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Ringing the bell for Hull

Steve Wilson | 18:56 UK time, Monday, 11 August 2008

So the new season is upon us at last, or already, depending on your point of view. I for one am delighted.

Last time out Manchester United won their first and last games on penalties, winning the Community Shield in the first and the Champions League in the last.

History has already been repeated with the first bit of silverware of this season and they will be one of the favourites to win the Champions League again. At this rate there will be no room for any players on the United team photo, just a line up of trophies surrounding Fergie.

fergie438.jpgI'll be working at Old Trafford on Sunday to commentate on the game against Newcastle, a fixture traditionally won by United with a hatful of goals.

Take nothing for granted though; you may remember that Reading were the first lambs to the slaughter at Old Trafford last season but came away with a nil-nil draw. Didn't do them much good in the long run though, did it?

I am organising the Match of the Day sweep again which was won last season by editor Andrew Clement. To our shame the commentators performed particularly badly in predicting who would finish where and win what. I'll let you know if the tables are turned as the season progresses.

I expect virtually everyone who enters the sweep to tip either Hull or Stoke or both to go down. They may be right, but I really hope that no team has to go through being humiliated like Derby were at the top level.

I'm off to the KC Stadium on Saturday for the first day of the season and Hull City's match against Fulham. This will be Hull's first ever game in football's top flight and I'm told that they could have sold out many times over.

I've never been to the KC Stadium but went to Hull's old Boothferry Park many times. My grandfather was a Hull City fan and took us to see the likes of Ken Wagstaffe and, towards the end of his career, Billy Bremner play for the Tigers.

There was never much of a crowd in those days, but we always had to leave 10 minutes early to "avoid the traffic". I well remember leaving the ground with Hull losing 2 - 1, only to find out back at his house that they'd won 3 - 2.

In 2001 Hull very nearly went out of business and out of the Football League. In the end relegation and bankruptcy were narrowly avoided with local businessmen paying the bills to keep the club afloat.

At the time those benefactors presented the club with a bell, asking that it should not be rung until the club's first ever game in the top flight. They could hardly have envisaged that would happen just seven years later.

I'll be there to see the bell chiming on Saturday before kick-off. My grandfather - who'd be 102 if he were alive today - would have loved to be there too. But I bet he'd still leave early.

Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    If ever there was a team were the support counted as a twelfth player then Hull have got it World wide.

    Fortress KC will be no pushover and I have a hunch about the last game of the season being a bit of an upset for that team from over the Pennines.

    Ring that bell and watch the Tigers roar.

  • Comment number 2.

    Wow! One of my numerous predictions come true! I was mocked and taunted by my colleagues at work when I mentioned in June 2007 that Hull City will be playing in the Premier League this season.
    Not being a local lad from Hull, I was told to hope and dream by most of the Hull locals. And now, who's laughing! It's refreshing to see a passionate town finally get its share of Premier League limelight.
    I'm a die-hard fan of Manchester United but cannot hide the fact that the Tigers deserve their place in the top flight of English football.
    For those detractors who think the Tigers will do "a Derby", sorry the Black and Amber have come to stay for good!

  • Comment number 3.

    Steve I don't know if you read your comments but whatever.

    What I want to say is I LOVE YOU as a commentator, you are by far my favourite and I really hope BBC put you as NO.1!

  • Comment number 4.

    Steve, do you think Manchester United will be winning the League?
    Without Ronaldo, they are pretty useless.
    Also I hope Hull, West Brom and (through gritted teeth as they did send Leicester City down by winning on final day of the season) Stoke City stay up, it would be nice, I like seeing clubs like Hull do so well.
    Derby were awful and you have to admit, they deserve to go down, replacing Davies with Jewell and now look at them losing embrassingly to Doncaster on Saturday.
    Also Steve, are you going to be MOTD's Number 1 now that John Motson is scaling down his commitments
    I would like to see you and Guy Mowbray share the top games rather then the Irritaing Jonathan Pearce!

  • Comment number 5.

    Decent article Steve - pity about the incorrect spelling of the legend Ken Wagstaff.

    Also 'never much of a crowd in those days' -sadly true by the time Bill Bremner signed for the club in 1975 but way off when Waggy played - often before crowds over 40000 at Boothferry Park (Chelsea 6th replay 1966 and Stoke 6th Round 1970 to name two highs)

    Otherwise keep promoting the Tiger Nation and look forward to Football Focus come Saturday to ring the Premiership Bell.

  • Comment number 6.

    Nice article, Steve. I enjoy your commentary.
    Agree with corrections posted above - seeing Waggy put goals either side of Gordon Banks in front of 43,000...mind that traffic.

    I'll be demanding a public apology from Lawrenson to whom we were invisible for most of last season and right up to the end he was 'sure' it would be Watford and Palace. I expect him to smugly forecast doom and gloom...

    Whatever happens this season, we have earned it in more ways than one.

  • Comment number 7.

    Steve

    I assume when you say 'a fixture traditionally won by United' you mean Manchester and not Newcastle - there is more than one United competing!

