With his contract run down and interest in former Barnsley centre-back MacDonald from the Championship and League One, there was a growing acceptance that the 27-year-old’s time at the KCOM Stadium was over, and now both sides have acknowledged as much.
MacDonald’s start in Hull’s first game back after lockdown was one of the feelgood stories of a largely miserable season for the club, who were relegated to League One. It was the first of five starts during the Tigers’ run-in, and his first appearance since being diagnosed with bowel cancer last August.
MacDonald underwent two operations, the first a seven-and-a-half-hour surgery to remove his entire large bowel, then another to implement a new bowel. He got the all-clear shortly before Christmas.
In leaving, MacDonald acknowledged the support he received at that time.
“It’s been one crazy rollercoaster of emotions throughout my time at the club!” he wrote on Instagram. “I never got to pull on the shirt as much as I would have liked, but when I did I was immensely proud to represent the team and the city.”
Referring to his fight against cancer, the defender who joined from Barnsley in January 2018 added he had “been looked after so well by everyone when I was at my lowest.
“The hard work to get back to the pitch was not done alone and I can’t thank my team-mates, the manager/coaching staff and in particular head physio Andrew and club doctor Ronnie (Banerjee) enough for all their support.
“Thank you to the fans, whose support didn’t go unnoticed,” he added.
Hull’s players have spent the week at Oriam, Scotland’s national performance centre for sport, and their training camp has been allowed to continue even though regular occupants Heart of Midlothian have been barred 10 days into their pre-season.
In response to threats from the Scottish government that the season could be abandoned if there is a repeat of the breaches to coronavirus protocols from Aberdeen and Celtic players, the Joint Response Group banned lower-league teams from training until August 24 at the earliest.
Hearts, relegated from the Scottish Premiership last season, had already been doing so for 10 days, and were “incensed” after finding out 20 minutes before a public announcement.
As Hull do not fall under the JRG’s authority, they have been free to continue their preparations for their new season, which is due to begin on September 5, though it could be earlier.
The Tigers are continuing to try to strengthen their squad after adding Richie Smallwood, Lewie Coyle, Josh Emmanuel and Festus Arthur, but face competition from Championship clubs after reportedly having a bid for former Watford and Crystal Palace winger Randell Williams turned down.
The 23-year-old was Grecians’ player of last season, scoring five goals in a campaign which saw them beaten in the League Two play-off final.
Editor’s note: First and foremost - and rarely have I written down these words with more sincerity - I hope this finds you well.
Almost certainly you are here because you value the quality and the integrity of the journalism produced by The Yorkshire Post’s journalists - almost all of which live alongside you in Yorkshire, spending the wages they earn with Yorkshire businesses - who last year took this title to the industry watchdog’s Most Trusted Newspaper in Britain accolade.
And that is why I must make an urgent request of you: as advertising revenue declines, your support becomes evermore crucial to the maintenance of the journalistic standards expected of The Yorkshire Post. If you can, safely, please buy a paper or take up a subscription. We want to continue to make you proud of Yorkshire’s National Newspaper but we are going to need your help.
Postal subscription copies can be ordered by calling 0330 4030066 or by emailing [email protected] Vouchers, to be exchanged at retail sales outlets - our newsagents need you, too - can be subscribed to by contacting subscriptions on 0330 1235950 or by visiting www.localsubsplus.co.uk where you should select The Yorkshire Post from the list of titles available.
If you want to help right now, download our tablet app from the App / Play Stores. Every contribution you make helps to provide this county with the best regional journalism in the country.
Sincerely. Thank you. James Mitchinson, Editor