Yeah I know, our promotion from the Premiserable league to the Championship seems ages ago. I went straight into London afterwards, 17 hours and two nightclubs later I was flat on my back, starting to feel the comedown – a bit like our players. Or at least those who cared.
It has taken some time to recover to the point where I can assess how we achieved this remarkable outcome. I’ll write a post at a later date as to how long it will take Hull City to recover.
1. Not beating teams we should have. Just 3 more points and we would have stayed up. I’m thinking Leicester at home. Sunderland at home. Newcastle at home. Aston Villa at home. West Brom away. Burnley. TWICE. Just one of these.
2. Late goals conceded. I’m remembering West Ham, Stoke, Arsenal and Chelsea. Many times we simply could not hang onto winning/drawing positions in the final minutes.
3. Jelavic. No, not the player himself. But several times Jelavic was taken off to defend a winning position and replaced with Meyler/Aluko, etc, several times this back-fired.
4. Our medical team. Is it bad luck that we keep signing players that soon-after develop injury problems? Diame and Snodgrass this season being the main examples. And why do we seem to have several players with recurring injuries?
5. Hernandez. Unlike Proszwitch, Graham and Manucho, I do feel that there is a player in there. But why didn’t he get more game time? Has he been mis-managed by Steve Bruce?
6. European and Cup exits. Players were rested in cup competitions, when arguably they needed games against lesser opposition to find our best formation, to gel, and gain confidence with each other. Wasted opportunities.
7. Too many players purchased. As exciting as it is to see new signings for our club, far too many were brought in, and some totally unnecessarily such as Hatem Ben Arfa. There was no need to disrupt the nucleus of the club so profoundly – a few signings would have sufficed.
8. Initial defensive fragility. In 4 games in September we conceded a total of 11 goals. Apart from Man City, these were not especially great attacking sides. Our defensive stability of 2013-14 was shattered – by the inclusion of Dawson? And relegation of Curtis Davies. What exactly did happen to Davies? Is he still a footballer?
9. Leicester. Nigel Pearson. Burnley being promoted. Other teams in general. Had Leicester not gone on that crazily impressive season-ending run, we would have stayed up. Had any team other than Burnley been promoted, we would have got some points from them.
10. Steve Bruce. Sorry, Steve, but you’ve made plenty of mistakes. From signings, to substitutions, confusion of formation, not knowing your best team, taking off Jelavic and mis-management of various players. Just like several of our players whose performances did not meet ability, Steve Bruce is a better manager than his performance alluded to this year.
Of course, there are 10 things to celebrate too:
1. More games.
2. More wins (or a new manager).
3. More goals scored. Even Aluko can score in the Championship.
4. Less plastic fans (albeit probably less real fans thanks to a certain imaginary doctor).
5. Less half and half scarves. You know how some people collect programmes? Do you think anyone has a full season’s worth of half and half scarves?
6. Every result uncertain.
7. More midweek games. There is something more appealing about going to watch a game in the freezing cold drizzle of Tuesday night, than a Saturday afternoon.
8. Yorkshire derbies. Sheffield Wednesday, Huddersfield, Rotherham and of course, TWS.
9. The game against Reading. Slightly selfish but it’s walkable from my house.
10. Maybe the name change bullshit will go away.
Oh crap. I just remembered that Burnley got relegated too.