Don’t Take the High Road

The Scots, as a rule, hate the English. This hatred tends to have fairly sound historical motives as the reasons for this animosity can be traced back through the past few centuries. Why though, have our celtic cousins reserved a special disdain for Hull City? Confused? Read on.

There has been a worrying pattern developing over the past ten or so years. Whenever City take a player from a club north of the border, we get screwed. This all started way back in 1989, when Eddie Gray was visiting his homeland and spotted a right back for sale, from Hearts, who had an impressive pedigree. Malcolm Murray was the player, who had starred for the Edinburgh club in a Scottish Cup final, not to mention the ensuing European campaign. £40,000 laid out, Murray became a Tiger.

Now Malcolm wasn’t a poor player. He was shite. He displayed an ineptitude when it came to defending that had never been seen before at Boothferry Park, yet was to set a precedent for the next ten years. Unsurprisingly, two months after signing him, Gray was sacked.

Next came Paul Hunter. City actually beat Chelsea to his signature!! Stan Ternant laid out £150,000 for the East Fife star, which was a lot of money in those days, and would be a bastard fortune now (that would buy us two knackered coaches from Stephen Hinchliffe). Paul was overweight, had no first touch, and displayed all of the predatory instincts of a Herry Ngata, and therefore naturally fitted into his new surroundings at Boothferry Park. Months after signing Hunter, Ternant was sacked.

Terry Dolan, master tactician that he is, generally stayed away from Scotland when signing players. Why travel all that way to unearth shite when Rochdale and Bradford’s reserve teams were virtually begging us to take their cast-offs? Dolan however couldn’t resist the wailing of the bagpipes, and towards the end of his regime took Kenny Gilbert from Aberdeen along with Craig Baxter. These players were so anonymous that I challenge even the most ardent of Hull City fans to picture them. Both didn’t stay long, and not long after signing them Dolan finally fucked off.

Then came the ‘Scottish Invasion’. Hateley, one of the most decorated players in Scottish football history, as manager. Kirkwood, one of the most respected coaches from the Scottish Premier League, as his assistant. The whole city was jubilant, yet if we’d paid attention to the warnings from history, perhaps we’d have kept the champagne on ice.

Our first signing was Scott Thomson, who proved every adage that Jimmy Greaves had joked about Scottish keepers to be true. In his short career at City he never actually saved a shot on target. Whitworth came from Kilmarnock, commanded huge wages, got beaten up in the City Centre for slagging the club off, and never played for City again.

Hateley himself briefly treat us to an appearance, totally bemusing the City faithful with his marvellous falling over antics. Rumour had it that Nike were thinking of bringing out shorts with studs on them to accommodate forhe amount of time that Hateley spent on his fat, overpaid arse.

Then though, perhaps two of the biggest crimes by Scottish players towards City were committed, and they came in the shape of Brian McGinty and Steven Boyack. These two bastards inspired an impressive run at the end of Hateley’s first season, and somewhat unforgivably, gave us hope and made Hateley look like a half-decent manager.

Boyack returned to Glasgow, safe in the knowledge that his work was done, but McGinty stayed, was half the player he’d been in the previous season, and under Hateley’s guidance helped us to bottom of the third and six points adrift. You all know the rest.

Warren wisely left the Scottish leagues alone in his pursuit of talent, and Brian has done so far, but a chill went down my spine when we were rumoured to be trying to sign Don Goodman from Motherwell.

Perhaps the most unpalatable fact throughout this is that we gave them our finest player of the last decade, when Deano went to Aberdeen, who are apparently also interested in Tappa.
You would have thought that this would have perhaps softened their hatred of the Tigers, but if anything it intensified throughout the Hateley years.

So the next time Scotland are unluckily knocked out of a major tournament in the first round by being stuffed 3-0 by Morocco, don’t shed a tear, or feel sympathy for the 40 stone Glaswegian sobbing and staining the St Andrews cross painted on his face, remember Murray, Hunter, Thomson, Whitworth and the rest, and think to yourself “Ha. That’ll learn ’em.”

Richard Gardham