Spyin' Kop: Liverpool FC v Hull City, 3.00pm Saturday

Posted by Lfsea on September 25, 2009, 10:17:33 AM

There is a malaise running through the spine of this week’s Spyin’ Kop. Talking to Hull fans about their hopes and fears for the season reminds me of the line from Henry VI, Pt III – “Ill blows the wind that profits nobody”, because whatever has been gusting across the North Sea in recent times, seems to have left an indelible scar on the city by the Humber.

It’s easily arguable that the stellar spell Hull had last season, where they seemed to, albeit briefly, possess the power to subjugate all before them, was ultimately damaging for club and fans alike. They are now stuck in a position where they have recorded two wins in 30 games, scratching their heads and wondering how it all went wrong.

The responses below show that defeatism and the stark reality of a relegation fight have settled in for the winter, and are unlikely to be countered with a holiday to Marbella and a healthy dose of venlafaxine. After interviewing the Hull fans, I came away feeling a sense of sympathy towards them, and when I then remembered that the man with a face like a Giraffe’s foreskin was their manager, that emotion quickly turned to pity.

I dwelt on it for a minute or two, and then decided to read some of Ted Hughes’ poetry for ‘inspiration’, and came across the following line from ‘Relic’, and then I gave thanks that I’m not in the same position:

To flap for half an hour and turn to a crust
Continue the beginning. The deeps are cold:
In that darkness camaraderie does not hold.

For those of an easily-influenced disposition, look away now...

Kick-off: 3.00pm GMT, Saturday 26th September

Hull Domestic 'Honours':

* Football League Championship play-off winners 2007–08

* Football League One Runners-up 2004–05

* Football League Third Division Champions 1965–66

* Football League Division Three Runners-up 2003–04

* Football League Third Division Promoted 1984–85

* Football League Third Division North Champions 1932–33, 1948–49

* Football League Third Division North Runners-up 1958–59

* Football League Fourth Division Runners-up 1982–83

Last Season:


Premier League:   Hull City   1-3   Liverpool   25th of April '09
Premier League:   Liverpool   2-2   Hull City   13th of December '08

1.) Last season’s first few months, couldn’t have been more polar to what you have experienced this year, thus far. Is your current position the reality you’re going to have to face for the duration of the campaign, or can you improve and comfortably save yourselves from the drop?

hampshiretiger: We can't get much worse!

Cool: We can improve but I don't think we will.

Tuckin: We can improve - but a lot of factors need to fall into place, mainly in the are of injuries. Having sold our best defender just before the deadline, we also lost the next best two CBs to injury, and the results have been disastrous. Then there's Jimmy Bullard, who could be our saviour but whose body is so fragile...

lloydyhcfc: No can't see it. I'd be extatic with another 17th place finish.

NE_Tiger: best case scenario will be another tight squeeze to safety, though unless the fans start actually supporting the team rather than vilifying individuals then we're down bottom. Second season is always a harder ask and we'll have to find leaders from within the camp to stay up in the absence of Ashbee and Turner. A couple of years ago, Boateng would have fit the bill, but his legs are going and mis-times too many tackles in dangerous areas nowadays.

Kstone: With Mr brown were going down without him we might stay up! Give the job to Mcclaren, Coppell or Curbishley.


2.) Michael Turner, by all accounts, was a summer transfer target for Liverpool, who’s ended up in the bleak outpost of Sunderland. You’ve brought in Venegoor of Hesselink, who’s going to cost the fans more in replica kit letters than the club spent on signing him, and you missed out spending a King’s ransom on Negredo. How’s your squad positioned for this year’s PL campaign?

hampshiretiger: We are in a relegation scrap with Pompey, Wigan & the 3 newly promoted clubs IMO.

Cool: We are less than a championship side.

