Over three months have passed since Hull City clinched promotion back to the Premier League at the first attempt. They had to go through the play offs, but managed to get back into the top flight in time for the new television money. After the final whistle went at Wembley, the feeling was one of pure elation as the board, players, coaching staff and fans celebrated their success. Although there had been a rocky relationship between the owners and the fans, the club managed to pull together and have a good campaign in the Championship. Their promotion should have been the foundation as the club built towards better things, but that hasn’t been the case. Instead one farcical decision after another have led to Hull City starting the season as overwhelming favourites for relegation.
The owner situation has made it difficult for Hull to progress this summer, as Assem Allam is seriously ill, while his son Ehab is keen to sell the club. Talks of a takeover have been put on hold until after the transfer deadline, but the uncertainty clouding the future of the club has had a massively negative effect. They have yet to add any players to the squad this summer, but have lost four players already, with more to follow.
Isaac Hayden and Chuba Akpom both left after their loan contracts expired. This was in addition to both Sone Aluko and Ryan Taylor leaving at the end of their contracts. Mo Diame, the scorer of the goal that got them promoted, is set to move to Newcastle after turning down the offer of a new contract at Hull. There has also been firm interest in Harry Maguire and Andrew Robertson, both reportedly keen on a move away from the perilous situation at the KC Stadium.
Their squad has been ravaged by departures and injuries over the off-season. At the moment, they don’t have as many as 18 fit senior players and would have to rely on some youngsters to fill the match-day squad on the opening day. The looming departure of Diame will hit Hull particularly hard as he was one of the club’s better players last season and the fact he is dropping down a division is indicative of the position the club is in. His departure could lead to more players wanting to leave and the task of bringing players in continues to get harder.
The lack of signings at the club and uncertainty at board room level caused the departure of Steve Bruce, who resigned from his post during July. He left with a heavy heart and cited a broken relationship with Ehab Allam as his reason for leaving. Bruce was arguably the best manager in the club’s history, winning promotion twice and reaching the FA Cup final in 2014. He was a good fit for the club and had the ability to keep them up this season, but he needed to strengthen the squad this summer, which he wasn’t allowed to do. Bruce was fighting a losing battle and his decision to resign was made with the intention of maintaining his reputation in the game. The upcoming season at Hull could be the worst the Premier League has ever seen and he doesn’t want his name attached to that.
Hull are now facing a massive fight to save their season before it has even started. To begin with, they need to find a new manager, one capable of uniting the club and putting together a squad good enough to stay up. They have had an approach for Chris Coleman turned down by the Welsh FA, while Gianfranco Zola has also been mentioned as a possible appointment. Neither have had a lot of success in the Premier League and would constitute a risk. Once they have found Bruce’s replacement, they need to back him in the transfer market with funds. The market is going to be inflated as it is the last month of the window, but Hull don’t have a choice, they must invest substantially.
Their season isn’t irretrievable, far from it, but it doesn’t look promising for a club that was celebrating a historic play-off victory just months ago. They have given themselves a tough task and they are certainly a long way behind the other 19 teams in their preparations. However, no matches have been played and every side is on 0 points as it stands. There is still time to salvage this summer for Hull City. They require decisive actions, something the club isn’t familiar to this summer.