I am not sure if anyone had seen this, but The Athletic had recently done a piece on the decline of Hull in light of recent issues. I have only glanced through it and if anyone has a subscription then I imagine it is a great read, much like the one on Brum that was heartbreaking/hilarious in equal amounts:
I only saw the article from a few bits and bobs on Twitter, basically the club has made a statement completely denouncing the article and they have quoted and shown the email the reporter put to the club with its points. Even barmier is the fact that they shared the letter on the website with certain bits redacted though if you copy and paste the article, then the redacted pieces are still intact!
Found via Reddit, the letter is as follows:
Section 1: The Playing Squad
Four players - Eric Lichaj, Stephen Kingsley, Jackson Irvine, Marcus Maddison - will not remain at the club beyond June 30.
Our understanding is that these players turned up for training earlier this week to be informed by manager Grant McCann that they would henceforth not be part of the first-team training group. Ehab Allam also attended the training ground to formally release the players and inform them they would no longer be involved. The developments took the playing squad by "complete surprise."
In Lichaj's case, the defender had a one year contract option to extend but the club insisted that he must reduce his salary by almost 50 per cent to secure the extension. Negotiations included an option presented from his side to extend by a year on current terms but to include a clause to leave this summer, in the event the club were relegated. This would therefore have protected the club's finances. Hull, however, declined to agree to this.
The players who have chosen to leave were not offered an extra month's wages into August to complete the season but were instead asked to play on in July during what would ordinarily be the month of severance pay following the expiry of a contract in June.
Players (with the exception of one individual in the first-team) have agreed to take a 25 per cent wage deferral for a four month period, to be repaid by the end of the year, after initially rejecting a 20 per cent wage cut.
The club's highest earner is £17,000-per-week player Kevin Stewart. His contract expires at the end of this season and should the club trigger an option to extend, it would rise to £20,000-per-week.
Hull will this summer only spend up to £7,000 per week on salaries for summer signings, with suggestions offers are even more likely at around £5,000 per week.
Intermediaries say Hull playing contracts in recent times have been known in the industry to be frugal and "basic", featuring only a "basic wage and win bonuses" but no signing-on fees.
The local newspaper, the Hull Daily Mail, has been banned from the club following negative coverage.
The Chair of the Supporters Trust Geoff Bielby says: "It is a continuation of the past four years. It has been a steady managed decline. There has been a stream of very good players leaving the club or not taking up offers of contracts. Our owners are now well used to offering short and low-paid contracts and players vote with their feet. Not just players - we lost head coaches - many stating a lack of ambition. The owners decided to cash in on Bowen and Grosicki who had scored something like three quarters of our goals this season. For anyone for whom the penny was yet to drop, then the deadline day of the transfer window should have made it crystal clear the owners were cashing in on what they can and preparing for League One. It was a hammer blow to the mentality of the squad. The biggest frustration this week in losing Lichaj and Irvine is losing big club players, captain and vice-captain, what is going wrong? The same as for years: Maybe there is one reason: the owners. The club is just an asset within their portfolio of businesses. It is a cash cow."
Bielby also alleges the club sought to exclude the Trust from dialogue with the owners as long as he remained the chair, as per meetings and correspondence in 2018, although he acknowledges an email indicating a willingness to improve relations from Ehab Allam in late
Section 2: Parties who have attempted to buy the club in recent years. The Athletic has held extensive conversations, both on the record and on background, with parties who have attempted to buy the club in recent years. The Athletic invite Hull to comment on any of the below points.
The owners continue to hold out for an offer higher than £30m, according to various sources, and as high as £46m, according to separate sources.
A takeover attempt came extremely close with the American businessman Peter Grieve in the summer of 2016.
Mr. Grieve attended the Wembley play-off final as a guest of the family and had made two prior agreements: one price in the event of a Hull win, and a different price in the event of a defeat. Despite subsequently raised demands, the proposed deal, including incentive, reached £130m.
However, Ehab Allam failed to show for a meeting with Mr. Grieve in London in early June,
Grieve eventually withdrew after being quoted a new price to also buy the management company that runs the stadium. Ehab Allam failed to attend a scheduled meeting with Grieve at a London hotel at the beginning of June before the deal was revived in late June. Grieve eventually walked away after being quoted a separate price for the stadium management company, in addition to a proposed £130m deal for the club.
Elsewhere in 2016, it is understood that the Allam family gave Paul Duffen a mandate to attract bidders for the club. The 2018 consortium, involving Saudi investors and Duffen, touted a £100m deal, but the demands are now closer to £30m. This is still considered to be an excessive price for a club whose Championship future is uncertain and in a sport grossly affected by the economic impact of the pandemic. Industry experts say the club could be worth only £10-15m in the event of relegation.
It is alleged that Assem Allam does not, deep down, wish to sell the club. He has displayed "intransigence" in negotiations and been frustrated by requests to see club accounts and the data room.
Supporters Trust Chair Geoff Bielby insists the asking price remains £46m. He says: "The asking price factors in the loan the club owes to the owners and their business. This is interest-bearing, so it is in their interest to keep the loan high so it increases their income. The club pays the owner's parent company interest and management consultant fees. Over £20m in interest has gone out of the club alone on the loans. Player assets that have been sold have not been returned but the loans have not been substantially reduced." Section 3: The events in 2016 leading to the departure of former manager Steve Bruce and the summer in which the coach was replaced:
A disagreement emerged between Bruce and Ehab Allam in February 2016. This is understood to have centred on a disagreement over whether a junior member of the sport science backroom staff should be afforded paid leave (as Bruce desired) when a family member became unwell.
Following an argument, Bruce was "sacked" in the heat of the moment before Ehab Allam changed his mind.
Bruce had previously disagreed with the ownership over the failure to sign Andre Gray.
Sources close to the club feel that the family's running of the club can be unsatisfactory to employees, particularly on matters such as pensions, sickness pay and private health cover. Under Bruce, for example, sources say that coaching staff were disgruntled not to be afforded company cars.
It is felt that the Allam family's running of the club can be "dictatorial" and "what the chief says, goes".
When the family stay in London, they often reside at the Dorchester hotel.
During this period, conversations continued between the American consortium and Hull, and Ehab Allam attempted to ensure Bruce would not remain manager in the event of a takeover. In the spring, Paolo Sousa and David Moyes were identified as potential replacements, while the summer saw pursuits of Roberto Martinez, Gianfranco Zola and Chris Coleman before Mike Phelan took over. Hull wanted to appoint Coleman before Euro 2016 but he declined the job.
Marco Silva, who eventually became head coach, in fact first applied for the job when Steve Bruce left the club yet he did not hear back. It required a personal intervention and visit to the Allam family offices by agent Paul Stretford in the autumn of 2016 to ensure Silva's credentials were heard. There was then a delay before the announcement of Silva's position, as the coach stayed in Hallmark Hotel in North Ferriby, due to an attempt by Ehab Allam to give a knock-down agent fee to Stretford, who eventually secured his commission.