Hull manager Steve Bruce picked out the performance of Sam Clucas as one of the highlights of a comfortable 2-0 win over Huddersfield as the Tigers got their Sky Bet Championship season off to the perfect start at the KC Stadium.
Former Chesterfield winger Clucas and Arsenal loanee striker Chuba Akpom both scored on their debut.
The Tigers were relegated from the Barclays Premier League on the final day of last season and, after going through pre-season unbeaten, had been tipped for promotion.
They had the better of the first half before Clucas ghosted in at the far post to hit his close-range shot at Huddersfield keeper Alex Smithies.
When the ball rebounded to Clucas he fired it into the roof of the net.
With 20 minutes to go Akpom worked space for himself as he fired high past Smithies to double the home side’s lead.
Jacob Butterfield brought a save out of Hull keeper Allan McGregor with Huddersfield’s best chance in the second half.
Clucas had been in danger of drifting out of the game after being released by Leicester and Lincoln but a spell at former England manager Glenn Hoddle’s academy in Spain got his career back on track.
Bruce said: “It just goes to show if you have got the attitude never give up. There are some great success stories in things like that.”
Bruce revealed that the club owner, Assem Allam, and his family had decided to miss the game because of personal attacks by fans unhappy at his attempts to change the club’s name.
Bruce said: “Towards the end of the season there were some mindless idiots throwing stones at their house. It happened more than once over the summer.”
Huddersfield manager Chris Powell admitted he expected a tough game for his side against one of the favourites for promotion from the Championship.
“My players really played well today at a place where not many teams will take points,” he said.
“We were playing a team who have aspirations for the top two, let alone the top six.
“It was crucial moments today (when the goals came). The response in the second half was positive.”
With the experienced Dean Whitehead running things in midfield the visitors were in with a chance before the second goal was scored by Akpom, even if they lacked a cutting edge up front.
The Huddersfield boss opted for a defensive formation because of injuries to key players in the week before the game.
Powell said: “We lost Sean Scannell yesterday morning. He is a bright player for us and someone we can use on the counter-attack. Joe Lolley was missing as well.”