Things We Think We Think: #29

1: Fourth at Christmas. We can cope with that.

2: A mixed response to one Amber Nectar author’s view that Brian Horton would be a suitable assistant manager to Nick Barmby, which is fair enough. However, as Barmby gets ever nearer to ditching the caretaking caveat and becoming the bonafide boss, the issue of an assistant is a live one. Steve Wigley and Stuart Watkiss both currently hold the title of First Team Coach, so unless one of these is set to take on managerial duties too, then the need to find Barmby the right kind of adherent becomes more pressing.

3: Whether he takes the job or not, no-one can accuse of Nick Barmby of not taking his time to decide, or of making his decision in haste. He’s in a remarkably fortunate position: few managers have had the chance to have a trial run at management at a club where they’re already a hero and with a young, gifted squad.

4: Where on earth were the Millwall fans at the weekend? Whether the purpose of their collective’s previous visits was to watch football or wreak havoc, you could at least always rely on them to pitch up in proper numbers. There was almost one steward per away supporter on Saturday. Were all the hoolies dragged out Christmas shopping by their wives instead?

5: Given that under 200 made it north and were wholly becalmed throughout the entire game, the decision to have mounted police outside the East Stand before kick-off looks even more ridiculous. Sure, that’s carping with the benefit of hindsight, but we’re not paid to use foresight. Others are.

6: Tom Cairney is a very unlucky young man. He played a terrific game at Southampton when roped in to cover Paul McKenna’s one-match ban, and though it was no shock for McKenna – a super footballer – to be recalled afterwards, the fact is that Cairney has since been an unused substitute three times, prior to being dropped altogether by Barmby at the weekend.

7: The Middlesbrough game on Boxing Day has all the ingredients of an absolute classic. A Yorkshire derby between two sides fighting for automatic promotion – yes, we said it – at one of the division’s more atmospheric grounds, a whopping great away following assured, it’s going to be a belter.

8: We just need a result now. Things are getting A Little Bit Serious. More points separate City from 7th than 1st. This is an authentic promotion challenge by the Tigers, even if no-one outside East Yorkshire has realised it yet. Long may that continue, too.

9: News that the site on which Boothferry Park stood is to be redeveloped is welcome. Our wonderful former home being allowed to slowly decay was a grim spectacle indeed.

10: City (and Ipswich) deciding to make it a tenner for season-ticket holders to attend the FA Cup match next month is both a reminder of the competition’s decline, and a very sensible and welcome move.

Things We Think We Think: #28

1: With only Middlesbrough matching the Tigers for victory among the top six at the weekend, and with the two teams at the top both undergoing a little pre-festive wobble, it’s not unrealistic to believe that City could be in an automatic promotion place sooner rather than later if our own form, verve and confidence holds up.

2: However, just for now it’s great to have a cushion of four points between ourselves and 7th. It means City are certain to be in the play-off places at Christmas, and it’d take a real dip for us not to start 2012 in them.

3: One thing Nick Barmby needs to work on is his timing and decision-making as far as substitutions are concerned. After the ultra-fatal confusion against Burnley that followed Andy Dawson’s introduction, the Tigers fell to bits completely in midfield at the weekend when Corry Evans got the shepherd’s crook and Joe Dudgeon, not a central midfielder in a thousand years, came on. Only Coventry’s brazen incompetence prevented them from exploiting a needless chasm of weakness which more adept sides in this division would have managed straightaway. It was all the more baffling because Tom Cairney, a like-for-like replacement for Evans, stayed on the bench.

4: An additional concern is that City looked just a bit leggy on Saturday. That’s to be expected given that we played in midweek and a week off ahead of the busy festive period will help – as will the youth and enthusiasm of the side – but it’s definitely something the manager needs to keep an eye on.

5: With Richard Garcia back, one wonders if he is now, for the short-term at least, pencilled in as the replacement striker for Matt Fryatt or Aaron Mclean, given his selfless displays of workaholism up front last season, some of which were on his lonesome. Whatever the plan is for the Australian, the fact that Barmby found immediate room for him in the 16 after a very long period out with a serious injury shows the mark of player and man.

6: The decision to bring Garcia in for Dele Adebola left City without a proper forward on the bench, however. The need to bolster our forward line is surely the January transfer window’s greatest priority.

