Another eventful week for Hull City. Mark Sellers reports. (Warning – includes mention of Hatem Ben Arfa and Nick Proschwitz. And Ehab Allam, alas.)
The week started with whispers coming from the East Midlands that Aston Villa have had meetings with Nigel Pearson, prompting the bookies to snap into action and make the ex-City boss the favorite for the Villa job. Following this news the main Villa websites are reporting that Steve Bruce is now as long as 4/1 to take over at Villa Park.
City’s Player of the Year awards were held at the KCOM stadium on Tuesday evening with players, staff, sponsors, and the local media in attendance. Abel Hernandez won both the Supporters and the Players’ vote for Player of the Season – an impressive double for the striker. Robert Snodgrass landed the Goal of the Season award for his recent free-kick in the 2-1 win over Wolves. Curtis Davies collected the Rob Brown Award for Special Contribution, due to his work in the local community. Josh Tymon was named Academy Player of the Season.
Tymon has played a large part in the success of the U21 Team this season, and on Wednesday evening the Junior Team played in the final of the U21 Premier League Cup, only to suffer the heartache of losing in a penalty shoot-out to West Ham.
Will Annan’s stoppage-time strike gave the Tigers a 1-0 victory on the night to cancel out the Hammers’ one-goal lead from the first leg and send the tie into extra-time, but it was the visitors who eventually lifted the cup, winning 5-3 on penalties.
Steve Bruce praised the players, along with Academy Manager Tony Pennock and his staff – “It’s always heartbreaking when you lose on penalties but, over the two games against a top Academy team like West Ham, they acquitted themselves very, very well.”
The final topped off a very successful season for the Tigers Academy as they also secured a third place finish in their first-ever U21League 2 campaign following their recent step up to Category Two status.
Moses Odubajo has had an impressive first season at City, and he is attracting the interest of Nigerian head coach Samson Siasia according to the Hull Daily Mail. The 22 year old has already represented England at Under 20s level, but he qualifies to play for Nigeria through one of his parents. As the full back has not featured competitively for England, he will be able to represent “The Super Eagles” if he wishes to do so without facing any restrictions or sanctions from FIFA.
Ehab Allam defended the upcoming membership scheme in an open letter in Saturday’s matchday programme, but apparently didn’t attend the game. In the letter (also reported in the HDM) Ehab lauded the contentious scheme and claimed that 6,000 memberships had been sold.
The game against Rotherham was essentially a dead rubber, but Bruce picked his strongest team in readiness for the play-offs, and despite the rancor and alienation in the ground due to the scheme a game of football broke out with City trouncing the Millers 5-1. Derby lost 0-1 at home to Ipswich, so maybe City are finally gaining some end of season momentum?
And finally, the enigma that is Hatem Ben Arfa continues to amaze. The player who was an unmitigated flop at City is being linked with a summer move to Barcelona according to L’Equipe. The 29-year-old has scored 17 goals for Nice in Ligue 1 this season, and has been in talks over a free transfer move to Camp Nou this summer.
Rumors of Nick Proschwitz joining Real Madrid are completely unfounded, and have not been reported anywhere.
Mark Sellers @mrmarksellers