After some brilliant displays in recent weeks Hull City have secured their place in the Championship for next season.
Nigel Adkins has steadied the ship at City following the turbulent tenure of Leonid Slutsky. The team have now kicked on and have been back to somewhere near their best in recent weeks. The question now is, what next? Well Adkins has already been hinting at the answer to that question as he has claimed he is the man to take City back to the Premier League.
Adkins has always been a cheerful and ambitious manager and while not always successful it is refreshing to see a manager planning for a prosperous future for Hull City. Whether he can achieve that or not is another question especially with the owners of the club unlikely to back him with funds to improve his squad.
This month we passed the four-year anniversary of Assem Allam putting the club up for sale just a day after seeing his name change proposals rejected by the FA. He claimed “Out means I’m out” but he and his son Ehab are still very much in control of the club despite several failed takeover bids. The Allams look no closer to leaving now than they did four years ago and will more than likely still be in charge on the opening day of the 2018-2019 season.
They are due their final parachute payment instalments from the Premier League over the next season so the question is, will they take that and drift of into the sunset or will they keep control of the club for next season and beyond? Fans seem to be split on this issue with many thinking they will leave once they have taken the final parachute payment, but things have gone very quiet recently and I think they will stay on.
Where does that leave Nigel Adkins and his ambitions to take Hull City back to the Premier League? If you break the situation down, he has several of his best players out of contract this summer. Josh Clackstone, Max Clark, Michael Dawson, Adama Diomande, Abel Hernandez, Seb Larsson, Allan McGregor, David Meyler, Moses Odubajo, Greg Olley, Brian Lenihan and Greg Luer could all leave for free this summer while the loan spells of Michael Hector, Ola Aina, Fikayo Tomori and the brilliant Harry Wilson will end and see them all return to their clubs. If even half of those players out of contract left that would leave Adkins with one hell of a rebuilding job to do.
When you add City’s prized assets Jarrod Bowen and Kamil Grosicki into that equation it seems like Adkins ambitions may be pie in the sky. The retention of Bowen and Grosicki will go a long way towards us being able to analyse the Allams intentions. Last summer they were quick to offload their top talent for knock down prices. If they do that again we can kiss the Premier League dream goodbye.
Adkins has said he wants to put City in a position to get back into the Premier League if not next season then the season after. He also added that he is keen to manage in the top tier again and he sees City as a chance to do that. If that is the case then the Allams need to swallow their pride, bite the bullet and back him.
Just look at the last few weeks, City have played brilliantly at times so Adkins is clearly getting the best out of the players. There is potential in that side, they have bundles of attacking talent and just need a bit more defensive organisation. It is likely that these ambitions for Adkins will turn out to be nothing more than soundbites but we live in hope.
If he is allowed to retain his top talent whilst adding some more signings in the summer, who knows he may just take City back to the promised land. Unfortunately though, with the Allams in charge, his dreams seem to be more hot air than realistic prospects.
Article from issue 34 (V Sheffield Wednesday). You can secure your copy from our online shop….