May 17, 2017
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Are Hull City capable of making an immediate return to the Premier League next season?

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Relegation from the Premier League means that Hull City will face an uncertain future both on and off the pitch over the summer. Whilst the club will be boosted by a £47,000,000 parachute payment the impending departure of Marco Silva and a host of players at the end of the campaign means that an instant return to the top flight next season is looking increasingly unlikely.

Where did it all go wrong?

It has been a chaotic twelve months for Hull City with uncertainty off the field and a lack of investment in the playing squad coinciding with poor displays on the pitch. After guiding the club to promotion Steve Bruce resigned prior to the start of the season due to a lack of investment during the summer and his replacement, Mike Phelan, did not last until the end of the year before being sacked.

There were protests against the ownership, disharmony amongst supporters, dropping attendances, and a group of players that demonstrated a complete inability to pick up positive results. However, the arrival of Marco Silva in the New Year did provide some hope, briefly, although the task that he was handed was ultimately an impossible one to achieve with relegation inevitably being confirmed by a heavy defeat to Crystal Palace.

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Is their squad capable of securing promotion next season?

No.

A lack of investment in the playing squad was one of the primary reasons why Steve Bruce resigned prior to the season starting and this ultimately left Hull City with a team short on quality and lacking strength in depth. Whilst Marco Silva was allowed to bring in an influx of new signings during the January transfer window five of these were on loan and none of those are expected to remain beyond the end of the current campaign.

The summer will also likely see The Tigers lose their star players as Premier League clubs look to cherry pick from their relegated opponents. In January Robert Snodgrass and Jake Livermore departed for West Ham United and West Bromwich Albion respectively and you would expect Harry Maguire, Andrew Robertson and Sam Clucas to follow them through the exit door at the end of the season.

This would leave any prospective manager with a skeletal squad that requires major rebuilding – a second consecutive relegation looks more likely than an immediate return to the top flight for Hull.

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Who will be in charge?

Hull City may have suffered relegation but Marco Silva will end the season with his reputation significantly enhanced. The Portuguese coach continued his impressive record from stints working on the continent and picked up 21 points from 17 games in charge – to put that into context, if the season had started on the day that Silva took charge of The Tigers then the club would have comfortably finished mid-table.

He has proven himself more than capable of operating in the Premier League and there will be a host of clubs interested in acquiring his services when his contract expires at the end of the campaign. There is an option for the 39-year-old to extend his current deal for a further twelve months but it would be highly unlikely for the Portuguese maestro to remain at the club.

The issue for Hull is that the uncertainty and controversy surrounding the ownership of the club does not make them an appealing proposition for any prospective managers seeking employment.

Conclusion

The issues off the pitch at the KCOM Stadium have clearly had a detrimental effect on performances and results on it over the course of the season.

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The chaotic nature of their campaign, exemplified by the fact that they have employed three managers in nine months, means that relegation comes as little surprise and the mini-rival overseen by Marco Silva only papers over the chasms in the foundations of the club. Unfortunately the uncertainty surrounding the ownership is likely to continue over the summer which makes it highly unlikely that The Tigers will be able to challenge for promotion next term.

Marco Silva is unlikely to stay and any prospective new manager will be left with a skeletal squad and facing a major task to build a team capable of competing in The Championship. A half-a-dozen players will depart Hull when their loan deals expire at the end of the season, their prize assets will be cherry-picked by Premier League clubs, and there is no guarantee that the owner will be willing to invest in the playing squad.

There is an awful lot of work to be done over the summer and you question whether there is enough unity, investment and quality around the club to build and instigate a successful promotion campaign.

Featured Image: All Rights Reserved Hull City (Hull City)

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Martyn Cooke

Martyn is currently a PTA and Research Assistant in the Department of Exercise Science at the Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU). In addition to his teaching role he is also undertaking a PhD in Sports History that is exploring the origins and development of football in Staffordshire. Prior to working at MMU, Martyn spent a decade operating in the sport and leisure industry in a variety of roles including as a Sports Development Officers, PE Teacher, Football Coach and Operation Manager.

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