1997-2000: Saved? and Future Prospects

Last updated : 03 January 2002 By Historian
David Lloyd
David Lloyd, the former tennis player and now successful businessman bought the club and Mark Hateley replaced Terry Dolan as manager. Expectations were raised amongst the supporters that the good times would return to Boothferry Park, which by now was a tired and distressed former shadow of the magnificent stadium that Harold Needler had built. This hope was to be short-lived however, as Lloyd was to become even more unpopular than the previous regime. Even worse was the serious threat of relegation from the League, for when a new South Yorkshire based consortium bought out Lloyd's holding in the Club, the Tigers were perilously close to the bottom of the Division.

By Christmas 1998 they were six points adrift. The appointment of Warren Joyce as a replacement for Mark Hateley was to prove an inspired move. A combination of his leadership and astute purchases of players saw the Tigers move away from the bottom of the League and live to fight another day. An achievement dubbed "The Great Escape" by fans and media.

Joyce, however, was not able to carry over the momentum from the end of the 1998-99 season into the next season. This was despite the addition of seven new players over the summer and two Jamacian internationals, Theodore Whitmore and Ian Goodison, after the start of the season. The team never managed to achieve any consistency or spark and were unable to rise above 14th. This failure resulted in Joyce's sacking by a board impatient to achieve success.

Brian Little
The appointment of ex-Aston Villa and Leicester City manager Brian Little at the end of the season means that expectation is once again rising in the hope that the recent upturn in their fortunes can be maintained and that the potential that has been there for decades will finally be realised.

Off the field matters have dominated the closed season with a high profile dispute and eviction battle with former owner, David Lloyd over rent owed for the ground which is still under his ownership. An agreement has now been reached. The other major announcement is the settling of the club's ownership with controversial majority shareholder, Stephen Hinchliffe selling his holding to current Chairman, Nick Buchanan.

There is much promise for the future as we approach the start of a new Millenium in the potential move to the Hull Super Stadium and Brian Little's experience and skilled management to look forward to. As well as the ongoing financial struggle and disputes between Directors.

One thing is for sure - it will never be boring...