Things We Think We Think #275


1. Before the game, the managers. The sad situation of Leonid Slutsky’s departure will always carry a bitter taste, even if his going had seemed inevitable for weeks. A good man who tried his best for the club was left with an impossible situation by people who are not good and do not try their best for the club, and that’s always going to rankle. Once again, we thank Leonid for his efforts and wish him well for the future.

2. We were talking to a friend of Slutsky’s in the week. That friend, and apparently others, urged him not to take the job because of the toxic nature of the owners. That he took it on anyway, having been warned about the Allam family, suggests both foolhardiness and courage. Though it’s interesting and gratifying to know that the Allams’ nature is so widely understood throughout the game.

3. If Slutsky’s departure was widely expected, the identity of his successor was equally predictable. Nigel Adkins, a moderately garrulous individual with some (though not limitless) success at this level had been a recent attendee at City games, and no other contenders felt plausible. Given that few managers want to work with the Allams, he’s probably about as good as we could hope for. Nonetheless, we hope he doesn’t take the lukewarm reception personally; this is a club his bosses have drained of enthusiasm.

4. The first half of his first game was as dire as we’ve seen in this grim season so far. City were disorganised and lethargic, shorn of urgency and invention. It was utterly wretched stuff, and the 12,200 or so present sat cold and mute before sloping off for warm drinks at the interval with barely a peep raised. Which made the second half all the more remarkable. But not before a real team calamity gifted Brentford a lead. Clark’s woeful miskick, the dismal tracking of Brentford runners, Meyler’s clumsy steering of the ball into his own goal – it was farcical stuff.

5. Yet we roused ourselves in a way few of the thoroughly fed up home fans could have expected. Much it came from Kamil Grosicki, perpetually frustrating but abundantly gifted. His goal was a magnificent strike, not his first of the season, and was a moment of inspiration few of his harder-working but more limited team-mates could muster. That Seb Larsson’s goal wasn’t the best of the afternoon is testimony to its excellence.

5a. But back to Grosicki’s goal. Sometimes, it only takes a moment to change everything. As soon as Grosicki scored, confidence surged through a previously lacklustre City side. Gone was the dismally cautious and slow-paced football from the first half, and the Tigers began playing with rare vigour and attack. When Jackson Irvine scored the third goal, the Circle reacted with a joyous fervour we’ve been starved of for so long. It was a genuinely feel-good moment.

6. One of Slutsky’s main failings was an inability to positively change the game with substitutions, but the introduction of Jon-Miquel Toral early in the second half against Brentford transformed the game. He floated around in midfield like a Tesco Value Iniesta, always open to receive the ball, and bringing colleagues into the game with a range of delicious passes such as the one for Jackson Irvine’s first City goal. Granted, the decision to start Aina on the right wing and then send him to left back to make room for Toral was odd (as was playing Luer as a substitute right back), and fairness to Slutsky demands noting that Toral was unavailable to him in November, but it doesn’t change that Adkins made a player interchange that had wondrous results.

7. Okay, it’s only three points. It’s very premature to suggest that we’re suddenly safe this season, although the six point cushion does feel encouraging. And Nigel Adkins has a lot to prove and – as he’ll discover in January – abysmally thin resources with which to do it. But in a season of almost unremitting misery, that second half was a rare but authentic high point.

8. Amazing that the ‘best run club in the league’ had to postpone an under-23 game because it can’t fulfil three fixtures at different age levels in a weekend, isn’t it?

9. Bubblegate at Huddersfield is over 4½ years ago, but an interesting post-script arrived over the weekend. Chief Superintendent Owen West from West Yorkshire Police told City fans on Twitter that his force’s appalling conduct was “wrong” and “shouldn’t be repeated”. Refreshing stuff, and indeed WYP have been significantly less inflammatory on our last few visits to their area, hinting at genuine rather than cosmetic change. There’s a long way to go with policing football, and too often fans are still treated in a way that no other section of society could experience without a huge public outcry, but one day we’ll get there.

10. Thank you to everyone who’s said nice things about us winning the Football Supporters’ Federation’s Club Podcast of the Year in London a week ago. We’re touched that people listen to and watch our semi-coherent Monday evening offers, and appreciate everyone who participates as a guest, listener or viewer. So please, join us at about 7.30pm this evening…

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

    A good game, eventually, Glad Toral got the chance to show what he is capable of. Phil Mitchell AKA the referee needs to get his watch looked at, 1 minute extra time the first half and 8 the second half, maybe he added some of the first half time on to the second as it was never 8, Meyler was down just over 3 so don’t know where he got 8 from. The crowd I would guess was in the 11,000 plus mark, the lower West stand gets less each game, how much are they charging for the middle seats I wonder.

