Goodbye for the Summer, again.

Last updated : 29 April 2002 By Mark Gretton

At this time of the year, a Hull City fan's thoughts turn inevitably to why we have cocked it up on this particular occasion. This season is in that regard no different to any other, but for me at least the hurt is more acutely felt than normal because we didn't just fail, we first flattered to deceive. I felt at the outset that promotion was to be expected given the money we had spent and on whom we had spent it. Had we been awful from the start I would have put this down to typically flawed and over optimistic judgement. But the facts are that we started well and at times were fantastic. There seems now to be a tendency to say that we were never that good. We were. You don't flatten sides as good as Cheltenham and Rochdale, you don't win at Luton if you're not good. You certainly don't lie third at Christmas. We were good, at times very good. And that makes the second half of the season capitiulation all the more hurtful.

I had a deal of sympathy with the view that we should get rid of all of our players, even though I don't actually think we should. I can only think of Justin Whittle, Gary Alexander and Mike Edwards who can look in the mirror and think that they allied consistent effort to considerable success. Three players, out of what I still think was the most talented squad in the division. Brian Little has rightly carried the can, although I still think he should have had until the end of the season to try and sort things out, but what a disappointment most of our squad have been. It was worse becuase we know that most of them could play, they just stopped doing so. And whatever the culpabilities of the management, the players have let down themselves and the fans.

Hard to argue with any of the decisions to part company. The loss of Tappa saddens me the most as I don't expect we'll see as gifted a player again, but he seemed to have left us in spirit long before the end. Philpott has played as well as anyone in the last 6 weeks which shows to what depths we have sunk as he was never that good in our vastly inferior side last campaign. Morley, well, a bright end on Saturday and he'll always have the memory of a special goal to win a special cup game at Luton, whatever he does in future. But at the end of the day three managers have had a look at him and not really trusted him to come through and I think we have to back their judgement rather than Andy Beill's. Mohan has been a disaster and has cost us a lot of points.

Musselwhite, Dudfield, Williams, Beresford, Holt, and Johnnson have all disappointed far too often and have not always punched their overweight. These players are all undoubtedly talented, but their lack of committment has been hard to forgive.

And yet they ARE all good players, in the case of Dudfield, a very good player. Someone made a very good point that at this time last season everyone wanted Williams, he wasn't just a one match wonder when playing against us. So perhaps it is just as well that it will be hard to offload them, as all of the above would, in my opinion, deserve. The contractual staying of the manager's hand will force him to use them and we must hope that he can improve their fitness, committment and attitude. If that can be done and they and others can be improved, then this most desperate of seasons will have had some good bits afterall.

Anyway, I'm off to hack at the garden and watch some cricket for a few months. Oh yes, and there's that World Cup thing as well. All that football should help us forget that stuff we've watched over the last 5 months.

Mark Gretton