Away Day Blues

Last updated : 04 January 2002 By Dave Medcalf

Many fans are greatly concerned with the team’s recent run of poor results, particularly the failure to get anything from many of our away games which is a problem that has haunted us all season.

It is interesting to look at why performances at Boothferry Park have by and large been different to those away from home. I think most fans would say at home we have been very special at times, winning most games, with a few draws where we have failed to break down stubborn defences. In the main, it has been very special going to Boothferry this season and has been a joy to behold.

Recently, however, we have struggled to break down sides and we have seemed bereft of ideas as to just how this could be done. The Southend game was a particular case in point where we were certainly the better side but we could not find a way through and the players seemed to struggle. Heads seemed to go down a bit that night and when it was just not going our way no one seemed able to take the game by the scruff of the neck and make something happen.

Many fans look at the expensive side that Adam and Brian have assembled and wonder why we have these problems, as man for man it would seem that we are the best side in this division, on paper at least. Some may point to incorrect team selection or tactics being employed or simply: we have just had ‘one of them days’.

Perhaps an answer to this can be found by looking at our away form, which apart from a couple of notable exceptions has been very poor. It’s probably fair to say that some of the worst performances we have given in recent years have been this season. Many times we have been overrun, giving silly goals away and not making an impression. Worst of all it gives the fans the impression that the players are not trying hard enough. Our last away match at Kidderminster reflected most of these things; granted, Kidderminster played very well but we were just a shadow of the side we are capable of being.

Some point to the fact that we have a very young side. They are still getting to know each other and have yet to reach full potential. Others may say that we are good enough, even below par, still to be able to beat the teams we are playing. One key factor could be that the players still have to learn how to play Third Division football when they are away from home. At home this is not such a problem with big crowds cheering the team on and intimidating the opposition who have mainly come to defend. Away from home it is a different kettle of fish, where the opposition will come and attack you and put you under a lot of pressure.

Who was it that said that in any football game you need to be able to win the battle before you can start thinking about playing football and winning a game. Well whoever it was, it certainly applies to teams in the Third. Not many would doubt our ability to play football but our battling qualities do not appear to be in the same league. Unless we start to set our stall out to win these battles we will continue mainly failing on our away days. It has been said that perhaps the team we have now is more of a footballing side than a battling team. This certainly may be true, but unless they learn quickly to ally these qualities with what many would believe to be the basics for any player in this league then we will continue to fail away.

Most fans watching our away performances this season became initially frustrated but now they are becoming angry at this apparent lack of passion and fight on our travels. Perhaps this is justified or perhaps not.

If anyone can solve our problems, surely Brian can. What has become apparent to many on the terraces will no doubt be crystal clear in the dug-out. Brian is quite right in that we are in a good position. Compared to this time last year we are in a fantastic position!

We now need to kick on, and sorting out the away form could be the key. It always great to know your part of the great tradition that is Hull City, and the pride that comes from being part of the often massive and passionate following that can be found wherever the team is. If we can translate our passion and commitment onto the football pitch whenever and wherever we play, this team will be unstoppable. Once again teams will start to fear the visit of the Tigers not just for the mass of fans but also for the uncompromising passion that they will also face on the pitch. Come on lads. We know you can do it, we’re right behind you.

Don’t forget members, it’s membership renewal time. Hundreds have already renewed.

Let’s make sure that we remain one of the biggest, if not the biggest, independent supporters’ groups in the country. New members always welcome.

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