Season's Preview - Hull City's View

Last updated : 26 July 2004 By Andy Burton
1) How did you fare last season? Best moment, worst moment etc.
Our promotion wasn't exactly in a flame of blazing glory. Instead we were steady throughout the season with only one or two blips. We rarely thrashed any teams, but after years of disappointment we'd take promotion any which way. The best moment was without doubt our captain Ian Ashbee striking the winner at Yeovil - the goal that finally sealed promotion.

2) How do you think you'll do this season? Hopes, final position.
Going into a new league and with quite a few personnel changes it's hard to measure how we'll do. The expectation will again be for us to push for promotion and if we fulfil our potential there's no reason why we can't be doing that.

3) What's your squad like, new signings, etc?
Peter Taylor has now moved on almost all players from previous regimes to leave him with a squad he is totally happy with, and with strong backups pushing for every position. Nick Barmby is one of the biggest signings any team in the Football League could boast this summer, so there is lots of optimism about what he can do for us. Arron Wilbraham, bought from Stockport to replace last season's top scorer Ben Burgess, who is out for a year with cruciate ligament damage, could also be a key signing.

4) Which youngster will make the biggest impression in your team this season?
Products of our own youth system are few and far between, but the entire squad is of a young age so none of them should have hit their peak yet. 23-year-old Ryan France could be one who'll shine this year after being a handy squad member since his move up from non-league Alfreton Town last September.

5) What's your manager like and will he still be there at the end of the season?
This one's very hard to judge. Peter Taylor is a high profile manager and is always being linked by the press with vacant posts at big clubs. However, his record in the top flight with Leicester didn't match his achievements in the lower leagues so top clubs may not be willing to take a risk with him yet. The FA seem more kean though. Honourably, he turned down their offer of managing the Under-21s again to see out his obligations to Hull City. They eventually managed to get him on a part-time basis for a year, and the situation will be reviewed at the end of the season when his Tigers contract runs out. It may well be that he goes full-time at the FA and leaves City, but if he does a good job and takes us to another promotion then fans won't begrudge his choice to move on after leaving us in a much position than we were in when he arrived.

6) Are you happy with your Chairman/Backroom staff?
I don't think we could wish for a better chairman. Adam Pearson saved the club from going under, and it is now irrecognisable compared to how it was then. Not only has he turned Hull City into a succesful team at last through major investment of his own, he has also turned the club into a bastion of a commercial machine thanks to our magnificent KC Stadium home that he controls. Some fans may complain that the club is now too commercial and willing to take money out of our hands, but if the club is to move forwards it needs to be commercially viable, and it is.

7) Which team do you want to beat the most and why?
The games against our Yorkshire rivals Bradford City and Sheffield Wednesday are eagerly anticipated now they've fallen from Premiership grace and are in the same league as us. We'll also be looking to gain revenge on Doncaster Rovers for pipping us to the title last season.

8) Predict your champions and runner up, the 4 Play-Off teams and the 4 to go down.
Bristol City are always challenging, and I think we have the potential to be up there with them. Tranmere and Barnsley appear to have strengthened their sides well this summer. The likes of Sheffield Wednesday and Swindon will be expected to be in the top six too. I hope for football's sake the MK Dons go down, and also Chesterfield who shouldn't be in this division in the first place.

9) What is the address of your site?