Don’t Be Afraid Of Tigers
Since the Premier League began in 1992 the most likely position any newly promoted team will finish is bottom. Today we welcome Hull City Tigers to St James Park and The Mag asks ‘what do Hull need to do to avoid the statistical probability of relegation?’
The Tigers will need a good, experienced and resilient manager to finish above the bottom three and in potato-headed windbag Steve Bruce they have two of those things. He may look like the lovechild of a drunken tumble between Oliver Reid and Joe Bugner but he has a good PL record, he’s only been relegated once in eleven seasons in the top flight.
Despite this, you’ll struggle to find anyone who thinks he’s a decent Manager on Tyneside and Brucewill never get a good write up in a publication as proudly black and white as The Mag. He previously said: “I have always been a Newcastle lad ….. I went to support them as a boy and being a Geordie it’s in-bred, you follow the club still the same today.” Well he’s obviously not the same sort of “Newcastle lad” as me because being a “Geordie” means we generally don’t court the affection of the plebs in Sunderland by managing their rabble and even when he had the good grace to make them totally useless he didn’t even seem proud of it.
All in all Hull spent around £12million in the summer, which statistically may not be enough to save them from the drop, but it was statistically around £12million more than us.
If a team is “only as good as its strikers” then that’s why Hull havesigned four frontrunners including George Boyd, who famously only ended up at Hull because a loan move to Nottingham Forest fell through because the player had “failed an eye test”.
Although it seems the imminent sacking of Alex McLeish was more likely the reason behind the loan move falling through, Boyd isn’t the only player to have failed to transfer because of their eyes. In January we were supposed to sign Loic Remy but it fell through because all he could see was money.
In midfield Hull have strengthened with the purchase of Tom Huddlestone, 6 foot 2 and 11 stone 2 on Hull’s website, which must be a mistake, I mean his hair weighs more than that! I reckon the Spurs fans were right when they used to call the porky midfield trundler Tom ‘Hundredstone’, the Hull website must have missed a ‘1’ off his weight and it should have been 111 stone 2. Either way, if Steve Bruce wanted a massive presence in midfield with the stomach for the fight then Tom Hundredstone is your man.
Ex players Steve Harper and Abdoulaye Faye are welcomed back but probably won’t play. Harper was a loyal servant at NUFC, on our books for 20 years and clocking up almost 200 first team appearances. Around the turn of the century he was turning into a top class goalkeeper and he would have played more had it not been for the quality which stood in his way, first Pav, then Shay Given and later Tim Krul. Had he played in any other position to that standard he would have played twice as many games for our club. Harper was often criticised for ‘taking the money’ or not having ‘more ambition’ but that has to be an unfair criticism of a man who wanted nothing more than to wear black and white with pride and dignity.
In Steve Coogan’s comedy ‘Death of a Salesman’, Gareth Cheeseman looked in the mirror and said “I’m a Tiger, ROAR”. He’s not the only Tiger around, now Hull City AFC are officially called the Hull City Tigers thanks to owner Assem Allam. The idea is that the Tiger is a more powerful image internationally and obviously marketing something with a global brand rather than a local one is a good idea, but to market it with a global brand of something which is likely to be extinct in 20 years time seems a bit odd. If they wanted to brand themselves as something orange which will be known across the world forever they should have called themselves Tom Jones.
Last season a third of Hull games finished 1-0 and the strikers they’ve bought won’t score many goals, so they’ll need dogged determination to stay up, last season Hull dropped only ten points from winning position. On the other hand, the Tigers lost twelve of sixteen games they went behind in, so more belief and spirit will be required this time around. All of which seems to mean that if we score first Hull are unlikely to come back into the game and if we score twice we’ll win no matter what. So far, both Chelsea and Man City have scored twice and won at home against Hull and although the Tigers played well in both of those games, you don’t get any points for playing well. Roar the lads to victory today, don’t be afraid of the Tigers.
You can read more from Ben in our latest magazine, on sale in all decent north east newsagents, outside St.James’ Park before the Hull match, or order single copies & subscriptions in our online shop.
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