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Have Hull City turned the corner ?

November 15, 2010 Leave a comment

 

find-me-a-gift Over 2000 Gifts and Gadgets

Many Hull City supporters will now be hoping that they have turned the corner following their superb victory at Deepdale against Preston North End.

It was obviously a much needed three points which came. The performance was a great away performance and the 0-2 score line perhaps flattered the home side more than The Tigers. Although Preston look a poor side who look like a relegation outfit at present, you can never under estimate the importance of three points away from home.

Hull City scored at the right time for both goals and it is probably a big relief for the everybody that strikers have now registered their first goals for the season. As a former striker myself I must admit that it is not always strikers who should be blamed for a lack of goals as they rely on the right service to produce the goods. Both Hull City goals proved this point as they were both put on a plate with good play in wide areas.

Hull City have taken much criticism so far this term, management and players, so Friday’s win will give everybody a lift. The decision to change goalkeepers was a strong one. It could easily have backfired if things hadn’t gone to plan but it appears to look like a masterstroke following Mannone’s  excellent display and clean sheet. Hull had to rely on him on a few occasion but the save from Iain Hume at 0-1 was superb. The fingertip save was a huge moment in the game. At 1-1, it could have easily proved to be a different outcome. In any match you are going to endure pressure so you will need your keeper to produce the goods at some stage in the game to secure the points.

Overall though I feel that Hull City controlled the match. They looked comfortable enough for long periods and the second goal gave them a lead that you felt that they would not surrender. The substitutions worked a treat so praise must go to Nigel Pearson for that. Nick Barmby has scored many a goal like that over the years and his experience is vital for the squad.

On paper the squad has more than enough to quickly climb the table. These three points could provide the confidence for those players to perform to that level more consistently. Although one win will not be enough to get carried away it does place City outside of the bottom three and with the run up to Christmas featuring many of the teams around them it could well be a decisive few weeks of the season. If they hit form now against these sides they could well be looking nearer to the play-off spots than the relegation ones.

find-me-a-gift Over 2000 Gifts and Gadgets

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My time at Scunthorpe United…Part 4.Massively misquoted by Loaded magazine.

October 26, 2010 1 comment

 

So by this time we now have players who you really want in your team. Our captain Chris Hope was Mr Reliable. He never missed a game or even a training session and was one of the nicest people you could wish to meet.  Our midfield had a mix of legs, skill and goals  with Paul Harsley, Justin Walker and Spaniard Alex Calvo-Garcia. John Eyre brought some pace to the attack so by now we had half a decent team. 

The goals were going in at a regular rate which was great. I started the season in scoring fashion and confidence grew on a personal level. As a striker it is always nice to get off to a good start to a season. When this doesn’t happen you always feel like you are playing catch up. With this brought a bit more media attention than I’d had for quite some time. I was asked to do an interview with Loaded magazine. At that time Loaded was the magazine of the day and it was a real buzz for me to be in it. The interview turned out to be a nightmare though for all of the wrong reasons. During the interview I was asked the question :

So do you live in Scunthorpe then because it’s a bit of a shed isn’t it?

Now although I was only relatively young at this time I was fully aware of how the media sometimes had a different agenda when interviews were being conducted. My answer was:

‘I don’t live in Scunthorpe. I just drive in, train, and go home so I don’t see too much of it’

The article actually quoted me as saying that I had replied ‘yes’ to the question. It got worse too. A local supporter read the magazine and then wrote in to the local evening newspaper saying how appalled he was that I had disrespected his home town and that I was a disgrace. This then grew to becoming a major news story on Calender News, the regional ITV news station. They travelled to Scunthorpe and stopped people in the town centre to ask them if they thought Scunthorpe was a ‘shed’ and that it was me who had said that it was. The club then insisted that I make a formal public apology. I honestly didn’t say what they were quoting and I had to apologise. I was fuming. I was booed by a section of the home crowd at our next home match and I felt that my relationship was never the same after that with the Scunthorpe fans. In fact I have received  a horrible reception every time I have gone back with different teams. I finished my Scunthorpe career with a decent amount of goals to games and with a promotion thrown in I don’t think that this was too bad a return. Still, people are entitled to their opinions so I just have to live with it.

