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Relegation crisis looms for Hull

26 April 2010 14:35

LONDON (AFP) - Hull will have to offload most of their best-known players and could reinstate Phil Brown as manager as a result of the cash-strapped club's impending relegation from the Premier League, it emerged on Monday.

High-earners Jimmy Bullard, Geovanni, Anthony Gardner, Stephen Hunt, Kamil Zayatte and Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink are all expected to be put up for sale this summer as the club battles to avoid going into administration, a move that would mean starting life in the Championship with a ten-point penalty.

Chairman Adam Pearson admitted last week that administration was a very real possibility for a club that is 35 million pounds in debt.

The club's owner, Russell Bartlett, struck a more optimistic note but admitted there would have to be brutal cost-cutting to keep the business afloat.

"We face a tough period to trade through the transitional period and readjust the business to life in the Championship, but I am confident we can do that," Bartlett said.

"We are presently preparing plans to trade through and within that process is to significantly lower the wage bill and potentially to restructure other liabilities."

Auditors warned earlier this season that relegation would threaten Hull's future and the club's two-year stay in the top flight was effectively confirmed on Saturday following a 1-0 defeat by Sunderland.

The cash squeeze is so severe that Brown, who was relieved of his duties last month and replaced by Iain Dowie, could be asked to return from gardening club because that would be the cheapest option.

Hull will be joined in the Championship next season by Burnley, who look set to retain the services of Brian Laws as manager and are confident they can cope with the financial consequences of dropping back to the second tier after only one season in the Premier League.

Burnley have lost 14 of their 17 matches since Laws took over from Owen Coyle in mid-January but club chairman Barry Kilby did not appear to be planning a change.

"We'll sit down with Brian in the summer. He didn't have a great hand when he arrived, and we'll see where we go from there," Kilby said.

"Obviously, after getting to the Premier League after 33 years, it hurts a little bit that we've gone down after just a year.

"We were determined that if we did go down we would go down strong, that's what we've tried to do.

"We will have another crack and try to get back into the Premier League."

Kilby said sensible planning meant there were no serious financial implications for the club.

"West Brom have been a good model for us," he said. "You can't bet the ranch on these things, and if we can get back up we will be stronger for it.

"We intend to be back and we'll have a good chance. We are free of debt, have a good wage bill and will give it a good crack."

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# Team MP D P
1 0 +0 0
2 0 +0 0
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