Green Shoots: Hull City 1 – 0 West Bromwich Albion

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I cannot say that I was overly enthused by the prospect of going to watch City yesterday, having had all the joy sucked out of supporting City by the bastards that gave us the “best run club in the division”.

I was due a visit to the Home of Bathrooms, and a break from paying £6 a pint in the city I now call home, so when I arranged a visit to see the folks, my mother said she’d pay for my train fare from London (not with fucking Hull Trains this time) if I came to see City with her.

Realising that I’d made the mistake of planning my visit when City were playing at home, I begrudgingly accepted my punishment. Do bear in mind this deal was struck a few weeks back when we were bottom of the league and things looked pretty hopeless.

Recently, however, things have started to look up. A victory away at Bolton, a draw away at Bristol City. A defence that has gone from a leakfest to something actually quite solid. Chances being created, good football being played at times. Chanelling my inner George Osborne, you could just about call them ‘green shoots’.

I didn’t go expecting victory, but I didn’t think it totally unlikely – I expected a 0-0 draw.

The walk to the stadium again reminded me of the gloom surrounding the club, there was a surprising lack of fans on the way to the stadium from our West Hull parking space. I seethe with anger the more I think about what the Allams have done to the club – making it an often utterly miserable experience to support the club, even for good portions of our Premier League existence.

Nothing on the way to the ground struck me as anything other than a football club struggling for its soul.

That said, there were more in attendance than I expected, officially 11,916, so I’d have to assume around 10,000 but it felt closer to 11,916. And the fans were in reasonable voice in certain pockets around the ground, particularly in the north stand – memorably one chap having to shout “shut the fuck up” during the minute’s silence after both an unsilent round of applause (hand clapping is not equivalent to silence, people) and some dumbass Brommies shouting.

The game started positively enough with City attacking the North Stand, creating a couple of pretty decent chances.

I struggled to work out the formation at first, as Burke, playing on the right was much more advanced than the remaining back 3 – though I suspect more because he was out of position, indeed at times in the first half I had to question his footballing ability, with misplaced passes, a couple of dodgy hoofs and a throw-in which didn’t enter the field of play. He did improve greatly during the second half, and we must remember that he wasn’t signed as a right-back.

Most of the time in the first half, West Brom were nullified quite easily, with barely a half-chance to snatch at. Elphick seems a very astute loan signing and has the defence organised – though let’s not pretend Adkins has nothing to do with that, as he did exactly the same last season in tightening up a very leaky defence.

A little of me worried that we had squandered our half-opportunities and West Brom would take control – but we didn’t allow them and continued to press, and opened the scoring from the hard-working Frazier Campbell.

Half-time came and we were deserved leaders.

The second half followed much the same pattern, Grosicki was often threatening on the left, and created a couple of good chances – sometimes his decision-making isn’t always right as he wants to be the hero, but he had a good game – I even caught him tracking back and putting tackles in.

Man-of-the-match for me wasn’t Grosicki, it was Irvine. He seemed to be pulling the strings, always finding space, with some great passing along with the expected strength on the ball.

West Brom may not have added much to the game but it wasn’t necessarily down to them – we really did nullify them in midfield, with all central midfielders having a good game. It was the first time that I’d fully seen Batty in action, and I revelled in the way he just did the simple things so well.

City never really looked like letting in an equiliser, if anyone was going to score again, it would have been us.

Full-time came and the sucker-punch arrived, though in the form of the league table and still being second-bottom, despite two consecutive victories. However, if we play like that every week, we’ll have a good chance of staying up.

It always takes me some time to call for the head of a manager – I never once did during the Steve Bruce era, despite the frustrations from some fans. I still haven’t wanted rid of Adkins, even when we were bottom.

He has had very limited resources with what to do his job with. It has taken some time this season, but he seems to have found his best 11, more or less, and a formation to go with it. The defence is solid and we create chances. Youngsters are being blooded in and most signings are working out well.

I hate the positive guff and the outright bullshit at times (seriously – never tell City fans that Leeds are great), but I do think he is good enough for the job – the job is survival until the Allams finally fuck off, and hopefully we are just seeing the signs of a better future.

Maybe I’m deluded, or maybe the green shoots that are appearing are about to wither away with the onset of winter and relegation form will return. However, things currently look…less shit. And there is even half a chance of new owners, though I trust the Allams not a single jot.

Anyway, I’m off to go get a bus – got a spot-the-ball competition to enter.

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