One Letter from Hell
Wednesday 6th May 2015
Given the fact I tend to fly to our away games in Newcastle and Sunderland, Hull is definitely the furthest destination I travel to by car. Choosing to stay Monday night in the city and the extremely long journey home across a very windy England means only during my lunchtime today have I found time to pen my thoughts. The adjectives I will use for events both on and off the field are the same for both aspects. Impressive, satisfying and hugely entertaining.
Drinking is not big or clever……but I like an ale now and again like most of us. Not exactly a shocking revelation but both our last game and our next being moved to a Monday night, whilst a little inconvenient, it has given two ‘free’ weekends to enjoy some of life’s offerings away from the beautiful game. That began this weekend when a number of friends and fellow Gooners joined me for a variety of relaxing activities including taking in our local beer festival on Saturday. Sampling a few jars of ‘Smooth Hoperator’ along with the likes of ‘Pricky Back Otchan’ and ‘Dark Side of the Moose’ with some great company whilst others went through the emotions associated with many matches at this time of the season, proved marvellously relaxing and entertaining.
I mention this as upon arriving in Hull on Bank Holiday Monday afternoon we decided to take in a suggested ‘real ale tour’ in the city’s excellent old town area. I’ve been to Hull a few times now but have never really had the opportunity to enjoy the city’s hospitality. Choosing the stay overnight on this occasion gave us that chance. On speaking to one Yorkshire Gooner a few weeks back she did warn me (with tongue firmly in cheek) that the city was only ‘one letter from hell’ for a reason! Well……I can only disagree from my experience. Not only do I find the people representing Hull City football club amongst the friendliest and most helpful of any I have come across (something that is genuinely not the case elsewhere) but the hostelries, architecture and people all across the old town created a fantastic location and way to enjoy the pre-match build up. The whole ‘City of Culture’ thing, awarded to the city for 2017, is of course a ready made opportunity to enjoy some of the football banter I mentioned in my last piece but my latest visit has definitely confirmed they deserve this opportunity to play host for this particular set of events.
Suitably refreshed we made our way to the KC stadium for which genuinely felt like a tough looking fixture ahead. Two big wins on the bounce would certainly not leave our hosts lacking confidence and anything but a good performance would surely see us come unstuck. This along with the added ingredients of our continued chase for a top 4 place and the fact a win would see our geographical neighbours in a position where it would be mathematically impossible for them to catch us for the 20th season running all made for a fine atmosphere.
If any of us had any doubts that we might not ‘turn up’ the next 45 minutes or so completely obliterated that! It was a simply magnificent display of entertaining, exciting and powerful football and 3 nil didn’t flatter us in the slightest. Our first goal had a degree of good fortune about it but that certainly couldn’t be said for everything that happened on the night so there genuinely could be no complaints about the final score. Conceding is always disappointing, however the tackle on Kos leading up to our hosts’ goal was both late and a foul. No arguments. And if it wasn’t for the ‘save’ the Hull defender made with his hand from the impressive Jack Wilshere there would have been a 4th to represent the cherry on the top of a mighty fine cake.
So unless we lose all our last 4 games and Liverpool win all theirs with a massive 20+ goal difference turn around we are guaranteed a Champions League qualifier at the very least once again. It is now up to us to finish the season well and go one better. Not only that but it made the early May Bank holiday Monday St Totteringhams Day once again. Imagine being in your twenties and never seeing your team finish above the club you dislike the most. That must be very very difficult to take.
Swansea come to the home of football next after already enjoying their best league season ever. Enough warning on its own to make sure we go into the game with the same attitude as Monday night.
Before that however……I’m off to another beer festival…..this time in Dorset!
“It’s happened again, it’s happened again…….”