Hull have had a difficult first season back in the Championship but have done enough to live to fight another day.
They are one of many clubs to change managers this season – with Leonid Slutsky, the first Russian to manage an English side, leaving in early December following a winless run of seven games which had dropped them down to 20th in the table.
While Slutsky only won four of his 20 Championship games in charge, there was rarely a dull moment with City scoring 34 goals but conceding 37 in that time.
Nigel Adkins became Hull’s fourth manager since the summer of 2016 and he won enough points, including three in his first game in charge against us, to ensure the Tigers will be on our fixture list again next season.
Hull have bobbed about between the Premier League and the Championship since winning promotion as League One runners-up in 2005, with five seasons in the top flight in that time.
WHO’S IN CHARGE
Nigel Adkins signed an 18-month contract when he took over in December.
Adkins had been out of the game since leaving Sheffield United at the end of the 2015/16 season.
He was previously in charge of Southampton, who he led from League One to the Premier League in successive seasons, and Reading, having started his managerial career at Scunthorpe, where he took charge after previously being the club physio.
As a player, Adkins was a goalkeeper for Tranmere, Wigan and Bangor, where he became player-manager.
WE’VE MET BEFORE
Hull’s last visit was on a Tuesday night in early November 2015 when second half goals from Andrew Robertson, who is set to play in the Champions League final for Liverpool later this month, and Sam Clucas gave them a 2-0 win that sent them to the top of the Championship table.
The return was also a Tuesday night the following April and resulted in another 2-0 win for the Tigers – this time through two first half strikes. The first was an own goal by Harlee Dean, followed by a goal by Mohamed Diame on the stroke of half-time.
We lost again when we met Hull on a bitterly cold day last December – but at least this time we scored, despite going down to a 3-2 defeat.
Once again, there were only goals in one half – this time the second. We took a 47th minute lead through a David Meyler own goal, set up by Ollie Watkins, but Kamil Grosicki quickly equalised and Seb Larsson and Jackson Irvine put the Tigers on top before John Egan’s 87th minute header set up a tense finish.
BBC Radio Humberside sports editor David Burns (Burnsy) analyses Hull’s first season back in the Championship, explains why there could be a lot of players leaving the club this summer and recalls an awkward run-in with the law on a previous visit to Griffin Park!
Q – How would you assess Hull’s season – disappointing, encouraging or roughly what was expected?
A – Disappointing but predictable sadly. For the second summer running the owners left the recruitment of players late and effectively in my opinion killed the season before a ball had been kicked. The overall atmosphere of a disunited club between fans and owners also hasn’t helped. Gates are down and people have lost their love for their club through no fault of their own.
Q – Why have Hull not staged a push for promotion this season?
A – See my previous answer but add underperforming players to the mix, though the root cause is underperforming owners!
Q – Things did not really work out for Leonid Slutsky? Why not and what different things has Nigel Adkins done to secure Championship status for another season?
A – Leonid Slutsky was a great bloke, everyone loved him but he had about as much chance as a one-legged man in a bottom-kicking contest! He was new to the EFL, he didn’t have an experienced Championship-savvy old head alongside him and the flaws in the recruitment and the balance of the squad meant it was too much. In fairness an early injury to striker Abel Hernandez , who’d scored a boatload of goals in the Championship previously, didn’t help either.
Nigel Adkins was and is a good appointment for me but at one point as they had a long run of bad form I wondered whether he was heading for his P45. He’s got them more defensively organised, he’s had a belief in his methods as have the players, he’s positive to the point of almost being happy-clappy and he got Hernandez back from injury and signed Harry Wilson on loan from Liverpool who has been a joy to watch. Nigel deserves great credit. He’s a good manager.
Q – I believe that several players are out of contract this summer? Do you anticipate big squad changes and where do you think Hull need to strengthen to be a force next season?
A – There’s a lot of players out of contract and most will be heading for the door despite Nigel Adkins wanting to keep the likes of Larsson, Dawson, McGregor and Hernandez. The budget is reduced and there’s continued uncertainty as there has been for some years as to whether the club will be sold. He needs to strengthen everywhere but it will come back to the owners, the budget and the speed and quality of recruitment. You’ll not find too many up our way at this stage predicting glory.
Q – Have the well-documented off-the-field problems – tennis balls etc being thrown on the pitch, protests etc – affected the players during matches?
A – There’s differing views on the protests’ effect on the players on specific incidents but looking at the bigger picture a club where the fans feel the need to protest is not going to have a recipe for success.
Q – Who have been Hull’s star performers this season?
A – Jarrod Bowen has been fantastic in his first full season scoring goals from wide, though injuries slowed his progress post-Xmas. He’s contracted but I expect PL offers for him in the summer. Keeper Allan McGregor, who looked like he wouldn’t get a game in the summer, has been magnificent, he‘s kept them up.
