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What price a City World Cup winner?

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The greatest tournament on earth – no, not Super League – has kicked off, and it’s hard not to be impossibly excited. World Cups are evocative occasions, summoning up memories of competitions past and a time of your life long gone.

You never forget your first World Cup. As a member of Club mid-30s, it’s always going to be Italia ’90. I don’t care that older viewers sniff about the quality of football, and anyway, retrospective viewings support that analysis. I only need to hear the opening bars to Nessum Dorma, the Puccini aria that BBC Grandstand and Luciano Pavarotti made famous in UK households, to be transported back to being a wide-eyed eight year old discovering football for the first time.

They still quicken the pulse. There’s nothing quite like a World Cup – and FIFA’s sordid machinations, the astronomical sums of money involved, the nefarious antics of pantomime villain players, nothing can remove all of the lustre associated with Jules Rimet’s gift to the world.

But one thing has different changed for City fans in adulthood and beyond:  the merging of two different components of our football-watching lives: City, and the World Cup.

You don’t have to go back too far for the World Cup and Hull City AFC to have nothing to do with each other. The demarcation zone was stark and the reason obvious: we were nowhere near good enough to have anyone involved. After all, Italia ’90 coincided with the beginning of the worst decade (so far) in City’s history as we tumbled down the divisions and into semi-permanent financial disarray.

But now look at us! Stricken as we are now, we’re about to enjoy another World Cup with Hull City involvement. The novelty has not quite worn off, but it’s still a real pleasure. But what are the chances of a Hull City player WINNING the World Cup?

They’re obviously not great. Australia are a remote 1000/1 to win the tournament; Jackson Irivine is unlikely to return to East Yorkshire adorned with gold and with tales of antipodean glory. Escaping a group in which they look distinctly fourth best would be a significant achievement for the Aussies. Advancing into the latter stages looks frankly impossible.

But what of Kamil Groscki’s Poland? Progress from a weak group H is probable, and assuming England and Belgium both qualify from neighbouring Group G, they’d hardly be rank outsiders against either. At 80/1 to go all the way, they’re scarcely a shoo-in, and you’d expect them to come unstuck when they encounter the tournament’s serious big hitters. Still, it’s roughly akin to Brighton winning next season’s FA Cup. Even a no deposit free bet may not have you scampering to the bookmakers, but if it happened, it wouldn’t be seismically shocking. Denmark and Greece were even bigger outsiders win Euro 2004 and 1992 respectively.

And even if Grosicki grates, there’d be something exciting and new about City having an actual World Cup winner (though you can already see the pound signs in Ehab’s cold eyes) – even if he didn’t feature in our hypothetical final. Then again, as he’s just left, wouldn’t there be something magnificently TypicalCity about Seb Larsson lifting aloft that magnificent trophy in July…

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City draw Sheff Utd in League Cup

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City have this morning been drawn away to Sheffield United in the first round of the 2018/19 League Cup.

The draw was made in Ho Chi Minh City in order to capitalise upon the competition’s fanatical following in Southeast Asia, and this season’s incarnation sees City enter in the first round for the first time since 2015, when a penalty shoot-out was needed to overcome Accrington.

We’re unlikely to start as anything but firm underdogs for this fixture, which could mean our first First Round exit since a 2-0 home defeat to Macclesfield in 2011. City haven’t played Sheff Utd in the League Cup since 1983, when a 1-0 win at Boothferry Park wasn’t enough to overturn a 3-1 loss at Bramall Lane – that too was in the First Round of what was then called the Milk Cup.

There’s been a bit of tweaking to what we’re supposed to call the Carabao Cup this season. Gone is the seeding system that kept the bigger boys apart in the first round (but virtually ensured a good draw for any minnows who made it through), though regionalisation has survived. There’s also be no extra-time for drawn games – it is, rather anti-climactically, straight to penalties.

The tie will probably be played on Tuesday 14th August.

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Wembley Day, 10 years on

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It’s ten years today since perhaps the greatest day in our entire history: the day that Hull City AFC, after 104 long years, were promoted to English football’s top flight for the first time.

