Cyberspace is all a-twitter with rumors that ex-England international Nick Barmby has been suspended as Hull City manager by the Tigers' Egyptian owners, Assem and Ehab Allam at 2 PM Monday. It is alleged that Barmby, who took the reins at the Kingston Communication Stadium, has been questioning the club owners' ambitions in the local media outlet, Radio Humberside.
The Allams are also placing Hull City up for sale as a result of the incident.
Barmby had been promised a substantial war chest to lure him to sign on the dotted line as the club's first home grown manager, after previous incumbent Nigel Pearson left to rejoin his old club Leicester City. It is rumored that despite attempts to make substantial player signings during the January transfer window, all attempts to make the owners follow up on their promises failed.
The lack of funding for player recruitment left the Tigers' squad paper thin and led to a dip in form due to injuries, suspensions, and fatigue in a congested March, which ultimately sunk the club's push for a playoff spot. The nature and timing of the club's loss of form led Barmby to question the owners' ambition for the club.
Barmby told the Hull Daily Mail after the 2-1 loss to West Ham on the last day of the season.
"We'll sit down with the owners and discuss our budget, but momentum is everything. You can't stand still at any time if you want to do well. We know we've got the basis of an exciting team, but we've got to keep it going now. We all want the same goal, for Hull City to be successful."
"I genuinely believe that we can be one of the teams that can be right up there next season. It's very important that we keep hold of our best players, too," Barmby added. "Everyone knows who those players are, and why it's so important. It's imperative we do that because we're not a selling club, and these lads want to be here. We owe it to them to really go for it next season."
However, if the rumors are true, it will be a sad day for the club as well as the City of Kingston upon Hull. From helping to salvage the club after the financially disastrous time in the top flight, the Allam family has moved up in the "Sunday Times Rich List" to have a staggering £417m, rising £130m from £287m over the last year despite spending approximately £51 million to save the famous old Yorkshire club.
The excitement and first flush of saving the club seems to have worn off, and the expensive play thing that is Hull City is back on troubled waters, rudderless, and floundering after showing such promise.