Hull City (The Tigers)

Overview: From September 27, 2008, the day I happened to flip to Hull City vs. Arsenal and was transfixed by an improbable, epic, life-affirming 2-1 away win by the Tigers, I have supported Hull City. Since then, I’ve watched two relegations, two promotions, and one nearly miraculous FA Cup Final performance. I’ve been fortunate enough to be a fan during some of the club’s best years since their founding in 1904. The 2008-2009 season was the club’s very first in the Premier League, after a run of three promotions in the past five seasons. As you might expect, Hull City has a few less major trophies than most teams in the Premier League. That FA Cup Final appearance (a heartbreaking 3-2 loss in extra time after seizing a 2-0 lead within the first eight minutes) is the only time the club has been in a major cup final, and a semifinal showing in this year’s League Cup (Hull City need to overcome a 2-0 deficit in the second leg to beat Manchester United) is the best they’ve ever performed in that competition. Hull City currently sits 19th in the Premier League, three points from safety. I’m praying that new Portuguese manager Marco Silva can save us from relegation.

Stadium: The KCOM Stadium. I actually was fortunate enough to visit in 2009 with my mom, back in the old days when it was known as the KC Stadium. Back then, the capacity was a little under 20,000; now, with the attraction of Premier League football, the club has added around 6,000 seats. It’s no Old Trafford or Anfield (Manchester United and Liverpool’s famous homes, respectively), but it’s a nice home for Hull City.

Notable players:

George Maddison, GK (1924-1938)

Billy Bly, GK (1938-1960)

Andy Davidson, D (1952-1968)

Chris Chilton, F (1960-1972)

Ian Ashbee, MF (2002-2011)

Andy Dawson, D (2003-2013)

Dean Windass (1991-1995, 2007-2009)

Michael Dawson, D (Andy’s brother) (2014-present)

Fun facts:

Andy Davidson leads the club with 579 appearances. He broke his leg three times during his 16 years with the Tigers.

It’s an annual tradition for Hull City to play local non-league club North Ferriby United in their first pre-season fixture of the season, to contest the Billy Bly Memorial Trophy, named in honor of the club’s legendary former goalkeeper. The match is played at North Ferriby’s home ground, which only holds about 2,000 people, so it’s a great opportunity to get an intimate look at Premier League players. I was lucky to have that privilege, and to snag a couple autographs, on my 2009 visit.

Dean Windass, a Hull City native, returned to the club after a 12-year hiatus in 2007. He nailed a sumptuous volley to score the only goal of the 2007-2008 Playoff Final at Wembley Stadium, sending his hometown team to the Premier League for the first time.

Though it’s not exactly “fun,” it’s worth noting that the club’s ownership situation is messy at the moment. Assem and Ehab Allam have angered many fans for a number of reasons, the most egregious being their (failed) attempt to change the club’s name to “Hull Tigers.” There have been rumors that they’re looking to sell, but at the time of writing they’re still in charge.