KINGSTON-UPON-HULL, May 24- Hull City were relegated from the Premier League after a 0-0 draw against 10-man Manchester United on the final day of the season on Sunday.
The Tigers have not beaten United since 1974 but, in the end, even a rare victory would not have been enough to save them from dropping into the Championship.
Steve Bruce’s side needed to take maximum points at the KC Stadium and hope that fourth bottom Newcastle were beaten by West Ham, but the Magpies’ 2-0 victory meant they survived at Hull’s expense.
The hosts bettered Louis van Gaal’s team, who had substitute Marouane Fellaini sent off with 13 minutes left, but could not find a winner as United legend Bruce once again failed to secure a first victory as a manager against his former club.
Hull had two goals disallowed and saw chances for Ahmed Elmohamady and Nikica Jelavic brilliantly kept out by Spanish goalkeeper Victor Valdes on his full debut for United.
But, just 12 months after reaching a first FA Cup final and securing their highest ever league finish of 16th, a frustrating campaign ends with Hull having to face up to a return to the second tier.
As expected United finished fourth and face a play-off tie to qualify for the group stages of next season’s Champions League.
They arrived with little to play for except perhaps for those with question marks over their future.
Angel di Maria was included for his first start since being sent off against Arsenal in March but United’s club record signing lasted just 23 minutes before having to go off, seemingly, with an injury.
Valdes made his first start for United in place of the injured David De Gea and there was no place in the squad for Radamel Falcao amid reports the Colombia striker has been told his loan spell from Monaco will not be extended.
– Spared embarrassment –
Valdes could be United’s first-choice goalkeeper next season if De Gea leaves for Real Madrid and the former Barcelona keeper had plenty of work to do in the opening 30 minutes as Hull looked to take the lead and heap pressure on Newcastle.
Valdes spilled Robbie Brady’s free-kick but was spared embarrassment as Paul McShane’s close-range finish was ruled out for offside.
Within a minute, Valdes showed his quality with a fine low save to keep out Elmohamady’s header from a Brady delivery and the hosts had another goal disallowed moments later.
Brady’s corner found its way to Stephen Quinn and his goalbound shot was flicked in by Dame N’Doye, who was ruled offside in the six-yard box.
Wayne Rooney clipped the bar with a shot from 20 yards and Ander Herrera narrowly failed to connect with Ashley Young’s long ball in a rare breach of Hull’s three central defenders.
David Meyler should have given Hull the lead when Chris Smalling’s header from Elmohamady fell kindly for him, but the Irishman side-footed over from 12 yards.
It was followed by news of Newcastle’s opening goal at St James’ Park and the home fans fell quiet for the first time.
Hull did their best to raise the volume again and Daley Blind hacked the ball clear from close to his own goal line after Michael Dawson’s header caused panic in the United area.
Valdes was beaten again when N’Doye improvised to flick Elmohamady’s cross goalwards, but the effort dropped wide of the same upright.
Valdes reacted sharply to keep out Nikica Jelavic’s flick at the near post after a low ball in from substitute Sone Aluko before Fellaini was dismissed for a reckless challenge that left McShane needing extended treatment.
It meant seven minutes were added on, which served only to prolong Hull’s agony as time slowly ran out on their top-flight status.