7: Congratulations to the E4-E7 section of the KC, which collectively and rapidly on Wednesday night booed down the hideous “how shit must you be, we’re winning at home” chant that has been an embarrassment for some weeks now, and is indicative of numbskulls whose priority on a match day is to antagonise opposing supporters rather than indulge in activity that benefits and inspires the team. One expects now never to hear that execrable song again, even if our next home win doesn’t occur until April.

8: Whisper it quietly, but Péter Gulácsi hasn’t done anything to alarm us lately. It may be considered that that’s somewhat essential in any goalkeeper at this level, and that’d be correct – however, it suggests he’s finally finding his feet after an, ahem, suboptimal beginning to life at City.

9: We’re not naturally inclined towards sympathy towards other teams’ fans, but Coventry’s come close. A team as awful as that playing in front of four-figure gates (12,652, give over) in a empty, echoey, soulless stadium – that really cannot be any fun at all. Given that they haven’t finished in the top six in 40 years, we’re tempted to think a relegation may be needed for them to have a bit of enjoyment. Then again, they probably thought that when they were relegated from the Premier League…

10: Strange old world, isn’t it? On the bench for Norwich City at the weekend, though not eventually called from it to play a part against Newcastle United, was a 32 year old centre forward who is clearly now very close to making the first top-flight appearance of his football career. His name? Aaron Wilbraham.

Things We Think We Think: #27

1: Well, that felt good on Saturday. Before the game, We anticipated an afternoon of low wit on the terraces, but “We’re not boring anymore” was very good. Time to put the Pearson vitriol to bed now though.

2: Southampton are by far the best team we’ve faced this season and are top of the table on merit.

3: Why does the FA Cup hate us so much? Ipswich at home is a cack draw, though at least it’s not Ipswich away. Or bastard Wigan again.

4: It’ll also be nice to share our opinions on life, the universe and everything with James Richard Bullard. We trust he’s looking forward to it too, and won’t wuss out with a phantom injury. Or be in the Weir bar.

5: Nick Barmby noticeably prevaricated when asked whether he wants the job on Saturday. We get the feeling he’s still unsure about the whole thing – and if so, he’s doing terrifically well to not allow that personal uncertainty to spread itself to the team.

6: Yes, he’s 19, yes, he’s naive, yes, he’s skilful, but boy, is Robbie Brady so frustrating already.

7: Joe Dudgeon was tremendously unlucky to lose his place against Leicester, but the Hull City team does always feel like a better thing for having Andy Dawson in it.

8: If the Tiger Nation wish to sing “sign him up” every time Boaz Myhill catches the ball on Wednesday night, that’s perfectly okay by us. One suspects that Convicted Sex Offender Marlon King may get a slightly less adulatory welcome…

9: Cameron Stewart hasn’t noticeably lost any pace, skill or confidence during his time out. When Leicester went down to ten men and couldn’t put two men on him any more, he absolutely tore them to pieces at times. What sets him apart from lots of players of a similar nature is his ability to make the right decision more often than not – stepovers when the time is right to try them, a short pass when it’s not. He’s going to have a superb career.

10: Five years ago yesterday, Phil Parkinson was sacked by City after winning just five out of 24 games, only a few days after The Colchester Debacle. It seems an absolute age ago. Mind you, was it only 20 days since Nigel Pearson left?  Seems longer somehow.

Things We Think We Think #26

1. The reaction to the Burnley defeat remains, two days on, primarily one of shock. What little recriminations there have been have centred on a poor substitution made at the wrong time; most are just accepting that every now and then inexplicable things like that just happen in football.

2. While the 15 minutes of madness at the end will remain as our abiding memory of the game, one trusts Nick Barmby has cleared his head enough to emphasise to his team that the preceding 75 are worth recalling too. City played some marvellous football for much of that time, and a freakish spell at the end shouldn’t be allowed to cloud what was a display full of verve.

3. The atmosphere was a decent one on Saturday, the unquestionable highlight of which was a couple of thousand schoolkids taunting the Burnley fans with a high-pitched squeal of “who are yer”. Let’s hope the youngsters in the North Stand enjoyed proper football played in front of them instead of on Sky Sports enough to pester mum and dad for return visits.

