To say “it’s not been a great week for City” wins today’s understatement of the day contest. Mark Sellers is understandably downbeat.
The week started with another ho-hum result at home as City drew 1-1 with Nottingham Forest, who had just parted company with manager Dougie Freedman, on Tuesday. The automatic promotion hopes suffered an additional blow on the same evening when Brighton beat Reading, which moved them up to second in the table. City dropped to fourth. Almost as depressing as the result was the attendance against Forest – 15,663.
Late on Tuesday evening the news also came out that City would be implementing a new pricing structure for next season. This will take the form of a monthly Direct Debit membership scheme, scrapping the concept of Season Tickets. The scheme involves closing the Upper West Stand, except when demand on match days is high. This will mean almost 1,800 fans will have to move, and more will have to relocate to take advantage of the cheaper zones in the stadium. Payment will be monthly, throughout the calendar year, not just the football season.
The HDM reported that City are the first club in England to offer such a membership plan, although Barnet introduced a similar scheme ahead of the 2013/14 season. As is often the case with these things, the devil is in the detail. The price will no longer be set by your age or circumstances, but purely on which zone your seat is in. This means no more reductions for seniors, children, or teenagers. Amber Nectar have published a detailed breakdown of how the new “Earn Your Stripes” scheme could affect you – the club will be releasing the full details next week.
Reaction on social media was not favourable, as although there will be savings for some, many people are unhappy about the enforced moves, un-affordability for young fans, and lack of meaningful consultation. HCST will survey all members when the full details are released in order to determine the Trust’s response.
Better news came from City’s under-21s outfit as they reached the Premier League Cup final against West Ham United, following a penalty shoot-out win over Huddersfield Town on Tuesday night. Boss Tony Pennock, said, “It’s pretty unbelievable really considering it’s only our first year as a Category Two Academy.”
Wednesday saw the announcement that Curtis Davies has been given a two-year extension to his contract. The 31-year-old defender was quoted as saying, “Hopefully the next two years of my contract will be back in the Premier League.”
There is not much transfer news at this time of year, but reports from Germany suggest that Hull City are interested in signing French striker Anthony Modeste from FC Koln. The 27-year-old forward joined FC Koln (nicknamed the “Billy Goats”) in the summer. Crystal Palace are also reportedly watching the Frenchman.
Ehab Allam was back in the HDM again on Thursday claiming that the “City sale won’t be happening in near future.” Although the Allams are “actively looking for new buyer”, they maintain, “they want the Tigers to go to a good home.”
As Friday came around it proved to be a bad end to a terrible week for the Tigers. An away win at Middlesbrough would have got the automatic promotion bid back on track, but it wasn’t to be. City had most of the possession, huffed and puffed, but failed to score. A sucker punch at the death by ‘Boro ensured the three points went to our closest rivals.
Next up is an international break meaning the next fixture is Bristol City at home on 2nd April. Hopefully this will give the manager and the squad time to regroup and refocus, although it’s somewhat concerning that Steve Bruce has yet to deny the increasing rumours linking him to the Aston Villa job.
Mark Sellers @mrmarksellers