Steve Bruce accepts there will be cuts at Hull City this summer following relegation from the Premier League, and admits he may be included in their cull.
Hull went into the final game of the season knowing they must beat Manchester United for the first time in the top division, whilst also hoping Newcastle United failed to record a win at home to West Ham United. But the Tigers were only able to force a goalless draw from Louis van Gaal’s side, whilst their relegation rivals secured a 2-0 win against the Hammers at St James’ Park.
This means the KC Stadium will be playing host to Championship football next term after their two-year stint amongst the elite, and this has naturally cast doubt over the future of Bruce. Although the former Old Trafford captain is a hugely popular figure with the Hull supporters, the 54-year-old knows there will be cuts at the club in the coming months to which he might fall victim to.
When asked if he would be the man tasked with leading them back into the top-flight, Bruce told Sky Sports: “That’s not for me, that’s for others to decide. Cuts are inevitable because we haven’t got the finances we have in the big league. There’s a lot of talking and soul-searching to be done in the next few weeks. It’s all bitter and sad. I’m sure there’s a few conversations to be had.”
Having finished three points above the drop upon their return to the Premier League last season, and reaching the FA Cup final to qualify for the UEFA Europa League, optimism was high at Hull this term. Bruce was able to add to his squad during the summer in a bid to build on this progress, with the likes of Abel Hernandez, Jake Livermore, Michael Dawson and Tom Ince arriving.
But although their options looked stronger on paper, the majority of these additions have struggled to deliver on the pitch whilst perhaps their brightest star – Livermore – tested positive for cocaine just last week and faces a lengthy ban. Bruce, though, isn’t the type of man to look for excuses, and when it comes down to it, he admits that he must take responsibility for their plight.
“We all – and me being the manager I have to take the brunt of it – we haven’t been good enough,” he added. “I thought at the start of the season we’d have enough to try and make sure we stay in the division. We always know at a club like ours it’s going to be difficult but we honestly believed we had enough. We haven’t done enough – it’s as simple as that.
“We can look for all sorts of excuses: injuries, suspensions, this, that and the other, but it boils down to not being good enough and me in particular, that goes for me at the top of that. I think you have to take it on the chin and take your medicine. You have to come back as strong as you possibly can. I’m exhausted at the minute but I’ll have a break and see where that leaves us.”
Where has it all gone wrong for Hull City this season, and should Steve Bruce be given the opportunity to lead them back into the Premier League?