Hull City Association Football Club was founded in 1904 after several attempts to establish a football club over the years. These were undermined by the dominance of rugby in the city. The club initially played friendly matches at The Boulevard (the home of the Hull Rugby League club), Anlaby Road Cricket Ground and Dairycoates. They were elected to the Second Division of the Football League a year later.
City moved to a new home in Anlaby Road where they stayed until 1941, before wartime matches saw a brief return to The Boulevard.
The 1909/10 season was the nearest Hull came to a place in the top flight when they finished third, missing out on an automatic promotion place to Oldham Athletic as a result of an inferior goal average.
Before the First World War, Hull reached the FA Cup quarter-finals, and they went one better than that in the 1929/30 season when reaching the semis. They lost 1-0 to Arsenal in a replay following an initial 2-2 draw. However, this fine run meant their concentration was deflected away from the league and they were relegated to the Third Division (North).