Hull City owner Acun Ilicali braced for criticism as cut-throat Liam Rosenior decision hits hard

Liam Rosenior has left Hull City after 18 months in charge
Liam Rosenior has left Hull City after 18 months in charge -Credit:Greig Cowie/REX/Shutterstock

The life of a Championship manager is fraught with danger and should come with a health warning, it’s perilous at the best of times.

For Liam Rosenior, the realisation that his time at Hull City has come to an end having been relieved of his duties by owner Acun Ilicali on Tuesday after the Tigers’ campaign ended in disappointment will be setting in, and it will be a crushing disappointment to a man who played a key part in transforming the fortunes of the East Yorkshire club, one he feels a great deal of love for.

City missed out on a place in the play-offs by three points at the end of a gruelling 46-game season which saw them improve markedly on anything they had done since returning to the second tier in the summer of 2021.

READ MORE: Manager Liam Rosenior leaves Hull City after Tigers miss out on Championship play-offs

Listen below to The 1904 Club live special as the team are joined by David Meyler to discuss Liam Rosenior's sacking

Like when any manager leaves, there will be a sense of sadness and disappointment from some and there will be others who applaud the decision. Rosenior’s exit will cut that little deeper amongst City fans given his emotional ties to the club, and the city he once represented with distinction as a player.

After all, Rosenior inherited a miss-mash of players signed under two different ownerships and a squad embroiled in a relegation battle 18 months ago lacking any identity or style. In that time, the 39-year-old has instilled a culture at the training ground and throughout the academy which gives the club a platform to move forward, and it’s seen City go from a fairly average lower mid-table outfit lacking any identity on the pitch to one that came oh so close to snatching a place in the play-off, and one capable of attracting some of the finest talents in football whilst improving their own.

There has been a continual argument from some on the terraces that given the resources at Rosenior’s disposal, he should have allowed the handbrake off a little more, and that with a squad containing the likes of Jacob Greaves, Alfie Jones, Jean Michael Seri, Jaden Philogene, Fabio Carvalho and Ozan Tufan, a run of three wins in the final 13 games was simply not good enough, especially at home, when his side won just twice since the turn of the year and only eight times all season, less than last term.

On the flip side, there are others who say the culture, ethos and brand of football Rosenior has built, the players he’s helped attract, show the club were going the right way and with another summer of careful and joined-up recruitment, next season would be the one, they’d be a little bit older and wiser and battle-hardened and ready to go one step further.

Rosenior’s married to his philosophy and will admit he’s stubborn at times, he’ll admit that his Plan B is to do Plan A better, it’s the arrogance football managers must display to ensure they do not allow themselves to be distracted by those who don’t agree, and he is no different. Perhaps at times, certainly at home, his desperation to stick to his principles have perhaps been his undoing.

The pair had enjoyed a hugely positive relationship since coming together 18 months ago. Rosenior has been to the World Cup final and Champions League final with his owner, unusual in football and in many ways, Ilicali is unusual in football in the way he operates, the way he governs and takes fans along with him and he’ll be calling on their trust to back his decision because it is one that may well divide opinion.

After the defeat to Doncaster Rovers in the Carabao Cup back in August, Rosenior’s team were roundly booed off by fans who saw goalkeeper Matt Ingram stand motionless with the ball at his feet on the edge of the area for what felt like an eternity as he waited for movement in front of him, movement which never came. Ilicali picked Rosenior up after that night and gave him Jaden Philogene.

Read more: Hull City next manager Live as Liam Rosenior sacked

Having been given a new contract in December and seen Rosenior nominated for the Championship’s Manager of the Year just last month, Ilicali knows there will be criticism coming his way, both internally and externally. The decision the City owner has made came after a lot of soul-searching, it isn’t knee-jerk and has been a possibility for a period of time.

This will be a tough break-up for Ilicali and Rosenior, and it will take time for the pair to move on, but move on they must. Ultimately, it’s football and they will part with a shake of the hands, as tough as that will be.

Rosenior is 40 this year and this was his dream job, his first permanent managerial role after a short temporary spell at Derby County, one that still hurts, and he will leave the MKM Stadium with his stock in a good place and another opportunity not too far away, but this will hurt more than what happened at Pride Park.

While it won’t have come as a huge surprise to Rosenior to see it come to an end, it will be one that needs time to deal with but part and parcel of being a football manager and having longevity in a brutal industry is to learn from the setbacks and come back stronger.

Football is cut-throat at its very core, it waits for no man and in his quest to get City into the Premier League, Ilicali has decided that Rosenior is no longer the manager he believes can deliver the dynamic, front-footed, winning football to get the club out of the Championship. Decisions such as these, however popular or unpopular, are ones that get made and Ilicali knows it's one he'll have to wear on his shoulders.

Ilicali’s challenge now is to pick the right person to build on the work Rosenior has done. The club is in a good place, but what cannot happen is that all the building blocks put in place over the last 18 have been in vain, the ethos and the culture cannot be ripped up otherwise City will find itself further away from the Premier League than they were when Rosenior arrived.

They’re within touching distance, and with good, sensible recruitment over the summer particularly in attacking areas, coupled with a manager who can take advantage of Rosenior’s foundations, there is every reason to be optimistic about what may happen next term, in a Championship that will be as competitive as this, if not more so.