    Otherwise not a bad article. Let's hope United can do a Reading and get a point.

  • Comment number 8.

    "a fixture traditionally won by United"

    hard for it not to be won by 'united' since there's 2

    though on very rare occasions there is the odd draw

    i also agree with the other posters, you are way better than any other commentator the bbc has to offer

    specially pierce (pearce? i dunno lol)

    im sorry but when i hear his voice i just can't get the image of robot wars out of my mind

  • Comment number 9.

    Nice article Steve....

    Was the 3-2 City v. Derby, March 1985, by an chance?

  • Comment number 10.

    Nice story about your Grandfather.

    Let's hope that Hull can do it on Saturday for the memory of Grandpa Wilson, and all the other long suffering Boothfrerry Park boys who are sadly no longer here to see their club's day in the sun.

  • Comment number 11.

    yeah, fair points on your commentating. i have to turn the sound (or channel) off when motson starts screaming. so keep up the good work and retire motson!!

  • Comment number 12.

    Hi Steve,
    Hope you enjoy your first trip to the KC and you'll want to come back again in the future.
    I've been going to City for 30 years, and having gone from ecstacy at Wembley..... to real excitement to our new midfield signings.......to worry over our pre-season friendlies.......I now find with 4 days to go I'm back to excited and just can't wait for it all to start.
    The Tiger Nation know it will be hard at times, but if we are the next 'Derby', who cares!! (We've waited 104 years for the chance). But you never know, and we may surprise a few, and it'll be nice to be at the head of a few MOTD programmes.......and not just crammed in at the end with the 'other' matches.
    Roll on Saturday!!

  • Comment number 13.

    I agree Steve is one of the better commentators but think a few of you are being harsh on Pearce. He's not too bad. Don't like Mowbray as he is a mackem. All of the comentators are okay apart from that bird with the really high pitched voice, its just painful and I'm sure a lot of you will agree. I'm all for birds getting involved in sports broadcasting, the lovely Gabby for example if fine by me, but female commentators is a no go!

  • Comment number 14.

    Having Hull and Stoke in the Premier League means that there is only one relegation place for Blackburn, Bolton, Fulham, Middlesbrough, Newcastle, Sunderland, West Brom, West Ham and Wigan to play for. It will be nip and tuck all season until the final whistle of the final game. Thus it promises to be the most open and exciting Premier League since it came into being.

    There are few British sports commentators who do not get in the way of the action. They all sound better with the mute button pressed. The best commentators on the box are ESPN's pairing of Jon Miller and Joe Morgan on Sunday Night Baseball, which is on Five every week. At least Hazel Irvine does not cover football - now that would be something to look forward to.

  • Comment number 15.

    Personally I'm just delighted that the Mighty Don legend that is Dean Windy-Ass will be back on my telly.

    Last minute winner in the last game of the season to keep the Tigers up anyone? I think I would be in tears

    All hail, you know you want to

  • Comment number 16.

    14. At 4:26pm on 12 Aug 2008, sweetalkinguy wrote:
    Having Hull and Stoke in the Premier League means that there is only one relegation place for Blackburn, Bolton, Fulham, Middlesbrough, Newcastle, Sunderland, West Brom, West Ham and Wigan to play for. It will be nip and tuck all season until the final whistle of the final game. Thus it promises to be the most open and exciting Premier League since it came into being.


    -------------------------------------------

    Can't see the 2 North East teams involved in a relegation fight to be honest.

  • Comment number 17.

    14. At 4:26pm on 12 Aug 2008, sweetalkinguy wrote:
    There are few British sports commentators who do not get in the way of the action. They all sound better with the mute button pressed. The best commentators on the box are ESPN's pairing of Jon Miller and Joe Morgan on Sunday Night Baseball, which is on Five every week. At least Hazel Irvine does not cover football - now that would be something to look forward to.
    -------------------

    funny you should say that - as an American I have to say Joe Morgan gets repetitive very quickly (Jon Miller is OK). for me the best commentating team is Joe Buck and Troy Aikman, who cover Sunday afternoon NFL football for FOX (obviously you won't be seeing them on BBC anytime soon!)

  • Comment number 18.

    funny you should say that - as an American I have to say Joe Morgan gets repetitive very quickly (Jon Miller is OK). for me the best commentating team is Joe Buck and Troy Aikman, who cover Sunday afternoon NFL football for FOX (obviously you won't be seeing them on BBC anytime soon!)

    -----------------------------------------------------

    One can only hope.

  • Comment number 19.

    I live near Hull and have been to some games in the last few seasons and am astounded that they were promoted and like most other football followers think the relegated teams this year will be Hull, Stoke and one other from a possible six.

    That said, looking at the League table displayed on the Premier League main page, looks like Hull have already achieved their highest position and sit proudly above both Manchester Clubs, Liverpool and Tottenham, cracking!

  • Comment number 20.

