Hull City’s season was a weird one. After reaching the FA Cup final last campaign, they began the season with the possibility of a European adventure and hoping to kick on in the league. Instead, they were knocked out before the group stages of the Europa League and were eventually relegated from the Premier League. Second season syndrome hit Hull hard and maybe this was due to the early start they had with the Europa League play-off round. Until the final month of the season, no one really saw Hull being in much trouble at the bottom of the table, but a large number of injuries during difficult times in the season ultimately caused their downfall.
Very few players managed to get a consistent run in the team without getting injured, and this can be highlighted by their top goal scorer, Nikica Jelavic, only picking up eight goals all season. It’s made even worse by the fact that Hull spent around £30million in the summer window to make themselves a mid-table side. Unfortunately for Steve Bruce and Hull, one of these signings, Robert Snodgrass for £8million, got injured on the opening day and missed the whole season. Other signings just simply didn’t work out. Michael Dawson couldn’t keep them up, Dame N’Doye proved ineffective bar one Palace away game, Diame and Hernandez were almost non-existent all season and only Andrew Robertson had a positive effect on the Hull squad.
Defensively, Hull weren’t that bad. Conceding less goals than fifth-placed Tottenham, it all comes down to their attack for the reason they couldn’t stay in the league. With almost £20million spent on their forward line, nearly all of these new additions to the attack picked up injuries, meaning that they never hit any real form and really struggled to score. 33 goals was the fourth lowest in the league, so they probably deserved to go down, but overall it was a hugely disappointing season for Hull. Their run in was always going to be vital.
As soon as it looked like they could be in for a relegation fight, immediately people looked at their last five games and saw four of the top six sides in the league, so if they weren’t safe before that, they were going to be in real trouble, and this seemed to be exactly the case. From the controversy surrounding their name change to Hull City Tigers to their relegation, seemingly nothing went right for Hull or their fans throughout the whole season. If they can keep Bruce and the main core of their side, which might be difficult, I can see Hull doing well next season and potentially returning to the Premier League at the first time of asking.
Key Player – Ahmed Elmohamady
With numerous injuries to Hull’s key players throughout the season, it’s hard to pick anyone as their key player. I went with Elmohamady purely because he’s been consistent throughout the whole season in his performances. Having played in all 38 games of the season, the Egyptian was ever-present in the Hull starting line-up. His best role, I think, is when Hull play a three at the back formation and Elmohamady played as more of a right wing-back rather than a standard right-back, because the majority of his skills certainly lie in going forward and not being defensively solid.
With two goals from the right-back position, Elmohamady was Hull’s fifth top goalscorer, while also notching up 5 assists, thus contributing to more goals than half of Hull’s attacking players. With the energy and work rate he brings down Hull’s right hand side he offered so much promise, and unless Hull are asking for a huge price, I’m sure some of the lower half Premier League sides will be looking to the Egyptian to fill that position.
Most Improved Player – Andrew Robertson
After impressing in Scotland last season, Hull splashed out £3million on the 21-year old left-back. In their three at the back formation, Robertson was deployed as a left wing-back, and it seemed to have been an inspired move by Steve Bruce.
The Scottish international was their most improved player because very few people knew who he was when he came in and definitely didn’t expect him to be the driving force in their attack. With Robertson on the left and Elmohamady on the right, the full-backs became Hull’s biggest attacking threats, although that’s probably part of the reason why they found themselves in the bottom three at the end of the season. Robertson will have a number of clubs looking at him this summer after the season he just had, but it’s important that as a young player he continues to get regular game time, even if that means staying in the Championship with Hull.
Fans’ View – Callum Gilbey (Hull City Season Ticket Holder)
Hull City’s season, where to start? It really was an unlucky season I guess, and it all started with so much hope. Signings of Gaston Ramirez, Hatem Ben Arfa, Robert Snodgrass and Mohammed Diame promised a push for a top half finish. They delivered a couple of broken legs and 3 Whopper Meals from Burger King. (Oh, and relegation of course.)
This season’s failures came down to a number of factors. The flopped signings, poor performances and missed chances seemed to sum it all up. Unfit strikers, and when they were fit, inconsistent strikers, didn’t help the cause. At least one thing finished on a high at the club, Jake Livermore.