One Game at a Time: You're Only Here for the Pasties Hull City (A) September 30th | PASOTI
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One Game at a Time: You're Only Here for the Pasties Hull City (A) September 30th

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🌟 Pasoti Laureate 🌟
Apr 3, 2008
Westerham Kent
One Game at a Time: You’re Only Here for the Pasties

Hull City (A) September 30th

Crisis? What Crisis?

After a chastening week of narrow defeat followed by horrible drubbing, the visit of the free scoring ex-Premier League Norwich, even without their attacking pairing of Barnes and Sargeant, both injured, was in all probability the last thing an apprehensive full house needed.

Six changes, one less than caused paroxysms of anxiety on Tuesday, settled the nerves as the widely recognised first choices took the field. Another familiar sight was the deployment of a back three with wing backs.

Ceding possession didn’t seem to be restricting Argyles creativity, and after the surprise of the formation change came an even bigger shock. An effective corner routine drawing a save from Angus Gunn.

With Hardie leading the line, this time with close support from a floating pair of tens in Azaz and Whittaker Argyle, perhaps fortuitously given Hardies return from an offside position to occupy a centre back, took the lead when Whittaker wrongfooted the keeper and nutmegged the defender with a deft finish.

Not long afterwards a quickly and intelligently worked overload on a free kick allowed the cross from Azaz to be flicked goalward. The rebound off the bar was driven calmly into the centre of the goal by Scarr. There was a defender in attendance but as he was lying in the back of the net, I am not sure what good he was going to do, unless he was trying to confuse the goal line technology.

Argyle were rampant, and you could sense from the Norwich bench that half time could not come quickly enough. And it didn’t. Firstly Hardie, the patron saint of lost causes, chased down a ball he had no right to win. Whittaker took the inside pass and rifled the ball home from twenty yards.

Then another turnover from aimless Norwich possession freed Azaz, who closed in on the box. Two flamboyant stepovers were followed by a sole of the boot drag back, which if it didn’t have a name, will now be known as the Azaz shuffle. A well-placed finish meant those of us who were condemned to Sky Sports heard the goal at the same time as crest fallen Stelling Lite Canary Simon Thomas, as we listened to Mark McAdam describe the third goal while Argyle scored their fourth.

That left Norwich boss Wagner with his hands in a whole new wring cycle, and sixteen hundred canaries changed cheeps to boos as their team left the pitch, and perhaps more surprisingly repeated the process when they returned for the second half.

If they hoped their opprobrium would shame their side into a response, they were to be disappointed. Well, more disappointed. Having spurned one chance for his hat-trick when sent through one on one with Gunn, Whittaker was not to be denied a second time. Once again. Hardie turned creator, freeing Azaz whose inch perfect pass gave Whittaker the match ball, and left Gunn comprehensively outgunned.

There was still time for Norwich to mount a riposte with Idah finishing smartly, and then despatching a controversial penalty (in that it was a foul but well outside the box, by Mumba) which the Gods of Football can only redress by granting Mumba a wickedly deflected winner at Portman Road in December.

The coup de grace was delivered, matador style by new signing and debutant Bundu, whose first three touches for Argyle were a sublime through ball to Azaz for a spurned chance, and then a control and perfect pass for sub Cundle to bag his third goal of the season and Mustapha’s first assist.

That left the Argyle faithful in a much better frame of mind, after a thirteen-goal week ended in positive goal difference territory. Indeed, the only fans close to such levels on entertainment were our near neighbours who witnessed twelve goals in the same period. One more and they would have had to take their shoes and socks off to keep score, but at least it was easy to keep track of their own contribution. They just had to add up their combined IQ.

The win which hoisted Argyle back into the top half of the Division leaves Argyle still seeking a first away win of the season and facing this weekend, another team in and around the top of the league in Hull City. I mean I assume there are some teams in the bottom half that we play eventually, right?

