Things We Think We Think #289


1. What a putrid afternoon at the Stadium of Light on Saturday. City’s 1-0 defeat at Sunderland confirms – if you didn’t already know – that City are in grave danger of being relegated for the second season in a row. And worse still, it suggests there isn’t much hope of this fate being avoided.

2. The first half was unutterably supine, with City again showing a frightening lack of urgency in a game of obvious importance. That scares us, hinting as it does at an inadequate mentality among the players. The situation is dire, but the way matches are started is redolent of end-of-season dead rubbers. How is this possible? Why does it keep happening?

3. Nigel Adkins is not impressing us. It’s easy to mock the claim advanced in mitigation that we “warmed up well”, because you can sort of see what he’s getting at: that the preparation is right, and it’s the execution that’s lacking. But he isn’t executing either. Why do the players continue to look so half-arsed at the start of critically important fixtures? Why can’t we play with two strikers? Why do substitutions act to continue unsuccessful formations rather than alter them? And why on earth have we so completely stopped scoring?

4. Okay, we’re trying to tighten up and maybe nick enough 1-0s to scrape 21st. Fair enough. But it obviously isn’t working, and we’ve gone from a fairly free-scoring and even occasionally entertaining side to one that’s almost unwatchable, and actually amassing fewer points per game than under the previous manager. It’s godawful stuff, and even though he hasn’t been here a long time, a few stiff questions need putting to Mr Adkins.

5. That some City fans were still incensed enough to sing “you’re not fit to wear that shirt” is ominous. That’s not necessarily unfair – while the ultimate responsibility lies solely with the Allam family, this also isn’t a side that ought to be plunging towards relegation. It wasn’t a majority, but enough to be heard amid a severely angry full-time reaction, and suggests that the fans/players relationship that’s broadly survived our descent down the table is close to fracturing.

6. With a less kind turn of events following the FA Cup third round, we could have found ourselves bottom of the Championship by this weekend while we’re in fourth round action against Nottingham Forest. Mercifully, neither Sunderland nor Burton Albion are among the eight clubs playing their scheduled Championship fixtures, while Birmingham are in FA Cup action themselves. To be playing Leeds on January 30th as the 24th of 24 would have been a horrendous piece of footballing symbolism. Their fans don’t need much excuse to come to the Circle and take the piss, but to do so while we languished at the very foot of the table would have been unbearable.

7. That FA Cup tie in itself feels insignificant right now, but maybe it’s the sort of break from the lousy, rotten freefall we need. Not that beating Forest will be any kind of cakewalk; they’ve just dumped the FA Cup holders Arsenal out of the competition and have also played us off our own park once this season.

8. Marco Silva has been sacked by Watford. This shouldn’t be surprising, given the Watford hierarchy’s notorious impatience with head coaches in recent years. And it’s true that Silva was on a bad run and seemed to have been distracted fatally by interest shown in him by Everton a few weeks back. Yet we know he is quality. And with two weeks of the transfer window left and 18 games of the season to come, what would we give for him to be parachuted back in and asked basically to repeat the revival he instigated when all seemed to be lost little more than a year ago? Yes, we still got relegated under him, but without him we’d have been relegated in March. Our squad is not without talent, and Silva is not without the charisma and the character to do a persuasion job on Ehab Allam in a way akin to that regularly done by Steve Bruce on Assem. It’s doable in theory, but of course, not in practice. It will remain a mere pipe dream – not only will the Allams not entertain the idea of sacking Adkins so quickly after appointing him, but we can’t imagine they have high regard for Silva after he dared to see greener grass than that which they supplied for him at the beginning of 2017. On top of that, Silva will not have a lot of enthusiasm for coming to a club trying to avoid hurtling through the club’s second tier, and even a man of his self-belief won’t like risking two straight relegations on his CV with the same club, even though neither of them would be his fault. He’s better than us now – or, at least, he’s better than what we represent under the toxic regime of the Allams.

9. It’s not been a good week for ex-City gaffers. Phil Brown is also on the way out of his job, though in a familiar turn of events, is currently on gardening leave while Southend United tries to find a way of reaching settlement with their manager of the last five years. We can’t comment on the wisdom of the decision, of course, although seven defeats in eight does look rather ominous, but we hold plenty of affection for the first manager to take City to the top flight in English football and we wish him well. If we do end up in League One, you can imagine him crawling over broken glass to rescue us. In fact, you can imagine him doing that right now.

