Hull long for more Irish lads

Norwich 1 Hull 0

Which ones are we talking about exactly? The ones with Kayleah Long, wife of Shane, of course, the lady who, just a few days previously, had made it quite clear via her preferred social medium that leaving the Midlands for a new life in Hull was simply not an option, especially as she was expecting the couple’s second child.

Her statement soon saw Tigers defender Curtis Davies wade in with his own 140-character opinion followed by countless supporters of both West Bromwich, the selling club, and Hull debating exactly who wears the trousers in the Long household.

Had Bruce included Mrs L in the talks? “Of course, but we do that with every player,” he bristled before stomping off. Perhaps understandably. Watching your side concede 87th-minute winners tends to dampen most people’s spirits.

Fortunately, Mrs Long does seem to have been won over. “Today the Big move!” she tweeted enthusiastically yesterday “Really looking forward to it now, new chapter, new house and new beginning in 2014! Just wish could click fingers b there.”

The former Cork City striker, who did not play at Carrow Road because of an ankle injury brought with him from the Hawthorns, will cost Bruce £7.5m should Hull stay up and joins an already-sizeable Irish contingent on Humberside. This comprises Paul McShane, Robbie Brady, David Meyer and Stephen Quinn as the experienced members, plus the little-used Conor Henderson and Bruce’s son Alex, who has, of course, switched from the Republic to Northern Ireland.

Here’s what Bruce senior had to say before the game, when in better humour, on the subject of Irish players and the prospect of adding another.

“I did question that I now have five in a squad of 24 which is quite ridiculous but in their own way they are all terrific lads and I am delighted if we get another one,” he said. “They have a hunger and desire and way with them I like in a player, They never ever let you down, certainly not on purpose. They might have a drink or two too much but when you have a squad like that you are halfway way there.”

So there you go — Hull, the City of (drinking) Culture, is the perfect place for an Irishman to make his home. The Tigers don’t travel too well though as Ryan Bennett’s 87th-minute winner meant they have now tossed away 28 of a possible 33 points on the road.

The win also saved Chris Hughton, Brian Kerr’s number two with the Republic a decade ago, from the sack and moved Norwich up to 12th place, one below the Tigers.

Hughton was able to welcome Anthony Pilkington back from injury after a two-month absence but knows Celtic are keen to sign Robert Snodgrass, who put in a man-of-the-match performance and supplied the cross for the winner. The Scot is a childhood Celtic fan and admitted the lure of Parkhead was strong.

“It’s my hometown and I stay five seconds away from the stadium,” he said. “I’m a Celtic fan and so many people have been texting me. There’s so much speculation. especially during the transfer window. but I’m here at Norwich and have 18 months left on my contract. ”

Hughton insisted talk of a £6million switch was off the mark. “Right at this moment I’m quite sure that’s not fact,” he said.

NORWICH (4-4-2): Ruddy 6; Martin 6, R Bennett 7, Bassong 6, Olsson 6; Snodgrass 7, Fer 6, Johnson 6, Gutierrez 6 (Pilkington 68, 5); van Wolfswinkel 5 (Becchio 80), Hooper 5.

HULL (3-5-2): McGregor 7; Chester 5 (Figueroa 15, 6), Davies 7, Bruce 6; Elmohamady 6, Huddlestone 6, Koren 7 (Fryatt 82), Livermore 6, Rosenior 7; Jelavic 5, Sagbo 6 (Boyd 67, 4).

Referee: Howard Webb

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