Who are you? We’re Hull City (2)

So, we’ve heard of Gary Clark‘s joy on escaping relegation at Newcastle’s expense; of his admiration for our new recruit from Hull, Michael Turner, and more besides. He does go on a bit about his beloved Tigers, our opponents on Saturday! We originally found Gary through the City Independent fan site (has anyone got a working link?). And we were pleased with our find: he would probably have won a Who are You? award last season if we hadn’t decided that published writers should be excluded. Here’s the second part of his thoughts – on cheating, Hull’s own signings and a personal hard luck tale – ahead of the big game …

Were you surprised at how badly we fared last season and what did you make of the Keane walk-out?

I wasn’t surprised when Roy Keane walked out on you and he must have had valid reasons for doing so. I was surprised by your first choice of manager, Ricky Forkliftdriverface. Because I’d never heard of him before. the underlying problems you had that forced Keane to walk dogged you for the rest of the season in my opinion, and I’m not 100 per cent sure that Steve Bruce will be any better. He talks a good game, but what has he actually achieved? Also spending shedfulls of cash and having a huge squad doesn’t always gaurantee success. What score did our reserves beat you at your place last week again? Was it 5-1?

Where will our two clubs finish this season?

I predict a safe finish for your lads, 14th, 15th or 16th, with Hull hopefully clinging onto 17th place again.

Who will go down?

My bottom three are Wolves, Burnley and either Portsmouth, Birmingham, Bolton or Wigan.

And what about the Premier League honours?

I do not see the top four clubs being seriously challenged this season. Although if one is to drop out of the top four it could be Liverpool to be replaced by Manchester City. Although hampering their progress is the manager Mark Hughes. I do not rate him at all even with all the money in the world at his disposal. Probable winners will be Manchester United again with Arsenal whingeing just behind them. Chelsea in third depending on how this transfer ban effects them which I’m sure will be overturned when the legal guys get to work.Too many people will lose out on to much money for this transfer ban to be upheld.
Wouldn’t it be nice for the winners to be either Sunderland or Hull City with Burnley breathing down our necks followed closely by Fulham or someone equally as unfashionable? I must mention Spurs in any talk about honours. They played us at the KC in the first week of this season and played us off the field 5-1. Hull City looked as though we play a different game to Spurs because they moved the ball so quickly along the floor with such pace that it was an unfair contest.
Michael Turner probably had £5m knocked off his asking price that night because the Spurs lads, DeFoe and Keane simply toyed with him, they were quite magnificent. If Harry Redknapp can keep that up, which is impossible, then Spurs would be a serious threat to the big four. Somehow I just do not see them maintaining that incredible standard they achieved against City at the KC. Or was it that we were exceptionally awful?

What were the highs and lows of your first season in the Premier?

Last season was one virtually every supporter of Hull City thought they would never see. It’s carved in the foundation stones of the Hull City Hall that Hull City will never reach the First Division (Premiership) because it had been said so many times over the years that it has now become folklore, until May 24 2008.
I saw every game home and away for the first time in my life and sold my retail business to do so. In fact I have written about the experience of taking a gap year to follow my team called “This Is The Best Trip We’ve Ever Been On” and it should be out by the time we kick off against your lads. Best away match was undoubtably the 2-1 win at Arsenal and the worst home defeat was a 2-1 against Stoke. I thought we would be relegated after that performance. Stoke who had only won once away all season were so much better than us, and it showed to me how far we had deteriorated and how much Stoke has improved. A nightmare of a week-end that still has repercussions in our household. The Arsenal trip was superb from leaving the house to returning home three days later. Top class hotel, great journey down, good company, plenty of beer, great seats and a tremendous unexpected result.

Is money ruining the game? Or is cheating a bigger problem? If Hull’s future depended on a penalty won by a blatant dive in the dying seconds, would you take it gladly or feel a bit ashamed?

