“HULL CITY’S GLORIOUS ERA Tigerlink’s Peter Johnson looks at the challenges facing Nigel Adkins, Hull City and their fans in 2018 and beyond.
If there are some Hull City fans out there who believe we are ‘too good to go down’ they may be in for a shock. It looks like we’ll need to show character and resolve to secure our Championship status with Nigel Adkins faced with a big challenge and no doubt looking to grind out results to keep us safe rather than entertain. It’s a tough division and a tough ask to stabilise a club on the slide and it’s time to appreciate the achievements of the surly but highly effective Nigel Pearson a few years ago and hope the current Nigel can do a similar job.
Our current focus is of course the January transfer window. With Ehab Allam committed to squeezing the club’s money into his pockets at every opportunity Kamil Grosicki and Jarrod Bowen look particularly vulnerable. There will also be concerns as to whether the likes of Abel Hernandez will ever play for Hull City again. Indeed no players look certain to remain. Programme sellers, stewards, the kit man and the tea lady may be vulnerable if the Allams can raise cash from them. Nail it down or it may soon be gone.
If winter temperatures remain low and the often dreary KCOM atmosphere continues, don’t be surprised to see real attendances sink to around the 10-12,000 mark. We must hope for a sensible, thoughtful and realistic approach from the club in their marketing of the upcoming home FA Cup tie against Nottingham Forest. But policies in the best interests of the club and fans have been absent from Hull City for a long time as we prepare for the inevitable ‘sting in the tail’ and the thinly disguised money grabbing phase and exit strategy of our owners takes it’s toll. Yet what better opportunity than the Forest game to bring back proper concessions?
The harsh truth is Hull City now has thousands of loyal devoted but alienated fans who are doing something else on a Saturday afternoon or are committed to away games only. They are continuing their long wait for the dawn of a new era. The return of concessions for juniors and pensioners, a proper use of the Club name or the immediate departure of the Allams would bring a massive boost to fan morale and unity. It would of course see many supporters return and attendances boosted, but my fear is that large numbers of fans may never return to the KCOM. Many feel let down, under valued, exploited and manipulated. They are disillusioned with football and frustrated that the Allams have been allowed to get away with a trail of destruction and a campaign of revenge against Hull City fans prompted by the FA decision on the name change. It has dragged on too long and ever grain of Allam credibility has been blown away. The much touted ‘Allam legacy’ may be long term damage to the fanbase from which it may take years to recover.
2017 was a great year for Hull providing massive potential for the city to move forward. Our football club could have made a huge contribution to this and was in the perfect position to do so. But the City of Culture 2017 RSVP invitation sent to the KCOM was either lost in transit, thrown in the bin or the Allams were busy washing their hair during our unique year. Hull City’s owners missed out on a once in a lifetime opportunity because they were still sulking and became obsessed with being put in their place by the FA, plus were still smarting from a spat with Hull City Council.
Even after Ehab drives his Lamborghini out of the KCOM for the last time, and new owners come in, it may need a powerful and innovative PR and marketing strategy to heal the deep rooted resentment and anger still churning away in the stomachs of so many Hull City fans. Getting all of them back to the KCOM will be difficult. The last decade has been a glorious one but to maintain the momentum it has created will be a daunting task for all associated with Hull City in the post Allam era.
Those who were enticed to the KCOM in 2008 and hooked to Hull City by Deano’s Wembley volley or the madcap promotion scenes against Cardiff in May 2013 might have to lower their expectations. It could be time to return to the mediocrity that characterised my first 40 years of watching Hull City, but I still dare to dream that my club and City will get another chance to establish themselves in the Premier League in the near future. Just give us another chance, then let’s get it right and settle down for a lengthy stay in the top tier. After all we have been forced to endure in the last few years, Hull City fans have earned it.
Peter Johnson is 51 years a Hull City fan, Editor of social media group Tigerlink and is a Director of the Hull City Supporters Trust”