Tuckin: Turner was a big loss, and the recruits are largely raw or underwhelming. The window left a lack of stability and leadership as its legacy.

lloydyhcfc: Hesselink is garbage. The Negrado transfer was another rubbish speculative transfer that the club did for publicity. Altidore or Cousin & Ghilas have to start for us to get anything. Hopefully Hunt Geo & Bullard (when he gets back) do something to turn it around.

NE_Tiger: The squad at the moment looks to have more depth but has been shorn of a couple of key individuals in Turner and Ashbee. Bullard may have something to say on the matter if he can stay fit when he comes back in.

It's all doom and gloom at the moment, but there is too much of an unknown in how the influx of new players will fare. Jan of Hessleroad, Sonko and McShane have only been here a couple of weeks, Altidore sems to have perpetually been on international duty and Olifinjana could go either way - there's something there, just don't quite know what it is yet. Ghilas looks tasty on either flank and looks like scoring when played up-top, and Hunt's work-rate and delivery have been top notch. I don't think we've seen the best of them as a squad yet by any stretch, but we aint going to be sleeping easy come may I don't think.

Kstone: Not very good, hopefully Jimmy Bullard will save our season.


3.) I’ve noticed on here and on a few other Hull forums that people are beginning to doubt the manager’s abilities - Is Phil Brown the man to take the club forward, and maintain your status in the Premier League, or is it time to lose the man with a skin colour similar to your home kit?

hampshiretiger: After Saturday we need to take 9 or 10 points from the next 6 games for Brownie to keep the fans on his side.

Cool: He's right out of his depth - Parkinson's Law "Each man is promoted one place beyond his capability" Brown is the epitome of that.

Tuckin: The fans are divided right down the middle on Brown, as this board shows.

lloydyhcfc: All this is ****ing me off. We need a win for Brown to gain some breathing space.

NE_Tiger: Brown's hands are tied to a certain extent. We're still very much new-boys and haven't had the years of Premier League cash and/or parachute payments other clubs have. Because we came from no-where with a spiced up Championship relegation squad we not only didn't have the level of squad depth of those at the top of the Championship, but we cannot even be called a recognised yo-yo side yet. Many players have given us a wide berth because of our lack of prior pedigree - to be fair to them, they don't know if we're a relegation away from sinking without trace, so we've been limited by the quality of player we can attract and have very little in terms of existing foundation from which to build.

No-one has come up the way we have and established in this league without serious financial outlay. We don't have a benefactor and will not get into serious debt in order to stay up. It is deemed more important to remain financially stable so as not to follow the likes of Leeds, Sheff Wed, Souhampton, Bradford and Charlton into obscurity should the worst happen. If you're stable, you can always come back.

I don't honestly believe that anyone else who'd come to Hull would get any more out of the players at his disposal than Brown is capable of. He's proved that much in his first 2 years at the club.

Kstone: Yes he needs to go he is out of his depth. Did well taking us up but 2 wins from 30 tells you everything about him.


4.) And putting all those perverse thoughts together - where do you reckon you’ll be in the table come the end of May – and where do you think Liverpool will be, frolicking in first or failing in fifth?

hampshiretiger: 17th - As for LFC I think you'll have to settle for 3rd again. Sorry,, can't see you finishing above either CFC or MUFC.

Cool: Us? Bottom three. You lot? If I look that high up, I'll get vertigo.

Tuckin: Something strange will have to happen for us not to be in the bottom five. As for bottom three... it's looking likely. Liverpool's squad is paper-thin - I just can't see them pushing Man Utd and Chelsea this time. They ought to have the nous to claim third, although any one of three teams could deny them.

lloydyhcfc: Relegated most likely but as i said 17th would be brilliant.

NE_Tiger: Definitely bottom 6, scrapping out with Pompey, Wolves, Brum, Burnley possibly Wigan or Bolton as well. If we perform to the best of our ability and keep errors to a minimum then we'll be in the top half of that bottom 6. If we don't, we'll be enjoying a trip to blackpool again next season.

