VICE-CHAIRMAN Ehab Allam last night revealed how an anticipated 50 per cent increase in parachute payments when the new Premier League TV deal kicks in next season proved key in Hull City being able to keep together a squad that is shaping up as genuine promotion contenders.
The Tigers, fresh from reaching the League Cup quarter-finals for the first time in the club’s history, have swept away the doom and gloom of relegation to claim 25 points from 13 games, a haul that means Steve Bruce’s men sit second in the table.
Crucial to that strong start by the Tigers was the ability to retain the core of last term’s squad, as well as add the likes of Moses Odubajo and Sam Clucas – who arrived for a combined £4.8m in the summer – to inject some youthful vigour along with Arsenal loanee pair, Chuba Akpom and Isaac Hayden.
Hull’s parachute payment of £24m for 2015-16, paid to all three clubs demoted from the top tier last May, helped enormously in that regard, as did an additional £25m banked through the sales of Robbie Brady, James Chester, Tom Ince, Nikica Jelavic and Dame N’Doye.
Even that, though, would not have been enough to retain so many big name players with it instead being the new £5bn television deal – and the promise of increased parachute payments – that proved the clincher.
Speaking exclusively to The Yorkshire Post, Allam said: “The season is still very tough on the finances and there were some issues that had to be overcome in the summer.
“Part of that was remedied by the sale of some players. But, above all, we want to bounce back. If we hadn’t, we would have sold more players. Instead, we kept the core of the squad as a sign of our intent to get back to the Premier League.
“In that respect, the projected increase for the parachute (payments) as part of the new TV deal helped us retain those core players and not have a fire sale.”
Under the terms of the TV deal that ends next summer, Hull were guaranteed £64m over four years if not promoted during that time.
The first instalment of £24m has already been paid, while next year – if the club are again in the Championship – would have brought £19.3m into the coffers.
Two final payments of £9.6m would then have followed in 2017-18 and 2018-19. Now, though, the Tigers’ balance sheet can look forward to a significant boost.
“The projection is it will increase to £28-£30m (next year),” said Allam. “That enabled us to stretch a little bit because we know more is coming next year. We were able to rely on pulling some (of that increased income) forward to push on again this year to try and get re-promoted.”
Hull’s satisfaction with how things are going this season – Leicester City became the second top-flight side knocked out of the Capital One Cup by Bruce’s men on Tuesday night – is mirrored off the field.
Things have become so stable, in fact, that the Allams are considering a possible re-jig of the management structure to allow Ehab, who has been hands on throughout the past two years at the KC Stadium, to take a back seat.
The Hull vice chairman explained: “I am looking to make a change in the coming month because I do need to spend more time in the main business (Allam Marine). As for the club, the transfer window is out of the way and there is less to do in that sense. Things are going well. So, there will be changes.”
Pressed on whether this may involve the appointment of a new chief executive, Allam replied: “Potentially, there could be a new appointment. It is being discussed at the moment with Assem (Allam, chairman). We have a few different ideas how to manage the transition.”
Asked if this could be taken as proof of the club’s stability, Allam added: “You can read that into it, yes.”
Tigers on the up: Page 22.