On the deadline day in March, Brian asked to see me in his office. Ian Atkins, Northampton manager offered £50k for me.  He wanted to know if I was staying beyond the end of the season. £50k was a decent sum considering  I was on a Bosman free transfer a few months later. I think that I could have taken the Northampton offer if I had wanted. I wasn’t really sure about Northampton though at that time. I had heard some negative things from other players about Ian Atkins and I was in a pretty strong position with a decent season behind me. I’d had contact from an English agent working in Holland with interest from Dutch Premier League side FC Utrecht as well as interest from Stockport County, Hull City, Rushden and Diamonds, who were the non-league big spenders. There was also interest from Peterborough and Leyton Orient although it seemed like their interest was not as keen as the others. Although there was no 100% offer by any of these teams I was confident enough to see out the season and see what panned out in the summer.

We comfortably made the play-offs in the 1998/99 season. Although we never really pushed for an automatic spot we were never in danger of missing out on a top 7 finish. With only three or four league matches left of the regular season we seemed to take our foot off the gas a little bit. Our last league match was at home to Darlington. We lost the match with a really poor performance. Going in to the play-offs you could do with being in that winning mode but that wasn’t really the case. Brian wasn’t too happy with how we finished up but the lads felt that it was not too important.  This tends to be the case in football. The players always seem less worried about certain situations compared to the management team. I can see it from both perspectives. Generally lower league players mentality is to ‘cruise’ if they can, this being an ideal example. The Darlington game was an opportunity to play in second or third gear and get away with it. Managers always want to see good habits and professionalism so this result and performance wrangled with the management quite a bit, probably because as a manager you feel like you are less in control.

My time at…Hull City. Part 1. Dodgy agents and the lure of the KC.

October 12, 2010 1 comment

 

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My contract At Northampton Town was in it’s final year. Terry Fenwick had just taken over and there was a feeling that there was going to be a few big changes at Sixfields.

Immediately Fenwick changed the formation to a 4-3-3 formation. In what proved to be Fenwick’s first, and my last game, I was to play wide left away at Blackpool. I did not get a touch all afternoon. Andy Turner, a massive favourite of Fenwick’s from his days at Portsmouth, signed at around that time too. I was one of the biggest earners at Northampton Town at that time and it was obvious that if I was off the wage bill then he could bring in some other players.

At the turn of the year legally I was free to talk to other clubs so I sent a fax off to all lower league clubs in the hope of some interest. I needed to look at my own interests and if I was going to be out of favour under a new manager then I needed some options.

I received phone calls from a few managers. This was at the time when most clubs were struggling financially as the collapse of ITV Digital was fresh in everybody’s minds. Hull City were viewed as a club going places at that time. With Adam Pearson putting his money where his mouth were and Peter Taylor the manager made their interest very appealing indeed. The KC Stadium had recently been finished so this was something that I was very excited about.

Around this time I received a call from the agent who helped in my move from Scunthorpe United to FC Utrecht. He was now working in the UK. Adam Pearson thought that he was still representing me and contacted him to see how the land lied. Officially I had no agent at that time but thought it would help if he conducted negotiations on my behalf so I gave him the go-ahead to do so. I had trusted this agent from my time in Holland and thought that we were friends.

As negotiations continued I felt that things were stalling slightly. Peter Taylor rung me to see what was happening and I quickly told him what I wanted and that if they could meet it then I would sign straight away. Northampton had officially given me the green light to talk so I was doing nothing wrong. This was agreed pretty much there and then with Peter so I was up to Hull for a medical and to sign on the dotted line.

Before I drove up from Northampton to Hull I was called by the agent. He proceeded to tell me that Hull City and Adam Pearson were not playing ball and had said that they were not going to pay the agent fee and that because of that he wanted me to pay it.  Most agents fees were paid by the club so this was alarming news. Something didn’t add up. Luckily I was experienced enough to call Adam Pearson to seek confirmation of this when he told me that he had just sent a cheque off to the agent for his services. Incredible. He was trying to get a slice from both of us. To top that, I had done the main negotiating. I was stunned.Anyway, I signed the contract and have not spoken to him since.

My home debut was at home to York City……..

Thanks to UKSOCCERSHOP who have kindly sponsored this blog

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