I honestly can't see past Chelsea for the title at the moment. Man U will be top 3 again with arsenal, yourselves and Man City scrapping for the other spot. Reckon squad depth will be your undoing with all your european and cup commitments and you loosing Alonso is a bit like us loosing Turner - cannot easily be replaced.

CANADATIGER[/b]: Bottom 3...Liverpool 3rd.

Kstone: 3rd or 4th you don’t have the quality strength in depth like Man Utd or Chelsea. Selling Alonso big mistake.


5.) We’re changing the rules of football transfers, you can sack one of your players on the spot, tell him to pack his bags and never be seen in the north again. In the words of Jim Bowen, he gets his BFH. Who’s your man?

hampshiretiger: Kamil Zayatte

JimLaden: Bernard Mendy. Lazy, disinterested and lacking any footballing ability. One of the fastest players in the Premier League but very rarely is he actually arsed to run. Awful positional sense, guaranteed to make a handful of mistakes and seemingly unable to find a teammate when passing.

Adding to all that, he's a bit of an arsehole.

Cool: Our entire midfield - they are less effective than a single man

Tuckin: Daniel Cousin, no question. He has a shameful lack of heart.

SouthernTiger: I agree with the Mendy comments - he murdered them last season until macca got injured and he had to go to fullback. I just browny remembers this.

lloydyhcfc: Can't we get rid of half the team? How can you pick one from a handful of crap.

NE_Tiger: Got to be Cousin. He has the ability, but is unbelievably lazy and seems a bit too easy to throw a huff. You could say the same about Mendy, but I think he finished with the second highest assist-rate last season, so when he's up for it there is often enough a bit of end-product. He can murder pretty much anyone for pace on the outside too - but too often he either can't be arsed or just doesn't believe. Whoever told him he was a defender though needs their head looking at.

CANADATIGER: Bryan Hughes...total waste of space (I cannot believe that someone said Kamil Zayatte...do you actually ever watch the games).

Kstone: Daniel Cousin, lazy git. Nice girlfriend though!! Maybe that’s why he is so lazy he gets great sex at home?


6.) Normally we ask which Liverpool player do you fear the most, but I’m in an experimental mood. Which of our players would you most like in your squad?

hampshiretiger: Easy - Gerrard (don't suppose you want any of ours?!)

kentishtiger: Going on our last two meetings, the Liverpool player I fear the most is... the referee. Some appalling decisions against us last season leading to your goals, both home and away.

foster3jd: Mascherano

Cool: Gerrard

Tuckin: Definitely Gerrard. Torres would be a spectator in a Hull shirt as he'd have no service, so it has to be Gerrard. But only because Mike Hooper has left.

lloydyhcfc: Torres easy- he'll rip us apart at the weekend.

NE_Tiger: Gerrard. Magical, magical player. He'd be my England captain too.

CANADATIGER: Stephen Gerrard...the best player in the world.

Kstone: Easy – gerrard then torres


7.) Myhill and Hunt are by far and away the leading Hull points scorers in the fantasy Premier League competition, but have they been the best players in the side this season?

hampshiretiger: probably, but no one has been that good

Cool: Just about the best. Hunt is useful and Bo Myhill prevented the pathetic Brum attack scoring 5 last Saturday.

Tuckin: Myhill and Hunt have both indeed played well, as have Kamel Ghilas and (when fit) Anthony Gardner.

lloydyhcfc: Ghilas runs around all game hopefully he keeps it up. Just needs to be able to score a few. Myhill has been class, which depressing when you're keeper is the best player.

NE_Tiger: Myhill, Hunt and possibly Ghilas. At the back it's difficult to say due to the chops and changes, but Gardner is quality on the few occasions he's fit and Dawson is a much better player than he looks at first-glance too. If he had a bit more pace he'd be international class - and I say that knowing he's an Englishman. One of the best tacklers in the game, wins more in the air than he should and has a very sweet left foot when he actually decides to use it. Geo is really putting a shift in at the moment too. Also hoping for Bullard to be in that bracket by the time of the return fixture.