Seb Larsson has been a credit to himself, consistent, energetic and never letting his standards drop (apart from a minging penalty at Derby). Harry Wilson has been a privilege to watch, he’ll play PL next season and Abel Hernandez came back from injury and scored goals when the team were on cow’s backside and banjo territory.
Q – Do you have any memories of previous Hull-Brentford matches which you have attended for work or pleasure?
A – You’re asking the wrong man! I’ve got a terrible memory for matches, but I always love a visit down here, even if I once had to plead with a policeman not to tow my car away outside the ground coz I’d parked early before they put the cones out!
Q – Which Brentford players will you be wary of?
A – All of them. I like Brentford’s collective spirit and organisation. It strikes me that it’s a well-run club in very competitive surroundings.
Q – What’s the latest on Moses Odubajo? I know he has had an injury-hit time with the Tigers so far.
A – It’s a great shame about Moses Odubajo, he’s been out for two seasons with injury and he’s out of contract at the end of the season and it’s not clear yet whether he’ll get offered a new deal. The fans love him and want him to stay but we don’t know yet. City should have signed him at Orient, in fact we urged them to on the radio when he starred for Orient v Hull in the League Cup but they didn’t and Brentford did and rightly made a few quid.
Q – Finally, are you able to give me a possible Hull starting line-up and formation too please?
A – His team line-up is a little hard to predict as they’re now safe and the odd youngster like Dan Batty may get a go. I’d go McGregor, full-backs Tomori and Clark, centre-halves Dawson and Mazuch/Hector. Midfield Wilson and Bowen in the wide positions, Batty and Larsson/Henriksen/Meyler in midfield with Toral and Dicko. It’s a pure guess though.
PUBS IN BRENTFORD AND TRAVEL NEWS
For Hull fans coming to the game, you are probably aware there plenty of pub options pre-match and all are most welcoming and away-fan-friendly (as it should be).
We are now back to the traditional four pubs around the ground, following the reopening of the Royal Oak.
The Griffin is closest to the away end (like 30 secs walk) and is very popular with away fans – but also very, very busy. The New Inn is on the other side and is also popular with away fans. The Princess Royal and the Royal Oak are the other options.
Other pubs slightly further afield for the more creative amongst you include (and this is by no means a definitive list) …. The Globe (Windmill Rd) is the Beesotted pre-match pub. This boozer & The Lord Nelson (Enfield Rd) are both incredibly friendly and cosy away-friendly pubs and about 1 min walk from each other …. frequented by ‘away fans in the know’.
The Plough (Northfields Ave) in Northfields is a decent stop-off if you are coming by tube to Northfields. The ‘Northfields run’ makes a much better pub crawl route than South Ealing – getting off at Northfields station, turning left and stopping off at The Plough (2 min walk), The Lord Nelson (10 min walk from The Plough) & The Globe (1 min walk from The Nelson) en-route before ending up at The Griffin (8 min walk from The Globe) by the away turnstiles.
There’s also a relatively new tiny microbrewery pub in Northfields called The Owl and The Pussycat (Northfields Ave)– right turn out of the station away from the ground as opposed to left.
There is a pub right by Brentford station referred to as … the Pub by Brentford station.
For ale head to the Magpie and Crown pub on Brentford High Street. The Royal Horseguardsman (Ealing Road) can probably hold 15 of you at a push.
The Brewery Tap (Catherine Wheel Road) is a cosy boozer by the river. And if you are super adventurous, get off at Kew Bridge and visit One Over the Ait (Kew Bridge Road) – a spacious boozer right next to Kew Bridge with a beer deck overlooking the river – and The Express Tavern (Kew Bridge Road) – an ale pub with a retro feel.
A quick Google search and you’ll find them all. There are many many more too if you have a look around.
Parking is pretty easy away from the ground going up towards and over the A4 Great West Rd (ie. North) via Ealing Road or Windmill Road.
Getting to Brentford from town – many fans get the tube to Waterloo (Northern, Jubilee lines) or Vauxhall (Victoria Line) then take the Overground train to Brentford.
This is relatively straightforward but can actually take longer than if you get the tube due to waiting times (overground trains come every 15 mins and the journey from Vauxhall or Waterloo to Brentford is 30 mins on the fast train – 51 mins on the slow train – so you could find it takes you over an hour including the journey from Kings Cross/Euston/Paddington).
Many fans choose the tube over the overground. It’s 35 minutes to Northfields station from Kings Cross or Euston (less from Paddington) and then 15 minutes walk to Brentford from there (4 mins on the bus) – more if you take the Northfields to Brentford pub crawl outlined above (Plough, Lord Nelson, Globe, Griffin) of course. If you’re feeling lazy you could take the E2 bus from outside Northfields station to either outside The Globe pub (3 stops – serves The Lord Nelson too) or Brentford FC (4 stops).
You can check out Transport for London’s guide to travel on the Tube and Overground.
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