As it's a Yorkshire game, I will be popping across from Leeds to sample the delights of the former City of Culture, and will be hoping to enjoy my time inside the KC Stadium too.
The Tigers are a team who have experienced far more success than us with promotion to the Premier League in the last decade, but in recent years conflict between the fans and the owner has placed them in the headline more than the results on the pitch.
Sadly, all of that has lead in no small part to their current position just one place above the relegation zone with just one point more than Town.
|Kathryn with Hull player Jackson Irvine. |
Listen out for chants about his lovely long hair this weekend!
So, I asked Hull fan Kathryn Batte for her thoughts ahead of our game this weekend:
1. Tell me a bit about yourself - how long have you been watching Hull, how did you start supporting them, how often do you see them play, etc.
I’ve been going to watch Hull City since the age of 5 when we were in the depths of League 2! My early years of supporting saw us gain back-to-back promotions under Peter Taylor before Phil Brown took us to the Premier League for the first time in 2008. It’s fair to say I’ve only seen mainly good times as a supporter compared to my Dad and Grandad before me! I go to all the home games and try to make as many away games as possible.
2. Fantastic to see that you won an award for your journalism this year, could you tell me some more about that (perhaps a link to some of your work too?)
Thank you! I was Sports Editor for my University Radio York last year and wrote articles for the student newspaper as well as being press officer for the women’s football team which I played for. I’m starting a Masters in Journalism at the University of Sheffield in a couple of weeks which I’m looking forward to.
3. How has the season been so far for Hull?
We’ve not got off to the best start, mainly because we failed to replace the players we lost or sold in the Summer. We’re currently on 4 points after an away draw at Sheffield Wednesday and win at Rotherham but we’ve lost our first 3 home games for the first time since 2006. We were unlucky to lose late on to Derby in the last game and have new loan signings Tommy Elphick and Chris Martin (who I’m sure will get a warm reception from the Ipswich fans on Saturday!!) who will probably come into the starting XI.
4. I see you've been predicted by some experts for relegation this year (don't worry, so have we!), do you think it's too soon to worry?
I think the lack of recruitment and the players we lost in the summer is probably the reason for the predictions. It’s early in the season but we’re certainly in a battle due to the lack of depth and experience in the squad. We have shown some promising signs in patches in games and Nigel Adkins will certainly work hard to get the best out of the players he has. Thankfully there’s a few teams who seem to have similar problems - Birmingham, QPR etc so like you say we’re not alone!
5. What are your predictions for the rest of the season?
I think a lot of it is going to depend on whether Chris Martin can find some form in front of goal and if Jarrod Bowen can rediscover his form of last season. Hopefully Elphick will help to cut out some of the silly mistakes we’ve been making in defence but that’s assuming he manages to stay fit for the season. There’s never a huge gap between the teams in the relegation zones and the ones just below mid table so I think we’re likely to be battling it out near the bottom with 6-7 teams other teams.
6. Are there any players I should keep an eye out for on Saturday?
As mentioned already - ex-Norwich player Chris Martin may get a start but Adkins usually only starts one striker and he’ll probably stick with Frazier Campbell from the start. Jarrod Bowen was the spark for us last year but hasn’t scored yet this season. He’s a match-winner if he’s on form and if Jackson Irvine is fit he’s another one to look out for.
7. Moving on to Ipswich, what are you expecting from them on Saturday?
You seem to be in a similar position to us in terms of losing big players like Martyn Waghorn without perhaps replacing them with the same level of talent. I noticed you signed Jon Walters, (who used to play for us back in 2004!) on-loan who is an experienced player and capable of scoring goals at this level. I think Paul Hurst is a good manager having seen how he did with Grimsby and Shrewsbury but might need time to get the team playing to how he wants. I’d expect him to come for a draw on Saturday however he may fancy his chances at getting a first win with our current home record.
8. I'm interested to get an outsider's point of view on our recent managerial changeover - do you think we did the right think letting McCarthy go? And what are your impressions of Paul Hurst.
It’s difficult to assess whether letting McCarthy go was the right thing as I didn’t watch the team play every week so don’t know how performances were etc. McCarthy is one of those managers who probably would never have taken you down from the Championship but obviously the style of football may not have been exciting to watch or particularly progressive. He’s a good manager to steady a ship but perhaps not to to take a team up anymore - unless he has substantial financial backing. Like I say, I think Hurst has done well elsewhere but it was obviously at a lower level and he’s clearly finding managing in the championship a step-up.
9. There are similarities between Hull and Ipswich in terms of the discontent that fans have with the owners - but I often use you guys as an example of how things could be a lot worse for us. What are your views of your owner?
There’s been conflict with the owners ever since they tried to change the club’s name in 2013 and relations with fans have only got worse since then. The removal of concessionary ticket pricing as well as other issues such as changing the club badge and a general lack of investment since Steve Bruce was forced out of the club has driven a lot of fans away. Whilst the owners have met with supporters, nothing has changed and they’ve held two ballots to gage supporter opinion but refused to release results. The only way the club can move forward is through a change of ownership but that is unlikely to happen until the current regime have recouped their loans to the club plus interest.
10. Finally, Hull have charged us just £12 for a ticket this weekend - which has made me and lots of Town fans very happy. We did hear that Hull fans are not happy with this and see it as the owners way of reducing ticket sales, is this true? Do you agree?
£12 is a good price for adults but as the club refuse to give concessionary tickets this will be the price for everyone. The price is cheaper due to yourselves being lower down the division but compare this to the upcoming visit of Middlesbrough, fans will be charged nearer £30 - and this will be for all age groups meaning if family were to come for the game they’d be spending £120 roughly without including travel expenses - this goes for home fans as well. You can get cheaper tickets depending on where you sit in the ground but many people but if you want to sit near the halfway line for example your ticket will cost more etc. Concessionary tickets have also been removed from season memberships which are now paid on a monthly basis and everybody pays the same rate regardless of age - the only variable is where you sit in the ground. Attendances are at an all-time low because of this and the other on-going issues.
Thanks ever so much for your thoughts Kathryn, good luck with your Masters and I hope you enjoy Saturday - although not too much!