AN indication of the impact Nigel Pearson had on Hull City during his 17 months in charge could clearly be seen in what turned out to be his final game as manager.
Not only did Pearson sign all 12 of the players on duty against West Ham United a fortnight ago but only two – Robert Koren and Liam Rosenior – had been at the KC Stadium since before the turn of the year.
Having signed all but a few of the current squad it is, therefore, unsurprising that they all feel a debt of gratitude to the 46-year-old.
According to Liam Rosenior, however, that does not translate into a desire to be reunited with their former manager now that he has taken charge of Leicester City – as has been the nagging fear among Tigers fans ever since it became clear Pearson was heading back to the East Midlands.
“No one’s commitment will be changed by what has happened, not at all,” was the Hull full-back’s response when asked about whether there was likely to be an exodus from the East Riding come January when Pearson is set to be handed a multi-million transfer kitty by Leicester’s Thai owners.
“I didn’t sign a contract to Nigel Pearson, I signed one for Hull City. Every single player feels the same.
“We play for the shirt and for the pride of the team. Having Nick Barmby in charge will remind us of that. Every player in football has a value on them – whether it is £80m for Cristiano Ronaldo or £80 for me.
“If Hull value me at whatever and someone comes in to meet that value then it would be up to me if I wanted to move. The same goes for any other player.
“But I never want to leave this club and would certainly not ask to do so.”
Rosenior’s happiness in Hull is understandable, the 27-year-old having become a mainstay of the Hull side since joining as a free agent 13 months ago.
The progress that the Tigers have made during that time is best illustrated by league position, the club having slipped into the relegation zone a week after Rosenior made his debut in a 1-1 draw at Barnsley.
Now, Hull sit ninth – though they would soar up to fifth if they win their game in hand.
New manager Barmby’s task is to build on that promising position, starting with today’s trip to Derby County. It is a task that Rosenior insists the former England international is more than capable of rising to.
He said: “As players, of course we talked about what our perfect situation would be if Nigel Pearson did leave. And that was basically that we wanted Nick to get the job.
“There is excitement in the group now that has happened. Some clubs wait two, three, four weeks to bring in a new manager so we are delighted this all got sorted out quickly.
“It has been a seamless transition. Nick also knows his football and commands huge respect. His achievements in the game have helped earn that respect but, to me, it is also about how he is around the club.
“He is honest, a good person, cares about people and treats everyone with respect. I have come across people who have achieved a lot in the game but then you meet them and you feel let down at how they treat people.
“That is not the case with Nick Barmby. I want to do well for him and want to run that extra mile for him.
“Funnily enough, Nick was in charge of the reserves when I first came in last year so things have come full cycle. Obviously, I knew all about him before signing for Hull. I’d watched him as a kid playing for Everton, Liverpool and England.
“I had a lot of respect for him and that has only increased since I came here. He cares about people and puts an arm around the young lads when he thinks they need it. Even when Nigel was manager, the young lads would go first to Nick for advice. That will continue.”
Asked if there had been any notable changes in Barmby, who has confirmed Steve Wigley as his first-team coach, since moving up from the coaching staff to the top job, Rosenior added: “No, not at all. Nick has been part of the coaching staff since any of us got here so he has always been giving advice anyway.
“Because of that, there won’t be that much of a change even when things settle down. The only difference now is he will pick the team.”
Just what impact the tumultuous events of the past fortnight will have had on the Hull players will only truly be known come 5pm today with Rosenior admitting he plans to keep an eye on some of the younger members of the squad.
He said: “To be fair, when I was 21 or 22 something similar happened to me. A manager who had been great for me left out of the blue, Chris Coleman at Fulham.
“It did affect me for a time, and probably more so than the senior players because it was the first time I had been through anything like that.
“A few of the younger lads may feel like that now. But that means it is up to me, Andy Dawson, Richard Garcia and a few of the others to help the younger lads through. We have to show them it is part and parcel of football.
“The key is how everyone responds. We have some unbelievable talent in the squad and if they continue to play to their potential then we can still finish where we want to be.”