So much has changed since then, and the decade that followed even produced some occasions to almost match it.

But not quite.

So, Tiger Nation, enjoy reminiscing with us about this most glorious of occasions:

  • Read the AN match report from that day
  • Peruse our photo special (warning: contains Paul Duffen)
  • This afternoon, we’ll be live-tweeting the day 10 years to the minute, so join us over on the Twitter
  • Tonight, we’ll have a special podcast with Bryan Hughes, one of the Heroes of 2008

Happy Wembley Day!

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Things We Think We Think #303

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1. Eight days after 2017/18 sidled to its conclusion, the overriding emotion remains relief. It’s a sentiment that’s two-fold. Relief, of course, that the season ended with City avoiding a relegation that (for a time) seemed quite possible. As Nigel Adkins turned Leonid Slutsky’s free-scoring chaos-merchants into grimly dull loss-accumulators, the fate that was befalling Sunderland appeared ours too. It’s scandalous for a side with the distorting benefits of parachute payments to be anywhere near relegation, and this season will be remembered, if at all, as being an atrocious one. But it could have been worse.

2. Therefore, our relief is also for it being over. Never mind the occasional highs – pulverising Birmingham in September, the customary win at Nottingham Forest, the 0-5 and 5-5 insanity of April – this was mostly a season of gruelling inadequacy laced with regular off-field malice. 2017/18, goodbye and good riddance.

3. We said farewell with a 1-1 draw at Brentford that was actually one of the better days of the season. A hot day, a proper terrace, affable surroundings and a non-defeat all made for a better send-off than the campaign as a whole probably deserved. And it was a useful reminder that whatever else the Allam family are stripping away from the club, our fundamental spirit remains. Seeing City fans cavorting on the Griffin Park concrete well after the final whistle was an uplifting experience to take into the summer.

4. Already, the exodus begins. We’re fortunate that in the Allams we have owners who know better than to treat employees correctly and persuade them to sign new contracts; and so, another summer in which the first team – not that great to start with – is dismantled. Nigel Adkins is making brave little noises about doing our business early, but that won’t happen. We’ll sell or release anyone who’s any good or who may have the temerity to request a wage befitting their skill and experience, and stuff the squad half-full of mediocre loanees in late August. There’s no point in pretending anything else will happen – it’s the Ehab Allam way, and just because it’s pathetically failed twice doesn’t mean he’s anywhere near bright enough to have spotted a pattern yet.

5. As we’ve already touched upon, it isn’t a great first team that’s been dismantled, though it’ll probably end up being better than what replaces it. But among those leaving is a genuine star of the past decade, and someone who deserves to be recalled fondly in years to come: David Meyler. Long-term possessor of a few obstinate detractors, he won everyone over towards the end of his time here, and participated in so many of the famous achievements in our recent past. A player of unswerving committment, under-rated ability and unerring courage, he’ll be greatly missed. Thanks for everything David, and best of luck for the future.

6. It isn’t just first teamers going – as always at this time of year, youth team players judged not to have made the grade are being released. That’s always pretty sad, and we hope that as many of them as possible make it elsewhere. However, it was galling to see a common thread running throughout the departing comments of so many early 20s players: that they were never given enough time on the pitch to prove themselves. It’s understandable that opportunities in City’s first team have been limited given our recent Premier League past, but why were so few sent on loan instead of being abandoned in the U23s? Now past the first flush of youth, they’re having to find new clubs with younger prospects already coming up behind them and virtually no first team experience on their CVs. That’s epic, tragic mismanagement.

7. The club is going to meet with the FSF and SD over concessions. We hope those two fine organisations are ready for the full technicolour horror of meeting an Allam, because even though they’ve been extensively warned, there’s nothing like the real thing to make you realise just how unqualified they are to run a football club. Meanwhile, City continue to haemorrhage members and we still no fixed prices for next season.

