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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…

FEATSilva

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.

FEAT WembleyBarmby

Cheer up Tiger Nation, it’s Wembley Debut Day

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There’s no doubt about it, dark clouds hover ominously over the Tiger Nation at present – what with relegation, Marco Silva preparing to depart and the bloody Allam family conspicuously not departing while scrapping discounts for kids and pensioners.

But amid the gloom, one thing will always cheer us up, and that’s remembering our finest day in the sun, nine years ago today.

Happy Wembley (Debut) Day, City fans.

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Things We Think We Think #257

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1. What a truly vile, humiliating end to the season. Nobody doubts that Tottenham Hotspur are a fine side, but the way Hull City, a team of professionals supposedly to the end, rolled over and surrendered was utterly unforgivable. It was hard to not be furious with everyone who took part in that sorry, repulsive, cringeworthy shitshow in the immediate aftermath.

2. Upon reflection though…poor David Marshall. Inevitably there will be those who will allot him a large portion of blame for City’s record home defeat, but actually he had a decent enough game and can’t be held responsible for the supine attitude of those in front on him.

3. Hopefully Josh Tymon can put Saturday afternoon behind him. The young lad was given a torrid time against the Premier League’s most potent attack and such a day could have a deleterious mental impact. He is likely to have a large role to play in the Championship.

4. But the picture is always bigger, and that leads us to our foul ownership, a family that has managed to take a successful, admirable, happy football club with a united support and transmogrify it into a murky, immoral, cruel, squalid, estranged and risible outfit that gives no hoots at all to anything except its own ego. People are trampled on, politics rule, strategies are fallacious, communities forgotten or ignored, and at the very top, we have a man of narcissism and incompetence, a cocktail that is hugely dangerous as far as the well-being of the club and those who work for it or invest their feelings in it are concerned.

5. If City can start pre-season with a threadbare senior squad after a promotion, what’s going to happen after relegation and the likely loss of the entire coaching staff? There is  deep sense of foreboding about the summer ahead.

6. Consequently, the removal of the Allam family remains the most important thing on the Tiger Nation’s agenda. However, despite near-universal disapproval of them and their contemptible methods, the appetite for a sustained campaign against them isn’t easy to detect. At present, we feel a weary and disillusioned set of supporters – not beaten, because we will never be beaten by their ilk, but in need of a serious summer re-energising.

7. To accomplish that will require proper organisation. All ideas are welcome…

8. Marco Silva remains the favourite for the vacant Watford job. However, if their owners (and others) were watching City’s last three games, might he now find a return to the Premier League as easy as it’d have seemed just three weeks ago? We wonder.

9. Before we finish, we ought to make room to wish well a proper professional and a fine servant to Hull City on the announcement of his retirement from football this week. Richard Garcia was an underrated player during his five seasons with City – sometimes devastating down the right flank, scorer and provider of important and great goals during the 2007/08 promotion campaign and a hardy contributor during more difficult and less glorified times afterwards. Hopefully he’ll find cause to fly over for the Wembley Day tenth anniversary celebrations (which we suspect the club won’t acknowledge, as they don’t like history) next year.

10. Bradford cocked it up over the weekend, but next season will be a season filled with Yorkshireness – both Sheffield clubs (with the blue half no doubt clogging the M18 with their six billion fans), Leeds, Barnsley and possibly Huddersfield, depending on the outcome of the play-off final. We’ve got some great days out ahead in 2017/18, and they will remain great days out irrespective of who owns, coaches or plays for our club. A club is and should always be defined by its supporters, and we’ve got supporters who make us immensely proud. Times may be volatile and uncertain right now, but come August, we’ll be ready to do it again, because that’s who we are and what we do. It’s in the blood, isn’t it?

FEAT-MOON

Pitch for Justice?

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Last month, two groundstaff at the Circle were dismissed by the Stadium Management Company amid claims about the quality of the pitch.

Those two men, Darrell Cook and Mark Harrison, aren’t happy that their 55 years of combined experience at The Circle, Boothferry Park and the Boulevard has been publicly dispensed with, and have begun a crowdfunding project to take the SMC to an industrial tribunal.

They want to raise £5,000 to instruct Gosschalks (coincidentally, some time sponsors of City) to commence action. Their story and the opportunity to donate can be found here: Pitch for Justice

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Things We Think We Think #256

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1. City have been relegated, and no matter how much we may dislike plenty about modern football and its ultimate manifestation the Premier League, it hurts. It hurts to see (R) decisively affixed to our name in the table, it hurts to be regarded throughout the game as having failed, it hurts that the magnificent City of Culture celebrations no longer include having a top flight football team, and it hurts to see so much hard work undone. This is going to distress and dismay the Tiger Nation throughout the unhappy summer that awaits, and there’s no point in pretending otherwise.

2. City were abysmal at Crystal Palace, playing with the intensity of a pre-season friendly and the intelligence of a hungover Sunday League team. The ultimate responsibility for this ghastly season lies elsewhere, but there’s no doubt that the players have grossly underperformed in these last two critical games – from a nervy, uncomposed display against the worst team in the division to an absolutely disgraceful non-performance in the game that represented our very last chance. They’ve been appallingly let down by others, but on these two occasions they’ve let themselves (and us) down very badly.

