Tag Archives: Hull City

Southampton v Hull City. Premier League: Saturday 29th April 2017

2 May

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For my money there is no better place for getting a view of a football clubs season than from the barbers chair. The barbers own observations will have been triangulated by a huge number of other perspectives and from over the season and their arguments will well honed through countless conversations on the topic. I’d add that perhaps one of the best barbers in this regard is to be found just over the Itchen bridge in Woolston at Sean’s barbers.

The barbers view is particularly valuable as Saints fans struggle to decide whether this season can be considered as success, or a disappointment. Sean’s view was that the club needs to spend more to compete with the big clubs and that in the absence of this the current position is where the club should expect to be. Puel has, Sean also feels managed players well, particularly Maya Yoshida, who has gone from an error-prone bit-part player to an important team member and occasional captain. Crucially though Puel has provided opportunity to young talent to blossom.

Sean’s points are well considered and I’m in agreement. In the context of the last few seasons perhaps to be in 9th place is a disappointment, but in the wider context of the last decade and given the resources the club has then it’s actually quite good – and that’s not even considering the League Cup final.

One impact of sitting in 9th place with just a few games to go is that the Saints went into the game with Hull with relatively little to play for, neither competing for Europe, nor threatened by relegation. Hull on the other hand were fighting for survival, being just one place and two points above the final relegation spot.

It was therefore unsurprising that Hull seemed the keener side out of the blocks, striking the outside of the post from a free kick early on. They were also as one Saints fan later put it “first in the tackle” throughout, but over the course of the game opportunities for either side were few and far between – the best Saints chance falling to Gabbiadini who blazed wide after being put clean through on goal.

All in all it was a rather poor spectacle with little to excite the Saints fans who were the most subdued I’ve ever seen them at St. Mary’s. They were though finally half-roused when, after a spell of pressure, Maya Yoshida won a penalty in the 89th minute.

There is a scene at the end of the Hitchikers Guide to the galaxy where Marvin the android, on the verge of death, sees God’s final message. The message reads “We apologise for the inconvenience” at which the perennially downbeat Marvin appears to take some consolation “I think… I think I feel good about that.”

If scored the Saints fans would dissipate through the streets surrounding St. Marys with a skip in their stride, the 89 minutes of painfully-dull football they’d witnessed swiftly forgotten.

It was however, the Hull fans who embarked on their long journey home happy as Dusan Tadic saw his well-hit penalty – low into the right corner – spectacularly saved by the Hull ‘keeper Eldin Jakupovic.

This secured a valuable point for the visitors which may, before long, prove crucial. For the Saints fans it simply adds further murkiness to the debate on whether the season can be called a success. Perhaps it’s worth a trip to the barbers.

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Turks, Tigers, Hornets and Sunflowers: The real question behind Hull City’s name change

3 Dec

For many Hull City’s re branding as Hull Tigers is just one symptom of everything that’s wrong with modern football, just the word re-branding is enough to ring alarm-bells, along with the reason given that it will stretch the clubs appeal in global markets – ‘Tigers’ being a name essentially free of being tied to one place

But, looking back the change not a move without precedent. A glance, for instance, at the 1894-95 Division Two table reveals several clubs have, to a greater or lesser degree, undergone name changes, among them: Leiscester Fosse, Woolwich Arsenal and Newton Heath

And if the objection is that ‘Tigers’ sounds too, well, too American then there is precedent for this too. The Victorians were particularly fond of imaginative monikers like Fordingbridge Turks, Ringwood Hornets or Portsmouth Sunflowers. The fashion for such names has however, passed leaving us with City and United.

The issue though  isn’t so much the name change, but one of democracy and control. When a new regime at Leicester City, fronted by Chairman Jon Holmes, decided back in 2003 that it would be a good idea for the club to embrace tradition by returning to it’s previous name of Leicester Fosse the fans were invited to express their opinion by holding up a card with either a ‘C’, or ‘F’ printed on it at half-time. As anyone involved in elections will point out holding up cards in front of everyone else isn’t necessarily the most representative method of canvassing opinion but,  it still allows fans to have some kind of say.

To their credit, the club listened, but it was under no formal obligation to do so. While we live in a democracy, football clubs are not, and have never been, democracies. They are dictatorships. Sometimes – often even – this works quite well, other times it doesn’t, but in either case power is located in the hands of a few, or even one individual – and there is anyone to answer to its other shareholders, investors and financiers – definitely not fans.

Our dilemma is, do we accept this model which has proved, on the whole successful. Hull and Cardiff are both enjoying successful periods and the Premier League as a whole is the biggest revenue generating league in the world, or do we demand the change which would make football better align with our democratic principles?

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