TFN Editor Greg Johnson marks his belated return to action with a plea that we focus on the real casualties of the Hull City vs. Hull Tigers debacle…
The fury over Assem Allam’s plans to repackage Hull as Tigers rather than a large City in East Yorkshire feels awfully misplaced.
Forget the fans, tradition, history or even any notions of footballing honour and ethics, such concerns only place the true victims of this sorry little tale into the shade.
No. The real consternation should be reserved for the defence of a character who has suffered slurs, misrepresentations and ill-gratitude from the arguments of both sides. What, Allam? Give over. It’s the big cats we should be all worried about, and not in a “Save The Whales” sense either.
Put it this way. Since when were Hull a ferocious pack of individually elite hunters, able to tear their prey apart at will? It’s the tiger’s honour we should be defending. Continue reading →
Chris Francis assesses the fortunes of the Premier League’s three newly arrived teams and asks whether this is the worst promoted trio the league has ever seen…
The identity of the Premier League’s worst ever team is in no doubt.
Derby County were promoted to the Premier League in 2007 and then relegated in March 2008 – the fastest demotion since the restructuring of the English league structure. They ended the season on a paltry 11 points having mustered up one solitary win (at home to Newcastle 1-0 since you ask), and picking up just 8 draws. The fact that they lost 29 games in a season indicated that Billy Davies’ team were way out of their depth, although Davies himself had predicted as much. Having guided Derby to the promised land he demanded the board back him or watch as the club was humiliated and sent back down in flame. Warnings unheeded, Davies was sacked after his team’s inevitable meltdown with the appointment of Paul Jewell as successor having little, if any, effect besides destroying his reputation – a set back his career is yet to recover from.
Since Derby’s demise, in recent years we’ve become accustomed to seeing promoted sides making a name for themselves rather than reverting to playing the role of whipping boys to the more established sides. The gap between the Championship and the Premier League is a massive chasm to bridge, but with good management, a collective spirit and the right players a club can establish itself as a serious fixture in the league, quickly. Last year, Southampton and West Ham played with similar squads to those that got them promoted in the first place and were, on the whole, rather comfortable rubbing shoulders with the mid-table regulars. Norwich and Swansea did the same the season before, with the latter achieving a 9th place finish as well as winning the League Cup last year. Stoke, West Brom, and Newcastle have also each shown that promotion can be more than just a “one year tourist visa”, a remark made by Danny Baker over the weekend as he watched Crystal Palace versus Spurs.
While he was wrong to say that promotion has been nothing more than a short-stay stamp in a club’s shiny new passport, he may well have a point this season. Continue reading →
TFN’s Hugo Greenhalgh has faith in Steve Bruce to guide Hull to safety…
“It’s funny, my daughter & missus are coming to Chelsea today – I don’t think they’re coming to look at me”, Steve Bruce quipped before Hull’s game on Sunday. Yet the way Bruce has been acting in his interviews and on the touchline, his motives for coming to West London were exactly the same: to get up close and personal with Jose Mourinho.
It was like watching an elderly history teacher who has taken a shine to a younger and more extrovert language teacher, returning from a sabbatical in Europe and Bruce had already been lavishing praise on Mou in his pre-match press conference. “The fact that Jose is back is a ‘wow’”, he said. “I’m delighted he’s back because we need people like him. He’s quite remarkable in what he has done and not just at Chelsea; he’s gone to Italy and done it; he’s gone to Spain and done it; he started in Portugal and done it.”
In the dying moments of the first half, with Chelsea leading 2-0 and in control, the Stamford Bridge crowd were also treated to a legitimate example of goal line technology. Branislav Ivanovic’s header was indeed clawed off the line, although replays showed just how close it was. Meanwhile, Bruce strolled over to Mourinho by the dugout, laughing and holding his hands up in mock prayer. Did he actually care or was this just an opportunity for some small talk? Continue reading →