10. Our discussion with Sunderland podcast Roker Report last week made it evident, well, more evident, that fans of other clubs are aware of the wilful damage being inflicted on our club by the Allam family. Incredibly though there are some Hull City fans who still defend them, who still support them and attempt to paint them as victims of the actions of supporters determined to thwart their good intentions. It’s a dwindling band for sure, but it’s hard to fathom how they can do it, Stockholm Syndrome maybe, or a Vichy France-esque subservience fueled by self interest, who knows. But let’s say it plainly… if you still support the Allam family, you actively support their wilful damage of Hull City AFC. You can be certain that these people will, when the ghastly Allams eventually move on leaving the club little more than a husk,  say “it won’t be long before new owners have ‘so called fans’ at their throats” or similar, in an attempt to deflect from the fact they cheerleaded as the Allams ripped apart the club they claim to support.

29 replies
  1. Bill Carson
    Bill Carson says:

    Very sobering report.
    We’d love Marco Silva back but for the reasons stated above, we have no chance.
    2,3&4 amply demonstrate why Adkins has to go. If he believes Will Keane is our saviour then he really is clueless.
    Oh for at least the roller coaster style entertainment of the Slutsky era.
    Has Adkins been brought in to fulfill Ehabs dream of emptying the stadium?
    Come March ( once the 2 months notice takes effect) we will see crowds under 10,000.
    So no chance of bringing back Marco but Phil Brown?
    Speaking of ex gaffers, how ironic if We are relegated to League 1, whilst Steve Bruce is celebrating Promotion with Villa?
    Sad, depressing times, which will only be changed by a clear out at the top, including the manager.

  2. Steve Lee
    Steve Lee says:

    Adkins banging on about Will Keane coming back is, to me, the most depressing aspect of this whole sorry mess and the fact that Adkins knew exactly the strengths and weaknesses of our squad by hanging around the club for weeks before Slutz’s sacking is especially damning of his abilities to initiate change and to motivate his players. Les’ initial, sneering, take on his appointment and his “comedy optimism” looks particularly prescient. However, the call for two upfront ignore the fact that earlier in the season we were the highest scorers in all four divisions playing exactly the same 4-2-3-1 formation.

  3. Jimmy Weekly
    Jimmy Weekly says:

    #8 very very harsh on Mike Phelan to say we’d have been relegated by March under him. Of course we can’t possibly know this or what loanees/signees would have been brought in last January by Phelan.

    Marco enjoyed the new manager bounce and the signing of some quality players, but still took us out of the Premier League whilst somehow retaining an Allam-polished reputation for brilliance. He had the same great-then-crap record at Watford.

    The facts show that Silva was good when he first came to City but his team fell apart when it mattered at the business end of the season, not winning any of the last 4 games and shipping goals in record quantities. That’s the facts. The rest is conjecture.

  4. Bill Carson
    Bill Carson says:

    Spot on Steve Lee and also Les in seeing through Adkins immediately.
    Jimmy although you are correct on Marco, we would have been relegated in March with Mike Phelan. Although I’d take Mike Phelan over Adkins.
    Swansea were gifted points by an Everton side who couldn’t be arsed and Sunderland. Take away those 6 points and I think Swansea would have been relegated.
    We all knew the good times would eventually end but for it to happen through, repeated, gross incompetence is what is most galling.

  5. Bruce
    Bruce says:

    In the post-match presser, Burnsie asked Adkins if he had enough money to sign the new players that are needed. Adkins started his reply with “Well, it doesn’t help…”, then stopped himself and waffled about “hard work behind the scenes”. Wonder what cat he was going to let out of the bag?

  6. Bill Baxter
    Bill Baxter says:

    Can we just remind Adkins that Will Keane has scored a paltry 5 goals in 55 career appearances.
    Just like a new signing eh?

  7. Steve
    Steve says:

    Don’t worry guys we’re saved.. Carlton Cole is on his way!! What a heartbreaking time this is for life long tigers fans.

  8. Blackadder
    Blackadder says:

    So after raking in the best part of 90 million pounds in transfers and the first parachute payment after last season, the best Ehaw and the invisible man Darnborough can do is 34 years old non scoring “striker” Carlton Cole on a free! If there was any doubt about how little the Allams care about Hull City then this is the ultimate statement on their shabby ownership. Adkins is nothing but a sycophantic yes man leading City’s charge down into League 1.

  9. Tom
    Tom says:

    No manager, no player, no fan should be judged on what Ahab has set out to do. Chase that whale Ahab…

  10. Andrew Okey
    Andrew Okey says:

    I’ve never rated Adkins, and was dismayed by his appointment (this statement is NOT a product of post-hoc insight…as the poor sods who have to share my office will attest).

