1. Four-fifths of the way through the 2-2 draw at Swansea, the most popular refrain among frustrated City fans was surely “on the beach”. City were labouring their way to a routine loss in South Wales – not an uncommon experience for those of a certain age – while the home side were enjoying a win that wouldn’t extend their season given results elsewhere, but was still a satisfactory cuffing of the English.
2. City did look as though they were slightly phoning it in, too. That isn’t to wholly detract from Swansea, who (as per the Sheff Utd debacle) were highlighting the difference between a side needing it and one not. They were pretty sharp, too much so for a City side that was oddly set up and seemed bewildered by Swansea’s inventive running and passing. But more needed doing to contend with a side we spent much of 2019 above in the table.
3. Then…we scored twice in perplexingly quick succession to burgle a draw. And hey, that’s great. The performance no longer really matters, because this side is going to be broken up, not built upon. It ended Swansea’s season, and while that doesn’t quite atone for either of the final day disgraces of 1998 or 2003, it isn’t a bad thing either. It meant a far chirpier trip home for those who’d made a long journey for a dead rubber. Having coughed up three 2-0 leads this year, it made a nice change to experience the reverse. And it gives us a chance of clinging on to a top half finish, which would still be a remarkable achievement.
4. So, well done City for nicking a point. Again, though Adkins’ tactic of pairing Bowen and Grosicki up front didn’t work, it’s hard to think it matters now. One game to go. That’s Bristol City at home next Sunday – at lunchtime, for some ridiculous reason. They’ve choked their play-off bid quite heartbreakingly too. One point from their last four games has been an ill-timed collapse for the Robins, and if they don’t win at Millwall tomorrow night, they’ll be arriving here with nothing to play for. But if they do need something, they need only watch the tape of City v Sheff Utd for tips on how to overpower a City side with knack-all to play for…
5. Nigel Adkins is persisting with his ploy of prioritising players who’ll still be here next season. It’s been inconsistently applied – Kane and Campbell missed out on Saturday, but Bowen and Grosicki started. Though perhaps that’s just because we don’t have a normal-sized squad. Anyway, it means we’ve already seen the last of David Marshall in goal, and Kane himself – but will we get to bid farewell to Campbell, Bowen and Grosicki on Sunday? It’d be nice to think so, though Adkins must also be aware that the club’s policy of selling anyone any good is best protected by shielding them from potential injury in meaningless matches.
6. Bowen, clearly, only has a maximum of one City game left. The same probably applies to Grosicki, and certainly to Campbell. We’re just about sentimental enough to want to give Fraizer Campbell a good farewell. The modern Hull City AFC story owes much to him, and he’s only added to his reputation during his second spell at the club.
7. Meanwhile, the three of them have 43 goals League goals this season, a clear majority of those scored by City. All are going, none will be properly replaced. Anyone eyeing up Norwich’s midtable finish of 2017/18 and subsequent promotion this season and thinking we may do the same is badly deluded. We may well exit the Championship in 2019/20, but it won’t be via its upper reaches.
8. Meanwhile, the furore concerning the mishandling of the Sheff Utd game has rumbled on. The Supporters’ Trust has demanded answers, while we’ve submitted a Freedom of Information request to Humberside Police, seeking to ascertain their role. Filming City fans while ignoring Sheff Utd fans isn’t what a proper police force do, while the SMC and Hull City themselves have questions to answer. Not new questions, of course – whatever they actually say, it’s always been club practice to let away fans in the home ends, but the more it becames clear throughout football that you can easily buy tickets for home stands at the Circle, celebrate goals and the worst that’ll happen is that the stewards will accommodatingly assist you into the away end, or just let you enjoy your day where you already are, the more it’ll happen.
9. The EFL, taking time out from its ghastly approach to desperate affairs at Bolton, made us darkly laugh through the week. Hull City, it turns out, practice “Family Excellence”, and were feted for this last week. Family Excellence, eh? From a club that has the most explicitly anti-family policies in all of English football. No wonder the EFL’s reputation lies alongside that of the Allams in a particularly noxious gutter.
9a. City, at their most recent begrudging meeting with fans (except the Trust, natch) promised more details about a “family deal” that’s coming soon. Funny how we still haven’t heard a thing about it. Almost as if they’re waiting for the season to be over before announcing just how pathetically limited it’ll be – members-exclusive, South Stand Upper, available June-July only, that sort of thing.
10. We’ll be podcasting tomorrow, with our special guest Richard Gardham. He’ll be kindly joining us to talk about his (very popular and very large) book The Decade: ten years that transformed Hull City AFC, which you can buy here.