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Hull City: As good as down before a ball has even been kicked?

Wednesday 3rd August 2016
No manager, no players, and an owner desperate to sell; there is no escaping the fact that Hull City are in a mess.
That all of this has come on the back of a club who've just achieved instant promotion back to the Premier League makes the situation even more staggering.

Since their 1-0 win over Sheffield Wednesday in the Championship play-off final in May – a game worth an estimated £110m - the club have failed to make a single first-team signing.

Despite issuing a statement confirming that any takeover talk would be put on hold until September, owner Assem Allam is still reluctant to plough any more money into his team after failing to change the club name from Hull City FC to Hull Tigers and is determined to cash-out.
Prospective buyers are being put off by the difficulties the club currently faces; namely long-time manager Steve Bruce resigning in late July thanks in part to the transfer embargo, and the unbelievable stat that only 11 senior players are currently available with the league's curtain-raiser against champions Leicester approaching on 13th August.

The departure of Bruce has particularly resonated amongst players, with midfielder Mohamed Diame calling the 55-year-old a “father figure”. Speaking after his resignation, the Englishman said he had to go “for the sake of the club”. He leaves with his held high after working under almost unfeasible restrictions for the past 18 months.

Things look set to get worse before they get better with news that Diame, goal scorer in the play-off final, is now on course to join Newcastle after they reportedly activated his release clause this week.

It's no wonder that Hull are rightfully the bookies favourite to be relegated.

Facing the likes of Manchester United, Arsenal, Liverpool and Chelsea in their first seven games makes the task even harder to get off to that all-important good start.

In an effort to improve their standing, the club had targeted Wales boss Chris Coleman for the vacant managerial position after Coleman took his team to the semi-finals of the Euro 2016 this summer. However, the Welsh FA rejected an approach.

Former Chelsea striker Gianfranco Zola has now become favourite to take over, however, the Italian will naturally hold reservations about entering into such a fragile environment.

Zola has worked under immense pressure in his previous roles at Watford, West Ham and Cagliari and cannot afford to make another wrong in management for risk of his reputation.

Just how much money is available to spend to improve on-field fortunes will be the major sticking point, as well as the long-term goals of the club.

To round things off, fans are still rightfully at loggerheads with Allam over the running of the club and the proposed name change.

A protest has been proposed by Hull City Supporters' Trust  for the start of the season, saying in a statement, "No communication, no manager, no engagement, no signings, no identity, no concessions, no honesty. The list goes on".

Hull City are staring down the barrel of what could become their longest and toughest season in modern memory. It's no wonder that plenty of tickets are still available for their opening home game.

All of this before a whistle's blown or a ball has been kicked.
John Howell

A graduate of Media & Cultural Studies from the University of West of England, I am a 26-year-old sports fanatic based in Bristol and an avid supporter of Newcastle United. I have written for several sites before joining It's Round and It's White and although I write primarily on the subject of football, you can catch me playing rugby on the weekends, no pun intended.

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