First, relegation. Next, administration?

Wednesday, 28 April 2010


Last weekend virtually ended Hull City’s time as a Premier League club when they lost out to Sunderland 1-0, with fellow strugglers West Ham beating Wigan 3-2. Relegation was always going to be an issue for the Tigers this season after they managed to stay up last term, only just, might I add, surviving by one single point.

Now faced with the prospect of playing Championship football next season the future looks to be bleak for Hull. Already they are in serious trouble of going into administration and preparations have begun to restructure the club and its loans.

The figures which stick out are the current level of debt which stands at £35million; however, as we know with Portsmouth this could be even higher. Also, the wage bill stands at a staggering £40million, which is expected to be reduced to £15million before the start of next season.

One Premier League club has already gone into administration this season and that is the aforementioned Portsmouth, but there are now fears Hull City could be following them down the same road. There are serious questions which need to be answered in regards to the players Phil Brown signed during his tenure.

Jimmy Bullard is currently on a reported £45,000 a week and has made it clear that he intends to see out the remained of his three year contract with the Tigers.
Similar to West Ham there will most likely be a fire sale of players during the summer, in particular, valuable ones such as Stephen Hunt (currently injured) goalkeeper Boaz Myhill and Bullard would all be favourites to be offloaded.

Then there is still the issue with Phil Brown who was placed on “gardening leave” in March after a run of four defeats. He was replaced with by Iain Dowie who is now the “Football Management Consultant” until the end of the season.

It remains to be seen as to who will lead Hull in the Championship next but Chairman Adam Pearson has not ruled out the possibility of Brown coming back as manager. He said: “Could I work with Phil Brown again? I don’t see why not.”

“He’s definitely technically and contractually still the manager of this club. I haven’t discussed this with the owner or with Phil yet. But it is an option to bring Phil back in.”

Will he be welcomed back to the club with open arms? Certainly not, especially judging by George Boetang’s comments last Saturday, where he had some harsh words for Brown.

'When the new staff came in it gave us a bit of hope because the squad were not behind Phil Brown, said Boateng

He also went on to say: ‘Iain Dowie hasn’t taken us down; we were down before because Phil Brown made essential errors that caused us to lose many games.’

Owner Russell Bartlett and Chairman Adam Pearson have already begun restructuring the club to avoid going into either administration or a Creditors Voluntary Agreement (CVA). If they were to enter either of those then they would start off next season on -10 points.

Since the 2003-04 season the club has been on the rise. That season they played in the old third division under Peter Taylor in which the finished second and were promoted to the newly reformed League One where they won promotion again.

After spending two seasons in the Championship they gained promotion to the Premier League in 2007-08. That dream is now over and with the current financial plight Hull is in danger of slipping back down the leagues.

Sadly, they like others before them have “lived the dream” and enjoyed life at the top but now they could be in for a dramatic fall.

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Touchline Views

This is a football blog by Ian Walsh, covering all aspects of the game - from the Premier League and La Liga to the slightly mental football stories we all love.

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