4. That lad who suffers the indignity of walking around the stands dressed as a slice of pizza, is that some sort of community service penance? If it isn’t restorative justice in action, we sure hope he’s on more than minimum wage.

5. Paul McKenna had a slow start to his City career, but he’s been a star of late. City’s man of the match on Saturday, his knack for quietly tidying up in midfield is an unglamorous but essential role. He’ll be sorely missed tomorrow night at Southampton.

6. More glamorous is Cameron Stewart. What an outstanding talent he is, and he’s seemingly lost no pace, talent or confidence during his time injured.

7. Unfortunately, it seems inevitable that Robbie Brady will be judged on how he compares to Stewart. On Saturday, that was very much as the lesser of our two wingers.

8. Southampton, then. They’ve won all nine at home this season, and are clearly something more than a flash in the pan. If anyone can ruin a side’s outstanding home record it’s City, but the task looks a daunting one.

9. The visit to St. Mary’s offers the last readily justifiable chance of 2011/12 to use the alternate amber shorts and socks set, as Southampton are the only side we’ve yet to face away that use black home shorts. Go on Johnny, give us another fix.

10. Sorry Bill Shankly, but you were wrong about football being more important than life and death. Gary Speed’s untimely end is testament to that.

Things We Think We Think #25

1. As much as our managerial alteration was untimely and potentially disruptive, in the short term at least the appointment of Hull’s greatest footballing son to the top job looks like a masterstroke. One game makes no season of course, but just to have Nick Barmby re-iterating the importance of club and team to a group of young players still in relatively new surroundings will have made a major impact.

2. The football played by the Tigers during the middle section of the second half at Derby was an utter joy to behold. All shackles had been removed, freedom had been granted. Talented players were given the opportunity to play intricate one-touch football and offered an all-too-brief reminder of why this game remains the most aesthetically pleasing of all when done correctly.

3. Hopefully the game and result against Burnley this coming weekend won’t do too much to change the currently held view that next Tuesday’s trip to Southampton will be an absolute corker of an occasion.

4. If there is an issue for Barmby to work on with some urgency, it’s the goalkeeping situation. Peter Gulácsi simply looks too nervy and erratic to forge a career at this level – and this is a keeper good enough to win a contract at Liverpool, of course – while Adriano Basso has been sound without ever being entirely able to convince us he isn’t one howler away from total meltdown. In the short term, he should be restored to the team but in the long term a new custodian should be first on the club’s shopping list come the New Year.

5. That aside, Barmby may be best served by doing fairly little. Often clubs appoint new managers to right wrongs, but there’s very little wrong with City at present so we should carry on as before. That’s not to say he’s not entitled to implement his own ideas in time, but right now we could do much worse than look to tweak rather than overhaul. Barmby himself doubtless appreciates this – if it ain’t broke..

6. The managerial change could mean a return to favour for Seyi Olofinjana and Jay Simpson. Jimmy Bullard’s continued omission was justified, he was a poor example for fellow pros, something Barmby witnessed first hand and wasn’t happy with, but Olofinjana’s case is different and we may as well get some value from paying his wages. Simpson clearly has talents and might benefit from a manager using a new broom at his parent club, especially as Martyn Waghorn is now unlikely to stick around.

7. The Allams’ interview with the HDM after Nick Barmby’s appointment was very interesting; they move to address some concerns about the day to day operations of the club, rebuffing talk of interference and penny pinching. No one is ignorant of the fact that the Allams rescued the club from financial meltdown, but that doesn’t exempt them from healthy scepticism from fans who’ve witnessed all sorts of boardroom behaviour in the last 20 years. There remains the unsettling feeling that the Allams are more preoccupied with capital projects than the long term success of Hull City AFC, but reassurances about squad investment in the January transfer window certainly make for pleasing reading. So do statements of a desire to have the club operate with relative fiscal normality, given that the club has been in some parlous monetary states over the years. It’s a tricky balancing act for sure, and only time will truly tell how well the club is being run.

8. Calling Nigel Pearson a Judas and other choice names, as some fans have been wont to do, is needless, wrong, counter-productive, inaccurate and, if we’re brutally honest, unfair.

9. We hear that Jimmy Bullard isn’t doing terribly well at Ipswich. Shame.

10. The amber alternate shorts and socks were a good move by kitman John Eyre, far better than using light blue and white against a team in white and black. Kudos.