    What’s the very worst of all this is that we used to lose interestingly to good sides, now we lose boringly to terrible sides (such as Bolton, who Slutsky’s team put to the sword back in the autumn). For the first time in my life, I am suddenly not bothering getting to most games (I live in Lancaster, but have always tried to get to ever game sensibly possible for a married man in far-flung Lancashire). What a sad sad state of affairs, and one I thought would never arise for me.

  11. John from Brid
    John from Brid says:

    I am going to pop my head up out of the trench and say ” City ain’t sold anyone yet either ” , but as I write there are still 9 Days to go. Hope springs eternal.

  12. thefidiot
    thefidiot says:

    Ok, this is long but it’s the end of the work day. Apologies … sort of.

    I am also fairly sure I’m gonna get my head verbally caved in on here for saying something that most of you don’t agree with (shock, horror, etc.), but I must say that I seriously doubt that the Allams have any actual supporters remaining. There may be some lingering apologists – I think most of them are probably sharky businessmen who would act in a similar way if they had their chance, that’s my guess. I am not one of those people, ok? I am neither an Allam apologist nor a sharky businessman.

    However, I do think many of us are very much turned off by the vicious and divisive language used by some of the Allam Out brigade towards other Hull City supporters. Tribes within tribes within tribes. It’s about as helpful as a cock on a hobnob.

    If we had a whip round and if it would work, I would pay for the Allams to walk away tomorrow. I think most City supporters would. But many of us are not gonna warm to being called, let’s not sugarcoat it eh, a “cunt” or otherwise by certain people because I don’t subscribe to the precise same level of unhinged vitriol as some Hull City supporters have.

    I’m surprised that you can’t see by now that it is simply adding to the problems at the club. Is it because it would be a moderate climb-down to admit that, despite being as righteous as you feel, it hasn’t done anything to actually get the Allams out?

    Whatever it accomplished at the beginning, mainly telling the Allams exactly what you think of them and highlighting our nasty owners to other general football fans, it failed to achieve what it ultimately intended to – the Allams aren’t out or looking likely to be very soon.

    Now, it’s only adding to (not causing, don’t start misquoting me) the negativity that is being felt from the pitch to the dugout to the ‘terraces’ to the fans forums. It is not constructive or productive in any sense and it is now arguably making things worse.

    I’m sure you will simply blame the owners for all of this and I don’t really argue with that view – to an extent, at least. But the tedious and vitriolic propagation of the idea amongst some ‘real fans’ that if you don’t subscribe to the Les Motherby et al level of (useless?) fury and bile means you’re a cunt is pretty fucking rank, to be honest. It’s playground crap. Even people who are against the Allams’ ownership but don’t agree with tennis ball protests etc. get a right kicking from the Allam Out people on social media and elsewhere. It’s pathetic and alarming – an almost fascistic, totalitarian way of thinking.

    The way football is going in general, the next owners are likely to be as bad as these in some other shitty way. Cos, let’s be honest, nowt’s getting better, is it?

    You know what would be smart? Not dividing fans by calling those out for failing to adhere to your one specific binary assessment of it all, by allowing some to think what they think about the Allams but perhaps just slightly differently to you. Like I say, and I do mean, I can’t imagine there are m/any credible pro-Allam City supporters remaining. There might be a fair few fence-sitters, with their legs dangling over one side or the other. They’re still supporters though, many of them for decades – can’t just write them all off as ‘plastic fans’ who only showed up in the good days.

    I think it would be far more shrewd to find a way to unify the Hull City supporters’ voices, to get everyone on the same side again. To allow some less pissed off City supporters into your shouty, bitter clique and to calm you the fuck down cos stamping your feet has done naff all so far.

    Really, the Allams must be chuckling their arses off as we stand divided as fans. Some unity amongst us, rather than intractable discord, would give us a much better chance of getting the Allams out, which I think most fans agree would be better sooner rather than later.

    [As an aside, and for context, I do quite enjoy the AN podcasts – mostly cos I sincerely love hearing passionate Hull City fans talking about Hull City.

    I’m a 33 years old bloke from Beverley – lived in Hull much of my life – I currently live abroad (returning this summer) but I had a season ticket from Dolan-time until I left the UK, and my dad and grandad still have season passes.

