Even a pretty low profile blog like this attracts quite a few media requests to write articles or be interviewed about the Tigers, so heaven knows how many emails and phone calls big websites like Hull City Online and Amber Nectar have to deal with.
Most of these I just never get the time to bother with, but over the holiday period I managed to rattle off some answers to generic questions set by ESPN Star, which I assume is an Asian TV channel.
Up to this point in the season, what is the best / worst your club can achieve this coming season?
The best case scenario for Hull City is to hold on to our key players in the January transfer window, perhaps pick up a shrewd loan signing or two, and of course avoid relegation to secure a third season in the Premier League. At worst, due to the club’s finances, we could be selling some of our better players in January and simply not have the quality to beat the drop. However, severe cost-cutting may be the only way to head off future financial meltdown – if so then it’s a necessary evil.
Who is your key player and why?
It’s all about Jimmy Bullard – more specifically about his knee injuries, which have restricted him to just four starts since signing in January. The few games he has played, however, were among the highlights of 2009 with Bullard pulling all the strings in midfield. Fingers crossed he can have an injury-free spell when he returns to the team at the end of January and inspire us to safety.
Who is the unsung hero in your team and why?
Former England defender Anthony Gardner has proved doubters wrong this season by staying virtually injury-free and being a commanding presence at the back. He needed to deliver after star defender Michael Turner was sold to Sunderland and so far Gardner has been impressive.
Which new signing has impressed you most? Which one the least?
There aren’t many summer signings who have actually played much in the first team. Three new international attackers – Kamel Ghilas of Algeria, Holland striker Jan Vennegor of Hesselink and America’s star player Jozy Altidore – have shown glimpses of quality but haven’t had much game time. Senegal defender Ibrahima Sonko has been poor after joining on loan from Stoke though he won’t be the last player to be outclassed by Fernando Torres.
Which area do you think your team needs strengthening in January?
With new chairman Adam Pearson wanting to balance the books, it’s unlikely there will be many new signings in January. The squad is already big enough and so we’ll be looking for some fringe players to prove they deserve to be at the club or be sold. But injured stars Jimmy Bullard and Ian Ashbee, the club captain, will feel like new signings when they’re back in the team in the next few months.
Young player to look out for?
Jozy Altidore is still a teenager but has already proved a massive hit in the American leagues and on international duty for the US and I’m certain he will be a huge hit the more he adjusts to the Premier League and the goals start to flow. Of the homegrown youngsters, clever midfielder Tom Cairney is threatening to burst into the first team soon.
Where will your club finish this season?
If we finish one place above the relegation zone like last season, Hull City fans will be ecstatic and will look forward to more karaoke on the pitch after the final game from manager Phil Brown. There have been plenty of encouraging signs recently to suggest we can do this.