Saturday, 25 July 2015

Hull City and the "reality of relegation"

According to reports - Hull City are set to sign Sam Clucas from League One Chesterfield for £1m to replace Robbie Brady who is going to Premier League Norwich City for £7m.

Losing sought after players and replacing them cheaply is the “reality of relegation”. Burnley and QPR, who were relegated along with City in May, have or are about to suffer similarly with the losses of Danny Ings, Kieran Trippier and Charlie Austin. 


While it may be a harsh reality, it dosn't have to be terminal. Last summer relegated Norwich last Leroy Fer and Robert Snodgrass under similar circumstances. They were able to achieve promotion with their rebuilt squad (and a new manager in Alex Neil) despite those losses. Ironically the two players, sold to QPR and Hull City respectively, passed them on their way up.

That term “reality of relegation” has been used previously this summer in relation to The Tigers’ desire to get rid of high earners from the wage bill, recouping some of the massive outlay on transfer fees, and the need of both Hull City and QPR to release anyone coming to the end of a good contract.

That isn’t representative of reality though - it is the outcome of over-spending the massive TV revenue afforded you in the Premier League. Burnley are a fine example of clubs who have not suffered too greatly from relegation because they always prepared for the eventuality.

Meanwhile, The Tigers had the 8th highest net spend in the Premier League over the past two seasons of around £50m while newly promoted QPR had the 8thhighest wage bill in the top division in 2014/15.Both clubs are now suffering from the over-indulgence and under-achievement in their recent flirtations with the top flight.

Even so – they have chosen to tackle the problem in different ways.Hull City, much to the chagrin of most fans, have opted to wait until the big names have been sold before entering the transfer market - creating the impression of an exodus.

It has seen The Tigers' tag of bookmaker’s favourites for promotion bestowed on rivals Derby and Middlesbrough and along with rising season ticket prices and the continued name change malarkey has seen levels of anticipation drop similarly to those held by people waiting for the Hull fishing industry to make a comeback or Hull FC fans waiting for a win at Wembley.

QPR on the other hand invested the windfall they expect to receive for Charlie Austin in some promising talent like Massimo Luongo and Ben Gladwin of Swindon Town and cherry picking some of the talent available on the “Bosman” market.

The “reality of relegation” is easy to accept. Most football fans are not stupid and appreciate that their club has to cut its cloth according to its expected income.

It’s a little harder to accept inactivity, uncertainty, lack of any clear strategy and absence of communication from the club. That’s the biggest crime Hull City’s administrators have committed this summer.

The fans are more important to the club in the Championship now the riches of the Premier League are long gone. The club has to maximise it's revenue through the gate and from merchandising and marketing. Those fans deserve respect and they need hope. Especially when in the case of The Tigers’ fans they are being asked to pay more for it.

The club, sadly, has slumbered since relegation was confirmed. Now is the time for everyone to wake up and spring into action before reality bites.

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