The final home game of the season is upon us and it is quite a match up as we welcome Hull City to Selhurst Park. TEB had a chat with the team at popular fan site Tigerlink to find out about their season so far.
Q. The last time the two sides met, the points were shared in an entertaining 3-3 draw back in December. What were your thoughts on the game?
So much has changed since that game – manager Mike Phelan has departed and two of our scorers on the day Robert Snodgrass and Jake Livermore have left the club. Whilst entertaining to watch, it probably wasn’t a result either set of fans were happy with. The late equaliser from our former player Fraizer Campbell, who hasn’t been too popular with us since his move away from Hull, was particularly sickening for the home fans, but given the fact that the Snodgrass penalty that saw the Tigers go a goal up was dubious, all in all a draw seemed a fair outcome on the day.
Q. How has the season been for Hull since that game?
A few weeks after the Palace game, Mike Phelan was sacked and replaced by Marco Silva. Our home form was transformed but sadly Silva has failed to improve our woeful away record and we have struggled to even score on our travels. We’ve played some excellent attacking football at home with some quality goals but despite Marco’s remarkable efforts since taking over, it looks like survival will be a bridge too far. Off pitch matters might not always impact directly on results but it’s generally accepted that our owners, the Allams, are incredibly difficult to work with. Their main focus this season appears to have been challenging the football authorities and they still don’t acknowledge the role of fans in a football club. With the Allams still undermining the smooth running of the club our achievements in the last few months have been all the more remarkable.
Q. Did the club address all their needs in the January transfer window?
No! There was certainly a rapid change to our starting eleven under Silva. He brought in the likes of Kamil Grosicki, Alfred N’Diaye, Andrea Ranocchia and Oumar Niasse to refresh the side. But supporters were frustrated at the limited budget made available by our already discredited owners and most of the new players are loan additions or cut price purchases. In short, the club have tried to avoid relegation on the cheap so if we go down it’s unlikely fans will blame the players, who have largely given their all. Fans are still asking what happened to the money from the sale of Livermore and Snodgrass and why the January transfer kitty was so small.
Q. It was clearly the right decision to sack Mike Phelan but was it the right decision to appoint him in the first place?
It probably wasn’t the right decision to appoint him. But he had earned the right to be given a chance and after a dreadful pre-season accompanied by instability off the pitch, he was the obvious and probably the cheapest candidate. However, he was made to wait two months for a permanent contract despite a great start to his spell as manager and we suspect this impacted on his motivation and effectiveness. It’s not clear why this happened, but at the time Hull City was reputedly about to be sold and it seems likely the owners were looking at various options. Plus Autumn 2016 was a time when our owners, the Allams, appeared to have lost all interest in the club and were treating it as low priority, concentrating on their other business interests.
Q. How have the fans taken to Marco Silva since he arrived at the club and what has he done to improve results?
Marco Silva soon became a very popular manager with most fans. They appreciate he took on a massive task and has given it his best shot. On a personal level he has behaved impeccably and handled the media with great skill. We suspect his achievements in his short tenure will not have gone unnoticed among those clubs searching for a new manager for the 2017/18 season. He added discipline to training, organisation to the team, and gave hope to the fans. Our home form this Spring has been remarkable but sadly last week’s defeat to Sunderland looks like sending us down. Despite this, Marco remains popular and whatever his future he can hold his head high.
Q. Name one player from each team that the opposition should be concerned about.
We fear Christian Benteke because he is a top quality finisher in form. Our hope is that the 5-0 reversal at Manchester City will have dented both his and his team’s confidence. Hull City’s goals have come from a variety of players in recent games but our away form is so woeful the likes of Andrea Ranocchia or player of the season Harry McGuire may be the most likely to cause trouble, perhaps from corners or free kicks.
Q. Your prediction ahead of what has turned out to be a huge game at Selhurst?
Saturday’s defeat to Sunderland was gut wrenching for the fans and now takes our destiny out of our own hands. Sadly, we think that our away record will continue and we may suffer another defeat. Hate to say it but 3-0!
Q. Thank you for talking to TEB. Please tell us about your fan group and promote any projects you are working.
Tigerlink is a Hull City supporter group promoting all things Hull and East Yorkshire. Hull is half way through its stint as UK City of Culture 2017 and Tigerlink’s current focus is to support all aspects of this and try to assist in making it sustainable.