    At 4:38pm on 12 Aug 2008, Stevie Mac 14 wrote:

    14. At 4:26pm on 12 Aug 2008, sweetalkinguy wrote:
    Having Hull and Stoke in the Premier League means that there is only one relegation place for Blackburn, Bolton, Fulham, Middlesbrough, Newcastle, Sunderland, West Brom, West Ham and Wigan to play for. It will be nip and tuck all season until the final whistle of the final game. Thus it promises to be the most open and exciting Premier League since it came into being.


    -------------------------------------------

    Can't see the 2 North East teams involved in a relegation fight to be honest.

    --------------------------------------------

    I count three there mate!

  • Comment number 21.

    'but think a few of you are being harsh on Pearce'

    Harsh?
    The Bloke is awful, he screams when Man Utd score and he is poor.

    'All of the comentators are okay apart from that bird with the really high pitched voice'

    I bet you are referring to Jacqui Oatley, who is better then Pearce.

  • Comment number 22.

    What you have to remember is that most have waited a long lomg time for this moment. 43 years is a long time and I am going to Live the Dream all season long regardless and come Saturday at 3 I will be in tears again I am sure

  • Comment number 23.

    I'm delighted there is so much media attention on the Tigers. I'm sick of people in Vancouver saying "who" when they ask who I support. I watched City get promoted with my 81 old Mother live on TV and it was one of the proudest moments of my life. I don't remember Raich Carter play as she did but I did see Waggy turn Peter Bonetti inside out at Stamford Bridge in 1966 and the same with Gordon Banks in 1970. Those were glorious days. I'll be there in March with my son and we'll love every single minute of it.

  • Comment number 24.

    I am delighted to see Hull in the Premier ship. Lets hear it for the unfashionable teams. Hey who wants to be a brainless follower of fashion?
    Best wishes to hull from Wrexham fan -'enjoying' life in the premiership (Blue Square)- temporarily we hope.
    We can take inspiration from yourselves - having been in Div 4 relatively recently. Ok we are in Div 5 - but as any fooball fan does 'we believe'- heres hoping ours stay in Blue Sq is short and you are in the other premiership next year and the auumn of 2009. best wishes.

  • Comment number 25.

    14. At 4:26pm on 12 Aug 2008, sweetalkinguy wrote:
    Having Hull and Stoke in the Premier League means that there is only one relegation place for Blackburn, Bolton, Fulham, Middlesbrough, Newcastle, Sunderland, West Brom, West Ham and Wigan to play for. It will be nip and tuck all season until the final whistle of the final game. Thus it promises to be the most open and exciting Premier League since it came into being.


    -------------------------------------------

    Can't see the 2 North East teams involved in a relegation fight to be honest.

    --------------------------------------------

    I count three there mate!

    --------------------------------------------

    Don't include 'Boro, they're from Yorkshire.

  • Comment number 26.

    The bell has already been rung once, for the opening of the KC Stadium, and the agreement was that it would not be rung again until the Tigers played in the top division, which will happen on Saturday.

    Steve - enjoy your first visit to the KC, it's a stadium worthy of the Premier League.

  • Comment number 27.

    "I am delighted to see Hull in the Premier ship. Lets hear it for the unfashionable teams"
    From all the discussion boards and whatnot, iv still not found one person who doesn't want to see Hull doing well. I think they have inadvertently become the most fashionable team in the premiership, I'm not sure why but it's definitely good news.
    I think it could be to do with the genuine love their supporters continue to show, that and Dean Windass.

    Either way, Stoke have not been getting the same attention.

  • Comment number 28.

    I have been a Hull fan since the 15th January 1982 when I saw my first game. I have followed them through thick and and a lot more thin during the years. It started with Adam Pearson as chairman who every Hull fan should be indebted to, then the stadium followed along with Peter Taylor. Then the Duffen and Brown partnership has now taken us into the promised land after 104 years. The wembley playoff was a dream day especially the wonder strike by Windass. I though am going to miss the majority of Hull games for the first time since I began supporting them as I am working in Sudan. I think the term 'sods law' was created for an instance like this as it is the first time i have worked abroad. that said I shall be converting as many sudanese to the black and amber army!

  • Comment number 29.

    Dreams do sometimes come true . The fact that Hull City will be in the Premier League this season given the events of the last 1o years gives hope to every club that that it might just happen for them .
    Supporters of the 'big' clubs cannot understand how much it means to the Tiger Nation . 10 years ago our big game of the season was against Scarborough to stay in the Football League .

    Dare to Dream .

  • Comment number 30.

    i think hull could go either way but i think stoke are doomed and could turn out to be the new derby

    some bookmakers have started paying out to people who bet on stoke to be relegated...it might be a publicity stunt but it confirms what everyones thinking

    id like west brom to stay up...being from middlesbrough and all but they havent started well though

  • Comment number 31.

    Does anyone know what the most percentage any player has given? I certainly remember David Beckham giving 200% once according to John Motson but one of my colleagues is convinced that he remembers Glen Hoddle talking about someone giving 500% but I find that hard to believe as he is unable to remember the player in question. I am convinced 200% is the most so far.

 

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