Hull City: Stamford Bridge will appear quiet after Besiktas mayhem – McGregor

IF Hull City could have hand-picked an ideal assignment for the club’s Premier League return, a trip to Stamford Bridge is unlikely to have been at the top of the list.

Allan McGregor.

The second coming of the self-proclaimed ‘Special One’ will ensure SW6 is bouncing this Sunday as Jose Mourinho makes his long-awaited return to English football.

Tickets sold out weeks ago, meaning Hull’s small band of fans are likely to have all on to make their voices heard amid the maelstrom of London voices hailing the return of Chelsea’s conquering hero.

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One member of Steve Bruce’s squad unlikely to be fazed, however, is debutant Allan McGregor. Signed from Turkish side Besiktas in a £1.8m deal, the 31-year-old insists there is no way the Blues will create an atmosphere that comes even close to the madness that welcomed him to life beside the Bosphorus 12 months ago.

“I was actually injured for the opening home game against Galatsaray,” recalls the former Rangers goalkeeper when speaking to the Yorkshire Post at a sun-bathed training ground in Cottingham.

“But even getting to the stadium was carnage and a real eye-opener. Even our own fans were battering our bus coming up to the ground.

“It was that bad, the bus had to stop. The fire exit had been broken from the outside so it wouldn’t go. And that was our own fans.

“The fans in Turkey are absolutely nuts. I saw that in my last game, too.

“Besiktas are doing the stadium up at the moment so the final game of last season (against Gençlerbirlii) was the last one at the old stadium.

“Before the match, we couldn’t even get along the long road to the stadium because the police were firing tear gas at the fans. It is crazy out there, really, but I did find those atmospheres great.

“Having said that, personally I felt Rangers versus Celtic was better because there are more fans.

“You can’t hear yourself shouting sometimes. But I did have a good year in Turkey.”

Even allowing for the feverish atmosphere that is likely to welcome back Mourinho, McGregor’s Premier League bow is likely to be a much calmer affair than his first taste of Turkish football.

It will, though, surely be a busy shift for a goalkeeper with 29 international caps to his name as Hull look to keep out a Chelsea side rightly regarded as among the favourites to lift the title.

For someone used to challenging for honours in Scotland with Rangers and who finished third in Turkey with Besiktas last term, being in goal for a team whose aim is to finish fourth bottom will be something of a culture shock.

“This season will be a different challenge to what I have been used to,” admits the Hull goalkeeper, who is hoping to face England in tomorrow night’s friendly at Wembley. “But it is one I am looking forward to.

“I hope nobody writes us off just yet. Having met all the boys and seen them in pre-season, I know we will work our socks off every week.

“I would like to think we can surprise a few people. It is up to the manager, the staff and the players to work hard every week and put that into practice on a Saturday.”

While McGregor appreciates he is in for a frantic affair on the field, he is hoping that the switch to England will provide a quieter life than the one he was used to in the goldfish bowl that is the reality of life in Glasgow for a Rangers or Celtic player.

“Your private life gets a lot of attention up there,” says McGregor. “You can’t go to the toilet in Scotland without someone saying something about it.

“People have got the impression that I was some sort of crazy guy up there because they have got nothing else to write about.

“I am just a normal guy. People can have perceptions of you without knowing you.

“I would say that is an unfair reputation but I am used to it. So long as the people who know me know all about me, that’s all I’m bothered about. That is what matters.”

Considering that Premier League football is broadcast in more than 200 countries around the world, McGregor, in common with his Hull team-mates, is likely to become a familiar face for his footballing feats in the coming weeks and months.

He added: “You want the big atmospheres at games and I am sure it will be big on that first day at Chelsea. I can’t wait for the season to start.”