Former Doncaster Rovers boss Grant McCann sacked by Hull City

Grant McCann has been sacked as head coach of Hull City and is expected to be replaced by former Rangers striker Shota Arveladze.

By Sportsdesk
Tuesday, 25th January 2022, 2:00 pm
Grant McCann. Photo by Lewis Storey/Getty Images
Grant McCann. Photo by Lewis Storey/Getty Images

There has been an air of inevitability about McCann's departure since it became clear Turkish television mogul Acun Ilicali was going to buy the club, a takeover which went through on Wednesday, but it has taken until around 1.20pm on Tuesday for it to be officially confirmed.

McCann's assistant Cliffe Byrne has also left the club.

McCann made it clear there had been no communication between himself and Ilicali until a very brief conversation after Wednesday's 2-0 win over Blackburn Rovers. He was due to have a more lengthy discussion this week, but the news he would be replaced by Arveladze had already leaked out by then.

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“Grant has done an excellent job for this football club in difficult circumstances, most specifically during the takeover process, and for that I offer my sincere thanks," said Ilicali in a statement.

“These matters are never easy and are more often than not protracted. During the process, Grant has always remained professional and fully focused on the team, and will forever be a friend of the Tigers. I’m sure Grant will be successful in whatever his next challenge is.

“However, now is the time for change and for me to start to build, in what I believe will be an incredibly exciting time for the club. I have a philosophy and a belief that our project should start as we mean to carry on and that involves having my team in place. I understand the timing may look odd, after two good wins, but I wouldn’t be fair or honest if I merely waited for a defeat to change manager. That benefits nobody. I will continue to be transparent with you, our fans.

“Our new head coach will be announced very shortly.”

October's 2-1 defeat at home to Peterborough United had left the club deep in relegation trouble after a poor start to the season and saw chants for the coach to be sacked.

But with then-owners the Allam family, who stood by McCann after relegation from the Championship in 2020, unwilling to make such a major change with a takeover in the offing, the Northern Irishman was able to ride it out and tap into the team spirit he had created within the squad.

Helped by George Honeyman and Ryan Longman getting up to full fitness and a change of formation to 3-5-2, Hull have since pulled 10 points clear of the bottom three. McCann's final two matches in charge were the best of a tenure that at times left supporters lukewarm about him. The Tigers followed up the Blackburn victory with one over Bournemouth.

Last week midfielder Honeyman praised McCann for the way he shielded his players during a period of uncertainty which saw Ilicali's takeover attempt enter a period of exclusivity in late October, only for it to take months to go through.

"It's uncertain times but if you ask anyone in that dressing room, they want the manager to stay," he said at the time. "But we've literally got no clue what's going to happen.

"In the last few months the manager and his staff have been amazing in a really tough time for them with the uncertainty around it. He must have been asked in every press conference and there must have been uncertainty in his mind but we as players have not felt that at all because of how he has shielded us from it."

McCann joined Hull from Doncaster Rovers after guiding them to the League One play-offs in 2019 in his one season in South Yorkshire.

His first season at Hull saw the club challenging for the Championship play-offs at the turn of the year but the campaign was derailed when Jarrod Bowen and Kamil Grosicki, who between them had scored two thirds of the club's league goals at that stage, were sold on deadline day.

Bowen's move to West Ham United was only completed after the deadline, leaving no scope for the £20m transfer fee to be reinvested.

Hull's form collapsed disastrously and they were relegated in bottom place.

Rather than sack McCann as many fans wanted, vice-chairman Ehab Allam allowed him to build a strong League One squad despite a transfer embargo which prevented the club from paying transfer fees.

Hull won the title at the first attempt.

Again unable to buy players in the summer, Hull won their opening game of the season 4-1 at Preston North End but it proved the blip in an otherwise poor start to the campaign until November's upturn in fortunes.

That, though, has not been enough to save McCann with Ilicali seemingly set on a fresh start.