As the season draws to a close, the time of reflection has come. There’s a lot for fans to discuss over the summer months, especially for Hull City. Hall Road’s Great Escape from NCEL Premier League relegation was tense and entertaining. Bridlington’s upcoming cup final, against none other than Hull City’s academy, was well-earned, despite a mid-table finish.
A season of highs and lows (though mainly lows) for the Tigers. Some great, and cheap, signings for the club made their mark. One loan player certainly stood out, and one Academy player took his chance and ran with it.
No season review for Hull can ignore the state the club is currently in. With relegation looking a real possibility, and the loss of manager Marco Silva, and several key players, the season looked bleak from the get-go. The arrival of Leonid Slutsky took many by surprise, as did the timing.
Ins and Outs
With the departures of Andy Robertson, Harry Maguire, Sam Clucas, Eldin Jakupovik, and many (many) more, the expectation of a healthy transfer budget was in the mind of most fans. Sadly, however, this was far from the case. With a reported £40m earned from the transfers, a mere £17m (reported) was spent reinforcing the squad for the expected promotion push.
The arrivals of Kevin Stewart, Nouha Dicko, and Stephen Kingsley left a lot to the imagination. Though not disputing their importance to a thinned squad they were far from the signings the fans were expecting. It would be unfair to say they were terrible signings, but they were not enough.
The return of Fraizer Campbell was one of few highlights to the transfer window, with hopes he could help bring the experience from his last, hugely successful, stint at he club back with him.
As the season opened against none-other than former manager’s Aston Villa the lack of high quality players brought in was clear. however one player made his mark.
What an outstanding season for the Academy graduate. I can say without a lie that I said he was going to have a great season (with many witnesses, who got bored of me saying he’s going places last season). Finishing as joint seventh top scorer of the season in his first in the first team is an amazing achievement.
Unfortunately with great success comes the rumours of departure. With a number of potential destinations being hinted the club need to get him signed into a long-term (and fair) deal. Lest they make the same mistake as they did with Josh Tymon, who played almost half the season, in the Premier League of all leagues, on an Academy contract.
The arrival of Harry Wilson was met with no excitement. Why was Nigel Adkins bringing in another untested youth player? As is always the case we were very happy to be proven wrong about a player! His impact on the team towards the end of the season was phenomenal, with the highlight having to be his performance against Norwich.
Not many loan players have made such an impact in such a short time as Wilson, with one of the short list now at the club full-time (Campbell). Unfortunately he’s not likely to be making a return to the KCOM in Black and Amber next season, unless by some divine intervention he is convinced it’s the place to be.
To sum up Hull’s season in one sentence is hard, though it would have to be “Ownership shambles caused a good team to play averagely”. With supporters left feeling unwanted and deserted by the owners it’s hardly surprising the club struggled to sell tickets. With droves of long-time season pass holders cutting ties with the club it will take a change of ownership to salvage the wreck called Hull City.
The most important signing Hull City need to make for next season is the sale of the club to new ownership. Without doubt the ownership issues have caused the majority of the damage this season. With the impending departure of several vital players, such as Meyler and McGregor, signings need to be made fast before another season of fearing relegation can begin.
Bridlington Town AFC
The season was certainly a mixed bag for Town. After a great start against local rivals, and newly promoted, Hall Road, it wasn’t until September when Town found their stride and began to string some good results together.
With very few wins against teams above them, finishing 9th may be a fair result. However, this season was about rebuilding, and rebuilding multiple times. With several players poached from the team by North Ferriby United (more on that later), the team went through multiple changes before finding a squad that worked.
After patiently waiting for his chance to break into the first team, with Brett Agnew Town’s first choice, Jake took his chance and blew the fans away. With no less than 46 goals in all competitions this season it was, without a doubt, Jake’s season.
Had he been given this chance and on this form there’s no doubt North Ferriby would have been on the phone to him begging him to join them.
Finishing the season, though only featuring for half of it, as the joint top scorer is no easy achievement, and his stock has certainly risen ahead of next season.
With Town looking next season for a promotion push it’s without doubt that keeping him around would give Town a great chance!
Players to North Ferriby United
As new ownership took over a struggling North Ferriby United they began looking for the cream of the crop of local, lower league, teams. Five of Town’s players found themselves receiving calls from Ferriby within the space of a few weeks, and making their way south towards the Humber.
Sadly the club was not protected by the local FA, whose own rules state this should have not have been allowed.
It is perhaps karmically appropriate that this mass-poaching of local talent from non-league clubs did not give Ferriby a stay of execution, as they have subsequently been relegated. Their own future looks bleak, with comical suggestions of using the pitch as a mid-week travellers site to name just one, and is a show of the sad state of affairs many non-league clubs have to endure.
Hall Road Rangers
A season of many ups, many downs, and one Great Escape. Whoever said non-league isn’t as entertaining as the so-called Professional leagues is mistaken.
Hall Road entered the league after a fantastic promotion. The final game of last season was almost as tense as the relegation battle in the Championship this season.
High on the recent promotion Hall Road managed to string together a great set of results. However November seemed to see the change in tide for Rangers.
In February, after a couple of long months with very few wins, Rangers had twelve points deducted. This was due to fielding suspended players in a total of seven matches.
Ranger’s season never truly recovered from the point deduction, though it did set the stage for their Great Escape.
The Great Escape
Finding themselves 12 points down, and with relegation a real possibility, the make or break point of the season was upon them. Summing up Rangers’ season was the terrible month of weather meaning the relegation battle would be fought multiple times each week until the end of the season.
The time had come for players to step up their games if they wanted to stave off relegation. Several players did just that, including one standout performer who we have singled out.
Our Hall Road reporter, Oliver Harsley, picked four other players deserving recognition for Rangers. Chris Spinks won the Golden Boot this season, including some crucial goals, putting Rangers back on the path of survival. Josh Batty, playing alongside Spinks, also provided many important goals in a month which saw them play 5 games in 7 days.
Jack Binns provided Rangers a steady base from midfield, giving the forwards the support they needed in critical games.
Another standout performer was Alex Stock, though not always in the starting lineup, made an excellent impression in the centre of midfield. He has a bright future in Hall Road colours ahead of him,
After several games making late appearances for Rangers Reggie finally pushed himself into the starting lineup. Scoring some vital goals, which won six crucial points for Hall Road, he really made a name for himself at the end of the season.
Hall Road will be hoping local rivals will not have noticed his performances too much as there’s no doubt he will feature heavily in Ranger’s second season back in the NCEL Premier Division.