sort of stability at the football club that justifies the statement “I think we’re the best run club in the Football League and arguably one of the top six in English football.”
But what of the universe you and we inhabit? Let’s open the box containing Schrödinger’s club (who exist in a state of being well run only until actually observed): Hull City are searching for their fourth manager/head coach in just 530 days. You’ll remember that Ehab passed the buck for Mike Phelan’s appointment onto prospective new owners and the fans who he was merely placating. That is of course an interesting interpretation of events soon after Steve Bruce’s mic drop, when anyone perturbed that we were beginning a Premier League season without someone to pick the team thought, perhaps hastily, that having such a person would be a good idea.
5. It’s hard not to look back at the tenure of our last ‘manager’, Steve Bruce, and not be in awe at his management of Assem Allam. He knew exactly how to get what he wanted from the old man, a skill that eluded Nigel Pearson and Nick Barmby before him, and used it to deliver a period of unprecedented success. It all went wrong though, when Assem’s ill-health increased Ehab’s influence, and Bruce clearly could no longer stomach working with him. Since then we’ve had ‘head coaches’ with limited influence on transfers, and look where that has got us, with a head coach walking away, hamstrung by Ehab, who marvels at his own inadequacy.
6. The 2-2 draw at Sheffield Wednesday followed, almost, a familiar and dispiriting template. Play okay. Take the lead. Fail to build upon it. Chuck it away. Concede late. The only thing that spoiled it was Michael Dawson’s faintly surreal equaliser, which took an eternity to travel the ten yard from the outside of his boot to the inside of the post and in. Even so, the late point gained felt more like two dropped after leading at the break and seeing just how awful the home side were.
7. And this is where the players have to take a bit of responsibility. Sure, the side isn’t good enough and the squad isn’t deep enough. That’s Ehab’s fault. Team selections and tactics, those lay with Slutsky. But this ridiculous propensity for throwing points away by conceding late goals is hard to pin on anyone but the players themselves. Late goals happen as bodies and minds weary, we all know that. But why are they usually things done to us instead of by us? It’s infuriating, and as we glumly survey the league table, costly too.
8. The reaction to our revelation of City’s actual crowds this season was interesting. We hope it served to highlight the epic and frequently deliberate mismanagement of the club by Assem and Ehab Allam by explaining the true state of our pitiful attendances this season – and remember, next time City declare a crowd figure, knock 20% off and you’re about there.
9. Apropos crowds: City haven’t really played at home to anyone this season who’d bring a large following, but we will before too long. Leeds, the reigning Champions of Europe who also memorably won this division in mid-September, have never failed to sell out an allocation here. Are City really going to leave thousands of seats empty while they bitch about only getting 2,500? What’ll happen when Wessies try to get in the home end? Will the Upper West lay empty as a contrast to an oversubscribed away end? Ditto Sheffield Wednesday, the planet’s best-supported club. City had better be thinking about this already.
10. There’ll be no podcast this evening. That’s because we’re travelling down to London today on account of being shortlisted for the Football Supporters’ Federation’s award for Club Podcast of the Year, and the awards ceremony is tonight. Though surprised and honoured to be shortlisted, we’re up against stiff opposition – but there’s champagne and a meal, so in TypicalCity fashion we’ll just enjoy a day out and not worry too much about the actual result. We’ll try to squeeze a podcast in at some point this week. In the meantime, thanks to everyone who’s said kind things about our nomination .