• Welcome to the ShrimperZone forums.
    You are currently viewing our boards as a guest which only gives you limited access.

    Existing Users:.
    Please log-in using your existing username and password. If you have any problems, please see below.

    New Users:
    Join our free community now and gain access to post topics, communicate privately with other members, respond to polls, upload content and access many other special features. Registration is fast, simple and free. Click here to join.

    Fans from other clubs
    We welcome and appreciate supporters from other clubs who wish to engage in sensible discussion. Please feel free to join as above but understand that this is a moderated site and those who cannot play nicely will be quickly removed.

    Assistance Required
    For help with the registration process or accessing your account, please send a note using the Contact us link in the footer, please include your account name. We can then provide you with a new password and verification to get you on the site.

Slipperduke

The Camden Cad
Joined
Aug 24, 2004
Messages
4,333
Location
North London
There can’t be many people who, when the Championship season began, thought that today’s SG$120m Play-Off Final would be contested between newly promoted Bristol City and almost relegated Hull City. In fact, if you’d have asked an expert, or even if you’d just have asked me, you’d have been told that the chances of both them even staying up in the second flight were probably quite limited. Astonishingly, we are now just 90 minutes away from one of them joining West Bromich Albion and Stoke City in the big time.

But don’t think for a moment that these are just two small-time outfits, looking for a quick season in the limelight. Even in the midst of their relegation battle, Hull City were still attracting nearly 20,000 to the KC Stadium and the city of Bristol is an untapped gold mine of footballing potential. Staying in the Premier League is a challenge that may well be beyond both teams, but if one of them could do it, just for one season, they would have more chance of establishing a foundation there than smaller clubs like Reading or Wigan. When the noveau football fans eventually lose interest, it will be the proper clubs like Bristol City and Hull that survive.

Unlikely as it may seem, there is a strong argument for labelling Bristol City boss Gary Johnson as one of the best up-and-coming English managerial talents. Spells at Cambridge and Kettering were followed by an unlikely period in charge of the Latvian national team. He returned to England to guide non-league Yeovil through two promotions and to the brink of Championship football before he joined the Robins, who were then floundering. A manager with an eye for undiscovered talent, he has assembled a side that have gone from the bottom of League One to the brink of the Premier League by playing good football. They boast a number of exciting players in their ranks including the podgy genius of Lee Trundle, the mesmeric flank-work of Michael McIndoe and the sun-tanned class of Australian Nick Carle, and they are certain to entertain at Wembley.

Hull City’s boss Phil Brown is another success story. Once Sam Allardyce’s assistant at Bolton Wanderers, he left to try and prove himself in his own right, failing miserably with Derby County and getting the bullet within seven months. Brown picked himself up, dusted himself down and bounced straight back as assistant manager to Phil Parkinson at Hull. Luckily for Brown, Parkinson was failing spectacularly, and his new boss quickly became his ex-boss. Brown stepped in as caretaker, won back-to-back games and was awarded the job on a permanent basis, rewarding the club for their faith by guiding them clear of the relegation dog-fight.

Despite this relative success, no-one could have expected to see the club building on it so quickly and travelling down to Wembley today for a shot at a season with the superpowers. The goals of on-loan striker Frazer Campbell have certainly helped, but so too has the experience of 39 year old Dean Windass and one Nicky Barmby. But the sum of Hull is worth more than their parts. They are a brave, battling outfit, not afraid to get physical if the occasion requires, but also clever enough to play some very decent stuff themselves.

Never mind the Champions League Final, this is officially the most valuable game in world football. Two teams with one shot at a place in the most lucrative league in the planet. Expect thrills and spills and some glorious celebrations, because whoever wins today will be described as an unlikely victor.
 

Slipperduke

The Camden Cad
Joined
Aug 24, 2004
Messages
4,333
Location
North London
When the final whistle sounded, it was all too much for the oldest man on the pitch. With the roaring celebrations of over 40,000 of his fans, his people, ringing out across Wembley, Dean Windass sank to his knees in front of them and wept. Hull City, who were languishing in the basement division at the beginning of the decade, are in the Premier League and it was Windass who put them there with a thunderous first half volley. How fitting that it should be a man who watched them as a child from the terraces of their old stadium, who delivered their proudest moment. In an era when a footballer's dedication is constantly questioned, Windass is a joy to watch. He lives and breathes this football club.

For his manager, Phil Brown, there was quiet satisfaction and pride. Brown was in the Premier League as assistant to Sam Allardyce at Bolton, but his first attempt at solo management ended in disaster when he was sacked after just seven months at Derby County. Now his new side will replace them in the top flight. Revenge is rarely so sweet. Hull were in the relegation zone of the Championship when he arrived, but with shrewd purchases and excellent man-management, he has presided over an incredible change of fortunes.

Windass was the goalscoring hero and the man of the match, but he couldn't have done it without the impressive Frazer Campbell, on loan from Manchester United. Campbell latched on to a 38th minute Nicky Barmby through-ball and jinked into the penalty area, dancing through the Bristol City defence. Forced wide by his victims, most young strikers would have tried in vain to crash the ball home from a tight angle, but not this boy. Campbell looked up, noticed a heavy-set, bleached blonde hardman on the edge of the box and lofted the ball to him with remarkable precision. Windass did the rest. When Sir Alex Ferguson watches the highlights, he may consider giving Campbell a chance at Old Trafford.

This was a terrible day at the office for Bristol City who lost their defender Jamie McCombe to overnight illness, their right-back Bradley Orr to a sickening head injury and just couldn't find their groove on a long frustrating afternoon. Lee Trundle, their most gifted player, was woefully off the pace, tripping over the ball and losing possession. When the ball fell to him on he edge of the six-yard box, it was almost inevitable that his shot would be deflected over. That deflection, caused by the excellent Michael Turner, was as important as a goal for Hull City, coming as it did in the middle of an extended spell of pressure from the Robins. It crushed Bristol City's confidence. If they couldn't score from there, they couldn't score from anywhere.

Questions will be asked of this Hull City side soon. Are they just fresh meat for the Premier League grinder? Can they do better than last year's play-off winners Derby County? How many of this team will still be here in August. But these are questions for another day. For now, London reverberates to the sound of their celebrations and somewhere, even as you read this report, that old warrior Windass is probably still out there with them.
 

Bluesmanager

I'm a Barbie Girl
Joined
Nov 20, 2004
Messages
5,480
Location
Somewhere where the weather isn't killing me
Well done Hull, but I can't help but feel that they'll be the New Derby next year. The KC's what, 22k tops? Sure they'll pack it every week but it's just too small for a long term Premiership side. Their squad's comprised of players who are too old for the Prem, realistically speaking, Windass hasn't got the legs to do the job in the Prem and the last time I checked, Nick Barmby was about as mobile as the Empire State Building.

Unless Brown invests heavily (and I know it's said every year about the promoted sides but unfortunately it's true), they're going right back down, which is a shame as I don't mind them too much (Brown's connections to Col Ewe and some really dodgy kits aside).
 
Top