8. A new crest! That we get a say in! You can see why this looks superficially good. However, the mechanism for selecting it is ridiculous. Phase 1 (yes, there are phases) requires fans to choose other fans, who’ll then sit alongside “community voices” and “influencers”. The issues are so widespread here we’re staggered (or perhaps not) that no-one’s thought of them. But just in case they haven’t: “community voices” doesn’t even require one to be a City fan. Therefore, some Leeds or rugby supporting bell-end could actually end up having a say on our future crest. And that won’t end well. As for “influencers”, the club has managed to alienate pretty much all of them anyway, from ex-players to local media. So, that’s phase 1, with fan nominations, non-City fans and uninfluential influencers, all to be revealed on (naturally) an unspecified date. So far, so shit.

9. Phase 2. Another sodding vote, on “crest elements”. Presumably they’ll be shortlisted by either Ehab or whichever stooge is doing his bidding at the moment, in order to avoid anything remotely good. Then we can choose a tiger (seriously). Then the “creative panel” will meet twice with the club to decide things, which appears to arm Ehab with a right of veto anyway in case the whole pointlessly torturous process has resulted in anything non-terrible someone sneaking through. And good designs don’t happen by committee anyway. Then there’ll be a BIG REVEAL at another unspecified date next year…all announced on a page that finishes up by calling us Hull City Tigers. What a joke.

10. That’s us done for a bit. We’ll pop up occasionally during the summer, chiefly to despair about whatever idiocy that family inflicts upon us next, but like you, we need a break from the whole circus. Enjoy the World Cup, the summer’s cricket and whatever else it is you do away from City, thanks for the comments/criticism/insults/reading/listening to our exasperated output, and we’ll see you in August.

10a. Allam Out.

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Things We Think We Think #302

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1. Thank God it’s almost over. A season of wretchedness on the field and malice off it had a fitting finale on Saturday, as City crumpled to a characteristically scruffy 2-0 defeat to a dour but organised and motivated side. It had everything that’s made 2017/18 an ordeal: flickers of promise, a pathetically cheap goal conceded and a pitiful response thereafter. City were crap, and got exactly what they deserved from the game.

2. A dead rubber at Brentford aside for those of an especially masochistic bent, the ghastliness is at a close. We’ve hated this season, and while a summer without City is usually a cause for sadness, we’re frankly glad we don’t have to put up with them for a few blessed months.

3. The class of 2017/18 has been deeply uninspiring, and even if its major deficiency has been quality rather than application, it’s been hard to warm to them. That’s part of the problem with mediocre loanees signed in a panic at the end of the transfer window – apart from not being especially good, their transient nature makes the fan-player bond harder to establish. And sure, there are exceptions, but generally speaking a player who’s only here for a short, defined period can’t create the same supporter relationship as one whose service spans years rather than months.

4. That didn’t make the “lap of honour” any less tragic. Barely 3,000 can have stayed to witness the limpest of mutual appreciations, and on one level we feel a bit for the players – it must have been quite embarrassing for them, and goodness knows they aren’t the real reason the club is a total mess. Players like David Meyler, Abel Hernández, Allan McGregor and Michael Dawson, sturdy servants of the club, probably deserved a heartier send-off than this.

5. But how can anyone blame City fans? After a dismal defeat at the end of a rotten season, why on earth stick around to insincerely acclaim those who are, in part, responsible? We’d like to think that the near-empty stadium for the post-match trudge would worry those in charge. But we know they aren’t listening, and don’t care anyway, so to them and the despicable handful of remaining apologists it’ll just be our fault anyway.

6. Which leads us nicely onto the latest sham ballot. It’s causing considerable consternation inside the club, with no-one knowing what on earth to do about it. Needless to say, turnout was reduced from the previous vote, with City fans rightly boycotting a poll when the previous one had been disregarded on account of an inconvenient result. That Ehab is completely clueless about how to proceed will surprise no-one, but his subordinates are suffering equal paralysis and the mood is not good.

7. It means that at the time of writing, City aren’t especially close to even announcing whatever the result of the second ballot is, and don’t expect them to announce the turnout either (or at least truthfully announce it – though there’ve been enough complaints raised to the Supporters’ Trust to render the whole enterprise highly suspicious anyway). Which means that on the final day of April, no-one has a clue what a 2018/19 season ticket/membership will cost or whether concessions will be reintroduced. The rest of the Championship is eagerly imploring its fans to sign up; City can’t even tell their fans the basics about next season’s costs. It’s a joke, and those responsible should be thoroughly ashamed of themselves.

