RAVEN MACK is a mystic poet-philosopher-artist of the Greater Appalachian unorthodox tradition who publishes zines & physical books & electronic books & music & photography & digital art & just generally whatever feels necessary to survive this deluded earth thru Rojonekku Word Fighting Arts survival systems (Version 69, establish 14 Feb 1973). Comments encouraged.

Wednesday, March 1

25-Man Metaphysical Roster: Hull City A.F.C.

(hopefully children love Roary the Tiger,
enough so at least to use Cash
Converters, kit sponsor)

[25-Man Metaphysical Roster is a football dork methodology meant to establish a listing of players who have been most active for English Premier League teams in their past 100 non-friendly matches. Essentially, it is calculated by minutes played, but weighted towards most recent games. The end result is a listing of the 25 players in a team’s recent history who have had the largest hand on their metaphysical sporting trajectory. The English Premier League was chosen because it is the highest level of football played in an English speaking country, and I speak English. Also, it is what comes on TV here in the USA, where I fucking live. Should I not fail in maintaining my unpaid deadline, a new 25-Man Metaphysical Roster will appear on the 1st and 15th of every month.]

Hull City A.F.C. is a great example of how fringe Premier League clubs have become investment fodder for international bazillionaires. Assem Allam, an Egyptian mogul, bought the club with his son back in 2010. Over the course of his time there, he has tried to change the name from Hull City A.F.C. to Hull Tigers for marketing purposes. With English football club supporters groups being fairly rear view mirror focused and not necessarily regarding the beautiful game as a business so much as a local cultural force, they of course resisted to the point of hating the fucker (which is good). Allam doesn’t even go to that many games because of this. Hull City had always been called the Tigers due to their striped kits, but purposely marketing them as such, including a clumsy mascot called Roary the Tiger (no joke), it was very obviously an owner not giving a fuck about football or the local supporters and simply trying to sell shit to the entire world.
But these things have a way of working themselves out, and the psychic dysfunction caused by such an owner/supporter riff echoed on the pitch, and Hull City crashed out of the Premier League briefly. I’m not sure Allam went to more than a handful of games while they were at Football Championship level, but they got back to Premier League for this season, though are mired firmly in the relegation zone, as they have been all season long. Steve Bruce had been their manager for a few seasons but got fed up with lack of transfer support by management, resigned, and was replaced by his homeboy and assistant Mike Phelan over last summer, who lasted only until two months ago, when he got dropped (as they rested firmly at the bottom of the table) to be replaced by Marco Silva. Silva has given Hull City fans hope they may be able to survive this relegation pitfight.
For devil math guys like Allam, the investment does not work out when you are relegated, and I love that shit, and will root for that every fucking season for every devil ass owner or conglomerate or anybody who puts that devil math to the forefront of all of life. Even as a Swansea supporter, I was almost okay with them being relegated because hopefully it would freeze out their new crappy American consortium owners. Then again, Assem Allam is perfect example of how those types hold onto what they bought, hoping against hope it will get back up to Premier League level, stabilize itself as mid-table, and reap huge financial dividends. Fuck modern football.
Nonetheless, here are the 25 people who have played the strongest metaphysical role in Hull City A.F.C.’s past 100 matches, according to my twisted matrix…
#1: ANDREW ROBERTSON – Glasgow kid who came up through Celtic youth academy but now finds himself deeply immersed in the land of the Anglos, having been firmly entrenched at left fullback for Hull City since summer of 2014.
#2: SAM CLUCAS – Clucas is an English as fuck looking midfielder who I am unable entirely to distinguish from other English as fuck footballers, and honestly don’t watch a lot of Hull City matches so am not too invested in figuring it out. This may be a theme in this half-month’s listing, so I’ll insert this fun fact here instead: the city of Hull was established by monks in the 12th century who needed a good port to export wool.
#3: CURTIS DAVIES – For those against immigration, let us regard one (of endless) footballing examples which counter such thinking, as Davies has English mother and Sierra Leonean father. He joined Wimbledon at age 15, but got released, so wrote a letter to every team in the area (including Millwall, speaking of those against immigration). This led to him being on Luton Town youth team, and again – I am an outsider, an ignorant American full of the self-importance native to our cultural abomination against world civilization, so a young kid born to immigrant father handwriting letters that end up getting him into a youth club called “Luton Town” sounds magical and Dickensian as fuck to me. Everything sounds funny when you have a sheltered existence.
#4: JAKE LIVERMORE – No longer with the club. Livermore had been mainstay as defensive midfielder hybrid, but transferred to West Brom this past January, even though Hull City not exactly thick at defensive end of things right now. I guess when you were at the bottom (and still right there), and the defense isn’t working, not that big a gamble to shake shit up, right?
