Things We Think We Think #321

TWTWT

1. City couldn’t quite carry their incredible league form into the FA Cup, with defeat at Millwall condemning us to an instant exit from the tournament. It looked for a while as though a much-weakened City was going to prevail in south London, but it wasn’t to be.

2. It irks. It always irks when the side is hugely changed, unsurprisingly plays less coherently than the more settled Championship side and loses. City may not be alone in treating the FA Cup with ill-disguised contempt, and this isn’t a recent complaint, but it’ll never make a lot of sense – particularly given that our prospects of staying up are now are probably over 95%, so why not have a go of things in the FA Cup? How does losing help?

3. Grumble, moan, complain. We’ll probably make the same carping comments next year as well. At least defeat to Millwall wasn’t wholly without positives. Jon Toral played well, George Long looked a reasonable understudy to David Marshall and David Milinković’s appearance showed greater promise than his timekeeping. The latter has often been touted as the sort of player who could break open a tight game; by spring, as sides up and down the land are wearying from the Championship’s remorseless grind, you’d like to think a player of his ilk could play decisive cameos. We’ll see.

4. It was also nice to see Keane Lewis-Potter make his City debut. Regular stiffs-watchers foresee big things for a boy so young he’s barely older than the Circle, and it can only have been a proud moment for him and his family. Bag some more in the ressies, young man, and if all goes to plan there are bound to be a few Championship dead rubbers when the clocks go forward with your name on them…

5. The FA Cup draw is this evening, and having despaired of our previous tie, we’ll now look forward to Millwall getting <best possible tie imaginable at this stage of the tournament given who’s left in>. Bah. Anyway, by making the Third Round’s scheduling unprecedentedly ridiculous this year, it isn’t as if City are alone in not really caring about the Cup. The FA have done more to undermine the competition this season than the Premier League, Sky Sports, BT Sport and wussy managers put together. Dolts.

6. We return to Championship action on Saturday with the visit of Sheffield Wednesday. They lie below City in the table, offering what appears – on paper – an appetising opportunity to gather yet another three points. And with the Owls leaderless while they await the arrival of their new manager, one Stephen Roger Bruce, it isn’t easy knowing what mindset they’ll possess. Bruce will either be physically present, or at least closely watching his future charges from elsewhere, and they’ll all surely want to impress their future manager. However, they could feel in limbo while experiencing this odd and fairly unusual situation of knowing who their next boss is but waiting for him to take over. It won’t be a gimme, and any sense of complacency from City fans would be appallingly misplaced. But if City do rack up another win…

 7. So what now for City? The play-offs may feel tantalisingly close, but they remain seven places and seven points away. Not many teams in our immediate vicinity will be eyeing them with any more than wistful hope, and just because we’re recent arrivals to the midtable party doesn’t mean we ought to do any different. Sure, “there’s always one team” – hey, eleven years ago it was about to be us. We’re discounting nothing. But what about the club’s owners?

8. Imagine you’re an Allam. No seriously, imagine it; you can take a disinfecting bath later. Is the situation promising enough to make it worth a rare investment in the side? Are you minded to think that with just a million or two judiciously spent, you might – just might – receive a return on your investment dozens of times greater? Or does the current ultra-austerity remain? We don’t know what Ehab will be thinking. In fact, we aren’t sure that cogitation is really his thing at all. But assuming this higher-level brain function is available to him…is he sticking, or maybe just thinking about having a speculative little twist?

9. Having spent much of the season grouching, then begrudging, we’re enjoying the recent feting of Nigel Adkins. Why not – this turnaround is one of the most startling anyone can remember. City have won relegation battles before, but the way we’ve gone from desperate strugglers to midtable fancy-dans constitutes arguably the most stunningly unexpected transformation of our fortunes in a very long time. Adkins’ job is clearly secure for the remainder of the season, barring a cataclysm that even the vast cosmic force that is TypicalCity may not be capable of wreaking. And he’ll be starting the 2019/20 season with us as well. Capitalise on this, Mr Adkins: you probably have a period of grace in which to plan that isn’t often available to managers in the febrile Championship rat race…

10. There’ll be no AN podcast this evening, but back to normal next Monday. We’ve got a very special guest lined up for a future podcast as well, of which more soon…

10 replies
  1. Mark
    Mark says:

    No8. Against all odds, City are within cooee of a playoff place. All of a sudden, Ehabs ears prick up. Forget the fact that we were actually there. In the EPL. Where the money is. And what did he do? Present the worst prepared team in EPL history. Sod all, incinerates the club. His logic defies belief. No one surely believes anything this numpty says.

  2. Steve Jackson
    Steve Jackson says:

    It says ‘probably over 95% probability of staying up’….at least 1 bookie is offering 100/1 to go down. Ever seen a poor bookie?

  3. John from Brid
    John from Brid says:

    With Adkins already bemoaning the loss of potential incoming players ( cost ? ) I think Ehab is trying to get to the finishing line on fumes, there will be no fuel bought to steer the club to the promised land, I think mid table is the best we can hope for. COMEONUUUULLLL!!!

  4. Blackadder
    Blackadder says:

    Bowen, Grosicki and anyone else worth hard cash will be sold off at the end of the season if not before, as the parachute payments, (AKA the Allam benevolent scheme) peter out. Then what? Probably the long delayed slide into League 1 unless the club is finally sold to businessmen who are willing to actually put money on then table for players.

