This summer has been nothing short of a disaster for the fans and the people associated with Hull City. With the departure of manager Steve Bruce, the talk to replace the manager and the amid talks of the sale of the club, here we are five days before the start of the Premier League campaign and it already looks safe to say that Hull will be playing Championship football come this time next season. The Allam family who currently own and control the club, stopped takeover talks until the end of the transfer window to bring stability to the club, if anything else this has made matters worse. Recent days have produced talks that a Chinese and Hong Kong consortium have approached the club to talk of a sale and takeover of the club, news that on a personal level and I am sure the majority of Hull fans would agree would love to see a deal come to a conclusion very sharply indeed.
This season looks an uphill struggle, no manager, no signings, not even a purposeful link to signing a player, no identity as a club and to make matters worse the injuries already suffered before the season even commences. The squad itself is at least an experienced group with big characters amongst them, and despite the trouble have tried to re-assure fans and the media alike that they have a belief amongst them, notably the tweets of Curtis Davies. Despite all the trouble surrounding the club the team has actually had a pretty strong pre-season work out as well, only losing to a strong Torino side who themselves have endured change this summer. So where do Hull go from here? Can they even remotely have a chance of staying within the Premier League?
First and foremost they need to sort out the managerial situation at the club, forget what is happening in the background, they need a leader, someone to answer the questions and someone who can perhaps use whatever little money the Allam do allow them to use if the sale of the club is indeed stalled until the end of the transfer window. The board have really wasted a lot of time in the pursuit of a new manager, when the news of Steve Bruce leaving the club first broke; Roberto Martinez and Ryan Giggs emerged as the early frontrunners for the position. No progress there as since then surprisingly Martinez has taken the role as Belgium manager, then seemingly it was former USA manager Bob Bradley who looked favourite to get the job even though no official contact was made. Now it seems the board have got lazy and have pursued Wales head coach Chris Coleman to take the job, offering to quadruple the former Real Sociedad and Fulham manager’s wage, it looks another dead end for the club and one that has been fairly unpopular amongst the Hull Fans. Then comes what looks a marketing stunt by the club that Gianfranco Zola was the man in poll position to take the job, another strange choice by the club, providing there was any truth behind this link. At this rate recently departed Roberto Mancini will be the favourite to land the job at the KC. Right now it looks what I guess every fan knew might happen and Mike Phelan will take on the job for his first role as the top man, a move that I would have to be sceptical of. Phelan knows the players and the club but does he have the knowledge of bringing players to the club and integrating them within the squad, time will tell I guess. Despite his tarnished reputation I believe that Paul Lambert might have been a sensible approach by the club, he has worked with little money before, and since his departure from Villa Park and with everything that has went on at Aston Villa, he might just have done a better job than what he gets the credit for. Lambert done a very reasonable job for Norwich as well, and yes he isn’t a glamorous name in terms of a big appointment for the club but he does have knowledge of both the Premier League and the Barclays English Championship.
To stand any chance of staying up this year, there has to be some investment in the squad, it doesn’t have to be millions upon millions, but at least some to stand a fighting chance. Every time we hear of Hull in the media they say we have offers on the table for players, but never anything forthcoming. Ultimately the speculated link to bring forgotten Arsenal keeper Emiliano Martinez simply cannot happen, this a goalkeeper who was second choice in the Championship, the club needs a new goalkeeper and potentially a new number one at that with doubts over Alan McGregor. Kieran Westwood and David Marshall of Sheffield Wednesday and Cardiff respectively would be an ideal fit amongst the current squad. With the injury to Michael Dawson, improving on the centre half position must be made a priority for the club. If Mike Phelan is to get the job could he use his old Manchester United connection to bring versatile Paddy McNair on a loan deal? The Northern Ireland defender would certainly be a better option than fellow club defender Phil Jones, who they had early links with at the start of the transfer window. How about trying to bring back Welsh international James Chester, playing right back for West Brom for some reason, when he is better than what they have centrally, surely we should be targeting a return to the KC for the old fan favourite. The market is far from over for Hull they just need to sort out the situation behind the scenes for the team on the pitch to improve.
The loss of Mo Diame has left a massive void centrally for Hull; this was a massive loss for what looked the strongest area of the pitch for the team. They need to replace Diame and smartly. With Livermore, Meyler and Huddlestone to in the centre of the midfield, another option might be good in there as well as someone else who could play near the frontman which ultimately will be Abel Hernandez providing he isn’t sold as well. Perhaps Phelan could use his old connections again, and look at some loan options, which the club could really take advantage off, could be some signing if they could manage the loan of Adnan Januzaj though realistically could be out of the equation; however frontman James Wilson would be good business on a loan deal, as would Andreas Pereira or maybe young James Weir. The loan market is a fantastic opportunity as mentioned for the club with options to bring players to the club, forgotten Arsenal man Serge Gnabry would bring the pace that is needed to the Hull team, while possibly ambitious moves for Nabil Bentaleb or Christian Benteke could give these players game-time.
This upcoming season is certainly one that as a Hull City fan I would not say I would be overly positive about, all I would ask for and would think Hull fans would agree with is that we start competing. End the managerial saga now and get the team and squad up to a level where we can compete, that is all at this stage we can realistically ask for as a club. For any realistic chance of staying in the division though the sale of the club needs to happen now not before the end of the window, come the January window it could be too little too late already at this rate.