Tigers Co-operative Column

Last updated : 17 January 2002 By Tigers Co-operative
'There's something rotten in the state of Denmark' says Shakespeare in his tragedy 'Hamlet.' We can't help thinking that this could be applied to the tragedy that has become Hull City since the beginning of December. Something has gone very wrong despite the pronouncements of the manager after each successive debacle. How and why does a good team become so bad so quickly? How and why do good players suddenly become shadows of their former selves almost overnight?

This column is written before today's match with Exeter City but after the dismal performance against Carlisle United. It was a display that must rank alongside the worst of the Hateley and Dolan days. Hopefully, today we have turned the corner against a club we met on the first day of the season and systematically took apart. If so, then don't bother reading the rest of this column. It would not be surprising if today's gate was our smallest league crowd of the season. Remember City always save their best performances for the smallest crowds. If it was another one of those days then read on.

When things go wrong without any obvious reason then those who are concerned about it seek reasons. If they cannot find reasons then often some are invented with or without any basis in fact. This is how superstitions come into being. Plymouth Argyle play in green, which many people in Hull believe is an unlucky colour, so that's why we lost! It's as good a reason as any we've heard from the club.

We've been told that the Reggae Boyz have turned down the offer of new contracts and the contracts they were offered have now been withdrawn. A few good rumours can develop around that one especially as Theo was listed at the start of the season and fought his way back into the team. Players signed in the closed season are being allowed to go without ever being allowed a chance to prove themselves in the first team, in positions where we have had problems. Some more stories there.

There are rumours circulating about players being involved in major breaches of club discipline. This is the kind of story that will circulate when there is a vacuum of fact to explain the inexplicable.

Maybe there are things going wrong but the club does not wish to wash its dirty linen in public. We can respect that but, unfortunately, we are getting rather bland statements after each match from Brian Little. While he is courageous to speak after some performances, some of his statements do not gel with what supporters have seen. He is in great danger of losing credibility. Perhaps he should take a leaf out of Brian Law's book, he has been known on a number of occasions to be unwilling to speak to the media after matches reserving his words for his players.

Let's take some recent statements. 'In terms of the way we're playing we're not doing that much wrong.' This came after Tuesday night. To many of those watching it looked as though the players had not played together before. This was only true of Matthew Wickes and he was one of the better players on the night! One or two looked as though they had never kicked a football before.

Again after Tuesday. 'Aside from one piece of bad defending the team I picked did well and they're just lacking a bit of belief.' What about the pieces of bad attacking, there was more than just one of those and as for pieces of midfield? The team looked demoralized, not just lacking 'a bit of belief.'

There is now a need for new initiatives, not necessarily new players. Brian Little's cunning plan of signing every central defender so no team can defend against us will eventually work but it will cost a lot of money. There is a need for team building, to get those players we already have working as a team again. This is not necessarily about training on the field, although some work on set pieces (both defending and attacking) would be useful. It is about developing team spirit and getting people working for each other. Perhaps they need taking away for a few days to Lilleshall or somewhere, maybe somewhere warm to sort themselves out. We could all do with that just now.

But it was all a bit much on Tuesday night when even in the Best Stand you could hear Thermos flasks being rammed into haversacks, crushing packets of crisps that supporters had not been able to stomach before they slunk out of the ground to catch an early bus home while the team still had another quarter of an hour to huff and puff. It's a pretty pass when even the living dead in the Best Stand start yelling abuse at the manager!

Over to you Brian and Adam.

But we were at Boothferry Park again today, wishing, hoping and praying, and we'll be there again next Saturday. As the line goes, "We'll support you ever more".

Write to us at P.O. Box 145, Brough, HU15 1XP. Our e-mail address is committee@tigersco-op.org.uk and our website is at www.tigersco-op.org.uk