CANADATIGER: Myhill, Hunt, and Ghilas (Turner was but he's gone...huge mistake)

Kstone: Yes …ghilas has done well until the last few games but he’s excused he has been fasting as part of Ramadan.


8.) We’re pretty proud of the noise we make in Anfield, but during the quieter moments what’s the best chant we might hear coming from your boys at the bottom of the Anfield Road?

hampshiretiger: "You're getting Mauled by the Tigers" - as we take a more unlikely lead than we did last season!

foster3jd: Did you hear us singing a very tongue in cheek "we're going to win the league" when 2-0 up last season?

For me, it was by far and away one of the funniest moments of the season... was having trouble singing for laughing!!

RobNash:"You're getting mauled by the Tigers" ;D

Cool: You might hear, "Mauled" but I doubt it.

lloydyhcfc: We're **** and we know we are like against Everton. Or maybe the old ditties like Sign On, Where's your famous atmosphere. Or what the fat bloke in E3 was singing to the Toffees fans was where's your Stanley Knives?

NE_Tiger: If we take the lead it will be 'Mauled'. or 'best trip'. If we get hammered it will be 'Brown out' or 'sack the board'. It's a bit volatile at the moment, but away fans are generally more supportive than at home, so it's hard to say.

Kstone: We don’t have many to be honest!! Mauled By the Tigers hopefully! (but I doubt it!)


9.) How many are you bringing to Anfield, and is a visit to Liverpool one that your lads look forward to, or is it 'just another game'?

hampshiretiger: One of the biggest games of the season - we have to enjoy visiting places like Anfield, you never know when we might be back again!

Cool: My sons and I could not raise the enthusiam for another trip to Anfield. Enjoyed last season's trip but somehow this Saturday it will be like watching Madame Guillotine in full swing.

NE_Tiger: If we don't sell our allocation, then I'll kick myself for not applying. Pretty sure we'll bring the full allocation though.

Kstone: Yes your fans are great. Had a good laugh with a load on the way bk from hull to leeds in april on train. Anfield – fantastic ground.


10.) What’s the formation are you going to adopt to beat us (or alternatively to prevent a hiding) - are you parking the proverbial or are you bringing the cavalry charge?

hampshiretiger: It will be a park the bus job.

Tuckin: I think the bus will largely be parked - the confidence of last season just isn't there. It'll be 4-5-1.

lloydyhcfc: Park the bus but if it works then who cares except you lot.

NE_Tiger: If Brown is feeling adventurous then 4-4-1-1 with Geo tracking back without the ball and trying to get ahead of the lone-targetman when in posession. If he fears the worst then 4-5-1 with a load of big-guys and grafters packing the mid-field.

If he does decide to throw caution to the wind, then it will be 4-3-1-2, the same as when we won at the emirates and the anfield game ( i think) where you got 2 wrongly allowed goals to pinch a point - dirty, dirty Kuyt!

Kstone: 4-5-1 hopefully I will be happy with a 3-0 defeat.


11.) And finally, give us a score prediction – go on... be brave.

hampshiretiger: I fear the bus will break down and the score will be 4-0 to you. (hopefully you'll go easy on us, our goal difference is bad enough already!)

Tuckin: 3-0

lloydyhcfc: you'll win. Who cares how many you'll score.

NE_Tiger: 3-1, Possibly us scoring first or equalising before your class or the ref's 'big 4 specs' tells in the end. We're all but garunteed to conceede just before half-time or just after. To be honest, I don't really care as long as we can take something from the performance.

CANADATIGER: 3-0 to you Scousers.

Kstone: 0-3 liverpool and then we can concentrate on our cup finals v wigan, Fulham and pompey.


Big thanks to the lads who replied to my thread on http://www.hullcityonline.com and for taking the questions in the spirit they were intended. Nice one fellas. You can read the rest of the responses here.


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