The effects of Hull’s stint as 2017 City of Culture were immediately visible this weekend, as the new cultured European manager of the city’s football club took charge of his first game after replacing English manager Mike Phelan. Whilst Hull City have publicly argued that Mike Phelan’s record of 6 wins out of 24 games tells its own story, insiders have hinted that his dismissal reflects tensions between Phelan’s no-nonsense approach to football, and the city’s newly found aspirations to be a melting pot of European culture and creativity.
‘We are experiencing a cultural renaissance here in 2017, and the feeling is that Hull City have got to start pulling their weight,’ said Cecilia French, from the local Tourist Board. ‘There’s been little evidence of fireworks on the pitch, and the only artistry has been of the piss variety. Creatively, they leave a lot to be desired, although between you and me, I do think Alex Bruce is an excellent example of the City’s brutalist architecture. The football, to be honest, though, has been less tiki-taka and more taking the mickey.’
The club have moved quickly to appoint a new coach until the end of the season, with the city claiming that the appearance of the managerial merry go-round in the city centre is like to remain long after the end of the cultural festival. Marco Silva has promised attractive football, and impressed city leaders with his abilities to drop lines from 19th century Portuguese plays into his programme notes.
‘All this is complete bollocks,’ retorted Phelan. ‘My team could do culture with the best of ’em. Indeed, it was only last Saturday night that the lads put on a temporary art installation in town. At least I think that is what the newspapers meant when they said the team made a total exhibition of themselves at 1a.m. down Hull Waterfront’.
Longer term, the club are said to be looking for a permanent manager with even stronger European credentials, with Gerard Houllier, Nick Clegg and Tim Barrow the current favourites for the job. Barrow is favoured for his strong negotiating style, now an essential for post-match interviews with Damien Johnson. Unlike Brexit, however, arrangements for Hull City to leave the top flight are likely to be complete by the second week of May.
Hat-tip to Midfield Diamond