1. If you were inclined to believe that City had a chance of the play-offs, well done on your indefatigable optimism. But it’s surely gone now; the draw at home to Rotherham – both the result itself and its nature – must have quelled all hope. Teams with authentic top six aspirations don’t really fail to win when 2-0 up and cruising against a side as weak as Rotherham.
2. It all felt so cheaply handed over. City were fizzing with invention in the first half, and deservedly led 2-0 at the break. Perhaps it was premature to expect too many more goals, but the minimum expectation had to be a win. To manage neither was galling. And hey, we can’t get too angry with anyone about it. It’s February, and we may already have enough points to stay up. We’d have been happy to get enough points for survival in May. So the season has already exceeded expectations. But it’d have been nice to capture a win that would have kept us in the top ten.
3. But never mind. It’s been really rather amazing just to get into a situation where discussing the play-offs was a thing. What would be nice now would be for the season to still finish well. A top half finish would be brilliant, a serious success for Nigel Adkins given the sabotage he has to contend with from above. Letting things peter out into (say) 18th would be a shame.
4. On a brighter note, one of the best away trips of the season is approaching: Brentford away. A traditional old ground liberally adorned with friendly public houses and best of all, a terrace. An actual proper terrace. It’s the only one left in the Championship, and it only has another season and a bit of use. Perhaps one day we’ll stand on a proper terrace for the very last time, and we probably won’t even know. Chances are it won’t be this Saturday, as City and Brentford will probably both be in the 2019/20 Championship. But there aren’t many occasions left. Let’s enjoy it while we can.
5. Let’s also sort things out away from home. City have lost a little sloppily in their last two trips out of Hull, shipping five goals and scoring none. Brentford, below City in the table, represent a good opportunity to do something about it. Come on City, give us a goal or two to celebrate on that terrace.
6. A weekend without City always leads to thoughts upon the longer term. Nigel Adkins, together with much of his squad, are out of contract in the summer, and as usual the club’s policy is to do absolutely nothing about any of this.
7. Adkins first. His first season with City saw us stay up, which was the likeliest outcome, but nowhere certain enough for comfort. He met expectations. His second sees City improbably in the top half at the same time as the snowdrops are open, which is quite startling. He clearly deserves to be here for 2019/20, and to be given the opportunity to continue the gradual improvement he’s overseen since joining. That his own future is unclear is simply unacceptable.
8. Plenty of his first team, including plenty who’d be hard to replace, are also out of contract. And nothing’s been done. In this respect, propelling a hotch-potch group of loanees, free transfers and the previously unheralded into the top half makes Adkins a victim of his own success: Ehab Allam, not a man whose time in the football industry has seen him absorb any knowledge of it, will probably think that he can continue to chip away at the quality of the team and the depth of the squad with no ill-effects. He’s wrong. As usual.
9. If the season really is over, with neither relegation or promotion realistic for the final two months, we’re going to see some horrendously low crowds very soon. The cancellation period for membership is two months; if you’re a member, then cancelling now gets you off the hook for the final few dead-rubbery weeks of the season and the whole of the summer – frankly, there’s little reason to not do that. And with precious incentive on the pitch for matchday sales coupled with the retributive policy of removing concessions, it’s inevitable that the club will have to (not) announce a sub-10,000 gate before May.
10. That doesn’t mean anything will happen. Part of being an Allam is cocooning oneself from the real world and refusing to listen to people who know better than you. Crowds could dip into the hundreds and it’d make little difference. However, plenty of their employees at the club are aghast at what’s going on, from the office staff to the players and management. Gradually, distressingly, all of the hard work done between about 2002 to 2015 is being undone. Work that took a decade and more, that united the city of Hull behind its primary sporting institution, that rid our streets and our schools of other towns’ clubs’ shirts, is being destroyed. And this time, we won’t even have the prospect of a couple of promotions back to our natural second tier level or a shiny new stadium to spur a revival. All because of one bitter old man, and his thoughtlessly malevolent son.