Last Season: 17th
Say hello to your new teammates: Seyi Olofinjana, Jozy Altidore, Steven Mouyokolo.
Close the door on your way out: Sam Ricketts, Dean Windass and a few others.
Predicted star: Phil Brown if he has it his way. Looking at Hull’s squad if they can get Jimmy Bullard fit and playing again, he could be the difference between relegation and staying up for another season. At the back Michael Turner will look to make a late bid for England’s World Cup squad. To be honest he’ll probably be doing it at another club though.
Needs a big year: One of their strikers, none of whom look like scoring more than five goals. Daniel Cousin would be the most likely.
One to watch: Kamil Zayatte was relatively impressive last season and will look to build on it.
What they want to happen: Stay up. Sign a striker, any striker.
Nightmare scenario: Relegation, Bullard’s knees continue to play up.
Plan A: Play like the first of half of last season, where Geovanni ran the show and every player played like their lives depended on it.
Plan B, just in case: Motivate your players on the pitch, at half time, in front of everyone. Yeah, that’ll work.
Predicted finish: 19th
Why? Last season was the archetypal tale of two halves for Hull. A fantastic start with away wins at Spurs and Arsenal led to 6th place as late as December. It then all went wrong and Hull went winless for at least half the season before just surviving by a point on the last day. Hull fans may deny it but a lot of this was down to Phil Brown’s pitchside half time team talk when 4-0 down at Man City on Boxing Day. I would lose all respect for him as a player if that happened and the longer the season went on, the more Brown would talk rubbish to the media.
Remember the bizarre rant at Fabregas for coming on the pitch, at full time no less, in his own ground? Or the cringeworthy sing song once survival was achieved. These issues result in Hull’s big problem this summer, the failure to sign anyone good. At least four or five players have publicly turned down Hull and you have to think it’s because Phil Brown is manager. Of the players that have come in Olofinjana was not a big piece for Stoke last year but will provide steel in the middle. Jozy Altidore sounds like a sweet for a sore throat and is not the proven striker they need while Mouyokolo is an unknown quantity.
Overall I can’t see anything but a Hull relegation this time round, even with Bullard fit. I think Turner will move on before the transfer window closes and the players they have are generally just not good enough. They were lucky to have three atrocious teams beneath them last season. They won’t be so lucky in 2009/10.