Things We Think We Think #24

1. So Nigel Pearson is gone. That fills us with sadness rather than a sense of outrage, as he was doing a sterling job of rebuilding the team. He had (with help) removed disinterested mercenaries and packed the squad with hungry, motivated and talented players who it seemed would run through a brick wall if the manager told them to. The team were upwardly mobile under the irascible Pearson and, contrary to what some hard of thinking types insisted, were playing good football. There now lurks in our minds the worry that such a team could be broken up in the January transfer window.

2. Some have chosen to believe that Nigel Pearson’s motive for leaving was money, and money alone, but that doesn’t chime with what we know of the man at all, and we’ve heard stories of a manager driven to disillusionment by interference and lack of support from the club’s front office as well as the sidelining of his staunch ally Adam Pearson. Radio Humberside’s David Burns last week made a remark that aligns with what we’ve been told, so we’re not as inclined to believe money is the main factor in Pearson’s defection as some.

3. It’s irritating when official club websites go silent at the time supporters are most clamouring for reliable information about events unfolding at the club. The rest of the year they posit that they are THE go to source for up to date information, but when a manager requests permission to talk to another club, it’s up to Radio Humberside and the Hull Daily Mail to say so while the OWS talks about a curry night. It doesn’t have to be this way.

4. Warren Joyce and Nick Barmby, two men for whom the Tiger Nation should have nothing but love and respect for. If we do appoint them this week we need to add patience to that, Joyce hasn’t managed a first team side in a few years (and Royal Antwerp is used as a satellite reserve side for Manchester United, who later made Joyce manager of their actual reserve team) and Barmby is taking his first tentative steps into a management set up. If owner interference was an issue for Pearson, it will surely be an issue for these two, so we hope they (or whoever gets the job) are given every tool needed to succeed.

5. We’d feel a lot better about the appointment of any new manager if Adam Pearson was in total control, but his authority has been gravely eroded. Recently, the personal assistant shared by both Pearsons was made redundant without the prior knowledge and consultation of our director of football, which illustrates the curious lack of regard our owners have for a man whose services are coveted by other football clubs. When we asked Assem Allam directly what value he places on Adam Pearson’s continued involvement in the club (in light of him buying Hull FC), the answer was troubling…”if he goes, he goes, the club will go on.” Yes, the club will go on, but with a dearth of experience in running a football club competently. Does anyone really think Mark Maguire or Assem Allam could do a better job than Adam Pearson recruiting a new manager?

6. Some will mention the names of Molby, Parkinson and Dowie to show Adam Pearson hasn’t always gotten managerial appointments right, and they’d be correct. Choosing a manager isn’t an exact science, and plenty of clubs have made wrong choice after wrong choice after wrong choice. When Adam Pearson has got it wrong, it’s been put right quickly, and it’s been put right with spectacular effect, Taylor after Molby, Brown after Parkinson, Pearson after Dowie.

7. The Allams may have been a little misguided in their attempts to blag £1.2m for a manager (and staff) that cost them £675,000, and a tribunal would have surely favoured Leicester and their lower valuation if it had come to that, but who can blame them for messing Leicester about a bit? The Foxes are potentially derailing our season because they made a stupid appointment/hasty decision to get rid with Sven, and now need to put it right at our expense. The long term benefit of the Allams’ obduracy is Leicester won’t be inclined to deal with them again, and may think twice about poaching James Chester, Liam Rosenior et al in January. Our chances of permanently signing Martyn Waghorn, however, will surely have plummeted.

8. We were surprised to discover that the tawdry Jimmy Bullard saga isn’t yet concluded, City are still dealing with an appeal made by the player and the main witness for the defence of cashiering him out of the club is the new Leicester manager. The dynamics of Bullard’s appeal, a case with £5m riding on it, have just changed somewhat.

9. It’s natural that off-field considerations have dominated lately. However we’ve got a fascinating game coming up next weekend. It’ll be first without Nigel Pearson, and the attitude of the squad to his departure will be interesting to observe. A solid result against play-off rivals would offer reassurance that our season is still on track despite the change of manager. Anything else, though…

10. On Saturday morning, there were still tickets left for the eggchasing at the Circle between England and world champions New Zealand. Anyone imagine England v Spain at football not selling out many times over at City’s home ground? Rugby town, you know.