8. Brentford next. It means nothing, to both clubs. Let’s just stand on a terrace (which worked out alright last time, and, Sports Minister, no-one got hurt), drink some beer and try to remember that while the club is presently stricken with a particularly vicious disease, it won’t last forever.

9. Sunderland, of League One and also very much of the north, have just been taken over. It’s almost as though the notion that non-Premier League clubs who aren’t near Heathrow Airport don’t attract buyers is a total fucking lie, isn’t it?

10. City are off to Kenya, which is all very exciting. But with a familiar tin ear for the requirements of fans, a match that would require a significant outlay, very short notice travel to the southern hemisphere, time off work and so on hasn’t even seen City confirm whether tickets are going to be made available. Come on City, this sort of thing really isn’t difficult.

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Things We Think We Think #301

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1. What an utterly preposterous football club we support. Not for us the usual pattern of sublime-to-ridiculous that lesser claimants to ludicrosity may submit; in the last three games we’ve gone sublime-to-shit-to-ridiculous. 5-0, 0-1, 5-5. It’s the kind of scoring sequence you’d associate with pre-war Division Three (North), not the ultra-professional 21st century Championship.

2. Days after the biggest away win in a century, City served up utter dross against Sheffield Wednesday and followed that up by sharing ten goals in Bristol. Our first ever 5-5 draw; the first time both sides have scored more than 4 in a City game, and so on. It was a crazy afternoon of football.

3. It didn’t look as though that’d be the case until the end. 2-1 at half-time rarely begats 5-5, and for long spells of the game City looked set to offer up another dispiritingly slovenly defeat. Some of the defending – in fact, almost all of it – was farcical, genuine pub team stuff, and that was before the goals started raining in. If Nottingham Forest are still preparing to offer Michael Dawson a contract in the summer, he’d better hope their scouts were elsewhere on Saturday; while he was offered scant support as City were wide open in midfield, on the flanks and indeed practically everywhere. Given the way the first half ended, it wasn’t a massive surprise that City ended up shipping five goals.

4. It was far less predictable that we’d score another four, but with Harry Wilson and a point-to-prove Abel Hernández, we do have a goal or two in us. We have throughout this grim season in fact, with 69 and counting, something no side outside the top four is likely to match. However, those two are clearly far too good for this level, and it’s really shown in recent weeks.

5. Wilson in particular has raced through the grades of appreciation, from promising loanee to highly effective loanee, and he’s probably now entering the “just enjoy him while we have him” stage. He won’t be here next season, and that isn’t even necessarily a slight on City – if Liverpool decide he isn’t quite ready for their matchday squads then he clearly merits a season-long loan in the Premier League instead. He’s got two more games with us. Best to make the most of them, and spend the next decade telling anyone who’ll listen that his time with City is what made him what he’ll become – which is clearly outstanding.

6. Those two games are now dead rubbers, with safety mathematically assured by Saturday’s draw at Ashton Gate. Credit to Nigel Adkins: for a long time survival itself looked far from certain, so to have it officially determined with two matches to go (and, effectively, with four remaining) is more than we’d hoped for. He isn’t a stellar name, and he doesn’t inspire us, but his overall work with City has exceeded our modest expectations, and he’s sure to be here next season. So be it.

7. With survival now guaranteed, we now have the opportunity to knack things up a bit for clubs with loftier goals. We’d ordinarily applaud what Cardiff have done this season, but Colin is their manager and he’s every bit as detestable as ever, so while we wish the Bluebirds no particular harm it’d be fantastic to ruin things for him. It’d also be nice to beat a side in the top six this season, and end the home season with a decent performance and result – goodness knows we deserve it.

8. Then it’s Brentford, who could need a result to pinch sixth place, and the chance for another terrace – and then that’s it.

