As the music of the Great Escape echoed around the KC Stadium, Hull fans were optimistic of surviving once again in the Premier League. Unlike last season they would have to drag themselves out of the mire rather than rely on others. Sunderland had not won away since the opening day of the season and with little to play for the game was surely there for a motivated Hull side to win.
Wrong! Hull came out of the trap very sluggishly and it was Sunderland who took the early initiative with Jordan Henderson and Steed Malbranque being particularly wasteful in front of goal. A man who could not be accused of being wasteful in-front of goal this season is Darren Bent. It was he who gave the Black Cats a deserved lead after seven minutes after Kenwyne Jones had flicked on Alan Hutton’s cross. This sparked a bit of life into Hull and they were given a chance to equalize from the penalty spot after Geovanni was fouled in the box by former Tiger Michael Turner. Jimmy Bullard stepped up having converted his previous four spot kicks, however he saw this kick clatter into the post. This was as good as it got for the Tigers and this moment proved to be a real turning point in the game.
Jozy Altidore then saw red for a head-butt on Alan Hutton after the Scot had thrown the ball of him. Hutton also saw red which has to be one of the most curious decisions of the season. The game fell flat in the second half with Hull unable to find anything in the final third of the pitch which sadly has been the story of their season. Hull are down barring a mathematical miracle, they now have to make key decisions over the next few months which will decide if they will challenge for promotion or fight against relegation next season. Clearly mistakes have been made by the previous chairman Paul Duffen as stated by current chairman Adam Pearson this week.Last season Hull were guilty of getting carried away with their good start which caused complacency in the management and the players. They have not recovered since the incident at Man City last year where Phil Brown got ahead of himself.
The signing of Jimmy Bullard has been a costly mistake, however good he has been in the games he has played he has simply not played enough to warrant the transfer fee and alleged wages he came with. The appointment of Iain Dowie was a mystery, having previous failed to keep Palace in the Premier League he was not an obvious choice to replace Phil Brown. Pearson and the board must now decide whether Dowie is the right man to lead Hull in the Championship or whether they go in a new direction entirely and bring in someone else.
The financial situation at Hull is another worry they must quickly bring this under control. How it has spiralled out of control is anyone’s guess but with no obvious assets on the field the Hull fans and board must be quite worried about the future of their club.