Funny old game isn’t it? (soz for the Saint and Greavsie cliché this early)
You spend half the season being driven mental by good, bad and indifferent performances, you’re a gibbering wreck at 2-1 up for the last twenty minutes of multiple games, you upset your neighbours/other half/dog when a last-minute equaliser deflects in off Sean McLoughlin’s arse, you watch the FA cup third round draw like the Albanian entrant to Eurovision watches Northern Macedonia’s results get announced and then….
And you’re just like that meme of Mr Bean in the field, wondering what normal people do on a Saturday, but at the same time knowing that the answer is “massively waste their life”.
But here we are, we’ve got play-offs I guess, and some Prem games left to laugh at teams going down, there’ll be a couple of dull England games and then comes the real slog. Pretty much a month of nothing.
Now, according to my “8 types of City fan on Twitter” blog a couple of years ago https://www.thelikesofhull.co.uk/450628837.html
Our fans will cope with this in many different ways.
The two sport splitters decide they preferred Rugby League or Yorkshire Cricket the whole time, the drink connoisseurs get drunk and the flat earthers will retweet Matt Le Tissier. But, if none of them really floats your boat, maybe you can waste ten minutes of your life reading and then disparaging my end of season grades. (send your hate tweets to @thelikesofhull) Happy offseason everyone! Here’s some meaningless grades that you may or may not agree with.
I’ll start as I mean to go on. Despite the large strides made off the pitch and with re-energising the fan base. This was more miss than hit, particularly in the summer. It just wasn’t realistic in terms of the league we were in and some pretty big investments, in either wages or fees were underwhelming.
Now before you throw your jagerbomb at me whilst dressed as Tinky Winky, hear me out…
Figueriredo was a disaster and three centre backs we already had were much better.
Sinik was homesick and didn’t work at all.
Woods was no more than ok, and was phased out under Rosenior.
Tetteh flashed but was made of glass.
Traore was already broken and was tidy for the last 10 games.
Baxter didn’t really work this time. Injuries hurt him too.
Sayyadmanash was also injured too much and scored one goal.
Pelkas disappeared far too much and really didn’t make enough impact.
Vale was way off.
Estupinan whilst not perfect did what he was paid to do and scored goals.
Seri wasn’t at it every week but he was what we paid for, a little Rolls Royce.
Tufan got used to the league and got fit and is a proper player.
Christie was a home run, without injury he’s player of the year.
If you add the Rosenior recruitment in Jan it’s still a mixed bag. Darlow is hopefully the keeper for the next five seasons plus, but Ebiowei showed little of his ability and Connolly got struck by the injury bug. Simmons should prove a long-term asset.
The one thing the recruitment proved was that we had multiple players at the club who were far better than they thought. See Alfie Jones, Sean McLoughlin, Lewie Coyle, Regan Slater etc. There’re lessons to be learned here. And the summer needs a better return than a 30% success rate for sure.
The reason this isn’t an A can mainly be found in the above section. The ownership made some emotional signings and got a little too involved first time around. Fair play they seem to have learned a lesson and Liam definitely seems to have a clear deck to play with this summer. They also seem to have realised they didn’t get the right person in Shota, and are now a bit savvier.
They really have done a lot right, and given us a solid basis to build from. The fans relationship with the owners is mended, and there’s more through the gate than in a long, long time. They also have a massive like-ability factor. Let’s hope that can be sustained because when free travel or match offers can’t be, the Hull population can be awfully fickle at times.
There’s a whole lot of work to do now in terms of infrastructure, with the council on the surrounding land, with either re-uniting or restarting another Ladies set up etc. I really do hope they’re here for the long term and invest in such a way that the club grows to become a sustainable top league prospect.
As much as Acun and Tan have done right (and they really have), I think in terms of some of the reps and fan-based liaison they can improve. It’s been a little murky in terms of clarity and the whole fan base is my outlook, not just little pockets. They need to stick to clear structures of communication and be completely transparent, because if they can do that, I genuinely think that’s the way to galvanise this current fan base even more.
Don’t employ your mates, covers the first three months of the season. After navigating a largely McCann/Darnborough recruited team to safe standing last season, Shota bless him never really showed he’d learned from the experience. Even with lots more talent and a decent chunk of luck (the home wins against Bristol, Norwich and Cov all made you think that higher powers might be looking out for us) we never really got going at all. And if those home wins were the highs, the lows were brutal. From the gung-ho stupidity of West Brom away, to the belly rubbing softness shown at QPR with the catastrophic implosion at Swansea in-between, it really was ugly. We were a disorganised, unfit shambles and by the time we sacked him, we really could have been in serious trouble.