9. Thank God. Summer beckons, and exhaustion racks the Tiger Nation. The bitter feud with the rotten Allam family won’t end until their reign is over, while gates fall, membership votes are the subject of untruths and pathetic bribes, and the club remains as hopelessly fractured as ever.

10. There’s no point in hoping for anything but big talk about our close-season plans followed by a clear out and hasty loans in late August, all as a precursor to another season of struggle. The future is bleak for now, and there’s no point pretending otherwise. All we can do is enjoy a few more goals before the torrid 2017/18 finally ends, and we can look forward to the World Cup, an interesting Test series with India and the chance to half-forget what’s been done to our club.

R.I.P Edwin Huitson “Eddie” Blackburn, former City apprentice who made 75 appearances in goal for the Tigers between March 1975 and January 1980.

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Things We Think We Think #300

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1. After scoring nine without reply in two games, we felt like we could touch survival in the Championship for another year, something which rarely felt anything close to inevitable since the turn of the year. As we approach the last triad of matches and shut the door on a pretty wretched campaign, we can at least regard the culmination of the season as successful and entertaining.

2. Well, that was the case until Sheffield Wednesday rolled into town at the weekend. They and their six billion supporters are nothing special at all, yet City’s infuriating apathy against them made for a brutally unwatchable afternoon at the Circle. Defeat when safety was ready to be assured is frustrating; a total lack of commitment after such an enjoyable couple of weeks of vibrant, flowing football is something approaching unforgivable.

3. Still, we ought not to dwell on defeat to the World’s Biggest Club for too long. Firstly, it might give their supporters undue belief that we give a toss; beyond that, we have a much more fun occasion from the last seven days to look back upon – namely, the jolly at Burton Albion.

4. A ground tick, of course. And we got to stand on a terrace, a rare treat indeed (and with the Government this week short-sightedly claiming nobody should want to do this at a football match any more, timely and apt – more on this shortly); and then we saw City tear apart the minnows of the Championship with an incisive, positive performance that contained some fine goals and seemed to allow for a re-connection between fans and players that hasn’t always been prevalent in these turbulent times for our club.

5. It was quite the evening for Kamil Grosicki. He scored two fine individual goals, hit the post and did a quite ludicrous dive in the area towards the end that got him a yellow card. Widely regarded as our best all-round footballer, he is nevertheless capable of acts of amateurishness that possibly contribute to the reason for his lack of suitors earlier in the season. But if we are to rise from the lousy troughs of this season under Nigel Adkins, you can imagine he’d quite like a focused, professional Grosicki to be at the forefront of it.

6. Meanwhile, Adkins has declared that he wants to keep Allan McGregor at the club, while there is strong rumour in circulation concerning an about-turn on David Meyler’s future, and he will be offered a deal. Of course, what the head coach wants and what the hierarchy are prepared to offer are likely to be a million miles (or a few thousand quid, or a year or two, apart) so we’ll take the prospect of the last two survivors of our FA Cup final squad remaining at the club next season with a few shovelfuls of salt.

7. It’s now mid-April, and City are still dicking around with votes no-one wants on an issue everyone’s already in agreement on. To re-iterate: City lost the original vote heavily, and are now resorting to offering “unique prizes” in the second poll in order to get turnout into double figures. It doesn’t appear to be working, though that means that City will invalidate the first vote on the spurious grounds of turnout while refusing to disclose the result; then declare concessions “unwanted” on the second vote while refusing to disclose both turnout and voting figures. This, we imagine, will all seem terribly clever and funny to Ehab. Which explains why his family’s reputation is in the gutter.

8. The club also promised it would start calling itself Hull City by now. Another broken promise, another lie from a club that seems institutionally incapable of being straight with supporters.

9. Ehab isn’t the only apparently uncomplicated individual who’s had a rotten week. Step forward Sports Minister Tracey Crouch, Hull University alumnus and MP for Chatham and Aylesford, who inexplicably contends that the desire for safe standing is the preserve of a “vocal minority”. She doesn’t even have the excuse of former Sports Ministers, who’ve been elevated to the Cabinet with no apparent knowledge of sport – she’s actually an FA coach. So her ignorance is positively inexplicable. But it may actually be useful in the long run. The backlash has been loud and sustained, and has galvanised afresh the overwhelming majority who favour safe standing as an option. Quite why this, or any other Government, feel they have the right to bar football fans from watching their chosen event in a way that virtually other sector of society is permitted to is beyond explanation – but, Minister, safe standing is an idea whose time has come. Probably better to get on board now.

