18 July 2008

Beats playing Mansfield, this

I'm catching a ferry in a couple of hours. In the company of three friends (and probably another few dozen or more guys with the same idea) we are headed for Belgium, where tomorrow Hull City play a pre-season friendly in Ostend.

It's great. We're in Europe! Well, kind of. The game kicks off at 2pm tomorrow, mainland time, and that gives us a comfortable hour and a half to get back to Zeebrugge for the return boat. Initially it kicked off at 3, which left many Tigers fans disappointed as the return trip from Ostend to Zeebrugge would have been a little tight. The club listened, suggested the alteration, and Ostend took it.

So, a few ales on the ferry, a few more in Ostend, a match, a short trip back to port, and a few more ales on the ferry again. Back in my own house by Sunday morning.

Last time we played abroad was a pre-season tour of Bulgaria 18 years ago, when we were in the second tier and looking primarily downwards. It wasn't quite what our chairman of 1982 to 1989, Don Robinson, had in mind when he declared his ambition to make Hull City "the first side to play on the moon" but it was progress.

But this is different. This is just the beginning. One day Clive Tyldesley will be wittering on incessantly about Hull City's own "balmy night in Barcelona" or "incredible night in Istanbul". You just wait.

16 July 2008

"Got any Guru Josh?"

It's the opening night of my new All 90s, All Night at the club in Stockport tonight. Any requests?

15 July 2008

Mad as a ...

The decision to dock Luton Town a total of 30 points prior to the new season due to administrative inconsistencies is an absolute disgrace. Do these neck-free, paper-shuffling, soulless football committee deadbeats not consider the supporters at all when making these awful judgments?

Last time I went to Kenilworth Road, I found myself humming In The Ghetto by Elvis Presley as I entered the town. It isn't appealing, though as someone who comes from Hull I accept that maybe there are areas I haven't seen which are more affluent than effluent. But I have largely fond memories of the place because, well, we won there on our last two visits during tight campaigns against relegation. I also like the way Mike Newell went on his kamikaze one-man mission to 'out' the dodgier end of the game's agency system.

The Hatters were relegated to the bottom division last season. They knew they'd start the new campaign 20 points adrift because of a breach of the game's insolvency rules, but now an extra ten points has been bolted on for 'financial irregularities'. The appeal, attended by pleading supporters in Luton shirts, failed today.

What the hell is the point of a team beginning a campaign 30 points behind everyone else? Why weren't they just relegated straight to the Conference and given a fresh start on equal points there? Oh, sorry, that would have been a logistical nightmare which would have cocked up the fixture list. It would have caused all sorts of strife with clubs jostling to take the vacancy in League Two. Not desirable. Far better to slam one club into the wall, giving it no hope whatsoever of maintaining the Football League status it has kept for many years, as that sends out 'the right message'.

The only message it sends out is that the authorities are prepared to make the management, players and especially (and most importantly) the fans suffer like hell. The guys who committed the financial misdemeanours won't feel the punishment from a 30 point deduction. Just the innocent sods left behind. Shame. SHAME.

My feeble effort to cheer the Luton Town fans up a tiny bit - have the edited highlights of your finest hour from 20 years ago.

I've still got this game on Betamax in my loft.

13 July 2008

Mutant telephones, crashing skylabs and Eugene

Mark X started it. It's all his fault. He casually mentioned a Windows-friendly version of Chuckie Egg and away I went. I now have the Microsoftened version of Manic Miner on my computer and now I may never experience fresh air and sunshine again. Bah.