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The Hull City Association Football Club has had one of the longest and hardest battles to get into the English Premier League of all the teams that currently reside their. Their struggles begin with their founding in 1904 and continue all the way until the 2008-09 season, their first in the top flight English Football league. Known colloquially as the Tigers because of their amber and black striped shirts, Hull City has a strong following and tradition dating back almost to the nineteenth century.
The team was founded in 1904 and began playing friendly games at the Boulevard, at the time the home to the Hull Rugby League Club. After a year they were elected into the Second Division of the Football League. They still played their matches on repurposed rugby fields until the moved to their new home on Anlaby Road. The early part of their history saw moderate success for the Tigers. They managed to finish in the top half of the league for most of the seasons played before World War One. The 1909-10 season was the team’s first chance to make it into the top division. They just missed getting in after loosing a playoff game 3-0 to Oldham Athletic. The First World War then briefly interrupted play in the football league.
The time after the war saw the emergence of problems that would continue to show themselves for the entirety of the team’s existence. The team would have significant financial troubles and because of this would continually have to sell off their best players to make ends meet. The team managed to keep their status in the Second Division safe for all of the 20s, but they never were able to place higher then fifth.
The team had some success at the end of the 20s advancing to the semi finals of the FA cup where they lost 1-0 to Arsenal after a 2-2 draw. The team did not bounce back from this loss well as all the matches had taken a serious toll on the team. The Tigers finished in their lowest league position to this point and were relegated down into the Third Division. This stay was short lived however and they were quickly promoted back into the Second Division, only to fall back down again three seasons later. It was here that the team would come to rest until after the Second World War. For the next 20 years or so the team would bounce back and forth between the Second and Third Divisions. The 1960s saw the team steadily improving and in 1970-71 the Tigers made a strong push to enter the first Division. This success was fleeting however as the 70s were mostly a time of struggles and difficulties culminating in a disastrous season in 1977-78. Three managers and trip back down to the third division were some of the low lights of this campaign. This relegation ended twelve straight seasons in the Second Division.
This was not however the greatest crisis that the Tigers would face. In February of 1982 the club shocked its fans by announcing that they would need to be placed in receivership. Strangely enough though this financial crisis did not seem to affect the play of the team and in fact their play actually improved. They made a strong push at the end of the season and managed to take eighth place with Les Mutrie, a forward signed from a non-League game, went on an amazing goal scoring tear. He managed to pot 14 goals in nine consecutive games, a record that still stands today.
The financial situation was resolved and a short 12 months later the team was on the brink of a second successive promotion. Unfortunately they were defeated by Burnley, but lost 2-0 and the promotion slipped away. Staying in the Second division continued to be tough in the 80s, and to start the 90s the team was placed back into the Third Division. Again in the 90s the team had successes and failures, being relegated and promoted both. The team bottomed out in 1998-99, finishing near the bottom of the Third Division, which was now actually the Fourth lowest league in England. After this the team would begin a steady climb however.
They were promoted out of Division Three after the 2001-02 season, and then promoted again in 2003-04. The following year saw back to back promotions, the first time ever in the history of the team. They were now firmly back in the second tier of English football and finished 10 points ahead of being relegated. This ascension was completed when the team was finally promoted into the top division of English Football. This miraculous turnaround saw the Tigers go from the bottom of tier four all the way to the English Premier league in ten short years.
The future will be tough for the Tigers and staying in the English Premier league will not be an easy battle. With hard work though they have shown that anything is possible, so who knows what the future brings.