The final blog of 2017 will look at the ten best and worst moment of Hull City's year.
Silva. An outstanding appointment that gave City a fighting chance of staying in the premier League when previously, we had none. Not just a very good coach and tactician but he came with his own staff and little black book of transfer targets, which was desperately needed. Improvement was immediate and obvious and the re-birth of players like Tom Huddlestone, who was in the form of his City career until his sending off at Everton, and the improvement in the likes of Harry Maguire showed Silva’s quality.
League Cup. The run to the semi-finals of the league Cup for the first time ever was the highlight of Mike Phelan’s reign and a credit to him. The second leg against Manchester United was a fantastic night at the KCOM Stadium spoiled only by the tiny crowd. It was by far the most aggressive performance I’ve ever seen from City. We had ten outfield players in Manchester United’s half pushing them back and the second goal was a beauty from back to front.
Liverpool. One of the rare occasions this year when the ground was full, we deservedly beat a very good Liverpool side with goals fron N’Diaye and Niasse. The Niasse goal being enjoyed across the country made it particularly memorable. This win made everyone sit up and take notice of Silva and his side.
Middlesbrough. Just a wonderful game of football and an outstanding attacking display from City. As usual under Silva, going behind didn’t bother us and we ripped into Boro. Markovic and Grosicki were out of this world.
Watford. This was one of our bravest Premier League performances. The (incorrect) decision to send off Niasse sparking a fantastic response from City and Sam Clucas’s world-class volley was the icing on the cake.
Southampton. A fantastic point was earned away from home by Eldin Jakupovic’s injury time penalty save. As we stood celebrating with the players in the away end at St. Mary’s that day, there was no way we were going down. I look back now to that moment and I still cannot quite believe the team that lost the next three games so pathetically was the same.
Bowen. After a tumultuous summer (see lows) watching Jarrod Bowen score his first City goal to seal a point at Aston Villa was a great pick-me-up. He has been the highlight of a shocking season so far and if not for all the misery going on around it – seeing one of our youth players step into the Championship and bag eleven goals in half a year would be far more celebrated.
Doncaster. As a regular watcher of the City “yoof”, I was proud to see a team full of them step up and give a League One side a really good game in the League Cup. Many lads made their debut that night and some will never make another appearance but it was a great moment for them.
Birmingham. The nature of City’s bi-polar team this year has meant that most of the few games we have won have been thumpings. This was a real hammering though as City tore a poor Birmingham side to shreds and the array of attacking players, many signed in the summer, filled their boots for one afternoon.
Brentford. Nigel Adkins first game in charge was a good one and in spite of the flaws in the squad he’s inherited, City showed a lot of character to come from behind to win – and should have scored two or three more goals in doing so. Brentford are the only top half team (and only just) that we have beaten this season so this is not a result to sniff at.
WBA. The end of Mike Phelan’s reign was another hapless away defeat against a rival at the bottom end of the table. The arrival of Marco Silva brought about many changes to the City squad and performances but the god awful defending from set pieces was never resolved.
Swansea. Silva’s first game in charge should have been an occasion. Instead, due to disinterest and fans boycotting, it played out in front of just 6,608. The club’s lowest home FA Cup attendance since the Kettering replay in 2000. Low gates have plagued the club for 18 months now. I wonder why?
Ryan Mason. An obvious one. As scary an incident as I’ve seen on a pitch. Whether Ryan comes back or not - that he’s able to live his life normally is enough.
Aways. In two leagues and three competitions, City’s away record in 2017 has been dreadful. Wretched performances have happened far too often. Fulham, Stoke, Palace, QPR, Derby and more.
2017 away record - P24 W1 D7 L16
Sunderland. One of the ultimate “typical City” days in our history. Coming off the win over Watford and the draw at Southampton, survival was in our own hands. Then came already relegated Sunderland at home and a result that was unbelievable and entirely predictable at the same time.
Spurs. Humiliating relegation the week before at Crystal Palace seemed as bad as things could get. And then our final Premier League game, and there isn’t likely to be another one anytime soon, saw us concede seven to Spurs. It was our heaviest top-flight defeat and our heaviest ever at home outside of Wartime football. A truly embarrassing day.
Sales. Relegation was always likely to see key members of the squad depart, especially as the owners had been so negligent when it came to contracts. However, the amount of departures surprised everyone. Players I’d expected to stay like Curtis Davies and Tom Huddlestone couldn’t get away quick enough once an offer came in. It was shambolic and made the new manager Leonid Slutsky look a fool day after day. It would have been worse still had Abel Hernandez not suffered a serious injury in August. He’ll likely now walk for free in the summer.
Signings. Losing Marco Silva and half of the squad was bad but it could have been tempered by sensible recruitment. Instead, we almost exclusively signed players on loans and free transfers ahead of the start of the season and then spent only a fraction of the money raised by sales late in the transfer window. By that point, pre-season and several games had gone meaning crucial league games became the testing ground for the new manager and his squad to get to know each other and the environment to try and get players fit. In both cases, we failed miserably.
Sheff Utd. The end of the road for yet another manager. Performances under Slutsky were abject for a while but this was the lowest of the low. A hammering to a rival in a game we took the lead in, and conceding four times to bloody Leon Clarke, was inexcusable. While he’d been let down badly by his superiors, it was obvious that Slutsky couldn’t get anything out of the players he had been left to work with.
Allams. Demolished the squad. Devastated the staff. Decimated the fanbase. The club is going nowhere with them in charge.
Happy New Year, Hull City fans!