Allam Exclusive Pt 3: ‘Unknown’ Marco Silva had long been on radar of Hull City

Marco Silva: Originally lost out on Hull City job when the board opted for continuity in the form of Mike Phelan. (Picture: Dave Howarth)
Marco Silva: Originally lost out on Hull City job when the board opted for continuity in the form of Mike Phelan. (Picture: Dave Howarth)
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HULL CITY vice-chairman Ehab Allam hopes new head coach Marco Silva will stay with the club for the long-term.

The Tigers turned to the Portuguese following Mike Phelan’s dismissal just a few days into the New Year.

In charge: Hull head coach Marco Silva gives instructions to new signing Evandro against Bournemouth. (Picture: Jonathan Gawthorpe)

In charge: Hull head coach Marco Silva gives instructions to new signing Evandro against Bournemouth. (Picture: Jonathan Gawthorpe)

Two wins in his first three games represent an encouraging start but the 39-year-old still has plenty to do in his quest to keep the East Riding club up.

Allam, though, feels the positivity engendered by Silva’s immediate impact can help the Tigers win the fight for survival.

READ MORE - Allam Exclusive Pt 1: Latest on Hull City for sale

READ MORE - Allam Exclusive Pt 2: Ehab on transfer policy

“No-one here had heard of Marco when we appointed him,” Allam told The Yorkshire Post. “He was totally off the radar to most but Marco’s name had come up in the summer when Steve Bruce had left.

“He applied for the job. Or an agent did on his behalf, and it is always difficult to know in those circumstances if it is a genuine application or a UK agent trying his luck to get in on a deal. The thing was we had already decided to try and retain some form of stability.

“Steve had left but Mick (Phelan) was still here, along with all the backroom staff. Foreign managers often want to bring in their entire own staff but we didn’t want to go down that route at the time.

“We were happy with the staff and wanted to stay loyal to them. Unfortunately, we hadn’t envisaged that once Steve Bruce was in a new job (at Aston Villa), they would all go running to him.

“The big thing, though, is Mick was going a good job at the time. There was a great spirit among the group and the lads were playing for him. It was also a time when we were looking to sell the club and the prospective buyers were happy with Mick. So, we stuck with him.

“But I hadn’t forgotten Marco. So, when we decided to make the change, I reviewed the applications from the summer and drew up a shortlist of three. Marco was on that list.

“It seems people were expecting Gary Rowett, Alan Pardew or someone similar. But I didn’t want to get on the same merry-go-round of ex-Premier League managers, I didn’t want to get us into that cycle.

“I wanted to look long-term and take a fresh approach – and have someone with us for the longer term. Have a good stint, three or four years.”

When Silva first emerged as the surprise candidate to replace Phelan, sources in Portugal indicated City had offered an 18-month deal with a break-clause inserted should the club be relegated in May.

By the time the 39-year-old had been appointed, however, this had morphed into a deal until the end of this season.

“I can’t give you details of an employee’s contract,” said Allam in response to being asked about the terms of Silva’s deal. “But, as you know, I always think long-term. I am not someone who only looks five months ahead.

“The longer term vision of the club has always been to make ourselves sustainable in the Premier League. We are giving the club every chance of succeeding by bringing in this kind of manager.”

Following Phelan’s exit, talks progressed quickly between the club and Silva.

“I liked him straight away,” added Allam.

“Marco struck me as very driven, very personable. I thought: ‘Here is someone who can galvanise a team with his character and personality’.

“His demeanour is nice and calm but his strength of character was clear. He has improved every team he has been at, whether at bigger clubs or working on small budgets.

“You need more finesse in the Premier League than Championship. It is not an easy transition to make but one we are trying to do. We want a more sophisticated style of play. The style of coaching will be key to that.

“Marco is only young for a manager but in the three previous posts he had held, he had shown enough to suggest what a big talent he is. He had performed beyond expectation at those three clubs.”