‘Timing may look odd’ admits Hull City owner as Grant McCann axed

Hull City owner Acun Ilicali said it would have been dishonest of him not to sack Grant McCann when he is planning the club’s future without him.

Axed Hull City boss Grant McCann. Picture: Tony Johnson
Axed Hull City boss Grant McCann. Picture: Tony Johnson

Yesterday the inevitable finally happened when the coach and his assistant Cliff Byrne were dismissed. Former Rangers striker Shota Arveladze is expected to be McCann’s replacement.

The lack of contact between Ilicali, who bought the club last Wednesday after a drawn-out process, and McCann pointed to a parting of the ways.

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McCann did his best to muddy the waters by leading Hull to victories over Blackburn Rovers and Bournemouth last week, arguably the two best results of his two-and-a-half seasons in charge, but the Turkish television mogul was determined not to be swayed.

“Grant has done an excellent job for this football club in difficult circumstances, most specifically during the takeover, and for that I offer my sincere thanks,” said Ilicali when the news was confirmed yesterday afternoon.

“These matters are never easy and are more often than not protracted. During the process, Grant has always remained professional and fully focused on the team, and will forever be a friend of the Tigers. I’m sure Grant will be successful in whatever his next challenge is.

“However, now is the time for change and for me to start to build. I have a philosophy and a belief our project should start as we mean to carry on and that involves having my team in place.

“I understand the timing may look odd, after two good wins, but I wouldn’t be fair or honest if I merely waited for a defeat to change manager. That benefits nobody. I will continue to be transparent with you, our fans.”

McCann joined from Doncaster Rovers in the summer of 2019 and midway through his maiden season had the Tigers in contention for the play-offs but after the sale of Jarrod Bowen and Kamil Grosicki, McCann was unable to stop them finishing bottom.

Despite that, the club stood by him and he rewarded them with a League One title after a transfer window where Football League restrictions prevented them from playing transfer fees. Ilicali is working to have that embargo lifted by paying off money borrowed from the league to get through the pandemic.

An upturn in form which began in November has pulled Hull 10 points clear of the relegation zone after a slow start to the season.