Steve Bruce shocked Hull City fans last week when he announced his immediate resignation.
Although he had been in the running to succeed Roy Hodgson as England manager, the general assumption was that once that job went to Sam Allardyce, Bruce would simply carry on his pre-season preparation at the KC Stadium.
However, with less than three weeks to go until the start of the new Premier League season, Hull now find themselves in the position of having to seek out a new manager to spearhead their survival bid.
In an open letter to the club’s supporters, printed in today’s Hull Daily Mail, the 55-year-old explains that while walking away from Hull is his biggest regret from his time in charge, he felt he had to leave for the sake of the club.
There were strong rumours that Bruce had left due to the owners’ failure to strengthen the squad in the face of a mounting injury crisis, and while he does not specifically mention any falling out with owner Assem Allam, he does reveal that the last 12 months have been difficult for him, and that it is probably right for the club to go now in a different direction with a new manager:
“It was with a heavy heart that I ended my time as Hull City manager on Friday. The four years I spent at the club were among the happiest times of my managerial career.
“I have thoroughly enjoyed the last four years and you have played a big part in that. It is rare for a manager to have the backing I’ve had from fans. It’s been unwavering.
“I was made welcome from the minute I walked in through the door and even during the times we struggled, I felt the majority of supporters understood how difficult it was for a club the size of Hull City to reach, and then stay in, the Premier League.
“My biggest regret is having to walk away but it was a decision I had to make for the sake of the club. The last 12 months have been very tough and it felt like the right step for the club to move forward in a different direction and with someone else in charge.
“I desperately wanted to make it work this summer and be a Premier League manager again but, sadly, it wasn’t to be. Nevertheless, I’ve left Hull City with some fantastic memories that I’ll always cherish, including just eight weeks ago in the Championship play-off final at Wembley.”
The letter in full can be read here.
Speculation continues to rage on as to who might replace Bruce at the club. Former Wigan and Everton boss Roberto Martínez has become the new favourite with the bookmakers, with figures such as Mike Phelan, Steve McClaren, Ryan Giggs and Roy Keane also linked with the vacant post.