Tim Holland speaks to Paul Bennett, Hull City fan about gate crashing the party

Tim Holland speaks to Paul Bennett, Hull City fan about gate crashing the party, Abdoulaye Faye the beast and Danny Graham’s scoring boots

How do you rate Hull’s start to the season?

It’s early days but I think we’ve made a good account of ourselves. Sometimes being promoted makes you feel like you’re gate crashing a party, everyone else got the invitation and knows what bottle of wine to bring and we turned up with a bottle of squash instead! I think once we settle into the league we start getting results.

Following on from being runners up in the Championship, what were your expectations coming into the season?

You know when your first match of the season is Chelsea away that it’s going to be difficult but I think last season’s experience will definitely help. I think when fans see smaller clubs like us get promoted they rub their hands and expect at least 4 points in the bag but it’s up to us to prove them wrong. It’s all about establishing ourselves in the league and playing the way we know we can play and not being overawed.

What are your views on Steve Bruce as a manager?

I’ll be honest, when he was appointed I was disappointed but like many Hull fans he has turned me round. I think it’s the same for most fans probably including West Ham fans – there are some managers that aren’t the most likeable when they manage other clubs, but when they manage your club that goes out the window! You have to forget about your previous opinions and get behind the manager.

Steve Bruce signed a number of players in the summer. What are you initial impressions of the likes of Tom Huddlestone and Yannick Sagbo?

Steve Bruce performed well in the transfer window from my perspective. We ended up breaking our transfer record with Tom Huddlestone, who might not be the most glamorous of signings but brings loads of Premier League experience to our team. I’ve also been impressed with both Figueroa and Curtis Davies coming into the team. Sagbo was unlucky with his sending off so I suppose I can’t really comment on him yet. Resigning our loan signings from last season was good business as well, players like Boyd, Gedo and Elmohamady can all change matches.

You signed both Steve Harper and Allan McGregor in the summer. Who would be your number one?

Steve Harper is great back up, as he’s shown throughout his career but it has to be McGrego. He is a top ‘keeper with bags of experience so for me so it has to be him. I was surprised with signing two ‘keepers but I suppose competition for places is never a bad thing.

Your owner recently announced the rebranding of the club to Hull City Tigers. How have fans reacted to it?

I think it’s not only pointless but it shows a complete disregard for the fans. Saying that ‘City’ is too common is ridiculous. We will always be indebted to Assem Allam but he needs to remember we’re not a brand we’re a football club with traditions.

Ex West Ham defender Abdoulaye Faye is still in the Hull City squad. How’s he getting on?

He’s more of a squad player now but as West Ham fans must know the lad is a beast. He’s 35 now and has only signed a one year deal but he was immense last year and scored some crucial goals for us. I was surprised that West Ham let him leave.

When you think of prolific strikers, you don’t tend to think of Danny Graham. Is that a bit unfair?

I think it is slightly. He offers more than just goals, similar to Andy Carroll, and at one point was one of the most prolific goal scorers in the country. You don’t lose that kind of ability completely.

Who should West Ham fans be wary of in the Hull squad when the club’s meet?

Elmohamady, Huddlestone and Koren all know to be dangerous and know where the goal is. Aluko can also be a handful for defenders, as well as Graham if he’s got his scoring boots on!

What’s been your opinion of West Ham over the past few seasons?

I’m not a huge admirer of Allardyce or of his football but he’s put together a team that are hard to beat similar to his Bolton team of the 2000s. I still think you need a decent goal scorer.

Which West Ham players would you have in your squad?

I think Joe Cole is a very likeable player and I’m pleased he’s back at West Ham. If Jarvis keeps playing well I think he could play for England.

What’s your prediction for both clubs this season?

I think both clubs are going to be in the relegation battle this season unfortunately. Hull to finish 16th, West Ham 17th.

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