Things We Think We Think #23

1. On the day of the Barnsley match last week, the Hull Daily Mail credulously carried an article with the usual scaremongering by Humberside Police, quoting Chief Inspector Andy Oliver as saying “The match will be an all-ticket game due to an anticipated increased demand – no supporters should travel to the game without a ticket.”  Err, no Chief Inspector, it wasn’t all-ticket, as a two minute check on City’s official website would have told you. The newspaper carried a hasty retraction a few hours later stating that it was not in fact all-ticket. Ordinarily we’d have a little sympathy for Barnsley FC, the inaccuracy of these two organisations potentially cost them money through slightly diminished away support; however, with them charging £30 a ticket, they can get stuffed.

What is more concerning is that the Hull Daily Mail didn’t bother checking before publication (oh and they recently called the club’s colours “orange”, for crying out loud), and that the publicly-funded police seemed more concerned with scaremongering and yet again demonising one section of society than with checking their facts. Not good enough.

2. The Hull Daily Mail, without ostensibly favouring one side or the other, has ran more stories featuring criticism of the Council’s stance on the stadium sale issue than articles speaking in the local authority’s defence. It was then a surprise to see pretty much all of the letters from readers featured in a ‘Fire off at Fewey’ section last week express scepticism of the Allams’ plan to borrow heavily on the KC Stadium, should they acquire the freehold of our home.

3. So far, Nigel Pearson has carved out an excellent reputation as both manager and man since he came to Hull City. After the club sensibly and mercifully rejected Leicester City’s overtures towards him at the weekend, we’ll see once and for all whether our faith in the manager’s ability and character has been justified. The club has said its piece; now it’s up to Pearson himself.

4. While we wait for him to confirm that he’d rather stay with the club that has always wanted him, rather than go back to a former club that a) didn’t want him enough; and b) has just sacked an internationally acclaimed coach with typically boneheaded impetuosity, we can remind ourselves through this smart bit of action by Hull City of just how important, how crucial, how invaluable Adam Pearson is to the Tigers, even though his profile is lower and his general contribution to the day-to-day affairs of the club has apparently reduced. It seems inevitable that he has been the one who has told the Allams exactly how they should respond when Leicester made their call.

5. We shouldn’t panic nor worry about two defeats in a row. City played brightly in each match and could have easily got a point or more in both. Let’s just assume that this is the equivalent shocker period to the one we had in 2007-08, when we lost 3-0 at Preston and 4-0 at Southampton in the space of five days, and still finished the season with a Premier League spot.

6. It may sound obvious, but that pair of losses a few years ago were thoroughly deserved. City have deserved to lose neither game in the past six days.

7. Lose them they have, however. This is a young side hopefully learning lessons. One suspects this week’s footballing education will focus on the importance of capitalising when you’re on top in a game.

8. International breaks are a pain in the arse. Whether you go into one on a winning streak, or enter it a little out of form, that two-week chasm of inactivity does no club any favours at all. City need to play again quickly to get back on the winning trail, just as they would want another game to maintain the momentum had the break arrived when points were going on the board.

9. Yes, by the time the break is over, we could have Nick Barmby and Martin Pusic back in contention and Andy Dawson and Cameron Stewart back in full training, but that would have been the case even with a game next week. The only effect an international break has on an injury list comes via the risk of extending it through the activities of those players called up by their countries.

10. Robbie Brady needs to be told that football is a team game at all times, but never more so than when you are brought on in an effort to influence things because your side is trailing at home and needs something different. His performance as a sub against West Ham United was self-indulgent, immature and inept. He may be a good player technically but defenders at this level tend to be good too, and West Ham’s back four aren’t third-string airkickers who can be embarrassed by tricks and shimmies. Brady’s contribution to the cause amounted to nil, despite the edit on the Football League Show suggesting differently.

Things We Think We Think #22

1. Forest on Saturday was just about the textbook away performance. Soak up some early pressure, frustrate the home side, ruthlessly capitalise on an opportunity to score and close the game out. It wasn’t as pretty as some of the stuff City have played lately, but you don’t gets points for artistic merit in the Championship.

2. You do get points for grinding out results in tough places, though. It may be a cliché, but victories like that are those separate pretenders from the real deal. Increasingly, City look like the real deal.

