FEATDiameM

NEWS: Diamé leaves City for Newcastle

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The transfer of Mohamed Diamé to Championship side Newcastle has been confirmed.

The news that Diamé, scorer of THAT goal at Wembley just 67 days ago, was potentially on the move was first reported on Monday when Rafael Benítez’s club met the puzzlingly low £4.5m release clause written into his contract and the deal has now been done, despite the Tigers’ ridiculously late counter-offer of a new contract.

Diamé had not flown to Austria with City ahead of this evening’s friendly against Turkish Süper Lig side Çaykur Rizespor, and he will never rejoin those who won at Wembley. He departs after two years in East Yorkshire with 58 appearances and 13 goals to his name. Erratic but prodigiously gifted, it’d have been hard to see him being replaced even without the crisis presently engulfing the club.

He spoke with great affection towards Steve Bruce following his departure from the club, and it’s clear that Ehab Allam’s inept handling of the ex-City boss and the club in general is continuing to have grave repercussions, highlighted by one of our best players deciding that life in the Championship is preferable to remaining in the Premier League with City.

What a mess.

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STEVE BRUCE QUITS CITY

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The previously slow motion disintegration of Hull City AFC has seen a dramatic acceleration this afternoon, with the news that Steve Bruce has quit the club.

There’ll be much more to come on Bruce’s legacy as City’s manager, which by common consent has combined both unrivalled success with a faint air of underachievement.

However, it’s clear that following the Allams’ latest reneging on a sale, no new signings, rumours of no money to spend and Bruce’s own disappointment at not being appointed as the England manager, life has been made intolerable for him at the club. Whatever one’s views of Bruce, he’s been one of the few stabilising influences at a club torn apart by the Allams’ contemptible behaviour. Without him and with rumours of players “fuming” at developments, no additions to a squad ravaged by pre-season injuries and little prospect of any decent manager wishing to work for that ghastly family, our prospects look bleak.

Farewell, Steve. Thanks for everything.

FEAT-POD

NEWS: HCST confirm City’s concession intransigence

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The Hull City Supporters’ Trust have confirmed that Hull City AFC are still refusing to comply with Premier League rules requiring member clubs to provide concessions on tickets for the forthcoming season.

HCST chairman Geoff Bielby, along with other Supporters’ Trusts, met the division’s executives yesterday and their report of that meeting states:

The Premier League confirmed however that Hull City do not accept they should have to comply with this rule. This remains an ongoing issue between the Premier League and the club.

Quite how this will be resolved is anyone’s guess. City and their wretched owners need the Premier League and its vast riches far more than the Premier League needs us, meaning that compelling the Allams to obey the rules ought to be fairly straightforward if they really wish to; and it’s hard to see why the Premier League will make an exception for City and set a dangerous precedent that clubs far more powerful than ours could exploit.

Either way, well done to HCST for continuing to press this issue on behalf of City fans, a qualifed thanks to the Premier League for at least listening, and continued shame upon Hull City AFC for their disgraceful attitude towards their own supporters.

FEAT-BALL2

NEWS: Huddlestone signs new deal

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Tom Huddlestone has signed a two-year contract which will keep him at Hull City until the summer of 2018.

The super-skilled ex-England midfielder, who is 30 at the end of this year, put pen to paper on the very day he became a free agent after his previous contract expired.

Huddlestone, who joined for £5m from Spurs in the summer of 2013 after City’s last promotion to the Premier League, has made more than 100 League appearances for the Tigers with mixed results, occasionally showing why he is so highly-rated as a creative force while also drifting out of games and even going entirely missing.

However, it was clear that if he didn’t stay at City, another Premier League club would regard him as a sound investment, and his retention means that City have real experience of the top division at the helm of the midfield, with Huddlestone, Jake Livermore and Mohamed Diamé all well versed in playing at the highest level.

City had always promised Huddlestone a new contract if the club were promoted back to the Premier League, and the midfielder made encouraging noises about accepting the new terms following the play-off final victory over Sheffield Wednesday, though he went immediately on holiday with his family after the game. He will now fly out with the rest of the squad to Portugal on Monday to begin pre-season training.

Huddlestone’s fresh terms mean that all of City’s out of contract players in 2016 have been either re-signed or freed, with Ahmed Elmohamady and Eldin Jakupović staying at the club and Ryan Taylor and Sone Aluko departing.

Manager Steve Bruce, who has been touted as an outside bet for the vacant England position, has also issued a statement pledging his future to City. This is despite prolonged uncertainty over who the owners will be, with the Allams still in control as rumours persist of whether they ever intend to make good their promise to sell up.

