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Things We Think We Think #262

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1. What a dismal week. There’s no shame in defeat against Wolves, though it starkly illustrated why we aren’t likely to serious challenge for automatic promotion. They were excellent, aided by City’s hesitancy both on and off the ball, and looked comfortably better than us throughout a sobering evening. Fair enough. We didn’t really expect to be competing for the top two anyway.

2. However, an unhappy result was lent a disastrous air by the news that Abel Hernández will now be out for most of the rest of the season. He’d already plundered a hat-trick against Burton and barring injury or the club cashing in, he’d almost certainly have ended the season as our leading scorer. He’d be extremely difficult to replace even if we tried; however, we probably won’t.

3. That sent a thin XI to QPR, with negligible support on the bench. Now, QPR are a fairly rotten side, much likelier to depart the division via its trapdoor than its ladder. To feebly lose to them really does not bode well for this season, and the early promise of Aston Villa and Burton feels quite distant.

4. And more injuries too. Campbell and Stewart will be unavailable for the foreseeable future, with Leonid Slutsky grimly forecasting more as he’s forced to call upon half-fit players. It’s a disgusting state of affairs to have the new manager so constrained by his employers, who’ve very clearly sold him down the river. Barring a very considerable change in policy from Ehab Allam, we are certain to be hopelessly unprepared for the long season ahead.

5. That isn’t likely to improve with the sale of Sam Clucas this week. £12m is a lot of money for a player who cost barely a tenth of that, but he can’t be replaced either, and it makes a mockery of the manager’s insistence that the supermarket was closed (that not his fault, obviously). We wish him well, as he’s grown to be an authentic Premier League player and his back story is an inspiring one.

5a. If Clucas, awaiting a move away, had really refused to play at QPR, why was he dressed in City apparel watching the game? It doesn’t compute and the player himself has denied it. It seems more plausible that he was made unavailable in order to protect the impending transfer fee.

6. Leonid Slutsky’s crestfallen post-match interview with a sparky David Burns was a tough listen. Well done to the BBC man for asking some tough questions, even though the man who should be answering them doesn’t have the guts or the decency to do so. Slutsky sounded thoroughly deflated and disillusioned, as all football managers who worked for that wretched family seem to become. His foray into the English game, for which he worked so hard, is not going how it should be. On a human level, we feel for him and the betrayal he’s experiencing. City fans: among the entirely justified loathing for his employers, let’s show him a bit of love this week, yeah?

7. To Doncaster, and it seems many are making this unglamorous journey with dissent on their mind. Bollocks to any equivocating this “get behind the team” and “it doesn’t help the players” drivel. What doesn’t help the team is having half of it sold every summer and not replaced. We’re going the way of Leyton Orient, Coventry, Blackpool et al, and while on-field success has helped to mask some of this, that’s no longer the case. It’s time for the protests to be ramped up and for the Allam family to know that their intentional mishandling of the city of Hull’s football team is not acceptable to the people who live in it.

8. Ola Aina. Already he’s causing a mild division of opinion. It’s clear that he’s a strong player, comfortable in possession and inclined towards attacking. But, the naysayers cry, what about the defending? Well, it’s a valid point. The (very early) evidence suggests that it isn’t his strongest point. We may just need to get used to that. The specialist full-back who rarely ventures beyond the halfway line is a dying breed, harking back to a time of greater specialisation but less flexibility – and of fewer players being capable of attacking. Like the specialist wicketkeeper, the out-and-out full-back may soon be only a memory of football from a different, slower and less versatile age – and Aina appears to embody this evolution in the game.

9. It’s temporary pleasure, but we did enjoy Ehab falling for the “give us a wave” trick at Loftus Road. The man really is devoid of self-awareness or shame. Still, from the brief joy of being able to call him deservedly rude names in response we then clock the mysterious besuited figures sitting beside him and wonder, hope, implore, beg even, that he is about to relinquish his responsibilities. Not that he has discharged these responsibilities with any element of, er, responsibility, obviously.