10. It has been announced that Greg Abbott, a stalwart at City during rotten times in the 1990s, has had to step down from his behind the scenes role at Bradford City in order to start treatment for prostate cancer. Naturally, we wish a man who gave us great service a very speedy recovery.

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Things We Think We Think #299

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1. Is that everything sorted out then? Two draws against two of the leading lights of the division was impressive and encouraging, but it was the QPR and Burton games we were really looking at for a decisive result. And this was a decisive result, decisively arrived at.

2. As we mused on Wednesday, QPR are close to ideal opponents for anyone at this stage of the season. Lower-midtable with nothing to play for, a collection of players scarcely better than our own, an uninspiring manager and the sort of ethos that suggests they’ll gladly roll over for northern opposition on a day such as Saturday. And so it proved.

3. What was richly satisfying was the way City continued to press after taking the lead, scoring quickly after the gaining the opener and making the game safe in the second half rather than giving the visitors the opportunity to create an anxious finale. To have the points won with half an hour left was a credit to the side and manager.

4. There were a lot of strong performances, and Abel Hernández’s was perhaps the best. This could be one of his last appearances at the Circle, and it was clear he was a class above most on the pitch. There was plenty of good fortune in City’s second goal, but his pass (for Wilson’s deft finish) and his predatory concluding of a smart move for the fourth made us wonder just what might have been had he been fit all season. One player doesn’t make a team, but a good striker can certainly make a difference.

5. Harry Wilson looks like a player with a fine career ahead of him. It’s something of a surprise that he’s played so few first team games at his current age of 21, just 15 to date. However, some players reach maturity after others, and even if he’s starting a little late it’s clear he’s got plenty of talent. His touch is as exactly as assured as you’d expect from someone who’s spent a long time at an élite club’s academy, but he has a refreshing willingness to play simple balls when the situation demands, he can find (and use) space and we’ve seen that he can take a chance. We have no chance of signing him permanently for next season, but if we can persuade both player and parent club that another spell in a Championship club’s first team is in his best interests, he’d be very welcome.

6. So, Burton next. Depending on how you count these things it’s probably a tick ground, and the rare treat of a proper terrace too. A big game for both too. City are already as long as 200/1 to be relegated, though the mathematics aren’t certain yet and it’s likely we’ll need a point or two more than we currently have. For Burton, their chance to scramble to safety probably went when they failed to hang on at Birmingham on Saturday. Failure to beat City – a winnable game for them, remember – will effectively seal the deal.

7. The hope must be that City don’t relax, because the last time complacency set in we lost pitifully at Birmingham. A repeat would be unwelcome, because even if it may ultimately not have too much effect, this has been an awful season and we deserve at least a spirited end to it. And there’s nothing better than celebrating a City goal on a proper terrace, is there?

8. Nigel Adkins. Let’s assume City are going to be okay. He’s done well hasn’t he? He’s got a lot to do to convince City fans that he’s worthy of a long spell at the club, but his immediate remit was to ensure we line up in the 2018/19 Championship, and we’re about 95% of the way towards that. He deserves credit for that. Hell, we’ve even started to play a bit following the unwatchable dross that pockmarked his early weeks.

9. And hey, exactly 11 years ago Phil Brown was patchily guiding City to Championship survival while not really expected to achieve anything else. We can’t see it, but Adkins keeping City up and then doing well with us next season certainly wouldn’t be the most ridiculous thing we’ve ever seen.

10. That stupid sham vote continues, with the club resorting to offering prizes for voting. We aren’t falling for it. Boycott the poll; and City, it’s April for crying out loud, get season tickets with proper concessions on sale, right now.

10a. Lastly, a very happy No To Hull Tigers Day to everyone.

