With unhappy inevitability, City have this evening parted company with Leonid Slutsky.
It’s been a rotten season so far, with City in serious relegation trouble after just four wins from 20 league games. Appointed less than six months ago, he arrived in East Yorkshire after intensively learning English and moving to the UK following a title winning stint at CSKA Moscow and a period managing the Russian national side.
He quickly won over City fans with his affable demeanour and enthusiastic embracement of life in Hull. Sadly, on the pitch all was not well. Having been appointed as a “Head Coach”, recruitment was left with Lee Darnborough, while the selling of everything not nailed down was left with Ehab Allam. It meant that for a second summer in a row the Allam family had left a City boss completely unprepared for the upcoming season, typified by a remarkable night in the League Cup at Doncaster when Slutsky had to field an entire youth side.
He erred too. Team selections sometimes puzzled, tactics seemed rather nebulous following the forensic approach of Marco Silva, while the frequency of half-time substitutions hinted at a man rather flailing around for a solution. Meanwhile, second half changes often had an adverse effect, and the extraordinary propensity of his side to concede late goals was abysmal.
However, he was sold a pup. After declaring “the supermarket closed”, he was forced to deal with the indignity of Ehab subsequently selling Sam Clucas. Nonetheless, Slutsky remained too classy to blame the thoroughly inadequate men who ultimately ensured his downfall, and even as losses mounted he was rarely castigated by City fans.
The end’s felt close for a little while though. Slutsky’s attitude crumbled from jovial to perma-distraught and he began openly questioning his own position at the club. He’d also began to lose a little support in the stands, even if it’s clear where the real responsibility for our predicament lies. Yet another failure to hang onto a lead at Hillsborough yesterday left us all wondering if time was up. Turns out it was, with “mutual consent” cited by the club.
Best of luck, Leonid. We hope the Allam family haven’t put you off Hull and England, and that their deliberate debilitating of Hull City AFC doesn’t unfairly affect your career. Thanks for giving it a go, and you’re always welcome at Hull Fair.