Founded in 1904, Hull City, from the East Riding of Yorkshire, and sat atop the Humber estuary, are another club who have left a very light impression of the history book of English football. For many years the main rivalry between Argyle and Hull was which of them would be the one to lose the moniker of the oldest City never to have played topflight football. History in this case was to fall in their favour as the managed to climb the greasy pole in 2008, beating the Wurzels one nil with a Dean Windass goal at Wembley. That said, in 1910 the club were pipped to promotion on goal average by 0.29 of a goal by Oldham Athletic, one of the narrowest margins ever recorded.

The club initially led a nomadic existence, playing at The Boulevard (home of the local Hull rugby league side), Anlaby Road, a cricket ground and Dairycoates, before finally alighting at Anlaby Road in time to be elected to Division 2, although still playing the occasional friendlies at the rugby and cricket grounds.

Anlaby Road was to be their home until the late 1940’s when they made the move to Boothferry Park, and the first ever league meeting of the clubs was a 5-4 thriller in favour of City, despite a Frank Sloan brace including Argyle’s 2000th goal in all competitions.

The only prior meeting had been a similarly high scoring close affair in the 1929/30 FA Cup, where City, en route to a first FA Cup semi-final, won 4-3 at Home Park, Argyle with the all too familiar concession of a first minute goal and also losing a player to injury, as well as kicking into the teeth of a howling gale. City took the scalps of both Third Division and Second Division champions (Argyle and Blackpool) that season as well as Newcastle and Manchester City before falling to Arsenal after a replay.

As the second world war approached the club was struggling financially and took an enforced break for much of the war league years, before emerging after the war, under the chairmanship of Harold Needler, and led by Major Frank Buckley, he of the rumoured monkey gland treatment at Wolves. Their new ground, built over a local golf course, at Boothferry Park also saw the arrival of Horatio Stratton Carter, or Raich Carter. The silver haired midfielder, whose pre-war career at Sunderland and Derby had brought him international honours was regarded as one of the finest players to grace the amber and black colours of City (remember, the Barmby years had yet to arrive). He arrived as player-coach as he wanted to learn from Buckley and was to follow him to Leeds United. A strong character, he developed the Carter Roar, seen by some as a way of blaming others for his mistakes, but for him, just the most effective way of communicating over the crowd noise.

Ahead of his times in many ways, he once joked to the local press “I used to be arrogant, but I have matured and grown more tolerant; now I am just conceited.” He has a road named after him in Hull, and the first game played at The KCOM stadium between Hull and Sunderland was played for the Raich Carter Trophy, which City won 1-0.

Hull and Argyle both found their way to the Second Division, and then back down to the Third, where in 58/9 they competed for the inaugural Division Three crown. Argyle pipped City to the title, although they shared the honours between them equally with identical 1-1 results home and away.

Under the Chairmanship of Harold Needler Hull developed what was considered one of the finest playing surfaces in the country, with the Chairman himself often to be found repairing divots and removing weeds. He gave the club a sizeable gift of shares in his family gravel business, just before the Labour Wilson government introduce a 98% tax rate. Under Needler and manager Cliff Brittan, the club climbed the league, with a prolific forward line of Ken Wagstaff, Chris Chilton, Ian Butler and Ken Houghton.

In the early 1970’s under new player manager Terry Neill the club once again tilted at the elusive topflight, but having missed out once again decline set in and a carousel of managerial candidates were not able to reverse the decline.

This was never more apparent than in the ground itself, where a once impressive stadium declined. City fans still refer to it as Fer Ark, that being the remaining illuminated sign for the ground after the failing bulbs, one by one were not replaced.

Eventually, now run by the son of the former Charman Christopher Needler, the club fell on really hard times, and with the new Needler keen to sell up and move on, David Lloyd, the ex-tennis player and leisure centre tycoon acquired both club and Hull FC, their Rugby league equivalent.

He appointed Mark Hateley, the wild haired ex-England striker as manager, and Attila the Hull as he became known scoured his contact books , bringing in a number of injury prone top flight players, most of whom, such as Glyn Hodges, Kevin Gage, and perhaps more remarkably David Rocastle for whom a two one home defeat by Chester was to be his final game in England, spent more time under treatment than on the pitch.