#5: AHMED ELMOHAMADY – Elmohamady is an Egyptian footballer who was part of their national team’s amazing pre-revolution run, winning the African Cup of Nations back-to-back in 2008 and 2010. (Egypt made the final this year, in an almost return to glory.) Elmohamady likely benefits from good manager/owner relations, as he had tried out and played at Sunderland under former Hull manager Steve Bruce, and was loaned over to Hull a few seasons from Sunderland before Bruce ended up there as well. On top of all this, one has to assume an Egyptian ownership group is more than happy to have solid Egyptian star (at home at least) on the team, and he’s been a workhorse on their squad, appearing nearly always, even if getting rested, coming off bench.
#6: TOM HUDDLESTONE – Huddlestone is 30-year-old midfielder who at one point was first team at Tottenham (thus one of the Big 6 in EPL, even then), but got himself injured regularly, and ended up at Hull, where he’s been set starter for periods, relegated to sub duty other periods, but permanently affixed to their squad since August of 2013, making him one of their most senior ass players.
#7: MICHAEL DAWSON – Another senior ass player, and team captain as well. Also he was only born about 90 miles from Hull, which to me an American seems like he’s from right down the road practically, but in English world, that’s like 138 football clubs away. The English have football clubs like the Americans have McDonalds. (I would prefer football culture to fast food culture, but one chooses not where they pop out a vagina, at least not obviously. Of course this list claims allegiance to metaphysics, and I’m fairly certain we choose completely what we are born into at that metaphysical level, but I can’t prove it, and we live in an age where no matter what you say, some asshole is going to indignantly yell at you “OH YEAH? PROVE IT!”)
#8: ROBERT SNODGRASS – No longer with club, but like Jake Livermore up above, left Hull City this past January transfer window, going to West Ham. He also is another ugly-assed Glaswegian. There are many. (No diss… my people come from the highlands way back, filtered through Appalachia and into Mid-Atlantic Piedmont. I remain ugly as anybody on this Earth, without question. But ugly people are beautiful.)
#9: HARRY MAGUIRE – Football’s depth of development is amazing, as Maguire is this high in activity in last 100 matches for Hull City, and yet is still only 23. He’s been at Hull since summer (American summer… I honestly don’t know how English seasons correspond even slightly) 2014, coming over from Sheffield United, where he’d spent his entire career and adolescence at. He does not have tattoos prominently on his forearm, which is aesthetic sign of traditional defensive role. The further forward into attach a player moves, the more tattoos and rooster-like hairstyles they are required to sport.
#10: ABEL HERNANDEZ – I simultaneously love but also hate South American players in the EPL, and the stories that go along with that. The youth systems in South America are not as deeply colonial as the ones in England (naturally) but young Abel was involved in the Penarol youth system in his native Uruguay. Penarol is one of the top clubs (and has one of the sickest kits in all of the world’s football, in my opinion). He played professional first for a smaller Uruguayan club before moving onto elite level there with Penarol proper, where he exposed his talents very briefly before he was sold off to an Italian club. This is common method there – players do not stay for long periods of time as young players if they can be profited from. He played five seasons at Palermo in Italian top two leagues before signing to join Hull City in 2014 for what was a club record transfer fee then. At this point, he features regularly but sporadically for Hull, though he was main workhorse for them last season in second-level combat. He has netted three goals for the side, all in January, but then he fucked up his hamstring last month.
#11: DAVID MEYLER – Irish dude with the remarkably blue collar Irish footballer club history of Cork City (in native Ireland) then sold to Sunderland (industrial ball) then to Hull City. Also has appeared regularly for Republic of Ireland national team, because all their top athletes play other sports, as they hate the English (and to an extent association football, though this is not entirely true and I am just being internetty).
#12: ELDIN JAKUPOVIC – What builds the psychology of grizzled GK who continues to battle his way into starting XI? Well, how about Bosnian kid diaspora’d off to Switzerland, where he becomes pro footballer, spends a couple seasons from there to Greek leagues before landing in Hull City in 2012, where he has existed (aside from two loans to Leyton Orient) ever since. They’ve signed other GKs, and even now he shares the duties, but Jakupovic always seems to find his way back in front of goal for spells (and more than just the “ok let’s play this guy during all the League and FA Cup games we don’t really care about as much” times).
#13: MOSES ODUBAJO – Odubajo, according to the internet, moved in with his older brother at age 13 when his moms died of malaria. His full name is Moses Adeshina Ayoola Junior Odubajo, which leads me to believe we really skimp on naming conventions in western (“white”) culture. Not me though. All my kids got multiple middle names, and I assign them aliases on regular basis as well depending on how well they keep up with their chores.
#14: ADAMA DIOMANDE – Young Adama’s first name is Valentin, and he was born on February 14, same day as me, which makes me angry at my parents (again with our weak ass western naming conventions) because Valentin Raven Mack would’ve been pretty great name. (Plus acronym VRM sounds tailor-made for fame.) Anyways, our man Valentin grew up in Norway and played his entire footballing career in Scandinavia, except for a brief season in Belarus, before joining Hull City at beginning of last season’s Championship level slog. He’s a striker, and scored two goals this season, but nothing since December.
