Behind closed doors: will it help or hinder Hull City?
Above: The infamous "Allam Out" protest has been a major factor in the dwindling crowds at the KCOM for a number of years
(Photo by Ashley Allen/Getty Images)

Most fans are desperate for the EFL Championship season to resume on June 20th. Without a game-day since the first full weekend in March, supporters have been starved of action for almost three months. 

Nevertheless, there are a small number of teams - and by extension, their supporters - who are slightly nervous at the thought of the return of the beautiful game. Hull City and their followers fit into this bracket. Widely publicized as attempting to halt the restart to the season, the Tigers and their fans became social pariahs last month when their owners, the Allams, reportedly wrote to the EFL requesting that the season be voided, rather than finished.

Social media storm aside, the name of the owner - Allam - has been synonymous over the past few years with the fall from grace that the club has experienced since gaining promotion for the third time to the Premier League since 2008. This was sown in 2013, when the owners attempted to rebrand the club to "Hull Tigers". The messy situation left many disillusioned with the club, adamant to stay away until the club was sold - something many Hull fans thought was a done deal, only for it to collapse.

Changing of concessions prices also angered fans, with a detrimental impact on attendances. When Hull reached the play-off final and beat Sheffield Wednesday back in May 2016 - although many stayed away in protest - fans expected the club to kick on and consolidate in the top flight under an experienced manager with some really promising players. However, to many, it initiated the beginning of the club's downward spiral. 

Only twelve first team players remained at the club for pre-season. Steve Bruce left the club, leaving the inexperienced Mike Phelan to take charge for the first three months of the 2016/17 campaign. Surprising many by beating reigning Champions Leicester City on the opening day, Phelan soon found himself out of a job and Marco Silva - previously with Olympiacos - was appointed; and almost got a tune out of some very good players, but fell away at the last few hurdles. Fast forward three years, and Hull City could be looking at a spell in the third tier of English football for the first time since 2005.

What has this got to do with behind closed doors games? In short, a great deal. The attendances and atmosphere at the KCOM Stadium have decreased dramatically since the Allams took over the club. At currently less than 12,000 average attendance in an almost 25,000 capacity stadium, the mood can often be a little flat. Throw in the understandable frustration of the fans - particularly around the recent sales of Kamil Grosicki and Jarrod Bowen - around lack of investment, and there is not an atmosphere conducive to a good performance.

This can be proven in the statistics. Hull City have lost 10 out of 19 games played at home. That is the most in the entire league. Not only that, but they have conceded the most goals (33) at home along with Barnsley and Queens Park Rangers, and have won the least number of points at home out of any team in the league. 21 points out of 57 available does not suggest the KCOM is a fortress.

There are a number of factors that contribute to the Tigers having such a poor record this season, especially at home. However, when the league does return next weekend - and the games don't come any bigger than relegation rivals Charlton Athletic at home - perhaps the lack of spectators will allow the East Yorkshire side to play without any pressure, distractions or negative influences. Perhaps finishing the season behind closed doors will work in Hull's favor more than any other team. At least, Hull City fans will be hoping so.

Time will tell.

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