Hull City. 20th P10 W3 D2 L5
Shota Arveladze took over from Grant McCann earlier this year, but is struggling so far this season. So, how long will he last? We had the crack with Ant Northgraves from the To Hull and Back pod to find out more.
What’s gone well for you so far this season?
After years of suffering under the previous regime, the Club is beginning to reconnect with the fans again. Ticket prices are affordable, children under 10 can have a Season Membership for free with a paying adult, investment and ambition obvious again and around 8,000 fans that had chosen to boycott the Allam family are coming back so we’re starting to see a good number in the MKM Stadium again. It’s going to be trial and error with recruitment, but we’re all pulling in the same direction.
And what’s not gone so well?
Short version: form. The Season started so promisingly, gaining good results against good sides such as Norwich and Burnley, but then we were seemingly hit with an injury curse. At one point we had 15 first team members out injured and meant the starting 11 picked itself. The gaffer, Shota Arveladze, has been with us since January and it still isn’t clear what playing style or system he is aiming to use. We are weak at the back, create very little and the players seems unaware of their roles. Calls for #ShotaOut are loud and regular, as we ask for a Manager experienced in the English League. We have signed many talented attacking players, and seemingly gotten worse at attacking!
Who’s been your standout player so far?
In terms of goal scoring, the Colombian International Oscar Estupiñán was clinical in the August, claiming the Player of the Month award too but our unsung hero and arguably most consistent player this Season is Regan Slater. Signed on a bargain £50,000 from Sheffield United in January after a successful period on loan here the year before as we claimed the League One Title, his work rate, determination and endeavour should be an example for others in the side to follow. Comfortable in possession, doesn’t shy from getting stuck in, runs box-to-box, he’s currently the only player in that midfield that’s contributing in all instances.
Who’s not quite been at the races?
Tobias Figueiredo. Presumably signed as our “more experienced” Championship centre half, “Figs” joined us on a free from Nottingham Forest following his release after their Promotion to the Premier League. He started well, looking like a no-nonsense centre half that should partner the young Jacob Greaves, but has shown that he isn’t very comfortable in possession and is mistake-ridden. His latest performance away at Swansea saw perhaps one of the worst performances from a Hull City centre half in a long time.
How’s the general feeling regarding your manager?
The Tigers fan base were excited that we were going to see this, “exciting, attacking football” that we were promised when he (Shota) was first hired back in January following the takeover. It was well documented that the owner wanted fans to be “entertained” and so wanted to hire a Manager that he’d rather see us lose 4-3 than 1-0 but so far, we’re not seeing that. Our Podcast did a quick poll on Twitter, asking what people were feeling towards Shota, with 78% wanting him gone. The Club are apparently giving him time to turn it around, so hopefully by the end of the International break, we’ll have more players available and we can kick on, or else it will be goodbye Shota.
Where did you think you’d finish before the season started, and has that changed?
I thought we’d finish around 10th - 12th position and I still think we will, but that optimism is fading slightly. We’ve had a great transfer window and we have suffered badly with injuries so still haven’t seen our strongest eleven. I’d like to see a Carlos Corberan or Sean Dyche at the helm, but am also happy to see Shota get a few more weeks to turn it around.
And finally, what’s your impression of Sunderland been so far?
I put Sunderland as one of the dark horses for the Play Offs at the beginning of the Season, and they’re proving me right so far. I watched the 3-0 dismantling of Reading, and some of the football played was spectacular. I did think that Alex Neil leaving might derail your season, but Tony Mowbray looks to have hit the ground running. I might have to adjust my prediction slightly and say that you’re dark horses for the top 2!