3. We wouldn’t claim that the Amber Nectar ratings on the right necessarily constitute a definitive guide to who’s been our best player, but Aaron Mclean is currently top, and deservedly so. Now that he’s begun adding goals to his already-formidable contribution in other areas of the game, he’s looking a class act.

4. What a massive week awaits. Barnsley first – with respect to our South Yorkshire friends, who always seem to raise their game against City, this is a game we’d be disappointed to lose. Theirs is not a happy camp at the moment, with the manager criticising the fans after Saturday’s loss, they’re in a relegation scrap and gates are down into four figures – maybe because of the disgraceful practice of charging some away fans over £30?

5. Some have spoken of boycotting the game because of that, but advocating the withdrawal of support from City isn’t something that sits comfortably with us. Instead, we’d suggest attending as usual if possible, while refusing to buy anything inside the ground.

6. At the risk of looking too far ahead, Saturday’s match with West Ham is potentially the game of the season so far. West Ham are second but remain favourites for the title, while City’s own burst up the table makes this a match to look forward to. Just one point: was it absolutely necessary to hand the Hammers 4,100 tickets? Obviously, these things need deciding upon well in advance (it was arranged in late-September), and with City a fair way from selling out the Circle at present it be understood from the perspective of maximising income. However, West Ham look unlikely to sell them all and this is surely a game to entice the casual follower – let’s hope we don’t end up with gaps in the away end and City fans locked out.

7. The Championship’s best selling point is the parity between teams at the top, though it can be frustrating that a great run, nine games unbeaten, doesn’t put us higher than 6th.  Still, that should serve to keep the under-the-radar Tigers hungry for continued success.

8. Jay Simpson scoring two and setting another two up on Saturday is interesting. Has his return to form been prompted by returning south, we wonder?

9. Those goals came against Ipswich, whose solitary reply came from one James Richard Bullard. Remember him? He’s dividing opinion in Suffolk in a way reminiscent of his latter days here. When we look at City’s current midfield it’s clear we’re not missing him on the pitch, and when one considers the obvious team spirit we may safely conclude that we’re not missing his off-field antics either.

10. The manager was less than emphatic when asked over the weekend about him being linked with the Leicester job, concerning some. We’re disinclined to worry, however. That’s just his style, and having spent more than a year carefully assembling a squad bursting with potential, why would he leave to join a club eight places lower? Leicester may be cash-rich but they’re common sense-poor, and Nigel Pearson is not lacking in good sense.

Things We Think We Think #21

1. City played better against Brighton than Watford, yet drew the former and won the latter. Four points from the two games is probably therefore fair.

2. Pinching a last-minute winner bodes well for the future. City’s young team will remember that moment for the rest of the season and will always feel itself capable of winning late in a game.

3. The timing of winning was good on so many levels. It meant there was no time for that tedious “how shit must you be” nonsense, it meant that a side that’d devoted much of the afternoon to timewasting had no opportunity to respond, and provoked one of those gloriously mental goal celebrations you only get a few times a season. Most pleasing.

4. Should we ever get stuck for a goal, letting Robert Koren shoot from 25 yards is as reliable an option as anything else. Not since the halcyon days of Stuart Elliott shooting and scoring from all angles and distances have we had a player who always looks like succeeding from outside the box. It’s a wonder that sides still let him get away with it, the knaves.

5. Nottingham Forest next week is shaping up to be a much harder game than it looked a few weeks ago. A couple of wins under new boss Steve Cotterill has lifted them out of danger and they’ll regard the seven point gap between them and the top six as one that can be easily closed. Forest away last season was one of the highlights of 2010/11 and the game that made us believe we could make the play-offs. That belief – ultimately misplaced – took until March to arrive. Level on points with fourth and sporting a game in hand on many, we’ve revisited that heady confidence five months early.

6. It won’t hurt to be realistic, however – at some stage, a young side is going to stumble and have a difficult patch. When that does happen (and it almost certainly will), it’ll require experience on the pitch and patience in the stands. But that’s looking at the downside of having a side with a low average age. Fearlessness and confidence are the obvious benefits. May as well make hay while the sun is shining.

7. So how far can we go? The play-offs was the target at the start of the season, and with City very much in contention for that, do we re-evaluate our targets and aim higher? Perhaps not. A top six finish will still do very nicely, anything else is a unlikely but welcome bonus.