FEAT-CTWD

Happy “No to Hull Tigers” Day

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It’s two years to the day since the Football Association wisely rejected Assem Allam’s ill-conceived idea of changing Hull City AFC’s name.

The FA would also reject the second application that Mr Allam made, but as that represented mere confirmation of their original decision, it’s the first occasion we think is worthiest of eternal celebration.

So as we depart for Huddersfield, a very happy No to Hull Tigers Day to the owners, staff, players and most of all, supporters of Hull City AFC.

FEAT-MOON

NEWS: Stadium sponsor changes name. Meh.

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The sponsors of City’s home ground have changed their name from KC to KCOM, meaning the official name of our stadium will now be The KCOM Stadium. Meh. While their board of directors will doubtless be hearing from Assem Allam about the folly of lengthening their name and the deleterious effects in Far Eastern telecoms markets, we’ll just carry on calling it The Circle, for reasons explained back in 2010

FEAT-FACUP

NEWS: City draw Arsenal in FA Cup Fifth Round

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City’s reward for yesterday’s 3-1 victory over Bury in the FA Cup is a Fifth Round tie away to Arsenal.

It’s the third season in a row that City have drawn Arsenal in the FA Cup and the fourth time since 2008/9, losing 2-1 at the Emirates in 2009, 3-2 in the 2014 Final and 2-0 the season after. It’s both a desperately difficult and uninspiring draw, with City’s odds to win the trophy increasing to a colossal 150/1 this evening.

Subject to the whims of BT Sport and the BBC, the match will be played on Saturday 20th February; whether it’s moved or not, City’s home fixture against Nottingham Forest on that date will require rescheduling.

FEAT-BRUCE

NEWS: Chester and Brady departures confirmed

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They’ve been in the offing for a few days, and today the sad confirmation has arrived that City have lost the services of both James Chester and Robbie Brady.

Sizeable fees have been obtained – some £7m from Norwich for Brady and £8m for Chester from West Brom, taking the Tigers’ summer sales over the £20m mark. However, the loss of Brady’s maturing talent and James Chester’s peerless composure in the defence is immense.

Chester joined City in 2011 from Manchester United for what now seems a preposterously modest £300,000 following a successful loan spell at Carlisle. Despite a much discussed lack of height, his superb reading of the game, unflappable nature and under-rated skill made him a fixture for Nigel Pearson, Nick Barmby and eventually Steve Bruce. Meanwhile, his Welsh mother enabled him to represent them at international level, and to date he’s turned out six times for his adopted country. He’ll always be remembered as an FA Cup Final goalscorer, as one of the finest players in the history of Hull City AFC and an all-round superb pro.

Another Man Utd youth product, Brady also made his City debut in 2011 on loan from Old Trafford. He was to have two loan spells at The Circle, during which he didn’t always convince. Remarkable as it may seem now, he was often seen as a lesser Cameron Stewart – abundently gifted but prone to poor decision making with a suspect workrate and a propensity towards greed. Nonetheless, City signed him permanently in 2013 and a refreshed attitude led to him finally harnessing those unquestioned abilities coupled with much greater maturity. International honours followed for the Republic of Ireland, with 13 caps and 3 goals to his name.

Both players represented the club well during their time here, and it’s hard to begrudge them the opportunity to remain in the Premier League following City’s relegation. We’ll miss them both, but it’s impossible not to wish them well.

FEAT-MOON

NEWS: City sign Clucas and Taylor

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City have this evening confirmed their first signings of the summer, Sam Clucas and Ryan Taylor.

Clucas has arrived for a fee believed to be around £1.3m from League One side Chesterfield, where he impressed last season on the Spireites’ left. Aged 24, he’s already had a storied career, having come through Leicester’s youth set-up only to be released aged 16. He’s since been at Lincoln, Jerez Industrial CF of Spain (as part of Glenn Hoddle’s Academy), Hereford and then Mansfield before arriving at their local rivals last summer. He’s been given a three year contract by City.

His signing is presumably undertaken with an eye on the Robbie Brady situation, which seems virtually certain to culminate in the Irish international joining Norwich for something like £7m.

Meanwhile, Taylor arrives in Hull on a free transfer aiming to rebuild a career cruelly blighted by injury in recent times. A former England U21, his last club was Newcastle, whom he joined in 2009 from Wigan. At the age of 30, he ought to be moving into his prime, though a succession of serious knee injuries has repeatedly kept him on the sidelines in the past two seasons.

He’s arrived on a one year deal, and providing City have taken sensible precautions over the terms of his contract, it seems a reasonable punt on a player who’s spent plenty of time playing in the Premier League.