MY HULL HELL HAS MADE ME GROW
Injury gives Rob new perspective
WHEN Robert Snodgrass made a £6m switch to Hull in June 2014, he hoped it would be the start of a journey that took him to the European Championships.
One game later, those aspirations lay in ruins.The midfielder’s league debut against QPR was just 40 minutes old when an awkward twist dislocated his kneecap.
At the time, Steve Bruce reckoned on a six-month absence.The reality has been far grimmer, with some 499 days elapsing between the Scot’s injury and his next start against Preston on December 28.
During those grisly months in the gym, Hull were relegated from the Premier League whilst Scotland – for whom Snodgrass has 15 caps – became the only home nation not to earn a berth in France.Yet the 28-year-old former Leeds and Norwich man isn’t bitter about his downturn in fortunes.
“It’s amazing how being injured changes your perspective,” said Snodgrass, who scored 12 goals in 67 Premier League games for the Canaries. “When I first came to Hull, I had aspirations of fighting in the top half of the Premier League and playing for Scotland. It was all that mattered. But when something like this happens, your priorities change. All I cared about was playing football again.
“I’m not saying I took football for granted but I definitely see it as a privilege now. To represent your club or your country, to wear your heart on your sleeve. It’s an opportunity that very few people get and to have it taken away was horrible.
“Don’t get me wrong. I wouldn’t have worked for hours on end for the last 15 months if I didn’t think I’d get back to the top.
“But whether I’m in the Premier League or the Championship, it doesn’t matter to me now. I live for the day because you don’t know what’ll happen tomorrow.”
Snodgrass spent much of his comeback in the stands, overcoming his initial devastation to experience life on the other side of the advertising hoardings.
“Before the injury, I’d watch football practically every day,” he explains.“But, to be honest, for six months I couldn’t really watch it. It was just too difficult to take knowing I wouldn’t be involved.
“I just had to put my mind to different things. I’d do my rehab and, on weekends, I’d obviously keep one eye on the scoreline at Hull.
“But I tried to focus on switching off, spending time with the family. I’ve got two little girls and I became more of a dad, giving them some of the time that football usually took.
“Later, I did the next best thing to playing and became a fan. I supported our boys, and went to the Scotland games.
“Obviously I hoped Hull stayed up and I hoped Scotland qualified. Neither of those happened and I was as gutted sat in the stands as I would have been on the pitch.”
Snodgrass insists he never worried that his injury – which also caused significant ligament damage – would fail to heal.
“I always had it in my head that I’d come back,” he said. “The big thing for me was not fretting about a timescale. Once you get over a year, you’re not worried about an extra couple of weeks here or there.”
Just as he has come back stronger, the Scot believes promotion for Hull would end their yo-yoing days.
“If we go up, I think Hull will be a lot more stable,” he added.“Obviously there’s the finances, the sponsorship, the money that BT and Sky TV are throwing around. But there’s also a group of players who’ve learned from the mistakes that sent us down in the first place.”
PLENTY TO SHOUT ABOUT: Hull City’s Robert Snodgrass is just glad to be back playing after his injury torment
OLD DAYS: Scotland’s Robert Snodgrass battles for the ball against Croatia in World Cup 2014 qualifying