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Nightmare defeat for Hull

Hull City
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Hull's agonising fight for survival

Hull
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Jakupovic's heroics save Tigers

Hull City
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Hull and Swansea's scrap to survive

Hull
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Silva, Hull succumb to the inevitable after doomed season in Prem

Hull City's return to the Premier League was doomed from the outset. A chronic lack of preparation brought the inevitable relegation, even though Marco Silva's January appointment ensured that they went down fighting.

Rating out of 10: 4

Highlight

The home win over Liverpool in early February was pretty special, but the opening-day victory over Leicester will live longest in the memory. Hull City were not given a prayer when hosting Leicester City, the reigning Premier League champions.

An utterly stagnant preseason ensured that caretaker boss Mike Phelan had just 13 senior professionals to select from, and two of those were goalkeepers. Protests were staged against the club's board ahead of kickoff, but what followed was 90 minutes of blissful escapism. The Tigers were outstanding, first taking the lead through Adama Diomande and then again thanks to Robert Snodgrass' crisp strike midway through the second half.

A club that entered the season with all the depth of a Sunday League team became the first newly promoted side to topple the champions of England on an opening weekend since 1987.

Low point

City lost more than they won or drew in the Premier League, so there was no shortage of dismal chapters. The away defeats to Middlesbrough and Sunderland were dreadful, as was a 6-1 loss at Bournemouth.

Worst of the lot, though, was the defeat to Sunderland at the KCOM Stadium on May 6. City began the day two points clear of Swansea with three games to play and had a gilded opportunity to make that cushion five points against a visitor they had relegated seven days earlier. It was all supposed to be so simple, but second half goals from Billy Jones and Jermain Defoe earned Sunderland a shock 2-0 win.

Just to rub salt into gaping wounds, Swansea held their nerve in the evening kickoff to drag Silva's men into the relegation zone. They never recovered, losing heavily at Crystal Palace the following weekend to surrender to relegation.

Sam Clucas has now scored in all five top divisions in consecutive seasons, and it could prove difficult for the Tigers to keep him.

Star man

Mentions go to Eldin Jakupovic and Harry Maguire, who both enjoyed excellent breakthrough seasons in the Premier League, but for consistency over nine months, none was unable to match Sam Clucas. The midfielder had not played a single game in the top flight before the season kicked off, but that lack of experience was never shown. Graceful and composed in the centre of midfield, he was the heartbeat of City's best performances. There has been talk of an England call-up five years after Clucas graduated from non-league football, and City will be hard-pushed to fend off the vultures in the wake of relegation. Hard work has certainly paid off for Clucas, who is now able to boast of scoring in all five of the top divisions in consecutive seasons.

Flop

David Marshall and Markus Henriksen made minimal impacts when signed at the end of the summer window, as did Evandro and Omar Elabdellaoui following their arrival in January. Dieumerci Mbokani, though, was a disaster. The DR Congo international was supposed to be a canny old head in City's attack, but he failed to score a single goal during his season-long loan from Dynamo Kiev.

The most notable moment of his time at the KCOM Stadium, in fact, was his red card for violent conduct that almost cost City a place in the EFL Cup semifinals. Mbokani leaves East Yorkshire with his second consecutive relegation -- he played for Norwich City in 2015-16 -- and you suspect that few teams will be queuing up to give him a chance to complete the hat trick.

Dieumerci Mbokani failed to score a goal for Hull City and played for a relegated team for the second year in a row.

Transfer talk

A turbulent summer awaits Hull City after relegation. All six of the loan signings (Mbokani, Elabdellaoui, Oumar Niasse, Andrea Ranocchia, Alfred N'Diaye and Lazar Markovic) will head back to their parent clubs, and several more can be expected to join the exodus. Harry Maguire has shown that he is much too good for the Championship in the past six months, and entering the final year of his contract, City are in no position to withstand the inevitable bids.

The same applies for Andy Robertson, who will also have his admirers in the Premier League. The painfully erratic Abel Hernandez has almost certainly played his last game for the club, and there could be interest in the likes of Clucas, Jakupovic and Kamil Grosicki. Keeping a semblance of a squad intact is a must, as will be the addition of at least 10 new players to freshen up a squad on its uppers.

Philip Buckingham is ESPN FC's Hull City blogger. Follow him on Twitter: @PJBuckingham.

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