Hull City’s decision to back Grant McCann after Championship relegation vindicated by League One title

IT IS probably a decision that would have been welcomed by large sections of the Hull City fan-base but the club’s call not to sack manager Grant McCann, either this season or last, has been well and truly vindicated.

Hull secured the League One title on Saturday, seven days after confirming their immediate return to the Championship following a disappointing relegation in 2019-20.

It was not unrealistic for supporters to expect change. Last season McCann had guided Hull to ninth in the table after 26 games but the Tigers would go on to win only one of their next 20 games as they plummeted from play-off contention and were relegated after finishing rock bottom.

They secured the League One title with victory over Wigan Athletic, the same side that had hammered them 8-0 in the third- to-last game of that dire 2019-20 campaign.

Hull's players run out of the KCOM Stadium to celebrate with their fans. ( Picture: Jonathan Gawthorpe)

There would have been few who expected McCann to see out the season after that result, never-mind being tasked with the job of getting Hull straight out of the third tier. However, Hull have spent the majority of the 2020-21 season in League One’s automatic promotion places. They never slipped below fourth and have sat top of the table for much of the campaign.

After a run of four defeats in six games in late January and early February, some supporters might have feared another collapse was on the way.

It was not to be, however, as Hull hit their stride at the right time to win 11 of their next 14 games to earn promotion.

McCann experienced promotion three times as a player but this was his first success as a manager. Results are the most important thing in football but Hull have earned their place back in the second tier in style.

Hull' City players run to celebrate with their fans outside the KCOM Stadium after they became champions ( Picture: Jonathan Gawthorpe)

No other side has scored more goals after 45 games while only Blackpool can match the Tigers’ defensive record of 37 goals conceded this term.

McCann’s forward line has stepped up to the mark this year with Mallik Wilks and Josh Magennis scoring 40 goals between them in all competitions.

Keane Lewis-Potter – the third top scorer in the Hull ranks – has made his mark as a first team regular with 19 goal contributions.

Every decision in football is a gamble – keeping McCann might have been viewed as high risk but, with hindsight, it is clear that Hull backed the right man to right the wrongs from 2019-20.

Hull City bounced back at the first attempt ( Picture: Jonathan Gawthorpe)

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