Opposition view: Hull City AFC

Here’s our opposition view for this week, as we speak to Hull City supporter and City Independent Editor, Ian Waterson.

Let’s start with a positive one, how was last season?

Strained at best, joyless at worst. It felt about as far removed from a promotion season as you could possibly imagine. It was a surreal experience and unlikely any other club in the history of the game will endure. Yes, I really did just say ‘endure’ a promotion. I mean, who protests while going up to the Premier League? We are Hull City. We’re idiosyncrasy personified.

There appears to be a lot of discomfort among your fanbase at the moment. Can you explain to us what’s going on?

This is rather difficult for outsiders to really grasp and almost adds to the lunacy going on here. Try and think of your club decaying by wafer thin margins piece by piece, day by day. Unless you’re local many of the gripes will be lost on you – which is why our story is probably not receiving the coverage it really should do. Hopefully, promotion to the Premier League and the spotlight it brings will rectify this – and it has already in small part, which is good.

The catalyst for this slow, diminishing, grind was the owners failing to get their ludicrous name change idea passed by the FA. With ‘Hull Tigers’ (really?) doomed, the vindictiveness of the owners on their own fans has shown no bounds. Essentially, the Allam family chose to completely ignore the FA ruling. Consequently they’ve instructed Hull City to be practically erased from the club on a ‘drip-by-drip’ basis. First the website, then the badge, then the merchandise, matchday programme, official correspondence, social media, season tickets, advertising, the list goes on and on. It’s pathetic and petty.

To cap it all, matters came to a head when kids, pensioners and disabled were no longer going to receive any concessions from the club as a rather patronising zonal membership scheme came into effect at the end of last season before the play-offs. Thousands chose to boycott the club and not renew season passes – already battle weary from the name change fight – or go to Wembley in protest, such is the anger and ill feeling of sheer unfairness.

There is simply no communication from the club, ever. The Allams won’t speak to the local or national press either – and it has in effect left fans feeling totally disenfranchised and demur towards their own club. Like mushrooms, really. Kept in the dark and occasionally fed some sh*t to try and keep us quiet. Just go, your actions demonstrate you’re clearly not interested in the club, or it’s welfare.

Steve Bruce departed a month ago which was a bit of a surprise. How did you feel about that and who would you like to replace him?

Well, case in point here. Ludicrous. While Bruce had his critics – given our owners – at least he always tried to mediate between the fans and those in the boardroom. It looked uncomfortable for him (and us) because it was. How he achieved promotion given this quite toxic atmosphere was nothing short of a minor miracle. Weirdly, while the Allams are here, he is/was probably the best man for this club – if not necessarily for the job – if that makes sense?

All in, very sad to see him go, but when all his summer transfer targets were being blocked at the final stage from above, he knew – and we knew – the game was up for him here. His patience (that of a saint) snapped and he walked. It felt more like a constructive dismal. Cannot blame him one bit.

Who cares about a manager with these idiots in charge? We need new owners, not a manager first.

You’ve failed to strengthen during the summer, which positions need addressing before the window shuts?

All of them! Think of a position, we need someone! We’ve got just 13 senior pros and the biggest injury list in the Premier League to boot. It’s an implausible position to find ourselves in and the owners squarely shoulder the blame for that. Considering they were selling the club inside 24 hours after getting their silly name change knocked back, two years on – and they’re still here, playing out their divisive war against their own fans.

To an absolute man, though, the players and caretaker boss Mike Phelan are trying to adopt a siege mentality in a vain attempt to get through this nightmare. The fans (those still bothering) are right behind them. Being realistic, we all know the game will be up very quickly given our situation (as to date) Hull City still haven’t signed a single player. So all we can do is pray the new consortium finally get a deal done that would see the Allams leave.

Half our 25-man squad will be made up of academy players. It’s ridiculous.

This is your third spell at this level and you’ve stayed up in your first season after your other two promotions. How big an achievement would that be this term in light of all your current problems?

We’re already whistling the theme to ‘The Great Escape’ it began two minutes into the campaign. It would be nothing short of miraculous under these circumstances. Simply, I cannot possibly see a way out of this, at all. Even if new owners arrive imminently, they’ll get one transfer window to do business and undoubtedly we’ll be anchored at the bottom of the table and well cut adrift of the pack by then, anyway.

What a waste of an opportunity.

What do you make of Swansea and which players if any do you fear?

No offence, but we’ve been a little busy trying to put our own house in order, rather looking starry-eyed at the glitz and glam of the Premier League and our competitors. I’m sure you understand.

What’s your prediction for the game this weekend and where both teams will finish?

Hate doing this – and I’m dreading how quickly our bubble will burst. In fact, I can’t believe we even had a bubble in the first place! We’re arriving on a silver platter, folks…