Many anticipate the new season keen to see which path Hull City will tread. Having shocked most of the football world with their promotion two years ago and initially not looking completely out of place with the big boys, the Tigers now find themselves back in the Championship. Relegation has forced Hull to ship out some key figures in the playing staff as two seasons of budget-busting expenditure leaves them facing financial uncertainty. All the signs point to a season of struggle at the KC Stadium.
The loss of players such as Stephen Hunt and Boaz Myhill amongst others will undoubtedly hit the squad hard. Although new manager Nigel Pearson may have to rely a lot more on youth this term than perhaps he would have liked, attention should also turn to who has stayed at the club, and also the new faces who have been brought in. There is still a wealth of experience with the likes of Kevin Kilbane and Nicky Barmby both primed for a season in the Championship. They will be joined by experienced new boys Nolberto Solano and James Harper. Solano may have long since entered the twilight of his career but he is still capable of inflicting plenty of damage on the opposition, whilst Harper arrives with a proven record at this level.
As for the manager, surely Nigel Pearson’s appointment is indicative enough of the Tiger’s aspirations this campaign. Pearson has rapidly earned a glowing reputation as a top manager in English football, most recently leading Leicester to the League One title, followed immediately by a Championship play-off finish last time out. With the Foxes likely to challenge again this season, his move away from the club suggests a lot of confidence in his new employers.
Only time will tell how well prepared Hull are for an assault on the business end of the league table, but there still seem to be reasons for optimism, in spite of the doomsayers. Strong season ticket sales prove the fans are ready to back them again. A prospective move to Celtic scuppered, Jimmy Bullard remains at the club, and so long as he remains fit, Pearson has one of the most creative midfielders in the league at his disposal. Clearly, there are reasons to be cheerful despite the gloom of relegation.