10. Harry Maguire played a blinder and scored a goal on his home debut for Leicester on Saturday while Andy Robertson turned in a fine display on his bow for Liverpool. We got £25m for those two, players who were then analysed at length by Match Of The Day, leading Gary Lineker to ask how we got relegated last season. Well Gal, it’s a hell of a story, so pour yourself a strong one and settle back…

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Things We Think We Think #261

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1. Satisfying stuff on Saturday from City. Circumstances assisted in the 4-1 win – Burton’s limitations, red card and submissive willingness to back off in the second half – but there was some truly terrific football played and we looked utterly comfortable.

2. Abel Hernández missed the easiest chance of the game in the first half – we don’t count any of the flurry of opportunities somehow blocked by Steven Bywater after the break – but nonetheless took his three goals with aplomb. Given the unrelenting departures of the summer, it’s a slight surprise that the Uruguayan is still with us, but with displays like that, we can be most grateful for it.

3. Other notable displays – Jarrod Bowen looks like he belongs at this level and his confidence is only going to grow, while Max Clark looked less of a square peg as an attacking left back, and actually crossed the ball on the overlap accurately and fiendishly on a good few occasions. Michael Hector’s assured and slightly cocky display at the back also hints at a performer of real class who could stroll through this division with a fat cigar on.

4. There was a moment in the first half when Ola Aina got a bit too complacent and lost the ball. City got away with it, just, but the terrific dressing down he took from Michael Dawson evidently had an effect because in the second half he defended stoutly and, as interest in attacking from our opponents dwindled more, he showed what a supreme athlete he is with shinpad-exposed runs with and without the ball that further burnt out the overworked Burton left side. This boy can play – and clearly he is capable of learning too.

5. Fraizer Campbell’s not fully at it yet, is he? Just like last week at Aston Villa, he didn’t look sharp enough, but only perseverance and hard minutes on the pitch will assuage that. We don’t recall him having a chance to score on Saturday but he put in an unselfish shift while his strike partner took the glory, and his time will come.

6. Maybe it’ll be when Wolves to come to town on Tuesday night. Leonid Slutsky removed Hernàndez, Kamil Grosicki (nice headed goal) and Sam Clucas against Burton, suggesting he wanted them as fresh as possible for hardier tests coming this week. A trip to QPR, rarely something that fills City fans with lipsmacking anticipation, then awaits at the weekend.

7. Slutsky told the press after the win over Burton that his highlight of the game was being asked to wave by the City fans. We could easily be in love with this guy already.

8. Doncaster away in the League Cup. Nearby, eminently winnable, and the prospect of big numbers travelling on a (hopefully) sultry mid-summer’s evening. And whatever number of Hull City supporters is announced that night, at least we know it’ll be accurate, eh?

*SOAPBOX TIME*

9a. If you find the actions of the Allams repulsive, and after careful consideration cannot in good conscience put money in coffers administered by them, so do not attend home games, then good on you.  Understandable.

9b. If you find the actions of the Allams repulsive, but after careful consideration have decided that you’re still going to attend games to cheer on the team (because you were a City fan long before they came along and you’ll be a City fan long after they’ve sold up) and you’ll be damned if those two are driving you away, then good on you.  Understandable.

10. If however, you’ve decided that your decision is the only decision that can be made and elect to berate other City fans on social media or in person, then to quote a colloquialism, ‘give your head a wobble’. The Allams and their dwindling cult of apologists are the enemy, not people who broadly agree that a pair of perfidious egotists must go quickly for the good of Hull City AFC. Divisiveness is clearly their goal, so don’t fall for it.

