Thank you Liam, you deserved better…

Unsurprisingly the reaction has been overwhelmingly negative towards this decision. I guess the reasoning as to why that is, partly makes the case for man.  

I honestly can’t remember being more deflated at a manager leaving since Brian Horton. And if you believe the stories told by the great man himself, a remorseful Don Robinson tried desperately to take his sacking back, such was the response from the players, but Brian being a proud man wasn’t having it.

Just like Brian, Liam hasn’t quite got us out of the second level, but he’s made us better in every single measurable outcome. Better defensively (which he did almost overnight) playing better football, with a stronger identity and a team that clearly bought into the plan. By year two we were far more dangerous attacking threat and we were scoring a lot more goals, and of course, winning more matches.

He ultimately proved he could do two things. Firstly, he put out a shocking fire. By November of 2022 we were a gigantic mess. Embarrassing at the back and weak up top. We were shipping goals and looked in serious trouble of going down. With no players of his own, the improvement was almost instant, we went to Millwall and got a plucky 0-0 and then went to previously in form Cardiff and beat them 3-2. Liam got a tune out of players he had known for days and the season didn’t really include a relegation battle. We were safe, quite easily and he’d done this with largely someone else’s (generally erratic) recruitment. That’s harder than anyone could measure.

Secondly, he built a vision, in all of his transfer windows he built a bigger capacity to play football out from the back and to feet. Bringing in likes of Tyler Morton, Liam Delap and Fabio Carvalho. He’d stopped the bleeding and now he was going to play his football. It wasn’t for everyone and there’s been voices of dissent in terms of a lack of directness. But this was who he was, Liam and his coaching team wanted to pass the ball from the back and be progressive, he had to be himself and this was his vision of how to play. Largely it worked and there were some incredible performances over this season.

He also got some serious tunes out of what he found at the club when he arrived.  Jacob Greaves became a monster, Lewie Coyle got better and better, Alfie Jones was a Rolls Royce, Ozan Tufan went from an unfit also ran to beloved, Matty Jacobs made the breakthrough and I’m not sure he does that under a lesser guide, I think you could play Regan Slater anywhere on the pitch and he wouldn’t let you down. Liam didn’t just manage his players, he made other people his players, and that’s no small feat.

It wasn’t all plain sailing (when is it?) and Ryan Allsop wasn’t a signing that proved popular, meanwhile the clearly talented Ryan Giles couldn’t oust the less technical but more effective Matty Jacobs, whilst Zahoury didn’t really recreate the play that Burnley fans had seen the year before. But when does anyone get everything right? He got more right than he got wrong, and give him a fit Liam Delap for 4-5 more games and I think right now we’re still playing.

Then there’s the last part which is really why people are up in arms, the man. Liam gets Hull. He gets the City, he loves the City, he has a natural affinity with the fans and the people of Hull. He speaks incredibly well. He’s the best representative of this club I’ve seen, he looks the part, he acts the part, he loves where he is. This is rocking horse shit. It doesn’t exist. We’ve spent forever and a day trying to find this. Grant McCann didn’t have this, Shota didn’t and very few have the elements of what Liam brought to the table… and those few were the best. They were Marco Silva, they were Phil Brown, they were Brian Horton. And he had as much as any of them, maybe more.

The new owners have got lots and lots right. They’ve been a breath of fresh air. Have they got it all right? Nope, and I think sometimes the love in is a little much. However, it’s fair to say they’ve made football affordable, given us a team to really enjoy and backed the vision in the transfer market, they’ve listened and really bought into the city. However, I clearly believe they’ve got this wrong, not only in the nuts and bolts of the decision, but also in misjudging the fans. We’re a funny bunch City fans, but when we love you, we really love you, and the fans loved Liam. The next move better be a hell of a move because if it isn’t they’re going to let them know.

Thanks for reading folks, as ever I appreciate the support. I’m sure you all won’t agree with every word but then that’s the game we love. I’m sure you’d all join me thought in saying that we’re going to miss the man, and his coaching team. And that our football lives were all a damned sight better for having Liam in it.