#15: ALLAN MCGREGOR – There’s only one person I expect who actually reads this list and that’s my friend Paul, who is diehard Celtic fan. So Paul, let me tell you about what a scumfuck Allan McGregor is. Youth and early professional career all tied to Rangers, thus means he was developed as trash human being. After finally escaping through Turkey and perhaps being deprogrammed at Besiktas, he moved on to Hull City. But he found himself behind two other GKs this year, so he was sent on season-long loan to Cardiff City (Welsh scum), thus confirming that trash players will always find homes on trash teams. (FVKK RANGERS! FVKK CARDIFF!)
#16: MOHAMMED DIAME – No longer with the club. Senegalese guy by way of French colonialism, who held down the midfield for Hull for two full seasons, and even scored the decisive goal in the Championship play-off final 1-0 win at Wembley which got Hull City back to the Premier League. Sadly, he signed with Newcastle United, so he remains at Football Championship level again this season.
#17: DAVID MARSHALL – The other GK who is sort of the starter but also not the starter. I don’t know man, Hull City seems to be all over the place with their GK history in recent seasons. But you could do worse than dirty-faced 30-something Bosnian and Glaswegian Scot as your two choices.
#18: RYAN MASON – Midfielder who came up through Tottenham academy, and had been with the Spurs at professional level since 2010, although this mostly consisted of loans out to Doncaster Rovers, Millwall, Lorient, and Swindon Town. He actually got loaned down from Lorient top club to Lorient B team in 2013. He cracked top Tottenham squad last season, scored his first goal for them, but then got injured and stagnated again. Finally Spurs gave up on the dude so he flowed down the footballing pyramid hill, and landed at Hull City this past August. I think the dude is doomed though, because he cracked his skull (for real) in January against Chelsea, and is still out due to that. (I hope he has to wear one of those Petr Cech helmets, because those things make me laugh, until somebody responsibly points out it’s due to skull injuries and dangers of death. But fuck it man, my whole life has had risk of skull injury and possible death right fucking there. You not gonna make me beta back with that type of chastisement.)
#19: SHAUN MALONEY – Another Scottish bro who went through Celtic ranks, but obviously is not all that great because he played 8 months in beginning of 2015 at MLS Chicago Fire. Nobody worth a shit plays in the MLS. MLS is for shitty Americans, maybe Latino players angling for European eyeballs (high maybe on that because you’d be better off elsewhere, and likely just aren’t good enough for other Latino leagues domestico), and then famous people having swan song retirement paycheck in front of Americans.
#20: DIEUMERCI MBOKANI – Because of following African football (both club and national team level) for a few years, I’m infatuated/fascinated by DR Congolese players and that nation’s footballing culture. It’s a pretty fucked nation historically, not only by the Belgians (well, mostly by the Belgians) but also by kleptocrats in power since Belgians were expelled. Congolese players have a certain dead-but-alive-as-fuck look in their eyes, and Mbokani is no exception to this stereotype. Oddly, he is actually contracted to Dynamo Kyiv in the Ukraine (most all the former Soviet leagues are notoriously racist places to ply your footballing trade, due to “nationalism”) but has spent as much time loaned out to English clubs (both Norwich City and Hull City) as over there. Been at Hull since this past August.
#21: MARKUS HENRIKSEN – Norwegian attack MFer (midfielder of motherfucker, choose your wording) who came from Dutch leagues on loan to Hull City last August, shown brightness, thus the move was made permanent this past January transfer window.
#22: CHUBA AKPOM – 21-year-old English young man of Nigerian descent who came up through Arsenal academy system and is still contracted to them. Was loaned out to Hull the entirety of last season, helping them gain promotion, and even scored a hat trick in an FA Cup tie away to Bury. Spent early part of this season on the Arsenal U23 team, but now he now is kicking it with Brighton Hove & Albion, who are entrenched firmly at the top of the Football Championship table (thus Premier League-bound in all likelihood).
#23: JOSH TYMON – 17-year-old kid who came up through youth academy at Hull City since age 12, and was promoted to main team in 2016. He scored his first goal against Swansea City in the FA Cup this past January. 17 years old and already has 4 Premier League appearances… even at a lower-level club like Hull City, that’s pretty fuckin’ impressive.
#24: ISAAC HAYDEN – Like Akpom, another Arsenal academy kid who spent last year’s entire season on loan to Hull City. Arsenal sold him off to Newcastle United this past July on five-year deal (which of course means nothing in terms of actual time), which could be his ticket to make an actual Premier League debut next season (as all his time with Hull was one level down).

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#25: SONE ALUKO – No longer with the club. Aluko is a nomadic player, English kid of Nigerian descent, who played for English national youth teams up until U19 level before jumping to Nigerian U20 team (and now has had 7 caps for Nigerian men’s team itself). Club-wise, he’s done nothing but bounce as well, between England and Scotland, though his four seasons with Hull were the one period of stability for him. He was left to join Fulham on a free transfer this past July though.

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