Hull City’s promotion to the Premier League back in 2008 ended an entire history of spending time in the lower English divisions since their formation in 1904.
It was a moment fans would never forget as Scottish manager Phil Brown would guide The Tigers to a successful play-off campaign, beating Bristol City in the final at Wembley.
For the city of Hull, the play-off win proved to be significant, seeing Rugby League be more popular with the likes of Hull FC and Hull Kingston Rovers having moderate success over the years.
With promotion, Brown was handed a transfer budget over the summer to help further the club’s rise in English football, and the Scotsman would go on to bring in the likes of Jimmy Bullard, George Boateng, Bernard Mendy and former Barcelona and Brazil international Geovanni.
With those signings and Premier League football on a regular basis, Hull’s fans were met with an unusual feeling, but a welcome and exciting one at that, and they showed their support for the club in holding an average of 24,000 per game during the campaign.
It proved to be Hull’s most attended season in history, with fans eager to see their football side reach similar heights of their Rugby counterparts.
The season proved difficult, but Brown masterminded a late surge in results, meaning Hull finished 17th in the league, holding off a relegation at their first attempt of top flight football.
The summer of 2009 saw one major change at Hull with chairman Paul Duffen resigning from his role, being replaced by Adam Pearson, and it was the latter who handed Brown the sack after a run of poor results in the second half of the season.
Iain Dowie took over, but the former striker was unable to halt Hull’s relegation to the Championship – and eventual player exodus.
Nigel Pearson and Nicky Barmby were then given chances to manage the club, but after seeing their spells to come to an end – fans criticised Adam Pearson, which resulted in his contract being terminated.
It proved to be a drastic change in life as a supporter of Hull, going from promotion to the Premier League to a return to the Championship with uncertainty, player sales and managerial changes.
Steve Bruce’s eventual arrival was key to Hull’s slight resurgence, gaining promotion back to the Premier League in 2013, and despite relegation in 2015, Bruce would get the club back in England’s top flight before leaving in 2016.
Since their drop back to the Championship in 2017, Hull have nose dived to the lower regions of the league, struggling to find consistent form and a manager who could bring back the so called ‘good times’.
Several men have tried in Mike Phelan, Marco Silva, Leonid Slutsky and Nigel Adkins, whilst Grant McCann was handed the reigns last summer.
Sitting just above the drop zone in the current campaign, pressure is firmly on to find some good form and move away from the bottom three, but that has been made harder for McCann after the January sales of Jarrod Bowen and Kamil Grosicki.
Championship survival is drastically important for the club this term, not only for the players and club personnel, but for the fans and for football in the city.
Attendances at the KCOM stadium have taken a huge drop since that first promotion to the Premier League, seeing an average of 12,000 turn up for games this season, a 50% drop since 2008.
With that drop in support at home, you would expect many more to stay at home on Saturday’s if they were to drop to League One, plus signing players and enticing them to come to a non-footballing city, would be hard to do.
Question marks have surrounded boss McCann over recent weeks, but focus from all concerned must be on safety first, as a drop down to England’s third flight could be the end of the club sitting side-by-side with Rugby League in the city.