Long Story Short

I came across this article in FourFourTwo very recently which made quite a bold statement about the reason for Hull City’s relegation last season. The article claims that the cash injection from Shane Long’s sale was used to purchase expensive players ill suited to the team’s style of play. Was the loss of Long a key factor in our demise?;

  • Hull scored 33 goals in the league last season but only 38 the season before. That’s only 0.13 per game less in 2014/15 compared to 2013/14.
  • Long scored only 5 goals in 16 starts for the Saints last year. Hernandez (one of his under-performing and overpriced replacement according to this article) scored 4 goals in 15 starts.

I don’t believe so. Instead I pin the blame on defensive errors late in games;

  • An astonishing 45% of goals conceded by Hull came in the final 30 minutes of games last season, the average being 38%, with only Villa, Everton and interestingly Man City and Man Utd seeing a higher share. But of those teams, only Villa conceded more goals last season than Hull.
  • In terms of overall Goal Difference in the final 15 minutes, only West Ham (-9) and again Villa (-14, how the fuck did they stay up?) had it worse than Hull (-8).
  • If games were 45 minutes long, Hull would have finished 12th in the League last season on 44 points.
  • Overall in the 2014/2015 season, Hull scored 16 league goals in the first half and 17 goals in the second half.

All this suggests poor 2nd half defending from Hull as a cause for relegation, not a change of strike force. They scored a roughly equal amount of goals in each game half on average, scored a similar amount of goals per game as the season before but conceded far more relative to other teams late in games.

Going back to FourFourTwo’s article, I simply think they used Hull as an example to try make their case that some managers shine more by scouting undervalued talent than by making big buck signings. The author found Hull’s demise convenient to build evidence for the point.


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