What can anybody say about Hull City at the minute and not be critical. Most City fans are experiencing a mixture of déjà vu and apprehension on what is going on at their club.
The Allam era started with such glorious hope in 2010 and quickly developed into the best years of success that the club has had in its 113 year history. Assem Allam took over the club after stating that he, “Feels an obligation to pay back the region,” in which he and his family had settled. The winning play-off trips to Wembley, Championship promotion, Premier League football and the day the club almost won the FA Cup were highlights most other clubs would be jealous of.
Not everything was rosy in the garden, after all, Mr Allam is a businessman and when changes needed to be made, he made them. Any successful, self-made businessman has to be strong, opinionated, relentless and you could even say, dictatorial in how he conducts himself and Allam exhibits all of these. The club showed little regard to the hurt feelings of fans in many of its directives and seemingly was not phased when local media was given the cold shoulder, either by Managers or senior staff. Who can ever forget Radio Humberside’s Burnsy and Nigel Pearson’s verbal brawls after a tricky game.
Many fans have said, that as far back as Pearson and Barmby’s departure, the writing was on the wall, that Hull City’s owner would take the club in only one direction, and that was the one he wanted. Fights with the Council, war with the fans over name changes, the abolition of season passes and concessions, the bullying tactics of the SMC, all culminated in a disconnect between fans and club owners.
The joy of promotion from the Championship under Steve Bruce, who has the highest winning game % since Peter Taylor in the early 2000’s, evaporated when it became clear that serious problems behind the scenes had caused a rift between Bruce and the Allams. Would things have been any different if Assem Allam hadn’t have been seriously ill, who knows. One thing is certain, and that is Bruce didn’t feel he could continue in such uncertain times. Mike Phelan was given his chance but after the honeymoon, divorce quickly followed. Was it too late? Should he have gone sooner?
Should he have ever been given the job in the first place?
Marco Silva’s appointment seemed inspired. A young manager with something to prove, a master tactician and reader of the game, and just like Bruce a good man manager. Could he turn things around on a shoestring budget? Well, he gave it a good go but fell just short. In my view, the Allams should have moved heaven and earth to keep him and build a Championship squad that stood a reasonable chance of getting up at the first attempt. Instead Marco has gone and you won’t find many City fans that can blame him or that don’t wish him well in the future.
At the time of writing the club finds itself in the following position:-
- A new manager has just arrived but several senior backroom positions remain vacant
- Heading off to Portugal in four weeks for pre-season and friendly games with no planning
- Starting the season in eight weeks with a squad no bigger than a Sunday league team
- Rumours circling like vultures over which players are leaving
- Nobody to bring players in, either transfers or loan signings, unless you count Ehab Allam.
- No one communicating or addressing fans’ concerns over the club’s future
- Unwilling to announce how many memberships have been cancelled
For many Hull City fans, the coming season is being viewed with dread. Gone is the optimistic outlook under Silva. The lower leagues are full of previous Premier League clubs who haven’t made it back to the big time and some which probably never will. Just escaping relegation this season from the Championship are Nottingham Forrest, Birmingham and QPR, while Blackburn and Wigan are now in League One. Will this be City’s fate?
Does the Premier League await if Leonid Slutsky, the newly named manager, manages to turn things around?
Slutsky, whose playing career numbered 13 games in goal for that well known Russian footballing giant Zvezda Gorodishche. He’s never coached outside of Russia and has a 50% win ratio. How has Leonid progressed so far? Well he’s a mate of Roman Ambramovich so at least City might get a few decent loan signings…