On money, without a doubt. On cheating, Hull were cheated out of about ten points last season, and the only time we won a penalty when it really mattered was in the last minute at home to Middlesbrough which Marlon King scored to give us a 2-1 victory. The rest of the time we fell for every trick in the book, and the referees gave every single one against us. The worst offenders are the top four clubs without a doubt because if one of their players goes down near the area the ref automatically blows for a free kick. No questions asked, if Gerrard for example falls down he has to have been fouled, and they are all the same. They know they can get away with it, and sadly it produces goals for them.
The worst case of cheating was at Arsenal in the FA Cup Quarter Finals. Played on a Tuesday night which gives the home side a huge advantage for a start and Arsenal charged home fans £10 to get in, we were charged the full £30 plus. So they have a full capapcity stadium to cheer them on. We had about 2,500 fans with us in a crowd of over 55,000. City took the lead, and then scored another one, so to go 2-0 up at Arsenal is a major shock by anyones standards. So the linesman, not the referee or any of the players, or the crowd for that matter, waved for offside and our second perfectably good goal was ruled offside. Even the home fans couldnt believe their luck, the television replays claimed it was a goal etc etc, making it a hundred times worst. In the second half Arsenal equalised and deserverdly so, it must be said. But with less than six minutes remaining we had the usual dive near our box and a free kick awarded against us. The ball gets played in, gets punched clear, then delivered back into out area to Gallas stood two yards offside behind the keeper and the defensive wall to head into an empty net. Of course the goal is given. Every televison coverage of the game said that Gallas was clearly offside, and we heard it repeated on Five Live all the way home. Cheated at the Emirates. Who would have expected that eh?
I would not like to win a game like that no matter how important it was. The only player we have who falls down a lot is Geovanni and the referees laugh at him. He won us one penalty last season in that Boro game, and although it could have gone either way he would have scored anyhow because he was three yards from goal when he was pulled down. Hull do not resort to cheating which is probably why we have never won anything.

Will you be there on Saturday?

Unfortunately I will miss the visit to The Stadium of Light because I have jumped back from the frying pan into the fire. I sold my retail business last August to free my time up so I could watch the Tigers in the Premiership. It seemed like a good idea at the time. My first book (From Boothferry to Wembley) was due out and I so needed the time off after working six and seven days a week for 17 years non stop. After a couple of months off the guilt fangs bit in and I was racked with self doubt about selling my business and not having a job. Although the football was fantastic at this time I was beginning to think I had made a huge mistake. I did not receive a fortune for the business and I thought I would find a tidy little part time job to keep me in beer money. Me and about 50,000 others had the same idea. I have never been out of work in my life before and I had no idea how scarce jobs where, which magnified my decison to sell up even more!
Almost twelve months to the day since selling up I started work again by renting a couple of units in a brand new indoor market in Hull selling tools and hardware, which I have always sold. Huge mistake. I knew within half an hour of opening up that I had made the wrong decision. I’m in for over a £1,000 a month rent, another grand to pay for the units to be fitted out, plus stock, plus another £1,200 for a key cutting machine, and I’m taking less than £50 a day. Work that out for yourselves, I’ll be skint by Christmas at this rate. I am already working my notice, but this game comes too early for me too take time off. I manage to get to the home games but to have to pay someone for a full day on top of what I’m already losing just isn’t practical. By the way does anyone out there want to buy a key cutting machine, hardly used?
I used my year off to enrol at Hull University on a degree course and I do weekly workshop at Hull Truck Theatre which is nice. I also did two days a week driving for a local childrens charity, and a load of tidying up for the missus, which is why I needed to get back to earning a few bob. Following a Premiership football club around the country does not come cheap as you all know. And I hate housework.

Who will win?

Hull City have a new look to them this season, be warned. Brown has signed some right bruisers. We have Jozy Altidore a brick shithouse 19 year old American born centre foward. Kamel Ghilas, a very tricky Algerian who has already scored. Ilbrahima Sonka from Stoke to replace Turner. Stephen Hunt from Reading, Seyi Olofinjana From Stoke, Steven Mouyokolo from Boulogne and Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink, a 6′ 5″ Dutch international foward from Celtic. My prediction for the game is 1-1 but may the best team win.

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