Article for Easington Programme
All who have seen the magnificent 25,000 KC Stadium will know just what a proud landmark it is for the city. Following last season's promotion from Division Three, there is also pride in having a team to boot worthy of playing in it.
Of course, with it being Hull City, while there is still pride over last season's achievements there is great expectancy for another successful campaign this year. Fans look forward to doing battle in Division Two (or as it is now known, 'League One') after spending too long away from it, but hope to move on up away from it quickly and continue to climb the leagues.
And why wouldn't there be high expectations? The promotion-winning team has been significantly strengthened this summer. Fans' favourites of the gritty Division Three Hull City such as Justin Whittle and Paul Musselwhite have left the building after years of loyal service. A higher calibre team requires higher calibre players, so in come seven new acquisitions to make up a squad virtually all signed by the club's reputable current manager Peter Taylor, with no previous managers' "deadwood" left around. Instead there is now a youthful, talented squad who can boast the likes of ex-England international Nick Barmby as feathers to its bow.
Most other teams entering a higher league would probably hope for a season establishing themselves and keeping clear of relegation. But Hull City aren't like most other teams. Fans demand success and they demand it now. Everything appears to be in place to achieve that, and with a bit of good luck the Tigers have every chance to have another triumphant season ahead of them. It perhaps wouldn't be a fitting way to mark Hull City's 100th year in existence, with most of that time spent seeing promises being unfulfilled. But the club is now able to put a century of failure behind them and move onwards and upwards.
Hopefully success will go beyond the immediate future as well. The line-up for today's match is likely to be made up mostly of the survivors of last season's East Riding Senior Cup-winning side. It marked another achievement for Billy Russell's youth team who finished 1st in their division the year before. The club are striving towards a fruitful youth setup after years of neglect, with new Centre of Excellence facilities planned to provide the best basis for nurturing the Tigers of tomorrow.
Along with new training facilities for the first team as well and a possible stadium expansion, things are getting better all the time. Who can believe that after averaging crowds of around 4,000 last time we were in Division Two that a 25,000-capacity stadium wouldn't be big enough? Hull City really is a club on the up, and today the preparations continue for an assault on League One. Let battle commence!