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MATCH REPORT: City 4-1 Burton

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You forget, don’t you, that a gulf in class between City and an opponent can work in our favour too. For all of its gaudy glitz, a season in the Premier League can be demoralising as the weekly assignments against the significantly wealthier continue without cessation. Back in the calmer waters of the Championship, with fish smaller as well as larger, the scope for dishing it out instead of being a permanent punchbag does possess a certain appeal. And as City pummelled an adventurous but pretty hopeless Burton, we left in a brighter mood than so often last season.

Not that Hull City AFC is a club wreathed in smiles at present. The sight of the whole Upper West Stand closed is a testament to the damage being done by the Allam family, and made for a sorry pre-match spectacle.

Luckily, one man for whom the next beaming grin is rarely too far away is the new City manager, Leonid Slutsky. On his home debut as the Tigers’ manager, he named the same XI that started and improved to draw at Aston Villa a week earlier:

McGregor;
Clark, Dawson, Hector, Aina
Grosicki, Clucas, Henriksen, Bowen
Campbell, Hernández

On the bench was new signing Seb Larsson, and City began the afternoon attacking the South Stand (hooray!).

It was open start, with Kamil Grosicki pinching the ball in the third minute and ill-advisedly opting to conclude his burst down the wing with a shot from an acute angle with unmarked teammates in the middle. Meanwhile, Stephen Warnock – who’d been struggling since a first minute knock – failed to last beyond 3.07pm, limping off to be replaced by Lloyd Dyer.

With the first anti-Allam chants of the afternoon only just subsiding, City took a gratifyingly early lead when a loose ball fell to Markus Henriksen. His fabulous volley hit the crossbar and came back out, where the alert Abel Hernández’s superior anticipation gave him a free header at goal. In it went, via a strong but vain attempted deflection from the exposed Burton keeper.

That began a spell of near total domination, as Burton Albion Brewers – as our own club cretinously renamed them in the build-up – looked close to being totally overwhelmed. Grosicki had a shot blocked after neat play by Fraizer Campbell, but the besieged visitors nearly (and should have) found themselves level soon after. Aina dithered naively on the ball, was dispossessed and Akins’ low shot went past McGregor but was ruled out for offside, erroneously it seemed.

That wasn’t unique, with a disagreeable vein of complacency running throughout City’s otherwise strong work. It became a madly end-to-end affair as Burton grew in attacking intent. McGregor smartly saved from Akins, Hernández fluffed a chance tougher than the one he’d earlier taken, Sordell sent one curling inches wide and Grosicki then wrapped up the 2017/18 miss of the season when rounding Bywater after being released on the right only to then miss the open goal. A crazy match.

It got crazier. More defensive faffing saw City fail to clear their lines repeatedly, and eventually Jackson Irvine was able to bend a superb shot past McGregor into the top right of the goal.

A great finish, and while parity flattered the visitors, they’d probably been worth a goal – City’s mucking around in defence and profligacy up front had badly undone them. Meanwhile, the 473 Burton fans crowed about this sudden and unexpected improvement in their fortunes.

But City weren’t to be the only ones capable of substantial self-harm. With eight minutes remaining before half-time and Slutsky’s charges yet to properly recollect themselves following their concession, Irvine rashly upended Bowen for the second time in the game. He’d seen yellow the first time, and although the City youngster was fully 80 yards from the Brewers’ goal, it looked a promising enough break to warrant a second caution. The Australian international forlornly departed, and the game very much felt City’s to lose.

Save for Grosicki directing a free kick well over, that was it for the half, with both sides appearing content to get to the interval and assess how best to approach the numerical disparity that Jackson’s foolishness had engendered.

Burton’s response wasn’t too unexpected. Nigel Clough deployed his depleted yellows in a 4-4-1 formation, while Leonid Slutsky took the opportunity to capitalise upon Burton’s likely lack of attacking ambition by urging his fullbacks further forward. It was to work splendidly.

On 50, City again began a half with an early goal. It came from the flanks, with the impressive Ola Aina fleet-footedly bewitching his marker before sending in a cute cross with his presumably weaker left. Grosicki determinedly attacked it at the near post, and sent a header bouncing into the far post to make it 2-1. Relief! Even if Burton were unlikely to win with ten, holding on for a point wouldn’t have been impossible, but now they had to chase.