    But the more I’ve gotten into social media, mainly cos I’m abroad, the more disappointed I’ve been by the sad lack of perspective and the downright deranged paranoia I’ve come across. I started to post on several HCAFC forums with what I felt was a moderate voice, which I personally think is lacking from some of the debate, and I found that some Allam Out people had even started to check me out on LinkedIn – which notifies you of people looking you up, you know Les?! I’m not a fucking Agent of Allam. I just don’t see what good your approach is doing and I’m concerned your alienation of other points of view is creating something of an echo-chamber and a distinct lack of congruity.]

    Cue the savage take-down of a passionate Hull City A.F.C. supporter’s different opinion by some dimwits. Still, I feel better for saying it.

  13. Les
    Les says:

    Good for you, achieving catharsis is a fine thing.

    You know you probably shouldn’t use Linked In if you view someone looking you up as distinctly North Korean.

  14. Ambertigerfan
    Ambertigerfan says:

    Social media is the cancer of modern day Internet life.

    People waste away their years trying to portray their lives as great to others instead of actually living it. People should stop using social media and reclaim their time and lives.

    thefiiot: nothing will remove the Allams, fan unity or not. They will destroy Hull City AFC as it owes them nothing now financially (apart from in the “accounts” of course).

  15. Jimmy Weekly
    Jimmy Weekly says:

    Blimey thefidiot, I thought I was long-winded on here sometimes. Sorry but I gave up after the fourth paragraph.

  16. thefidiot
    thefidiot says:

    Ambertigerfan: Fan unity might not work against the Allams, it might not. But disunity and infighting between City fans certainly won’t work, and it’s making the ill-feeling far far worse at the club for no good reason. Who wins then?

    Les: Yeah, I have to use LinkedIn for work, but I don’t have a fully fleshed out profile as you might well have seen. Anyway, I took it as a badge of honour, in a peculiar way – you must’ve noticed my FB posts! Yay me, etc. I even tried to add you on it, for whatever good that does the world.

    Mind you, not sure that makes me the paranoid one, you scouting me out, seeing if I work in Melton for a certain someone or whatever.

    Look, I think you’re passionate, erudite, and in a position of potential positivity. You might not feel positive at all and I appreciate that. I just don’t see why you so bitterly go after other Hull fans because they don’t have the precise view of fruitless fury as you with regard to the Allams. Just felt a need to say it this afternoon, for some reason. Soz, mert.

    But I’ve said my piece, and I’m not after a slanging match. Best of wishes to all. Looking forward to next podcast.

    We’re all supposedly on the same side, remember!

    PS Adkins? Urgh/sigh

  17. Les
    Les says:

    “Mind you, not sure that makes me the paranoid one, you scouting me out, seeing if I work in Melton for a certain someone or whatever.”

    You really are a bit paranoid, aren’t you?

    As for Facebook, these days I largely only accept requests from Italian matchworn shirt collectors.

  18. JohnK
    JohnK says:

    It’s plain and simple. We are a broken club. On the field and in all areas off the field too. The climate is a contagious disease and there are many previous examples of what has happened to once proud clubs that for some reason have managed to grab defeat from the jaws of relative victory. At the same time there are also examples that demonstrate how it could and should be done. Burnley is probably the finest current example, but there are others that ply their trade with genuine honesty and decency. I am particularly disheartened, over and above our league position, by the fact that we have, I believe, 10 players out of contract in the summer. There are some I understand that have come to the end of their useful time with the club, but this mix must create a squad atmosphere that is bordering on the couldn’t care less, which the ownership can also be accused of. What are they thinking, how on earth do they think they can sell on their asset and realise the kind of valuation they want? It just beggars belief.

  19. Bill Carson
    Bill Carson says:

    Spot on John K and this, as you say, has to affect morale and motivation.
    I’m waiting in forlorn hope to see what materialises in the transfer window.
    I would like to see, as a minimum 3 or 4 key players contracts renewed.
    At least 3 or 4 quality signings, 1 or 2 Centre backs, 1 winger and 1 leader for midfield.
    Preferably I’d like Adkins sacked and replaced by Marco Silva or more realistically Phil Brown and Brian Horton.

    If our worst fears are realised, then a mass protest must follow.
    Enough is enough.

  20. Ambertigerfan
    Ambertigerfan says:

    JohnK: You’re missing the Allam point; they aren’t going to sell on their “asset”. They have no intention of selling. They are recovering/ have recovered their costs through player sales and parachute payments. Only on the “accounts” does the club appear as a paper loss, in reality they’ve made their money back with interest. They see Hull City AFC as worthless now. They intend to run the club into non league as a response to the fans (name change resistance) and Council (no free stadium).