But cometh the hour and all that. From day one Liam had the team ten times more drilled, disciplined and planned, even if it wasn’t sexy football, it was hugely more professional.
He’s been crystal clear and pragmatic in interviews, he’s brought in younger talent to be involved and in the process found at least one absolute gem. He brought in coaches and staff around him that amplified his vision. If the worst thing you could say was that we should have been more direct and not played out so much, when he had huge chunks of talent missing, I’m really not sure we can agree on football.
Not since the heady days of Brian Horton’s arrival in 1984 have we seen a such young, hungry manager, that matches the image and outlook of the club and community he serves. He’s not been perfect and nobody is, but he’s been very, very bloody good. And he’s exactly what we need.
Players grades and a sentence or two
Just read this back and realised it sums up our season, the more you go forward, the less success we had. Need so much more from our attackers next year…
Matt Ingram B
Imperfect but solid. A great back up and challenger to any keeper.
Nathan Baxter B-
Injury robbed him of his chance this year.
Karl Darlow A-
Came in and won points. Had the very odd wobble but was also outstanding over and over. Sign him.
Brandon Fleming C-
Not a choice of the new boss, didn’t shine at Oxford, a shame.
Callum Elder B-
The Brewdog king exits stage left, never amazing, but solid enough. Goes with most of our best wishes.
Lewie Coyle B
Came on strong at the end after Cyrus Christie’s injury opened the door, I’d like to see him stay.
Cyrus Christie A-
Imperious for three quarters of the season. Get him fit and we’ve got a cracker.
Sean McLoughlin B+
Macca is a seven out of ten pretty much every week. No nonsense and brilliant on that left foot.
Alfie Jones B+
Same as Macca, love him and he deserves a decent extension. You can go up with lads like Alfie.
Tobias Figueriredo D
Just didn’t ever recover from a shocker of a start. Was a goal conceded on a stick at times.
Jacob Greaves B-
Not the season he’d have expected. Can’t knock that fact he did such a good job at left back but could be one we move on as he won’t lack admirers.
Ozan Tufan B
When he got fitter and to the pace of the games he was a delight. Scored goals and his touch and vision is as good as anyone post Huddlestone.
Jean Michael Seri B
Had the odd game where it passed him by, but on the whole, he was very good, wonderful on the ball, proved he’s still got it.
Ryan Woods C
Came in and at first steadied the boat a little. Not the flavour that Liam likes apparently and was on the bench mainly.
Adama Traore B-
Had to wait a long, long time to see him but he was decent when we got him fit. Look forward to seeing him next year.
Regan Slater A
Just love him. Works like a lunatic, has some really top end quality. Sheffield United’s greatest ever piece of stupidity of all time.
Greg Docherty B-
In and out. I thought he deserved a little better at times. Scored the goal of the century at Blackpool. Might be another that could go but I’ll be a little sad to see it happen.
Xavier Simmons B
Clearly one for the future. When he got the chance he looked the part.
Dogukan Sinik D
Didn’t settle. Didn’t want to be here. D.
Dimi Pelkas C-
Frustrating as hell. Clearly has so much ability but it so rarely happened for him here.
Oscar Estupinan B+
We could and should have been in the deep brown stuff without his goals early. Faded somewhat. Not sure he’s here next year.
Ben Tetteh C+
Was injured just too much. When fit and ready he suggested he could have this league on toast. Nowhere near often enough though.
Ryan Longman C
Like so many others he just didn’t do enough. Again, I’m not convinced he’s Liam’s cup of tea. He’s a tryer is Ryan but it’s not really happened for him here.
Allahyar Sayyadmanesh C
See Tetteh, Longman, Pelkas etc. Hamstring injury killed him and he has running uphill ever since. Just hasn’t produced enough goals and assists despite the obvious ability.
Malcolm Ebiowei C
Came in as the new big thing. Flashed some brilliance, then really didn’t. Again, it just didn’t work.
Aaron Connelly B-
At least when he did play he looked the part. If you told me he’d play 35 times next year I’d sign him.
Tyler Smith C
Can’t see he’ll be here next season. Scored a couple of nice goals, but didn’t grasp the nettle at Oxford on loan.
Harry Vaughan B+
Came in at the end like a breath of fresh air. Got the Bowen and Lewis Potter comparisons which didn’t seem to bother him at all. Potentially very special.
Have a good boredom month everyone. I’ll see you next season!