Wednesday, August 13, 2008

EPL Previews. To Hull and Back?

4/11. That's what the bookies are offering on Hull to be relegated from their first year EVER in top-flight football. Not looking good for the Tigers, is it?

As you can see from the picture, the KC is ready to rock. The newish stadium will be hosting top flight football and Hull's arrival in the Premier League will be announced with a bell!

Can they do it? Survive a year in the best league in the world? Well, Reading did it. Ip...Ip...Ip...Them, they did it. Fulham did it. It's getting harder but not impossible. If any of the three promoted teams have a chance at surviving the coming season, I reckon it's Hull. Now let me tell you why.

The KC... looks Premiership-ready to me!

Hull play football [Ed. Note: hang on, stick with him from here]. They put the ball on the ground and play football. This is the first tick in the "staying up" box. They will try to be competitive.

Stoke will do the opposite. They will try and muscle teams and play long ball, frustrating their opponents and keeping the ball as far away from their talented opponents feet as possible as they urge the ref to blow the whistle. But when Stoke inevitably concede, they will have nothing going forward at all to worry Premiership defenders. Sidibe and Cresswell? Ouch.

Another tick in the box for Hull is the home crowd. Hull could sell out the KC twice this year and the joint will be noisy. Why they didn't show up last year is baffling but there you are, Hull is a rugby town and apparently they only take note of the footy when the big dance comes to town.

Hull is also a trek for many teams and their fans, and any visitors will be greeted by a cauldron of noise. 25,000 fans eager to be the 12th man in their first ever season in the top flight. Home advantage will count for a lot with Hull... obviously not when Chelsea, Liverpool, Arsenal or United roll into town, but the Tigers will fancy their chances of nabbing some points with the rest.

The team...

While Stoke and West Brom have carefully thought about their attempts to stay up and the implications of going down, weighing up the budget and cautiously scouring the wage bill, Hull said f--- it! They got to work early and manager Phil Brown attacked the transfer market like a wild, crazy, early morning, get it first, go for it... beast.

Boateng has plenty of Premiership experience! Hull will need it!

Brown camped outside the shop overnight and was the first to dive into the bargain bin. In came genuine Premiership midfielders Geovanni and Boetang. Geovanni was a bench player for Man City but Hull will be happy with what he will bring and they are not chasing a place in Europe but just a 'place' come May!

They also signed defenders Bernard Mendy from PSG and Anthony Gardner from Spurs. Defence is Hull's strong point; they were already good in this area and conceded just 45 goals from 46 games last year, good for third-best in the Championship! They have strengthened at the back and wont be a push over, however, this is the only area of the pitch that has any depth.

Geovanni: Will he get playing time at Hull that he didn't at Man City?

Hungarian winger Peter Halmosi arrived from Plymouth and striker Craig Fagan was rescued from Derby. Hull are still short in attack but they are still shopping. The latest pair to join the party could be Marlon King and Chelsea bench dweller Claudio Pizarro, who will need to take a drop in wages as he is currently on 3 million a year at Chelsea! (f------ ridiculous!).

If Hull sign these two players they will have enough tools to have a really good go at staying up. Fagan, Folan and Garcia will not trouble many defenses, but realistically Hull ARE going to get a couple of competent strikers. They have not spent much but they would have busted the wage structure with the new signings, for sure.

The quality of Brown's signings so far would suggest Brown knows what he is doing, and he has his eyes on doing enough to keep the Tigers up. I would also expect at least 3 to 4 more players to arrive over the next couple of weeks.

The newbies will join a squad of Championship players, but Reading were no different when they were promoted (Shorey, Kitson and Hunt come to mind) [Ed. Note: Shorey is Villa's problem now, ha]. Some of these Championship players will settle in, step up and look like they belong in the Premier League. Sam Ricketts will certainly be one of these players.

In Boaz Myhill they have an excellent young keeper. Myhill was born in California but chose to play for Wales (His mother is Welsh!). He will need to be at his best if Hull are to avoid the drop. He is one to watch. By the end of this season he will be well-known to most Premiership viewers.

It's going to be tough for Hull and they are going to need to keep Boateng and Geovanni healthy (as they do not have Premiership quality in depth) if they are to survive, but Hull play nice football and by the time they kick off at home to Fulham next week they should have a new attack in place. They are also going to require a massive effort from their inexperienced squad but the first year will be a honeymoon period and Brown should get the drive needed to pick up enough points.

They may not have a long-term Premiership future but the passion and effort to prove themselves in their first year against some of the best teams in the country will spur them on. Bigus is a hopeless romantic when it comes to stories like that of Hull City and I have been wrong before! But I see Hull getting stuck in and upsetting the form book this season. They will surprise a few teams at the KC, pick up some points on the road and beat the drop.

Prediction? 16th.



Mike Georger said...

i see a reading. start the season well, struggle a bit, but stay above the bottom six. then sell players and crash out the next year.

i hate brett hull, so im pulling against these cocksuckers

Lingering Bursitis said...

this is a long way from your proposition that they'll be Top 10 this year! You waxed lyrical about their chances of Top 10 only a couple of weeks ago!

Bigus Dickus said...

That is true and I still think that could be possible but on getting down and dirty with their squad I decided that they did not have enough to cover the inevitable injuries to achieve top 10 but who knows. Ip.Ip..they did it. 5th! Wankers.

Andrew said...

I could see Hull surviving, but there is no Derby this year, so all three relegation spots are wide open. Just reach 40 pts, that's what they need to tell themselves.

Right, West Ham?

Also, Georger is the angriest commenter on UF.

Keith said...

No, Andrew, that would be Bentovanni. . .I mean Balestone. . .I mean. . .crap, who's left on his team?

16 seems about right for Hull. My relly-zone features Stoke the only team doing the yo-yo, with the diminished Rovers and absolutely toss Wanderers joining them in the Colaship

strong like bull smart like tractor said...

I'm guessing that Hull will succumb to Cola gravity, but just barely. They have the look of a team right on that 17th/18th cusp.

Bigus Dickus said...

They may sign 3 or 4 more of the Boateng, Geovanni ilk and then who knows!!

Mike Georger said...

its not anger, its passion

okay its anger, fuck you!

Stevedore said...

Whoops, late to the party. That's what I get for actually working this morning.
Hull's staying up. Mark it. They've got the guts, and with a little luck on the injury front, they'll be all right this year. And then you can saddle them with dead Mick Ronson in next year's EPL/Music pool.