  2. Kevin Foster
    Kevin Foster says:

    Chuckled alot and loudly at your Tesco value Iniesta description of Toral. City’s first half performance cried out for a ball player rather than a grafter in midfield. At half time we were bemoaning the loss of Huddlestone who though often enigmatic could turn the game in a moment- enter front stage Toral. Nerve racking at the end but we held out and deservingly so

    As ever, the must read for all City fans on a Monday morning- thankyou and congratulations on the Pod Cast win.

  3. BlackLabel
    BlackLabel says:

    A great read again. Essential Monday reading week-in, week-out.
    Wholehearted congratulations on the Podcast win – genuinely well deserved – CONGRATULATIONS.

  4. Michael Coates
    Michael Coates says:

    Congratulations on your pod cast award.
    Three good goals Saturday, one stupid own goal, one Brentford goal that seemed to be bad defending again.
    Oh you are sure spot on regarding our owners, so toxic but sad someone will always work for them.

  5. Jimmy Weekly
    Jimmy Weekly says:

    #9 thanks for pointing that out. I’d not seen this Tweet, and wonder what prompted it? The way West Yorkshire Police behaved at that time was shameful and caused great damage to their reputation.
    #3 ‘moderately garrulous’ is a good phrase, but not quite up there with what Les said on TV on Saturday night.

  6. Bill Carson
    Bill Carson says:

    Congratulations on the Deserved Podcast Award!
    Glass half empty mood though chaps?
    After the last 7 months I can understand your sense of depression and there are many wrongs still to put right.
    But… please, can we not accentuate the positives?
    New, articulate manager, with a decent pedigree at this level.
    A winning start.
    Another meeting planned with the owners.
    Grounds for some optimism?
    Any answers on why we are being ripped off again at Bellend Road? £39 adults and £18 kids?

  7. Rottenborough
    Rottenborough says:

    Congratulations to all at AN on your well-deserved award – hopefully more to come in future!

    Bill Carson – there is a difference between being a pessimist/glass half full type and being a realist. The sense of depression is not limited to events of the last seven months, as you well know, even though you were very late in seeing the light about the Allams (although your comments above give me cause to doubt whether you have in fact seen much more than a chink of that).

    I agree it is positive we have a replacement head coach (NOT a new manager) and that we won on Saturday. That’s it. The meeting is just that. No movement, no promises and a track record of ignoring the fans. Leopards don’t change their spots. The Allams are doing this for reasons of their own, in their interests and no one else. If you choose to think otherwise that’s your choice but please don’t try and teach your grandmother to suck eggs.

    I wish Adkins the best of luck. He’ll need it, working for the Allams. Those two aren’t going anywhere. In my opinion they’ll suck as much money as they can from the club and then walk. Can’t come soon enough for me.Trouble is it’s already far too late for many.

  8. Andy Vickers
    Andy Vickers says:

    Is Adkins likely to bring in some more coaching staff?
    Cautiously optimistic that we can maintain the gap between us and three other clubs, anything else will seem a bonus at the moment.
    Still think we will see Grosicki and possibly Bowen move in January :(

  9. Bill Carson
    Bill Carson says:

    Why doesn’t anyone comment on the £39 tickets at L#%ds?
    Likewise other teams record non attendance of season ticket holders.
    I know this is just s chink of light in a dark period of time BUT continually berating our own club on failings of which are common at or worse at other clubs only damages Hull City.

  10. Bill Carson
    Bill Carson says:

    And what about being sold down the river on Brexit?
    £40BN for what?
    They could give that money to Hull and make us the best City in the World.

  11. Blackadder
    Blackadder says:

    It’s always “ifs” with the Allams, if we can hang on to Grosicki and Bowen, if they give Adkins any cash to spend in January or if theyask Darnborough to waste it on bums like Stewart again!

    They have a track record of flogging off players when we need them most and are intent on lining their pockets at the club’s expense. Nevertheless the squad has potential and with a decent left full back and central defender we can climb back up the Championship and challenge for a top six place, but if “flogger” Ehab does his thing again next month it will be a long hard winter.

  12. Digger
    Digger says:

    Just put a tenner on HCAFC finishing in the top 6 come the end of the season @ 100/1. Is that glass half full / optimistic for you? Will be totally filling right to the brim many a glass if that bad boy comes in. 😉

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