    “….there are many previous examples of what has happened to once proud clubs that for some reason have managed to grab defeat from the jaws of relative victory…”

    Be sure of one thing; the Allams made this happen because Allam Snr. believed he would receive the stadium as a “gift” from Hull City Council. It was to be the Council’s “contribution” to making Hull City great and the Allams even richer.

    When he realized he couldn’t con the stadium for free with his double speak and change the club’s name the die was cast. Bruce leaving a newly promoted Premiership club was the first symptom of the Allam’s sea change in attitude. Relegation this year and 10 players walking for free will be the latest symptom.

  21. Blackadder
    Blackadder says:

    What is the value of a League 1 club that doesn’t own its stadium and has half a dozen players on contract? The only monetary value next season, apart from maybe a couple of saleable players like Bowen and Grosicki will be the last parachute payment of 38 million pounds. After that has disappeared into the bank of Allam, the club will be on its uppers and sliding into oblivion. The only consolation is that we’ll have “the best run club in the country” according to that well known clown Ehaw.

  22. WSM
    WSM says:

    Regardless of how much money the Allams are now withdrawing from the club, their involvement is ending in complete and utter mission failure. That is a state of affairs that any businessperson strives hard to avoid. And if I was a client of Allam Marine, even if totally uninterested in football, it would make me question their ability to operate that venture too.

    If I was able to choose (and clearly I’m not) every single banner and chant about the Allams would highlight their “failure”. “THE ALLAMS ARE FAILURES”. It’s the best chance I can see to persuade them to get the hell out of here.

  23. Dave
    Dave says:

    Hate to say it, but this isn’t the low point yet… Whether we survive this year in the championship is irrelevant, as we will go down next season. I’d be very surprised if we sign anyone this window, cue the excuses from Adkins and the Allams that they had bids on the table, but couldn’t land Ronaldo for some unknown reason ?!?! (Or some other player they know we won’t get) . It’s a joke to have 10 players out of contract in summer and I fear where the club will be at that time. Gate’s will continue to drop and further sections of the stadium will be closed. This is exactly what business owners do to companies they want rid of, sell the assets, reduce the overheads, and cream whats left.

    I was one of the Allam supporters, one of the loyal fans that harped on about them bringing the best years we’ve had – whilst that remains true, what they are now doing to the club is inexcusable.

    The FA have a fit and proper person test when clubs are bought, this needs to be changed to a yearly review – and I think that’s something we should look at pushing with the FA.

    We must consider serious action for the Sheffield United game and try to get at least some further coverage in the media about what’s happening to our club.

  24. thefidiot
    thefidiot says:

    No, Les. I’m really not. I just pointed out that I started posting regularly on HCAFC forums on Facebook, and then within a week I saw you’d looked me up on LinkedIn. That is all.

    And I tried to add you on LinkedIn in response. I stupidly thought there could be constructive dialogue between the various factions of supporters. More fool me, it turns out.

    Enjoy your echo-chamber. Just don’t over-count your numbers and their importance.

  25. Blackadder
    Blackadder says:

    It’s true Dave, that the Allams stepped in and saved Hull City from administration and possible extinction, appointed Steve Bruce in a masterstroke and gave him sufficient funds to build a side that won two promotions to the Premier League and a first appearance in an FA Cup Final that they could, and should have won.

    It’s been all downhill since then unfortunately, the failed name change, the deterioration of goodwill between owners and supporters and Allam seniors illness and his poisonous offspring’s taking charge, forcing Bruce out and starting to flog off any players with value. It’s also true that the Allams ownership has twice seen money from promotions and parachute payments disappear into a black hole and that the FA have been guilty of dereliction of duty in allowing most of the money to be pillaged instead of it being spent on improving the squad and the club. This process has been repeated by other club’s owners with little or no consequences leading to the same protests, chanting for the owners to leave, throwing yellow balls on the pitch etc. All of it to no avail because the Allams and their ilk will go when it suits them and when the juice has all been squeezed out leaving only the pips.

  26. Bill Carson
    Bill Carson says:

    Well there is so comfort to be had. I was dreading the prospect of losing to L#%ds on Tuesday and being taunted about us going down.
    Sacked in the morning (to Adkins) I will join in with, if we are served up more of this anti football dross.
    However take a look at their new club badge, which I can only assume has been dreamt up by someone who hates them. It truly is a work of genius, to anyone but a L#%ds fan 😂😂😂😂

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