Why is there reason for cautious optimism at Hull City?
Before the start of the season, Hull City were being written off as relegation fodder and for good reason too. They had a threadbare squad and the precarious situation at boardroom level had prevented any new players from joining the squad. This led to Steve Bruce resigning, while there was a fear that several players would follow him.
Mo Diame was sold to Newcastle and several others were being linked with a move out of the club. However, the past few weeks have seen things improve and there are a lot more reasons to be optimistic as a Hull City fan.
The Allam family are not well liked around Hull, due to their desire to rename the club. This created a divide, which has led to the owners neglecting the needs of the squad. It was a minor miracle that they were promoted, but it now looks like they are close to selling Hull City to a Chinese Consortium.
This is great news as it provides a fresh start for the club. The Allam family deserve credit for their initial impact on the club, but the relationship with the fans is now beyond repair and a change was required for the team to continue progressing.
Throughout the summer, the lack of investment has been criticised as the squad wasn’t strong enough to stay in the league. Although they didn’t complete the business they should have done, six senior players arrived during the final week of the window, which increases the possibility that they will stay up. They already had a strong core to the side with Curtis Davies, Jake Livermore, Tom Huddlestone and Abel Hernandez starting the season in good form, but increased depth was required.
The acquisitions they have made offer that, and there is some proven talent arriving that improves the quality in the squad as well. Ryan Mason has been on the fringes of the Spurs side over the past two seasons, but his work rate and tenacity will be welcomed into a battling Hull side, in addition to his quality on the ball – something which he is hardly in short supply of.
Mike Phelan has created a good team spirit at the club, which needs to be maintained. Mason fits into that and he will be keen to prove that he deserves to be a regular starter in the Premier League.
Furthermore, James Weir and Will Keane arrived from Manchester United, with both having the hunger to prove themselves in the top flight. There were few opportunities offered at Old Trafford, but both are highly rated and will bring youthful exuberance to the KCOM Stadium. These two incomings highlight the advantage of having Phelan in charge, as he has links at Manchester United and can use them to the club’s advantage.
Dieumerci Mbokani and David Marshall were signed to add further Premier League experience, but the most exciting signing was Markus Henriksen from AZ Alkmaar. He arrives on an initial loan, which will be made permanent in the January transfer window. The Norwegian has been one of the leading players in the Eredivisie and was arguably AZ’s best player last season, ahead of Vincent Janssen.
Henriksen is an attack-minded midfielder, who likes to influence matches in the final third. In his three league matches this season, he scored two goals, demonstrating the goal threat he possesses. He is also capable of creating chances and could be the perfect foil for Hernandez.
Hull City have started the season well with six points from their opening three matches and the developments off the pitch should breed optimism about the campaign ahead. However, there is still lots of work to do and it will still be tough for The Tigers to survive in the league despite their highly impressive opening. The transfers they have made are impressive, but it could be a case of too little too late.
Although the situation isn’t perfect, the past few weeks have given Hull a fighting chance of surviving in the Premier League and the fans wouldn’t have expected that at the start of last month.
Featured image: All rights reserved by nicholasgamble
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