Hull City Profile

Year Founded 1904

The Tigers have a long history of bouncing between divisions, frequently appearing in all three of the top tiers of English soccer.

Hull City Association Football Club are an English professional soccer club based in Hull. They currently compete in the EFL Championship, which is the second tier of the English professional soccer ladder. Hull City are nicknamed the Tigers and gained promotion to the Championship by winning League One in the 2020/21 campaign.

Hull City's early history

Hull City players Raich Carter and Don Revie in December 1949

Hull City AFC were founded in 1904 after there had previously been unsuccessful attempts to establish a soccer team in the area. This had proved challenging because Hull was dominated by rugby league, with Hull FC and Hull Kingston Rovers taking up the majority of the community's attention.

Hull were unable to join the Football League for the 1904/05 season. As a result, they had to play only in friendly matches. They finally gained admission into the Football League Second Division for the 1905/06 season.

Hull City finished fifth in their first season and were initially a solid promotion-chasing club who regularly finished in the top half of the table. They came close to securing promotion with their highest league finish in 1909/10, which stood until 2008, the year in which they would finally go on to secure promotion to the Premier League.

The year 1930 was one of mixed fortunes for Hull City. They were relegated to the Third Division North, but astonishingly made the semi-finals of the FA Cup. They knocked out Manchester City and Newcastle United along the way, but were eliminated by London giants Arsenal.

Hull City yo-yoed between the Second Division and the Third Division during the decades which followed the Second World War.

By the early 1980s, Hull City were in the Fourth Division and financial turmoil led to the club going into receivership.

Troubles in late 20th century

Hull City team photo in 1971

Hull City began the process of rebuilding early in the 1980s. Don Robinson took over as the Tigers' chairman and he appointed Colin Appleton as the new manager of the first team.

In 1983, Hull City earned promotion to Division Three. The team included future England international Brian Marwood and manager Steve McClaren, with Billy Whitehurst and Les Mutrie leading the attack.

The following season, Hull City came very close to securing promotion to Division Two. However, needing to beat Burnley by three goals in their final match to pip Sheffield United, they fell agonisingly short, winning 2-0. Appleton then left the Tigers to manage Swansea City.

City were not to be denied, however and were promoted the following season under the guidance of player-manager Brian Horton. They stayed in the second tier of English soccer for six years, but in 1991 they were relegated. It heralded the start of another decline for the club.

Financial difficulties plagued the club and key players including Alan Fettis and Dean Windass had to be sold in the 1990s.

In the 1995/96 season, Hull City were relegated once again to the fourth tier of English soccer.

In 1998/99, Hull narrowly avoided exiting the Football League. Six points adrift at the bottom of League Two at the turn of the year, they produced a stunning run of three defeats in 21 games to stave off relegation in what has affectionately become known as The Great Escape.

Rise up the ranks

Hull City celebrate their first ever promotion to the Premier League, May 2008

After leaving Boothferry Park for the KC Stadium, Hull gained promotion to League One under manager Peter Taylor at the end of the 2003/04 season. Back-to-back promotions were sealed when they finished runners-up to Luton the following campaign.

Taylor left for Crystal Palace and with the Tigers struggling in the relegation zone, Phil Brown took over from Phil Parkinson in October 2006.

The veteran Hull-born Windass was re-signed, joining up with fellow local lad Nick Barmby and his goal against Cardiff helped the East Yorkshire club esape the drop. Windass and Barmby were then pivotal in the Tigers reaching the Championship play-off final the following season.

In their first appearance at Wembley, Hull beat Bristol City 1-0 thanks to a superb first-time volley from Windass. The goal earned them promotion to the top flight for the first time in their history.

Hull got the 2008/09 Premier League season off to a tremendous start, coming from behind to beat Arsenal 2-1 on September 27, perhaps their most famous result in the top flight.

They also won 1-0 at Tottenham on their way to six victories from the opening nine games.

The club were already on the slide, however, when manager Phil Brown produced his famous team talk at the Etihad Stadium. With Hull 4-0 down, Brown humiliated his players by giving them a dressing down on the pitch. They went on to lose 5-1.

"I was walking off the pitch when I spotted Phil heading on to it," Windass told The Yorkshire Post years later, reflecting on the incident.

"I just presumed he was going to make a point to the referee and thought nothing more of it. But then he shouted, 'Over here' and made sure we followed him.

"Even then, I didn't fully realise what was going on, but then he sat us down and started jabbing his finger at us. He clearly wanted a reaction."

The Tigers survived by just a single point, prompting a memorable serenading of the Hull fans by Brown but were relegated the following year, with Iain Dowie overseeing their demise following the departure of Brown.

After financial restructuring, they regained their Premier League status in 2013 season under Steve Bruce.

Hull City reached the final of the 2014 FA Cup and went 2-0 up against Arsenal inside the first 10 minutes courtesy of goals from James Chester and Curtis Davies. However, they eventually lost the match 3-2 after extra time. Nevertheless, the final appearance earned them their first ever European appearance.

The Tigers were relegated at the end of the 2014/15 season but returned to the Premier League in 2016.

In 2016/17, they suffered immediate relegation and Hull's decline continued as they were relegated to League One in 2020.

However, they managed to bounce straight back up to the Championship, winning the title to secure their first piece of silverware since 1966.

Hull City's fanbase

Hull City's home ground, the MKM Stadium, has a capacity of 25,586.

Hull City rivalries

Hull City supporters consider their main rivals to be fellow Yorkshire club Leeds United but also have rivalries with Sheffield United and, more recently, Sheffield Wednesday.

Hull City's finances

Turkish media tycoon Acun Ilicali is the owner of Hull City having acquired the club in 2022 from Egyptian Assem Allam.

Ilicali, who has been dubbed 'the Turkish Simon Cowell' sacked Grant McCann shortly after his takeover, appointing former Rangers striker Shota Arveladze as the new Hull boss.

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