Soon after, their stiff task began to appear impossible. A long ball was partially cleared straight to the unattended Hernández, who instantly crashed a low shot at Bywater. He may have done better with it, though its instant nature and sweet connection made it a challenging effort. Either way, he couldn’t keep it out, and on 53 it was 3-1. Game over, right?

Right. Flanagan replaced Sordell for the ailing visitors, who looked completely winded by their disastrous start to the second half. Campbell missed a chance to get his first City goal in 3,395 days when sending a header wide, but spurned opportunities no longer felt as though they’d materially affect the outcome.

On 68, any remaining doubts were dispelled. Clucas obtained possession in midfield, lost it and then quickly regained it, before threading a perfectly weighted ball to Hernández. The Uruguayan had cleverly found himself a yard of space and his control was perfect, allowing him to hare free of the beleaguered Burton defence. It never felt as though he’d miss, and he didn’t, coolly steering the ball past late-90s City loanee Bywater for his hat-trick and an emphatic 4-1 lead.

That left a quarter of the game remaining, and with the result assured, what to do? Push on for more goals and really put the distressed visitors to the sword, or relax a little with successive midweek fixtures approaching? Pragmatism won the day, with Slutsky swiftly withdrawing Clucas, Hernández and Grosicki for Meyler, Diomande and Larsson. Either way, it was a pleasant situation for the new boss to have.

14,882 was the official gate, incidentally. It felt approximately right, though tellingly it wasn’t announced over the PA system. It was displayed on the big screens though, and precipitated further calls for the Allams to bugger off.

City could and perhaps should have scored more as the cowed Albion prayed for an end to their torment – chances fell to (in no particular order) Clark, Henriksen, Dawson, Larsson, Hector, Diomande and Meyler, and if there are any frustrations to be gleaned from a comprehensive 4-1 win, it’s that City missed a boatload of opportunities throughout the game.

But hey, a 4-1 win! That didn’t happen much last season. Behind the affable exterior, Leonid Slutsky won’t have become a national manager without knowing his stuff, and he’ll know there are things to improve upon. Occasionally lackadaisical stuff in defence, too many chances being frittered away at the other end, coupled with the odd piece of bad decision making.

There’ll be tougher tests than a Burton side who played with ten men for over half the match. They don’t look like a side who’ll be seriously contesting for anything other survival this season. Wolves have won all three this season, beating two fancied Championship sides on the way – they’ll provide a much stouter examination on Tuesday. For now, four points and five goals. That’ll do nicely.

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Things We Think We Think #260

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1. Football is back! And if it was possible to be decidedly underwhelmed at the prospect of another season labouring under the ghastly Allams on Saturday morning, events in the early evening in Birmingham did at least make it feel less daunting.

2. Not that we can easily gloss over the first half. For much of it, City looked worryingly frail and disorganised. A side sharper than Aston Villa could easily have settled the game in the first third, and that really would have left us shuddering at the prospect of another 45 games. As it was, we’re back in the Championship, and spells like this are going to be ridden out more frequently. To keep it at 1-0, with a late flurry in the first half, always gave us a chance.

3. So it proved, as the second half was filled with encouragement. The previously lethargic Grosicki grew into the game, service to the hard working pair of Campbell and Hernández gradually improved and Aston Villa ceased being able to torment our full backs. This all made it possible for City to advance with authority rather than trepidation, and the equaliser – when it arrived – was fully deserved.

4. What a finish and what a moment for Jarrod Bowen. When Grosicki darted into the sort of space we were routinely denied last season and floated one over, it’d have been all too easy for a young, inexperienced player to wildly lash the ball high and wide when presented with the whites of the goalkeeper’s eyes. Instead, he demonstrated that his stunning matchwinning goal against Benfica last month was no fluke with a finish of steely composure. Well done that man (and what a great celebration too; elbowing a steward out of the way to get to the supporters will endear him further to the City fans for many a year). Well done also City for recovering a point from – according to the pre-season odds – the hardest game we’ll have in 2017/18.

