Hull City Season Review 2016/17: So close but yet so far for relegated Tigers

Hull City Season Review 2016/17: So close but yet so far for relegated Tigers

Marco Silva fell just short of formulating a great escape for Hull but ultimately their form over the winter period let them down as they returned to the Championship.

chris-lincoln
Chris Lincoln

Hull City's return to the Premier League was quite simply the definition of a "rollercoaster season". From the highs of promotion to a dwindling squad and terrible run of results; a change of manager and form to a humbling end to the campaign, Tigers' fans will not forget this one in a hurry.

Optimism turns to pessimism

Almost a year ago to the day, Mo Diame's 100 million pound strike in the Championship playoff final sent Hull City fans into delirium. A return to the Premier League with an enigmatic manager in Steve Bruce, the future of the Tigers looked rosy. It did not take long for that optimism to wilt.

Just weeks after that memorable moment at Wembley, Bruce was packing his bags and on his way out of the newly named KCOM stadium. An injury crisis had plagued Hull's pre-season preparations and Bruce found that his plans did not align with those of the owners. With the squad numbers dwindling and fan protests arising, Mike Phelan took the reigns on a temporary basis initially.

Back with a bang before falling from grace

Yet arguably the worst preparation for a season in Premier League history was soon pushed into the shadows. Hull could not have asked for a better start to the campaign as they won their first two matches of the season, opening with a 2-1 victory over champions Leicester City. A flurry of deadline day transfers bolstered the squad as fans began to believe.

As long nights began to draw in, that optimism started to fade. Hammerings from Arsenal, Liverpool and Bournemouth brought the Tigers back to reality as Hull failed to win a league game in September and October and slipped into the relegation zone.

Light relief in the Cup before a change of leadership

Despite their loss of form, Phelan was granted a permanent position as Hull found light relief in the EFL Cup. Victories over Exeter City, Stoke City, Bristol City and Newcastle United saw them reach the semi-finals.

However, December was another month that did not prove fruitful as the Tigers picked up just two points from six Premier League games. It was time for a change as the Allam family looked to Portugese manager Marco Silva as Phelan was relieved from his duties.

Mason injury shocks the world of football

Silva immediately made an impact as Hull saw off Swansea City in the FA Cup for their first victory in twelve games. A spirited but ultimately unsuccessful EFL Cup semi-final against Manchester United showed progress, whilst a 3-1 win against Bournemouth secured Hull's first victory in the league for ten matches.

Yet the month of January was marred by a serious head injury to Ryan Mason that left both his career and life at risk. Fortunately, the midfielder is now recovering and recently returned the training ground before the final game of the season.

Snodgrass departs but Hull show fight

As was Hull's style during the campaign, they made a number of deadline day recruits, though these additions made a much greater impact than Phelan's signings at the start of the season. Unfortunately, they were unable to keep hold of top goalscorer and their most influential player Robert Snodgrass as he departed for West Ham United.

The Tigers began to show their fight as they stunned Liverpool with a 2-0 victory. A handful of positive results followed before a critical 2-1 victory over relegation rivals Swansea City gave Hull the belief they could survive.

Heroes to zeros

Yet it was the month of April that really turned the tide for the Tigers. Ten points from six games ensured Hull went into the last three games of the season with survival hopes in their own hands as they leapfrogged Swansea into 17th place.

However, Hull's world was about to come crashing down in two terrible results against lower ranked sides. A lacklustre display saw the Tigers lose 2-0 at home to already relegated Sunderland, allowing Swansea to go back above them.

Back to the Championship

As the Welsh side continued to push on, Hull were left needing a victory at Crystal Palace on the penultimate game of the season to give themselves any hope of surviving. The Eagles were also not guaranteed safety but were able to raise their game and hammer the Tigers 4-0. Relegation was confirmed.

Hull were to go out with a whimper on the final day of the season as Spurs overturned them 7-1 at the KCOM stadium ahead of an uncertain future for the Tigers. With Marco Silva's future in doubt, it could be another summer of turmoil for the Humberside club but this time they have to combat it whilst on the downward slide.

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