8. It was interesting, and a little troubling, to see Nigel Pearson acknowledging in the Hull Daily Mail that some of his promising youngsters will be attracting the attention of others. You’d expect City to fight off the advances of any other Championship club, unless West Ham are that club or someone like Leicester make a silly desperation-fuelled offer. But lower-half Premier League clubs must be well aware of the promise shown by James Chester and company, and one hopes that City are making whatever preparations they can to keep the side together come January.

9. Do you remember Lincoln City? We used to play them in the bad old days – y’know, air-raid siren at corners, neanderthal playing style, idiot supporters always trying to start a rivalry with us, local police needlessly antagonistic towards us, endless sequences of defeats there? They’re currently in the relegation zone in the Conference. How unfortunate.

10. Following discussions with City, we’re pleased to announce the return of TigerTube, and offer thanks to the club for handling its restoration in a cooperative fashion. We’ll have lots of splendid videos coming up, though whether anything will ever match the Herley Berdz is doubtful…

Things We Think We Think #20

1. The draw at Brighton was, seemingly by common consent, the best 0-0 draw we’ve seen in recent years. At full-time the players came over almost sheepishly at failing to win the game; hopefully the hearty roars of approval they were greeted with will remind them that all is currently very well between team and fans.

2. It must be admitted that the lack of goals is not a problem we’re getting much closer to solving though. No-one doubts the intent, and between them Fryatt, Waghorn and Mclean should be good enough to convert good play into goals. Perhaps we just to be patient a little longer.

3. Brighton’s ground is good, but ours is better – not only because it’s not out of town, but because it looks and feels finished. However, we’ll visit worse this season. Nothing could be worse than the Withdean.

4. When the Tiger Nation sang “you’re so southern, you’re practically French” to the Brighton fans, do we suppose that comparing them to our Gallic neighbours was intended in a complimentary manner? No, us neither.

5. Moving inside has really benefitted Robert Koren’s game. He was a useful contributor out wide anyway, but a more central position appears to have upped both his game and his workrate. His ability to play out wide may actually count against him when it comes to choosing the central pair (assuming we stick with 4-4-2) as it allows him to be shunted elsewhere, but on his day he’s one of our best players, so should the manager pick him in his best position and build from there?

6. The BBC seems to have forgotten that the Tigers took part in the weekend’s game at Brighton. When two attempts at goal that hit the woodwork are not considered important enough to feature in a match report, no matter how short, one despairs for who is receiving a wage from the licence payer to write this guff. It was either careless, incompetent or biased. Possibly all three.

7. Auntie also appear in no rush to broadcast the Tigers. Not that we should be overly fussed about their (and indeed other media outlets’) relative lack of interest in City. Nigel Pearson strikes us as a manager who’d prefer it that way and would prefer to take the nation by surprise by pinching an unexpected promotion next April/May than spend the winter bragging about a few wins.

8. Of course, if City are putting together a genuine promotion push, is Watford at home next week “the sort of game we need to be winning”? We fear it may be. With the rest of the division playing in midweek without us, there’s a chance that by 5pm on Saturday the Tigers could be firmly in mid-table with an unfavourable result against the Hornets. Early days of course, but it’s a good feeling to be in the top six and it’d be a pity to slip too far out of it.

9. It appears that Richard Garcia is set to win his battle for both fitness and a new Hull City contract, judging by the positive comments from Nigel Pearson on the Aussie’s recovery and general attitude. Garcia is a favourite on these pages, for both his ability and his maturity, and it will be genuinely pleasing to see confirmation next month of his return to the Tigers’ payroll.

10. Paul Duffen had the temerity to tip up at Brighton’s AmEx Stadium wearing a Hull City tie. That loathsome freeloader simply has no shame. He also has no job in football (occasional stints on TalkSh*t don’t count) and desperation to get back into the game oozes out of his every pore. He’ll no doubt get one at some point, as football is a ridiculous industry that doesn’t let repeated disastrous failure hold anyone back (just look at Peter Ridsdale). There is no greater example of modern football’s soullessness than hearing the bewigged knave Duffen defending Jimmy Bullard while castigating Adam Pearson, it’s enough to make you weep for the future of the game.