5. Grosicki seems much better suited to playing down the right doesn’t he? Not only does it lessen the impact of a failure to adequately track back on our stand-in left back, it allows him to finish moves with his right foot. Despite being ambipedal, Grosicki’s end product was woeful last year when he was deployed on the left. His right footed cross for Bowen’s strike suggests we’re best starting him on that side.

6. Isn’t Leonid Slutsky a thoroughly affable individual too? His infectious personality makes it hard not to warm to him. In a club beset by difficulties, his radiant happiness stands out even more starkly. Lets just hope that grin remains intact.

7. After all, he works for Ehab Allam, who is clearly incapable of learning from, or even tacitly admitting his mistakes. “Absolute power corrupts absolutely” goes the axiom, in that people with too much power succumb to arrogance, believing their judgments always correct, and their wisdom infallible, despite evidence to the contrary. The summer of 2016 was evidence enough, when City’s preparation for a new season wasn’t just inadequate, it felt like an act of self-harm. That wouldn’t be repeated in the summer of 2017 would it? Of course it would, Ehab doesn’t learn, perhaps he just doesn’t care about anything other than the money we get from the Premier League even after relegation. What must Slutsky make of a summer where both left backs have, left? Robertson’s sale was understandable from all perspectives, but allowing the first player to ‘graduate’ from our relatively new academy set up to go, a local lad who was shamefully still on a scholarship deal earning £150 a week after making Premier League appearances, seems more than just careless. “The supermarket is closed” was Slutsky’s terse public response to the seemingly unending departures. He deserves better owners, and we wish him luck.

8. The signings he has made will obviously take a while to settle and gel. They also need to get to know the club, with one notable exception: Fraizer Campbell. At Villa Park, he made his second debut for City, two months short of ten years since his first. Reaction to his acquisition on a free transfer from Crystal Palace has been principally positive, which is a relief given that he has taken some unwarranted stick from City fans on the handful of occasions he has lined up against us in the two highest levels of the game. Campbell is now an experienced player, an England international, not completely proven thanks to a mixture of injuries and hefty competition for places, but if anyone knows how devastating a presence he can be at this level of the game, especially with a good supply behind and outside him, it’s us.

9. While there will always be reservations about local commercial radio’s effectiveness to deliver good football coverage when, unlike the oxygenated BBC, it lives and dies instantaneously by its audience figures and revenues, there is nothing in the Viking 2 deal to blame the radio station for, even going as far as the non-appearance of the much publicised first commentary of the season on Saturday due to a technical fault (they do happen, even to the BBC). But the decision by Ehab Allam to not renew terms with BBC Radio Humberside because he disapproves of their awkward, irritating knack of questioning his regime (which they generally did fairly, and with balance) is yet another example of his over-inflated sense of worth, a man of incompetence and spite who thinks he is the bees’ knees, and woe betide anyone, such as an experienced local journalist steeped in the objectivity that the BBC always strives to show, who dares to think everything Ehab does is not necessarily flawless nor open to close examination. Dave Burns is clearly upset, judging by his tweets on the subject. He is right to be – even his detractors have been able to admit that they would rather he and his station were there on matchdays than not. We wish Viking 2 well but can’t help but fear they are in cahoots with a truly poisonous client who will prove deleterious to their reputation, and Saturday’s no-show, irrespective of the true reasons for it, felt somehow symbolic of the deal itself.

10. The 2017/18 home kit is quite nice, good work Umbro. Shame it doesn’t have the club’s name on it.

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NEWS: Robertson departs for Liverpool

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We were never going to keep Andy Robertson, were we? Even if City had stayed up and possessed responsible owners, it’d have been a lot to expect. And so it’s come to pass, with the Scottish international becoming the latest but perhaps most widely anticipated departure of this dispiriting summer.