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Happy “No To Hull Tigers” Day

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One of our favourite Hull City AFC anniversaries today: No To Hull Tigers Day.

Four years to the day when the FA sided with Hull City fans and rejected Assem Allam’s halfwitted idea of changing the club’s name to “Hull Tigers” (it still sounds stupid when you say it out loud, doesn’t it?)

He may remain in charge, and he sulkily won’t call the club by its proper name – but we still won. A very happy No To Hull Tigers Day, Mr Allam!

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Things We Think We Think #298

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1. City’s rather prolonged Easter is over, and as expected we have a much clearer idea of whether the season will end in the calamity of relegation. Less expected is that it’s gone quite well. Play-off certainties Aston Villa and champions-elect Wolves constituted a daunting pair of fixtures for a struggling City. We’d probably have taken a point. We’re delighted at two.

2. Villa first. After a dour opening 45, City were undoubtedly the likelier winners in the second half, pushing the visitors further and further back as the match wore on. It wasn’t a streaky point – indeed, but for some sharper finishing (a familiar refain) and/or some more observant officiating, we could have been toasting our first win of the season over top-six opposition.

3. As it was, there was a degree of contentment in the result, and the way it came about. Villa are a good team with (obviously) a superb manager, and it was very much a point gained. It was easy to let Birmingham’s win earlier in the day make it feel a little more disappointing, but we can’t do anything about them, and taken both in isolation and in the broader context of the relegation scrap, it was a good afternoon’s work – even if nil-nils at home aren’t what made you fall in love with football.

4. That took us to Wolves. Eventually, if you were unlucky enough to be caught up in the ghastly traffic en route. We’ve no idea what Nigel Adkins was thinking with his line-up, making six changes to a side that’d done well at the weekend. Only one thing really made less sense all night: the result.

5. Well, managers live and die by their results, so when they get them it’s disagreeably churlish to deny them a tip of the cap (even if we suspect Adkins is probably always going to grate slightly). It was an even more impressive point than Villa, showing the fortitude to recover from an early deficit at the league leaders to pinch a lead ourselves, and then hold out for a point at the end. You may justly wonder why a side that has come within an ace of defeating a member of the 2018/19 Premier League can still serve up horrors like the 0-3 at Birmingham. But just occasionally, this City side can impress.

6. So, 41 points are ours, seven more than anyone in the bottom three. Now eight points adrift, Sunderland and Burton look irretrievably doomed. Barnsley may have a game in hand but they’re five away from anyone. It’s ever so tempting to hope that the present bottom three may just be able to detect the stench of death about themselves.

7. Two extremely winnable games now present themselves: QPR at home and Burton away. We know what epic wusses QPR are capable of being, and with nothing to play for they’re precisely the sort of side you’d crave playing at this time of season. Meanwhile, Burton are palpably a class below most of the rest. A win from either will surely do it. This time next week…

8. Can anyone remember Hull City specifying a minimum vote threshhold for the recent poll on whether there should be concessions next season? Exactly. Because there wasn’t one. Until the vote – which, incidentally, went in favour of concessions by a very wide margin – was finally counted. At which point the Allams decided to have another vote, making the options even less attractive than before, while continuing to propogate the baseless untruth that it’s all because of widespread fraud by City fans (something that every other professional sporting club in the land somehow manages not to fall victim to).

9. We aren’t sure we can be arsed playing Ehab’s pathetic little games any more. The club lies that it wants to listen to fans, is delivered a clear message, lies again that it wants to listen and proceeds to do the exact opposite. So while it’s up to individual City fans, we probably wont bother this time around. The club, excoriated in the national media over the weekend for its repulsive pricing policy, already know what we and every other civilised football fan in the nation requires. And if the next vote has a lower turnout, what then? Another vote? Concessions, or retinal scanning by flourescent jacketed oafs wielding biometrics-discerning equipment? Concessions, or the mandatory slaughtering of all firstborns? Concessions, or spending thirty minutes locked in a room listening to Assem Allam talking?

10. In the meantime, on the current “options”: prices rise? Fuck off. The mere threat of no concessions? Fuck off. Photo ID? Fuck RIGHT off.