It’s been couple of seasons since Brentford’s last visit to the KC Stadium in Hull. Since then, Hull have been to the Premier League and back and are currently facing a torrid return to The Championship with manager Leonard Slutsky being fired at the weekend to be replaced by ex Southampton and Reading manager Nigel Adkins on Thursday.
Billy Grant caught up with Geoff Bielby ( from Hull City Supporters Trust (@HullCityST) to get the lowdown on new boss Nigel Atkins. Hull City bosses The Allams. And whether Bees fans will be walking into another set of protests.
It’s not been a good half of the season for Hull. Why do you think you’ve struggled ?
Selling our whole first choice back four plus our young home grown left back Josh Tymon would hurt any team. We still don’t have a recognised left back as such. Tom Huddleston was another who was sold presumably to slash the wage bill in the summer despite the players contracts already having significant relegation clause reductions. Slutsky said ” the supermarket is now closed” indicating player sales would stop then Sam Clucas was sold! Any team would struggle after such a clear out.
Additions in the summer arrived in late August so we had a poor pre-season.
Slutsky – it seemed like his heart wasn’t really in it. Do you think there were some underlying reasons why he couldn’t get the team firing ?
Fans liked him but recognised he wasn’t well supported by Ehab Allam, the Vice Chairman. Apart from the playing staff he didn’t appear to have much of a backroom team either
I would say however I think he underestimated just how competitive the Championship is, it’s probably the most competitive league in the World.
Slutsky didn’t seem to have a plan B during games and many fans were critical of some team selections and particularly his substitutions.
Nigel Atkins has come in possibly at the worst time for us and the best time for you. Despite him losing his opening match in his last three manager’s appointments, do you expect him to hit the ground running?
All City Fans certainly hope so. Nigel Adkins has already split opinions with some fans underwhelmed by his appointment but one strength that the does have is his positivity. That’s something that’s been in scarce supply this season.
If he can build a strong team spirit and forge a team ethic we will see a big improvement.
The Allams and Hull fans don’t seem to have hit it off. Despite us Away fans’ delight at paying £12 for a match ticket (#TwentysPlenty and all that), these low prices mask a number of bigger issues at Hull. Summarise the background to your disputes with the Allams and where you are now with them.
The Allams saved the club form bankruptcy seven years ago. The first few years were fine but crucially we then had a Chief Executive making day-to-day decisions. The Chairman’s son Ehab Allam, the Vice Chairman, has made all decisions for in the last two years or so!
Things initially turned when the Allams fell out with Hull City Council, over four years ago, over acquiring the stadium which is Council owned. The Hull Tigers name change application to the FA soon followed and relationships with fans have deteriorated ever since!
The real disputes, which have united the majority of fans against the owners, came with the introduction of the Membership Scheme. In itself not a huge issue but the abolition of all concession pricing has been a disaster. You may recall the first protest against that when we last played in Hull in April 2016 and our Red Card display?
Some adults are happy as if they sit in the cheapest areas of the ground they only pay £252 a season, less than half than previously. The problem is our future fans. The kids, pay the same prices – up to £475 for the higher priced zones!
Many fans refused to sign up which is why we are currently seeing the lowest attendances since the stadium opened in late 2002. Remember that was in the fourth tier!
Where to from here ?
The ball protest live on Sky Sports v Forest has forced the owners to meet fans. I attended the first meeting last month and a second is arranged next week. We need to see two things change.
The club must start using our correct name again. They never use Hull City or our correct nickname The Tigers!
Secondly they must acknowledge that pricing kids out is unacceptable and agree concessions return for juniors, disabled and seniors in the higher priced zones.
On-going meaningful dialogue will be vital and Hull City Supporters Trust are leading the way with that.
You’ve played a few teams this season and have been on the wrong side of a few big results. Sheffield United put four past you. Boro put three. Forest put three. Saying that, you did beat Birmingham 6-1 so something must go right at times. Who should we be looking for?
We’ve been good going forward but very poor defensively. Alan McGregor our keeper being named man of the match regularly says it all. We’ve led many games but when we concede, panic has set in.
If Grositski is on his game watch out. Frazier Campbell too will cause you problems.
We had a great record at home playing teams beginning with B this season but we collapsed against Bristol City when 2 nil up in our last home game so we’ll see if we can get that record back on track.
Can you see Hull turning things around?
Yes we have some talented players but we don’t have a great team. Nigel Adkins first task it to change that and we will climb the table.
Looking forward to the match on Saturday. We’re a side that likes to play football – passing the ball around our midfield very tidily at times. If the Ginger Messi Ryan Woods grabs a hold of midfield we normally dominate games – not necessarily winning through due to us making silly mistakes. How do you think the game will pan out?
We can play too so it should be an entertaining game we can also play decent football. Hopefully Nigel Adkins can organise us at the back and we may break that record of his losing his opening games.
Hull City win but I suspect both teams will score. 2-1 City.
Can you recommend a few places for Bees fans to drink ?
If fans have time, take a look around the Old Town where there are some fantastic pubs. Follow signs towards the Museum Quarter. Remember you are visiting the UK City of Culture as our year in the spotlight comes to a close. Our City is well worth a visit.
Near the ground, I’d recommend The William Gemmell on Anlaby Road. It’s the Hull City Supporters Trust adopted pub. A former Social Club which always has a selection of cask beers and Sky Sports too. Only ten minutes walk from the ground and sensible away fans are welcome.
Have a great day Bees fans. Just leave having had a good day out having seen a great game but please leave 3 points in Hull!
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