He’s joined Liverpool, a rare instance of a City player leaving directly for a top-half-of-the-top-flight club. The fee’s around £8m, decidedly on the low side for a played with such colossal potential. Half the value of Maguire, really? Hmm. Still, since joining City three summers ago, his explosive talent has been obvious, and taking a further step up the footballing ladder has always looked likely.

It’s the latest move in a steep career progression for Robertson. Rejected by Celtic for being “too small” (how the hell does this still happen in the modern day?) he spent 2012/13 at Scottish amateurs Queens Park and the following season at Dundee United. Still only 23, with 15 Scotland caps and dozens more to come, he could go a very long way in the game. His rampaging runs down the left wing were a joy to watch, and that third (and decisive) goal at Derby County will live long in the memory.

Best of luck, Andy.

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NEWS: Huddlestone the latest to leave

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City have confirmed the departure of another first-teamer, with Tom Huddlestone leaving for Derby.

He had a £2m release clause in his contract that the Rams have activated, and with Ehab Allam negligently declining to offer the player a new contract until interest emerged elsewhere, the player has elected to move back to the club he began life as a professional with.

Huddlestone frustrated and delighted during his time at the club. There’s a strong argument to be made that he’s the finest passer of the ball we’ve ever had, yet frequently he’d fail to orchestrate games in the way he’s capable of doing. However, prior to a comically unjust red card at Everton at the end of last season, he was in perhaps the best form of his City career.

That career took in two separate spells in the Premier League, a League Cup semi-final, victory in a play-off final at Wembley, an FA Cup final and European football. It’s been an eventful time on and off the pitch, though the ongoing circus off it has seen his time end. His final contribution was to thank to everyone at City, apart from the owners. He’d have been a regular starter next season, and it’s hard to see how he can be replaced for £2m, if at all. For the second time during this increasingly desperate summer, our loss is Derby’s gain – and City are once again looking hopelessly unprepared for the start of a new season.

All the best, Tom.

FEAT-SEATS

City to start at Aston Villa

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This morning has seen the announcement of the fixture list for 2017/18, and it’s decreed that City will start life back in the Championship against Steve Bruce’s Aston Villa. That game has already been bagged by the Sky cameras, and will be played at 5.30pm on Saturday 5th August, and gives us an immediate opportunity to appreciate Steve Bruce for the first time since he was forced out of City during Ehab’s 2016 summer of chaos.

City’s first home match of the season takes place a week later with the visit of Burton, while the first of ten Yorkshire derbies is on 21st October, away to Barnsley.

The Saturday before Christmas takes us to Elland Road, Boxing Day sees us host Derby, while the New Year fixture is Bolton away. Easter Saturday sees Aston Villa visit the Circle, while Easter Monday requires a trip to Wolverhampton.

City finish the season with a 12.30pm kick-off at Brentford on 6th May, a fixture preceded by Cardiff at home.

The lengthiest midweek away fixtures are Fulham and Millwall (kudos to anyone who does both), while tick ground enthusiasts will already be preparing for Tuesday 10th April and the visit to Burton.

 

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Things We Think We Think #258

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1. It wasn’t surprising that Marco Silva elected to leave City following relegation, but it’s still saddening. He’s a manager of obvious talent, was briefly ours…and now he’s gone. We’ll all watch his career with interest, and few would be surprised if he goes a long way in management.

2. All of which made his prompt move to Watford a little odd. This isn’t a slight against Watford – though similar in stature and with a remarkable capacity for burning through managers, they’re still ran more competently than City and achieved Premier League survival with several weeks of the season remaining, something we didn’t manage at all. Swapping City for them does make a degree of sense. But was it really the best move for him? And could have he been given a more prestigious job if City hadn’t collapsed so distressingly in the final three games of the season?

