1. City are back after the blissful hiatus for an international break (remember when we used to curse these?), and nothing much has really changed. The draw against Preston just wasn’t a good enough result for a side in our desperate predicament, and showed quite perfectly why we look like a side heading for relegation.
2. Sure, City played fairly well for decent chunks of the game, striking the frame of the goal a few times. Nigel Adkins and his players could perhaps bemoan ill luck and fine margins; we could equally bemoan the familiar lack of a cutting edge that’s hamstrung us all season. We’ll stick with the grumpier interpretation. When on top, against a side in the bottom three, chances absolutely have to be taken. Most other sides in the division would, and while we accept that we’re among the very weakest, the same has to apply.
3. It wasn’t a conspicuous lack of effort or endeavour. It’s just a lack of authentic Championship quality running throughout the whole side. We used to be a mixture of decent second tier players with a dash of Premier League class; now the decent second tier players are being asked to carry League One larkers, and the result is the painfully meagre fare we see every Saturday. The idea that we’re good team being chronically mismanaged doesn’t ring true – this just isn’t a good team.
4. Naturally, much of the ire heads Nigel Adkins’ way. It’s worth reiterating, over and over again, that most of this shitshow isn’t his fault, but that of the loathsome Allam family. Nonetheless, the suspicion lingers that he could still be playing this weak hand better. Forget the garrulous media utterances – they’re the style, but it’s the substance we take issue with. Erratic team selections. Perplexing substitutions. Nothing approaching a coherent style of play or purpose is emerging. Instead, we’re sinking.
4a. Not to labour the point, but those substitutions…
5. One of the City Twitterati likened Nigel Adkins to Ned Flanders from The Simpsons this week, and it’s an apt comparison. Every day Ned Adkins has a shave, looks in the mirror and asks “Now what can I ding dong diddly do for you?”
6. Kamil Grosicki is worth his starting position right now, he was undoubtedly one of the better performers against Preston, but calls to build the team around him seem misguided. There’s still a nagging doubt about whether he’s giving it his all and he spends a significant chunk of games berating team mates for not being on his wavelength. You build teams around team players, not people looking out for themselves.
7. City have two away games next, from which points must be taken. There’s a long midweek trek to Bristol in the offing, to play a side just two points off the play-offs and who’ll start as strong favourites. Then it’s Bolton, who don’t look up to much this season, but who’ll definitely fancy improving their league position oat our expense. But our already abysmal points-per-game ratio cannot survive two more defeats. That’d almost certain return us to the bottom of the table, and the longer we sit in the bottom three the harder things will become.
8. Relegation no longer feels possible, but now – without a major alteration to our fortunes – actually more likely than not. The major alteration required probably feels beyond the current squad, meaning that it needs bolstering… which will require new owners. Or a new manager. And frankly, for all that he doesn’t inspire, who on earth are we going to be able to attract at the moment? And the Allams wouldn’t pay Adkins’ contract up anyway. So we’re completely stuck with a substandard squad and a substandard manager… until new owners arrive.
9. If they do. The prospects do seem real at the moment, and our hopes are beginning to rise. The fact that things have gone quiet strikes us as a positive sign – serious discussions such as this are much more likely to proceed privately than through the media. We still don’t put it past the detestable duo to continue their slow asphyxiation of the club, just because they can; but money is everything to them, and a sufficiently handsome sum may just pry their cold, dead hands from our windpipe.
10. Charlie Crickmore was still a teenager when he left Hull City, yet there was something that eternally held him close to the hearts of the Hull folk who saw him play in black and amber, made up of a combination of regret that he wasn’t able to stay longer and be one of the creative forces around the forthcoming Chilton and Wagstaff partnership, and of joy at his return to the local game as a referee after his retirement, while working for the fire brigade. He was, very simply, a very nice and popular man who loved his city, and his death last week will be mourned by many. We congratulate City for instigating a minute’s applause in his name at the weekend’s match, and we offer our condolences to his family.