3. Unfortunately, it has to be conceded that Marco Silva has also seen just the faintest dulling of his lustrous reputation during these two calamitous games. Selections have surprised, and while unexpected XIs have been a (broadly positive) feature of his tenure, the decision not to restore Tom Huddlestone to the side following suspension has always jarred. Moreover, he failed to calm his side against Sunderland, and inspire them in the slightest against Crystal Palace.

3a. However, he remains this single best thing about this season and, given the epic handicap of our owners, to have even left us in with a plausible chance of survival going into the final weeks was a colossal achievement. He’s a fine manager, an assured speaker, an innovative tactician and he’s going places far loftier than the Championship.

4. And if that sounds like we’re already saying farewell to Marco Silva…well, would you want to work in the second tier for an odious owner with no money, no players, a ground partly closed and decline evident everywhere?

5. Only simpletons and people who are financially rewarded by the Allams will place the blame for this train wreck anywhere else than at their feet. It was Ehab who drove out the club’s most successful manager ever, who let us start the season with barely enough senior players to play a five-a-side game and then waited until January before taking action to give us any hope of at least trying to fight relegation. Playing in the Championship isn’t the worst part of relegation, no, the worst part is the decrease in likelihood of the club being sold, leaving us with the dreadful Ehab, a man with no love of the club or football, no integrity, no ability to see beyond his own ego and avarice, who is content to carry on his father’s work of transforming a beloved community enterprise into a soulless husk, a generator of revenue streams, a player trading exchange, a content provider.

6. After relegation in 2015, we were still able to be competitive in the Championship because several key sales, fees perhaps inflated by a new TV deal which made Premier League clubs feel flush, allowed us to keep some experienced players. Doesn’t seem likely this time round, as most of our current first team are on short term loan or out of contract. Great if you like seeing academy products given a crack at first team football, not so great if you’re hoping for a quick return to the top flight.

7. Congratulations to the players who won one or more of the awards on offer at the midweek end-of-season bash. What a pity the prizes themselves sport the name of a football club that doesn’t exist; we’d like to think at least some of them are aware of the upset this causes among supporters as the Allams continue to ride roughshod over popular opinion, club tradition and FA decree in still pursuing the Hull City Tigers nonsense, even though “it is not club policy not to use Hull City”. Also notable is that, post-Palace, Andy Robertson was swift to put much of the blame for our trials this season at the hands of those responsible for not allowing any player recruitment last summer – one imagines that the Scotsman knows he’s on his way to pastures new this summer and has nothing to lose.

8. Meanwhile, Marco Silva himself has also talked about the mishandling of the situation by the hierarchy at Hull City back in the summer as a key reason why, ultimately, he found himself falling just short in his rescue mission. It feels like, even if it’s just in a roundabout way, that he’s blaming the Allams for the mess. Astute man. Now, in 2013, Nick Barmby made similar comments in a far less toxic environment and was still sacked  – would the Allams do the same to Silva? If Silva leaves of his own accord he would do so with our best wishes and deep thanks, but if he were to go against his will then it’s close to impossible to imagine just how ferocious yet another backlash against the Allams would be.

9. Whatever the inquest records over the next few days, next Sunday’s dead rubber with Tottenham is an opportunity to begin the forcible ejection of the Allam family’s death grip on this club. There’s nothing to play for, and none of the whiny excuses about not distracting the players can hold water (they never do anyway). We should appreciate the players, who were betrayed by their employer, and fête Marco Silva, if he’s still around (and more so if he isn’t), as we’ll never have another opportunity. But an afternoon of revulsion at what Assem and Ehab Allam are doing is essential. They cannot be left in any doubt that they are not wanted and must sell at the first opportunity to suitable owners. Bring every poster, banner and flag that’s ever been used against either them or their ridiculous, spiteful name change idea, and let’s get these appalling people out of our football club.

10. But there is a positive! Really, there is. And it’s usual, it’s all of us. The City fans at Palace were magnificent, as we’ve been all season. Amid the burning wreckage, we remain defiant and unbowed, the proud people of Hull, the loyal supporters of its foremost sporting institution and this essential part of Hull’s civic fabric. Very soon, we’re going to be all that’s left, so it’s a good job we’re so bloody brilliant.

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“it is not the policy of the Club to not use Hull City”

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Hull City held its awards ceremony last night, and our congratulations to those who received recognition for their efforts throughout 2016/17: Brandon Fleming, Josh Tymon, Sam Clucas and Harry Maguire, the latter picking up a pair of awards each. Congratulations to all.

But what’s this on the trophies themselves?

HullCityTigersawardsIt’s “Hull City Tigers”!

Which is very strange, because a fans’ committee was told, with a straight face last week, there “it is not the policy of the Club to not use Hull City”.

It’s tempting to get angry at the club, yet again, for their gratuitously awful conduct. However on this occasion, it seems more appropriate to feel sympathy for players who’ve worked hard this season and seen their efforts rewarded, only to be have it devalued by trophies bearing the name of a non-existant club designed purely to wind up the people who cheer for them every week.