What a Decade For Hull City!
On the 20th of October 1998, exactly ten years ago today, Hull City were comfortably beaten 3-0 by Exeter City. The result placed Hull 24th in Division Three, the lowest placing possible in the Football League.
They were 92nd out of a possible 92.
At that time, Arsenal were reigning champions, and Manchester United were starting their march towards the historic treble.
Ten years on, however, and Hull are placed higher than both those teams, and have moved up a mammoth 89 places.
Hull just managed to stay in the Football League that season, pulling off "The Great Escape" to survive. But their troubles weren't over just yet. Despite improved performances on the field, the off-the-field problems were getting out of hand.
The club actually once got locked out of their then home ground, Boothferry Park, by the bailiffs. Liquidation looked an almost certainty for the Tigers. Yet they still managed to reach the play-offs in the 2000-01 season, losing in the semifinals.
Hull needed major investment. They were one of the poorest clubs in the country, and administration was lurking around the corner. Step up Adam Pearson.
The former Leeds United commercial director poured money into Hull, and suddenly their money woes were a distant memory. In addition to this, the manager could use money to build a competitive team.
Things didn't quite go as planned, though, as Hull finished 11th and 13th in the next two seasons. But in 2002 they relocated to a brand new stadium—The KC Stadium—which replaced Boothferry Park, their home of 56 years which had seen more bad times than good during those years.
The new stadium seemed to galvanize Hull. They gained automatic promotion from Division Three by finishing second, and followed that up with another second place finish in League One the following year, giving them back-to-back promotions, and placing them in the Championship.
Survival was their main aim, and they achieved just that in their first season back in the second tier. The next season wasn't as successful, and saw the arrival of Phil Brown as new manager.
He brought in hometown hero Dean Windass from Bradford and, with a new chairman in charge, built a team not aiming for survival, but aiming for the Premier League. They reached the play-offs in the 2007-08 season, and beat Bristol City in the final. Dean Windass scored the most lucrative goal in English football, to send the club to the top flight.
They had gone from the bottom tier to the top of the Football League, in just five seasons.
And now, after the vast majority of people predicted them to be the whipping boys, they have gained 17 points from eight games, 15 more than bottom place Tottenham (who, by the way, have less points than Derby did at this stage last season).
They have been magnificent so far this season, enjoying success against mainly London clubs such as Arsenal, Fulham, Tottenham and West Ham.
So, from 92nd out of 92 to 3rd out of 92 in exactly ten years, we can safely say that it has been a marvellous decade for Hull City.
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