1. City’s rather prolonged Easter is over, and as expected we have a much clearer idea of whether the season will end in the calamity of relegation. Less expected is that it’s gone quite well. Play-off certainties Aston Villa and champions-elect Wolves constituted a daunting pair of fixtures for a struggling City. We’d probably have taken a point. We’re delighted at two.
2. Villa first. After a dour opening 45, City were undoubtedly the likelier winners in the second half, pushing the visitors further and further back as the match wore on. It wasn’t a streaky point – indeed, but for some sharper finishing (a familiar refain) and/or some more observant officiating, we could have been toasting our first win of the season over top-six opposition.
3. As it was, there was a degree of contentment in the result, and the way it came about. Villa are a good team with (obviously) a superb manager, and it was very much a point gained. It was easy to let Birmingham’s win earlier in the day make it feel a little more disappointing, but we can’t do anything about them, and taken both in isolation and in the broader context of the relegation scrap, it was a good afternoon’s work – even if nil-nils at home aren’t what made you fall in love with football.
4. That took us to Wolves. Eventually, if you were unlucky enough to be caught up in the ghastly traffic en route. We’ve no idea what Nigel Adkins was thinking with his line-up, making six changes to a side that’d done well at the weekend. Only one thing really made less sense all night: the result.
5. Well, managers live and die by their results, so when they get them it’s disagreeably churlish to deny them a tip of the cap (even if we suspect Adkins is probably always going to grate slightly). It was an even more impressive point than Villa, showing the fortitude to recover from an early deficit at the league leaders to pinch a lead ourselves, and then hold out for a point at the end. You may justly wonder why a side that has come within an ace of defeating a member of the 2018/19 Premier League can still serve up horrors like the 0-3 at Birmingham. But just occasionally, this City side can impress.
6. So, 41 points are ours, seven more than anyone in the bottom three. Now eight points adrift, Sunderland and Burton look irretrievably doomed. Barnsley may have a game in hand but they’re five away from anyone. It’s ever so tempting to hope that the present bottom three may just be able to detect the stench of death about themselves.
7. Two extremely winnable games now present themselves: QPR at home and Burton away. We know what epic wusses QPR are capable of being, and with nothing to play for they’re precisely the sort of side you’d crave playing at this time of season. Meanwhile, Burton are palpably a class below most of the rest. A win from either will surely do it. This time next week…
8. Can anyone remember Hull City specifying a minimum vote threshhold for the recent poll on whether there should be concessions next season? Exactly. Because there wasn’t one. Until the vote – which, incidentally, went in favour of concessions by a very wide margin – was finally counted. At which point the Allams decided to have another vote, making the options even less attractive than before, while continuing to propogate the baseless untruth that it’s all because of widespread fraud by City fans (something that every other professional sporting club in the land somehow manages not to fall victim to).
9. We aren’t sure we can be arsed playing Ehab’s pathetic little games any more. The club lies that it wants to listen to fans, is delivered a clear message, lies again that it wants to listen and proceeds to do the exact opposite. So while it’s up to individual City fans, we probably wont bother this time around. The club, excoriated in the national media over the weekend for its repulsive pricing policy, already know what we and every other civilised football fan in the nation requires. And if the next vote has a lower turnout, what then? Another vote? Concessions, or retinal scanning by flourescent jacketed oafs wielding biometrics-discerning equipment? Concessions, or the mandatory slaughtering of all firstborns? Concessions, or spending thirty minutes locked in a room listening to Assem Allam talking?
10. In the meantime, on the current “options”: prices rise? Fuck off. The mere threat of no concessions? Fuck off. Photo ID? Fuck RIGHT off.