Hull City: Which Came First, the Chicken Or the Egg?
Well we are almost a month into the summer transfer window and the Tigers are still without a summer signing.
We have been in open negotiations with a few players, not least Fraizer Campbell of Manchester United (following a season long loan to Spurs), Marc Antoine Fortune of Nancy, France (following a five month loan spell with West Brom) and now Bobby Zamora of Fulham. All strikers that we so desperately need but with no success in making a signing.
Why is this? Some people would say it is because Phil Brown chastised his charges on the field at Eastlands. Some would have you think it is just Phil Brown and his antics in general.
Some would say it is Paul Duffen's inability to handle players agents. Others would suggest that we won't meet player wage demands.
Whilst some people would argue that players don't want to be in a relegation battle all season long.
I would argue that it is all of them and none of them at the same time.
Currently we have failed to sign three strikers. Michael Owen who signed for Manchester United from relegated Newcastle United. This one is a "no-brainer" as our American cousins would say. Who in their right minds would sign for Hull City if they had the choice of signing for Manchester United?
Secondly Fraizer Campbell. He had a instrumental part to play in propelling Hull City into the Premiership with some all important goals in our promotion-winning season and is highly regarded by the management and the fans of Hull City. However he chose to join Sunderland where he sees there being more potential for his future.
Marc Antoine Fortune had a very successful loan spell with the Baggies at the Hawthorns where he displayed a degree of talent that drew attention to him from other clubs, not least Celtic when his former WBA manager took the vacant managerial position. Tony Mowbray managed to lure Fortune to Celtic with the promise of European football.
Now, the three high profile players that we have failed to sign so publicly show one thing from the club and the management in general and that is intent. Okay, we didn't manage to sign any of them and the loss of Campbell probably hurt most of all after his spell with the club, but it shows that we are not intent on just making up the numbers in the Premiership.
The reason they didn't sign for the Tigers was probably because they saw their futures panning out better at other clubs rather than with Hull City in the short term.
Ah, you say but Phil Brown's antics caused them to not sign? That may be the case but when Phil Brown started getting more and more brazen in his comments that saw his stock tumble in the media the team's performances had already started to take a nose dive.
Brown's attempt to stop the rot at Eastlands was an attempt to nip the slump in the bud. That Boxing Day game was on the end of a series of games that had seen us only record one win in ten games and that was a lucky 2-1 victory against Middlesborough. We had picked up only six points from a possible 30.
It would have been interesting to see how the second half of the season would have panned out if in the following game of the season the Tigers had clung on for the draw they clearly deserved. Aston Villa, who had been scoring freely in the Premiership up to that point, were the Tigers' opponents at the KC and they left with a very lucky victory.
This was compounded by the defeat to Everton in the next game where the Tigers out-played the Toffees only to lose to a side that should have been down to ten men within 15 minutes. To add insult to injury for the Tigers, Felliani—who should have got his marching orders—scored a grossly offside goal to seal the three points.
Phil Brown's attempts to nip the slump in the bud were the reason for his change in style with the media. His shenanigans were in my opinion a well-crafted attempt to draw attention away from his ailing side. Luck and good fortune were in full measure for the Tigers last season but when the chips were down for the East Yorkshire club Phil Brown drew attention to himself to deflect it away from his players.
During the club's tumble down the division Paul Duffen, who had proudly proclaimed that we could be in Europe next season, saw just how tough the Premier League can be, as we slid slowly down the division to rest on the knife edge of the relegation zone.
The club as a whole has had some very bad times in its long history, most of it in the past 10 years. Locked out of its ground. Bankruptcy, almost relegated out of the Football League altogether.
One of the things that the club has learned is that just throwing money at a problem is no way to have long term stability. You only have to look at other clubs that have speculated to accumulate, such as Leeds United; or even Newcastle United last season.
Adam Pearson, our previous Chairman, knew this after his time with Leeds United and he has passed this onto Paul Duffen the current incumbent of the Hull City chairmanship. Under his stewardship the club has taken its first tentative steps into the unknown land of the Premier League.
Every fan, and I am sure every member of the club from top to bottom, would have taken 17th place in the Premiership last season if offered that at the start of the campaign.
However, we haven't broken the bank in doing so. Even signing the unlucky Jimmy Bullard for a record £5 million fee wasn't going to break the bank for the club and still kept his wages within the club's wage structure.
This transfer window has raised a whole new set of challenges for the club. With the ridiculous money coming into the Premiership from the takeover of Manchester City to the £80 million that Real Madrid spent on Cristiano Ronaldo, it has artificially raised the prices of the most ordinary of players.
You only have to look at the money Fulham are asking for striker Bobby Zamora, a player that only scored two goals for the London club last season. Is £5 million a lot for a player with his goalscoring abilities? Add to this the amount of money he willl expect in wages and it makes for a difficult situation for the chairman.
Does Duffen bite the bullet and pay the money asked for Zamora and then have to pay the high wages he expects and in the process rip up the club's wage structure? It's a tough nut to crack but does the club want to end up going down the route of Leeds United?
Ultimately, the club ended up in 17th place despite a fantastic start to last season. Does any player want to be involved in a relegation battle all season long? I would suspect the answer to that one is, no.
Any player signing for Hull City should be in no doubt that the up-coming season would be a tough season but so too would a season with Wolves, Birmingham, and Burnley who won promotion last season.
In the mix with the newly promoted team and Hull City should be added Bolton, Blackburn, Portsmouth, Stoke City, Sunderland, and Wigan. All of these clubs know that it isn't easy to sign players to struggle through a tough season but all players want to play at the highest possible level.
When the big clubs have divided up the players they want then the rest of us strugglers will get to feed on their scraps. Like dogs around a medieval knights' table.
Ultimately it's still too early to gauge the success of the summer transfer window as there are still six weeks left for clubs to make that all important "blow your socks off" signing.
If by Aug. 31st Hull City haven't signed any strikers then I will worry but until then I will worry about the loss of Sam Ricketts to Bolton and the attempts of Manchester City and Spurs to poach Michael Turner away from the KC Stadium.
Oh, and stop blaming everything on Phil Brown.
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