The Jamie Forrester verdict: Hull City
In the first of his new monthly columns for The Seventy Two focusing on each of his old clubs in turn, former Football League striker Jamie Forrester gives his verdict on the challenge currently facing Hull City.
Jamie also writes regularly on a variety of different footballing topics on his own blog Behind The Scenes.
When I joined Hull City, Peter Taylor was the manager. The club had just moved to The KC Stadium and there was a great deal of expectancy from all angles.
Adam Pearson had turned around the financial fortunes of the club and they were seen as big spenders in the basement division. It seemed like it was only a matter of time before the club would be in a higher division, and so it turned out.
As we see today, Hull City have had tremendous success over the last four or five years. Although many fans will not be 100% content with their current plight, I am sure that if you asked fans back then if they would be happy with how the club has fared then a high percentage would say “yes”.
The Premier League has seen the club achieve a new status within the game, but that brought with it financial problems that are burdening the current manager, Nigel Pearson. The top flight places such a financial strain on the majority of clubs that if Premier League status is not constantly achieved then there is always the risk of financial worries down the line.
Hull City are no different.
The Tigers’ wage bill has been cut considerably since their relegation from the Premier League, which has affected the size of the squad. On paper, though, there is enough to suggest that they will not be in the bottom half of the Championship for too long.
At this particular time, Hull are putting some decent form together. They are proving a very difficult team to beat. They are also starting to score more freely in recent matches, which will please fans immensely. If the home form can be improved it will certainly help matters.
Some supporters have questioned the ability of manager Nigel Pearson. This seems pretty silly to me. His recent record at Leicester City stands up against any manager in the lower leagues. I remember thinking how fortunate Hull City were to get him when he arrived. Hull is now a big club, so it is testament to the club that they can attract managers contracted to other clubs so well.
I see this season as a consolidation season for Hull, both on and off the pitch. The recent takeover could well allow some spending on new players in January although, unless any purchases pay off immediately, a promotion push may have to wait until next season.
The Tigers will be in the same boat as many Championship clubs, as a former Premier League club struggling to recover top flight status, which only goes to prove what a tough division the Championship really is.