3. Nonetheless, we should wish him well. Though he didn’t achieve his “miracle” of keeping City in the Premier League, his attempts were substantial and not far from successful. We appreciate the effort.

4. Which takes us onto the new managerial appointment. With no firm favourite yet, it’s fairly apparent that the bookmaking fraternity has little clue which way Ehab Allam is going to go. At the time of writing, should you be interested in free sports bets, Nigel Adkins and David Moyes are your joint 5/1 favourites. Pulses in East Yorkshire will remain studiously unquickened by this.

5. A quick note: next manager markets attract a lot of attention, but relatively little actual money. One single wager of £50 on a contender would probably cause their odds to drop rapidly and create a little burst of news. With that in mind, let’s not collectively wet our knickers if someone suddenly becomes a “red hot favourite”…

6. Let’s instead hope that Ehab Allam is properly focussing on the club in the coming months instead. In his mind-warpingly banal in-house interview last week, Ehab conceded that last summer’s clusterfuck was damaging (though naturally it wasn’t his fault). Lessons better have been learned.

7. And if only because it’s clear we’re stuck with other. Ehab’s inability to sell the club in 2016 has left him with a debt-ridden Championship club that few prospective purchasers covet, and it was clear in his comments last week that the club is effectively no longer up for sale. So we have the unhappy situation that owners who are widely and rightly scorned for their dismal comments and conduct cannot sell a club they’re incapable of running properly, when enlightened and positive new owners are the one thing we crave most.

8. It all makes 2017/18 look like a challenging season. Quite a few players who performed admirably in ultimate failure aren’t long for this parish either – Maguire obviously merits more than second tier football, while the rich promise of Robertson, Clucas and Tymon are attracting suitors (and the clunkingly inept way the latter is being dealt with hasn’t helped). Loanees are returning to parent clubs, while Grosicki presumably didn’t come to England to play outside of the top flight. Whoever takes over as the manager will have extensive surgery to perform.

9. Part of us wants to wish Huddersfield well in this afternoon’s Championship play-off final, because their fans were solidly behind us when West Yorkshire Police were acting like a bunch of toytown fascists a few years. However, two more Yorkshire derbies next season wouldn’t hurt, and Reading away is hardly the most appetising fixture.

10. We have a soft spot for the League Cup, with its potential for ground-ticks and shock results – it’s even been kind to us in recent seasons, with a quarter-final and then a semi-final. However, it’s not always the most popular or grand competition – so renaming it the “Carabao Cup” is hardly a step in the right direction…

FEAT-SEATS

Odds on the next City manager

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With Marco Silva’s departure this week, out of work managers will by vying with ambitious lower league bosses for a crack at overseeing a club that’s just left the Premier League. While offering no firm opinions, here’s how the bookmaking fraternity currently sees it:

Nigel Adkins 10/1
Leonid Slutsky 10/1
Aitor Karanka 12/1
Alex Neill 12/1
David Moyes 12/1
Nigel Pearson 12/1
Uwe Rosler 12/1
Alan Pardew 16/1
Gary Monk 16/1
Steve McClaren 16/1
Gus Poyet 16/1

No clear favourite, no thrilling new names, no-one has much of an idea (including you, Ehab).

But if for some reason none of those names fill you with excitement, take a look at the top of the page and remember that it’s been worse. A lot worse…

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So long, Marco

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Unsurprisingly, Marco Silva has declined the invitation to manage City in the Championship, and is drawing to a close a brief but ardent love affair.

He didn’t quite manage his “miracle” of overcoming Ehab’s epic summer of negligence and keeping City in the Premier League, but to get as close as he did (while beating Liverpool and Manchester United) was impressive enough.

City fans are now condemned to watch him aim for greatness elsewhere, while we undertake yet another managerial search under the inept Allam family and fret endlessly about the future.

So long Marco, and thanks for trying. It was fun while it lasted.