1. The Wigan match superficially resembled its predecessor in many ways: trailing at the interval to ostensibly inferior opposition, only to emerge the victors. But the parallels are imprecise. City powered their way to an assured victory against Reading, but rather laboured to the same outcome against the Latics. But for a late winner from a set piece, we’d have left the game bewailing two points cheaply dropped, but not really able to contend that City had done enough to deserve the win.
2. As it was, the win was notched up, and while it was short on quality, it was at least full of character. Lots of sides in City’s position may have rolled over at half-time, the difficulty of the short-term situation and the implausibility of the longer-term goal of a top-six finish combining to produce an on-the-beach performance. Instead, despite a lack of fluency, City kept going. And still, somehow, entered the second week of April with the play-offs STILL a thing that couldn’t be entirely ruled out.
3. City v Wigan isn’t one to get the pulses racing, but in usual circumstances a crowd well in excess of 8,000 might still be reasonably expected given City’s recent home form. 18,000 would once have rocked up for this. Week by week, whatever Adkins and his admirable charges do, more and more people quietly say their goodbyes to supporting Hull City. And still the club do absolutely nothing about it.
4. Jordy de Wijs. There’s a player in there, and he’s excelled at time this season. That’s encouraging, but to see a hopeless miskick redolent of autumn’s dog days present Nick Powell with Wigan’s goal was disappointing. Consolation comes from the fact you can’t easily teach many of things he can do, but can instil greater concentration and the non-too-difficult practice of successfully kicking a football. More focus, fewer miskicks, and there’ll soon be a player good enough to cheaply sold on and inadequately replaced.
5. Because of that the result, Nigel Adkins was correct to say that City travelled to Middlesbrough with no pressure on them. That wasn’t mind games – that unbearably tedious and overhyped practice thankfully not widely seen in the Championship anyway – but just a statement of the obvious. Middlesbrough were expected to challenge for automatic promotion, and now find themselves hoping to snatch a play-off place, while City were expected to be knee-deep in the quagmire marked “relegation” by now. This shouldn’t have been a sixth-place six-pointer.
6. Sadly, all discussion of the play-offs must now take place in the past tense, for that match ended in a 1-0 win for Middlesbrough that keeps their hopes of sixth alive but irrevocably extinguishes ours. And what a disappointment it was as well. City didn’t get going at all in the first half, and their second half rally perhaps merited a point on the pattern of play but lacked conviction.
7. Middlesbrough has long been a graveyard for our dreams, and this dreary 1-0 defeat was no different. Five points adrift with four games left (five for some) means that it is, finally, irretrievably over. It’s a pity that our hopes for the unlikeliest of play-off qualifications couldn’t have survived into Easter, but then the two forbiddingly difficult fixtures we face over that period may ultimately have done for us anyway.
8. It was a fun ride though, and it’s hard to believe just what a season this has been. From a side that sat level with doomed Ipswich in the early part of the season, looking ill-equipped even for the top 21, City surged clear of the bottom three, then the places near it, then into the top half and now the top ten. This has been an impressive season of overachievement in spite of plunging attendances and off-field malevolence, and great credit goes to Nigel Adkins and his players. We live to fight another season in the second tier.
9. Last week saw the fifth anniversary both of the FA saying – for the first and most important time – No To Hull Tigers. The following day saw the fifth anniversary of Assem Allam promising to sell the club within 24 hours as a result. Now, time-keeping isn’t always easy; we’ve occasionally missed kick-off by thinking there was time for one more pint. But we’ve rarely been out by over 180,000%. It’s almost as though the man who brought us the imaginative claim that 98% of fans backed his name change idea routinely experiences difficulty with numbers. And knowing the difference between a fact and a non-fact.
10. Well done to the lads who marked the second anniversary by displaying an Allam Out flag at Allam Marine. They’ve been extraordinarily fortunate that City fans, so drained from the name-change fiasco, have let them off the hook for so long despite their practices. We wonder if that period of indulgence is coming to an end?