Not too long ago, I wrote a blog regarding the six new teams that would be playing in the Championship next season via relegation and promotion. One of these teams is Hull City, a side that has had an adventurous past decade or so. My belief was that Hull wouldn’t be promoted straight back to the Premiership next season and I based this prediction on the heavy amount of debt they had accumulated when playing in the Premier League and their eagerness to move a lot of high earning players on. But two days ago, Hull managed to hire one of the top managers in the country today and all of a sudden, Hull really do have a good chance of showing bouncebackabillity and this appointment shows their ambition to establish themselves as a big hitter in England.
The man they have appointed of course is Nigel Pearson, who lead Leicester City to promotion from league one and a surprising play-off place last season in the Championship (in a sense of you don’t usually see promoted League One sides have that good a first season). The Foxes may be cursing their luck, as due to the fact Pearson has never had a chance to challenge in the top flight (despite two very brief stint as Newcastle United caretaker manager) he remains one of England’s best kept secrets and is a manager I’ve often thought is destined for greatness. Pearson himself (and I’m sure many Leicester fans) was surprised that he was given the chance to join Hull, as Milan Mandaric can often be stubborn and outspoken in his approach of issues. He is no stranger to tight budgets, and his record with previous clubs suggests that his main strength is creating unity in a club and he has a unique ability to instill confidence in any player.
The fact is, anyone who is familiar with Pearson will have a fondness towards him. He was appointed manager of a struggling Southampton side more than half way through the season on a rolling contract and managed to keep them in the Championship despite the many problems the club faced. Southampton conducted a poll asking the fans who they thought should be manager of the club for the next season, and more than 90% of the vote went to Pearson. Instead, Southampton appointed a Dutch manager no one had heard of and they were relegated next season. He then helped Leicester return to the Championship at the first time of asking and even managed to win League One with the side. Then came a dream first season back in the Championship, but Cardiff City ended their play off hopes on penalties.
What makes Pearson the perfect man for the job is that he is in a situation that he is all too familiar with. He’s managed Carlisle, Southampton and Leicester and what all these clubs had in common was that when he took charge, there was a sense of trouble in the squad and low morale. Carlisle and Southampton were fighting a relegation battle and Leicester had just been relegated, and Pearson managed to do the best job he could at each one of these clubs. When I look at Hull at the moment, I see quite a few players that are probably wanting out of the club, footballers who went there for the money – mercenaries. Pearson won’t have a massive transfer budget and he won’t be signing Premiership quality players, but instead he will be able to bring in the right players for the job, and can give Hull a real chance of going back to the Premier League. In truth, it’s one of those situations where there is no better man for the job.
It is a massive blow for Leicester and I was wondering how Pearson would manage in his second season with the Foxes, but they are now resigned to looking for a new manager to lead the club in the Championship. Paulo Sousa appears to be the overwhelming favourite and I believe that it would be a good appointment for the club, although whether he will want to leave Swansea where he is liked and established is another thing. The best for for Leicester is that they don’t have to rush the appointment and can take their time, they are a well organised team with fantastic support and are an important part in English football history. I’ve always had a soft spot for them!
As for Hull, I’m not going to exactly flip flop and say that now they will get promoted thanks to the appointment of Pearson, but I believe it is a very wise choice and in truth, promotion is now a possibility for the Tigers. This is a big season for the Yorkshire outfit and they could really do with promotion in order to ease their financial woes somewhat.