Hull City: This Could Be Grim

Take away the FA Cup run and it wasn't a great season for Hull, who only look marginally stronger this time around. And Bruce has been relegated before with Birmingham...

Last Updated: 05/08/14 at 15:55 Post Comment

Latest Articles

F365's Complete List Of January Transfers

Post comment

All the Premier League ins and outs in one place...

Football People On TV: Thierry Henry

33 comments

He's handsome, he's sexy, he was absolutely sodding amazing at the football...but our boys are a bit uncomfortable with default reverence. He's a pundit...

All Articles

Alex Bruce of Hull City

Alex Bruce of Hull City

LAST SEASON
Premier League
16th, 37pts, -15 GD FA Cup Finalists League Cup Fourth round Top league scorer Shane Long, Nikica Jelavic 4 each Bookings 54 (15th highest) with four red cards.

Manager Steve Bruce (since June 2012; age 53) Odds on being first out of his job 25-1 (9th=)

Players in Jake Livermore (Tottenham, £8m), Robert Snodgrass (Norwich, £7m), Tom Ince (Blackpool, fee TBC), Andrew Robertson (Dundee United, £2.85m), Karim Rossi (Stoke)

Players out Matty Fryatt (Nottingham Forest, free), Cameron Stewart (Ipswich Town), Mark Oxley (Hibernian, loan), Conor Townsend (Dundee United, loan), Joe Dudgeon (Barnsley, loan), Robert Koren, Abdoulaye Faye (both released)

Club turnover in 2012-13 £17m

Wage bill in 2012-13 £25.9m

For a promoted side, staying up in the first season is usually the limit of ambition and often an achievement beyond them. Hull not only survived - unlike the team that beat then to the Championship title in 2013 - but also added a first FA Cup final appearance; after nine astonishing minutes at Wembley they led Arsenal 2-0.

Alas, Steve Bruce's side could hold the two-goal advantage for only eight minutes and just when Arsenal nerves would have been fraying, Laurent Koscielny equalised, and Aaron Ramsey won it in extra time. Still, Hull have made their European debut, not a sentence anyone would have predicted writing a year ago (alas, poor Tom Huddlestone).

The problem for Bruce is what happens if you strip away Wembley, and imagine a season without Cardiff and Fulham losing their way so badly. Though 40 points is no longer usually required for safety, 37 is too low a total for comfort. All but one of those was gained before the semi-final defeat of Sheffield United and it would be tempting to attribute the late-season slump to the build-up for a Wembley return. However, the opposition in the last five games included Arsenal, Manchester United and Everton, so if 40 had been needed then two more points could have been required at Fulham and one at Aston Villa.

Hull played only one top-flight side en route to facing Arsenal at Wembley, beating a crestfallen Sunderland fresh from their Capital One Cup final defeat. Without Yannick Sagbo's 85th-minute equaliser at Brighton in round five, how would Hull's season look? And there was always the prospect of the campaign turning sour in the manner of Cardiff's.

First, you have to acknowledge the truth of the Allams' position, that without their investment Hull would be in penury rather than the Premier League. At the same time, there would be no club without the supporters, who understand that ditching City in favour of Tigers to transform the club's appeal abroad is naive. The problem with selling the club is the first half of the name - not that there is anything wrong with Hull, but it is not Manchester, or Liverpool, or Arsenal, Chelsea or Spurs, tags that come with global recognition.

The foundation of their survival lay in three wins in the opening six matches, against Norwich, Newcastle and West Ham, added to a home draw with a still-balanced Cardiff. Given that two of the opening three games were at Chelsea and Manchester City, ten points that early was an excellent return and it meant that Hull always kept at least their necks out of the mire.

This season Bruce's team have early chances they must seize on, from trips to QPR and Aston Villa either side of Stoke's visit in August. The international break is followed by West Ham coming to the KC then the journey from the east of the north to the north-east, and Newcastle, before Manchester City travel to complete September.

Also important last season was the fact that the inevitable dips did not break morale. After beating Liverpool on December 1, there was only one more three-point haul in the next 11 games, but that was a 6-0 seasonal thumping of Fulham that will have done everyone concerned a power of good.

Hull are stronger than a year ago. It is a coup to have brought in Tom Ince, provided that there are no complications related to his famous father. Robert Snodgrass has been brought in for £7m and Jake Livermore for £1m more, though that is a conversion from last season's loan. Those leaving contributed little to the cause in 2013-14, Robert Koren perhaps the most noteworthy.

Bruce is still busy looking for more players and has been linked with Michael Dawson and Geoff Cameron. He was relegated with arguably the strongest side he had at Birmingham and must be aware that Hull benefited from the failings of others last season. Europe is more of a distraction than a benefit for a side not likely to feature regularly and without the resources to compete. Yet without the mitigating factor of another cup run it could be a grim season - especially if they cannot repeat last year's flying start.

Philip Cornwall

Football365 Facebook Fan Page

The Football365 fan page is a great place to meet like minded people, have football related discussions and make new friends.

Most Commented

Readers' Comments

O

ne of the conclusions from this list is that Man City should never buy a striker in January - good luck Wilfried Bony....

Savinator
F365's Top Ten Worst January Panic Buys

I

was there, it was embarrassing - the team looked totally unbalanced from the off, the defence was woeful and when Mikel came off injured it got even worse with nobody in front of them. Up front on several occasions we had opportunities and nobody would shoot - it was a complete farse! On the back of Salah's performance I'm glad there is talk of getting shot...

Fly1ngh1gh
Cup defeat shames Mourinho

G

reat to see Tommy Rosicky getting some love. A wonderful player. Such a pity we lost so long to injury. I was so excited when we signed him, this resurgence only makes the absences seem more of a lost opportunity.

cheshire-gooner
16 Conclusions: FA Cup Fourth Round Weekend

Latest Photos

Footer 365

Capital One Cup: Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers says Chelsea's Diego Costa was lucky to avoid a red card

Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers believes Chelsea's Diego Costa was lucky to stay on the field in the Capital One Cup semi-final.

Capital One Cup: Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho insists Diego Costa does not deserve retrospective action after Emre Can stamp

Jose Mourinho thinks Chelsea's Diego Costa should be left alone to play football after a controversial outing on Tuesday.

Capital One Cup: Chelsea reach final as Branislav Ivanovic's goal sinks Liverpool

Branislav Ivanovic's extra-time goal gave Chelsea a 2-1 aggregate win over Liverpool and a place in the Capital One Cup final.

Mail Box

The Problem With FA Cup Shocks...

...is that the draw for the next round is pretty shocking. Blackburn v Stoke, anybody? We also have mails on LVG and ManUnited, who drew plenty under Fergie...

You're Man Utd, For Crying Out Loud!

Defending a 0-0 draw with Cambridge on the grounds that other teams lost to lower-league opposition is not befitting of Man United. We're inclined to agree with Mailboxers...

© 2015 Sky Ltd. All Rights Reserved A Sky Sports Digital Media company