Lloyds reign did not go well, as it transpired that his so called 200 million fortune with which he proposed to build his Hull based sporting empire was in truth a fraction ( and quite a small fraction) of that. Gimmicks such as touch rugby in the concrete car-park also contributed to the players eventually downing tools, and it took an intervention by PFA rep Warren Joyce, later of Argyle to resolve the issues.

Hull were in fact the pioneers of the recently in vogue tennis ball bombardment protest, instigating it as Lloyds snappily names Tiger Shark conglomerate seemed to be edging toward moving the club out of Boothferry Park and into the Hull RLFC ground. Lloyd at one point locked the club out of the ground, claiming he was owed rent as the separation of the club from its playing stadium once again proved a harbinger of doom for the fans.

Lloyd’s sale of the club, to Nick Buchanan and ex Sock Shop supremo Stephen Hinchliffe (both of whom would layer serve prison sentences for their nefarious dealings) left Joyce in charge as player manager, assisted by ex-Argyle assistant manager (and brains behind the Shilton era nearly men) John McGovern. Miraculously they managed to escape a descent to non league and potential oblivion but the arrival of former Leeds United supremo Adam Pearson also saw the arrival of first Brian Little, and then Jan Molby as managers.

The building of the KCOM stadium (now the MKM), funded by the local council solved the problem of the declining Fer Ark. Argyle have played City there four times, winning twice and losing twice. The two wins were remarkable in that they were, despite being in two separate season, consecutive games, being the final game of the 2006/7 season and the opening game of the following season, that despite a 3-2 home defeat City were to end by gaining that elusive topflight promotion.

By now the club was owned by the Egyptian who adopted Hull as his home Assem Allam. The multi-millionaire, who fled Nassers regime and in his own words “came to hull for a month and stayed 42 years. Over saw the most successful period in the cluns history, with three spells of Premier League football, as well as an FA Cup final where former Argyle loanee James Chester was one of two scorers as they led Arsenal 2-0 . That they lost in extra time was more salt in the FA Cup wounds inflicted by Arsenal on the club.

Allams stewardship was however tarnished by his falling out with the fans over his 2103 plans to rename the club Hull City Tigers, or simply Hull Tigers outside of the UK. The club, clearly with their black and amber striped strip, had embraced the nickname, even running out to the classic Tiger Rag for many seasons, including a version by guitar legend Les Paul. When they dropped that track it was replaced by Tiger by Abba in 1976. Ok, we get it. And the official club cereal is Frosties, and the official club poet is William Blake.

The formal dropping of City, and Allam contrived to reincorporate the club without City in the name, was seen by the owner as irrelevant to football and projecting the business. This is a man who would rebrand Manchester City as Manchester Hunters to project power and strength. The replica trophies from the Championship wins under his ownership were both engraved to Hull Tigers.

The fans disagreed, and whilst the major stumbling block to his continued ownership was ill health (he passed a month after selling the club), it was also true to say that the loss of the fans support, as well as the fact he could not persuade the Council to sell him the stadium led to the sale of the club in January 2022.

The nadir was when he suggested that City fans that chanted “City till I die”, could do just that as long as they allowed the club to flourish. There was no way back after that.

The club was sold to Acun Ilicali, known as the Turkish Simon Cowell, and whose first appointment was Shota Arveladze, the Georgian ex international. He was jettisoned quite speedily and replaced by local boy (well his nan is from Hull), Liam Rosenior, who was last seen as acting coach at Derby, but whose tenure ended within a couple of weeks of the Sam Cosgrove show at Pride Park last season.

Rosenior has quietly assembled a decent squad, with loanees Liam Delap and (shudder) Scott Twine, as well as permanent signings Ozan Tufan (although he is recovering from injury), Adama Traore, Jaden Philogene and Aaron Ferguson. They are the only side so far this season to beat Leicester City, the current leaders, although their home form so far this season has been three draws and a predictable thumping of the Owls. And they lost at Norwich first game of the season…so…you know.

As for Argyle, well after Brizzle City away, who knows….we have a home game on Tuesday against Millwall and Callum Wright is long term injured, but after last weeks performance it would be a tough call to make changes.

But as we all know, the road to Hull is paved with good intentions.


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