    I’m amazed and annoyed, not to mention seriously pissed off that the Premier League has apparently paid out parachute money to clubs whose owners simply pocket it with no investment in their clubs after relegation. The Allam’s have taken to using the club as a cash cow, selling off players and cutting the wages of the remaining squad members, offering contracts to potential signings that no-one would accept. And yet the club is still 60 million pounds in debt at the last reckoning providing more money in the form of interest on the Allamhouse loan. There’s no wonder Ehaw continues to torpedo any offers for the club, there’s still a little filthy lucre to be squeezed out of Hull City but how long will it be before the well runs dry?

  5. Richard pearson
    Richard pearson says:

    Oh, blimey! If you look hard enough you can always find something to moan at. Not very long ago we were praying for an unlikely finish at 21st. Now look where we are. This winning run is amazing, even for a codger who has watched City since the Carter days. For the moment let’s enjoy this oasis in the Allam’s desert. Well done Mr Adkins, you’re giving us decent football to watch, too.
    As for the F.A. Cup. I hate City losing any game but can bear this one. Cheer up, don’t let the Allams get you down.
    We MIGHT not lose the best players, we MIGHT not be relegated next season and we MIGHT be rid of Allams by then. Hope on.

  6. Blackadder
    Blackadder says:

    Well Richard, I don’t think that you have to look very hard at something to moan about at the the way the Allams have driven out our most successful manager ever, cut off money for new signings, brought in the hated “membership” treated the fans like disposable rubbish, decimated home attendances and pocketed as much club income as possible. The last couple of months have certainly brought a smile back to the supporter’s faces with a run of points and wins that have given us mid-table respectability. Credit due to Adkins for blooding young players and dragging the club up out of the bottom three. Yes the Allams might not sell our best players (like they have for the last few seasons), we might not be relegated next season, hell we could even be promoted this season and we might get new owners. Meanwhile back on planet Earth our esteemed owners are still with us and there is still money on the hoof to be had.

  7. Jimmy Weekly
    Jimmy Weekly says:

    You’re right. There were grounds for optimism in the Millwall defeat. We looked the better side for most of it, and the fringe players did OK.

    Milinković has so far been just a Tesco Value Hatem Ben Arfa, but he put in a decent shift.

    What cost us was two very poor goals to concede. The first came from a lack of defensive organisation for their short corner, accompanied by a lazy Batty attempt to shadow Ferguson. The second came from a stupid foul by Mazuch, giving them a free-kick for which Long stood so far to one side of the goal that he might as well have put up a sign saying ‘shoot here’. Which was a shame, because as you say, he’d played well until then, including one superb reflex save to claw back a goal-bound Millwall chance.

    Disappointing in the end. But I’m enjoying the evident confidence in the squad and I think we’re in for a far more exciting second half of the season than your dead rubber predictions suggest (#4). For now this season has swiftly and decisively turned from relegation avoiding to promotion seeking.

  8. sambo
    sambo says:

    We though that about the goals too. It seems a bit harsh to criticise when we’ve had such a good run, especially like you said as Long made some great stops, but they both felt a bit avoidable. There was a few times when they seemed to have the run of about 20-25 yards out and played some quite tidy football (mostly sideways luckily) so maybe it was inevitable that they’d shoot from range at some point but it felt like we could have been a bit snappier just outside the box. And for the free kick, we weren’t sure but I think at the last minute Dicko (was it him?) got dragged back by a late Milwall run to the end of the wall so the wall was suddenly two players longer and Long moved two places to his right. Which is fair enough from them, annoyingly. But is also annoying.

    Anyway, not getting to many games, I enjoyed it. The Den was predictably unscary on a Sunday afternoon but I like the view from that stand. And Long was quite exciting, I’d not seen him before. My first game this season was Bristol away when I thought there were glimpses we might stay up so I left more optimistic than I arrived. Then I was there for Swansea and even 1-0 down at half-time, I texted my Swansea mate that I thought we’d stay up. So we’re heading in the right direction and this game, bearing in mind we’d rested our main threats, didn’t change that. It’s always frustrating losing in the cup, it does my head in actually, but touch wood we’ll be alright this year at least. Which in the wider context is still worth celebrating.

    And it was a decent finish for the goal, quite deft. I thought Dicko drew a bit of a short straw up by himself a lot of the time but he could have kept it a bit simpler to make sure he kept it when he did get it, he turned into trouble a couple of times. But I’m not a professional footballer, so what do I know? I weirdly enjoyed it.

  9. Jimmy Weekly
    Jimmy Weekly says:

    ‘Weirdly enjoyed it’ was my take too. A good afternoon’s entertainment from both teams, even though I ended up suprised and annoyed that we’d actually lost a game that had begun to look comfortable.

  10. Blackadder
    Blackadder says:

    I see that with City only seven points from the playoff places, the Allams are no longer looking at selling the club this season and are intent on keeping Grosicki and Bowen and even sanctioning a few loan players coming in this month. Now I don’t want to appear cynical or anything but I just wonder if Ehaw and his dad have had visions of once more burying their snouts into the Eldorado like trough of Premier League promotion and relegation money, worth at least 180 million pounds? Just saying.

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