This week was supposed to be the dawn of a new era for Hull City following their takeover by Turkish businessman Acun Ilicali. It is most certainly a new beginning, but not as many would have pictured it, and the new owner has risked alienating the supporters with his decision to relieve manager Grant McCann of his duties on Tuesday afternoon.
There is always the risk of drastic change when a club goes under a major transformation behind the scenes but when a manager’s job comes under fire after the great service he has provided to the club, it’s a bleak reminder of where football is and how it will increasingly get worse with a result-driven agenda.
McCann has had his hands tied at Hull ever since he arrived from Doncaster Rovers. He didn’t have an abundance of cash to spend on his squad and in the 2019-20 season they were relegated to League One despite being on the cusp of the play-offs in January. The departure of key attackers Jarrod Bowen and Kamil Grosicki on deadline day can’t be overstated, with the pair scoring two thirds of Hull’s goals that campaign.
The Northern Irishman was extremely unlucky in what was his first season. With the key cogs of his side gone and not replaced, it was inevitable that Hull would fall away from the play-off picture - to go on to finish dead last was unimaginable. But, as a testament to the professional McCann is, he got on with his job to start the Tigers’ preparations for their quest to return to the Championship. His amazing work continued in the third tier and he guided his side to the League One title at the first attempt last season.
McCann had his side in a great position this term before his untimely dismissal. For a side that has just been promoted, the sole aim for the campaign is to consolidate their place in the division and Hull have been doing well to achieve that this year.
They currently sit 19th in the table, 10 points clear of the relegation zone, having recently gained two outstanding victories over Blackburn Rovers and Bournemouth who are both in the top three. It is incomprehensible to sack McCann after those two brilliant performances, but it seems as though this plan has been in the pipeline for a while for the new owner.
It’s fair for someone who has just invested heavily into a club to want his vision effectively implemented and if Hull were in a more dangerous position of going down, this change would be deemed fair. But for the first time where McCann would be able to receive an increase in investment to strengthen his side, he is let go, and there is something really wrong with that. If something isn’t broken, don’t fix it.
It is being reported that the replacement is already lined up with Rangers striker Shota Arveladze reportedly set to take up the mantle. It is a crushing blow for McCann who has done all he can in difficult circumstances in his two-and-a-half years on Humberside, but his managerial credentials will be quite high after this experience. What will be Hull’s loss will be someone else’s gain.