The Soul of Hull City #1: Waggy and Chillo

Dramatis personae


The greatest strike partnership in Hull City’s history, in spirit and backed up easily by the figures. Upon the arrival of cocky and stocky Ken Wagstaff to partner Sproatley’s own centre forward par excellence Chris Chilton in late 1964, the pair never looked back. The giant Chilton’s brand of brave, strong, uncompromising marksmanship yielded the individual club record for goals which nobody will beat; Wagstaff was the artier, more cultured footballer, devilish at getting into the right positions and fearless when faced with any chance, in any game, against any goalkeeper.

The pair of them make sure in their dotage today that supporting forwards Ken Houghton, Ian Butler and Ray Henderson get their share of the credit as suppliers and supporting characters, but for seven years the name of Hull City was better known than the club’s league status may have deserved because of these two men at the helm, masters of the simple-but-difficult goalscoring craft. They scored 366 League goals for City on aggregate in 15 years of involvement; 252 of which came as a partnership between Wagstaff’s debut in November 1964 (in which both he and Chilton scored) and Chilton’s departure for Coventry in August 1971.

A staggering 52 of these were hammered in during the Third Division title winning season of 1966, in which Houghton, Butler and Henderson also each reached double figures. Wagstaff also scored a comparatively whopping four goals in FA Cup quarter finals, a round of the competition which remained alien to Hull City thereafter until 2009. Maybe all these stats really should have appeared at the start of this paragraph, as they say more than meagre words.

3 replies
  1. Bill Carson
    Bill Carson says:

    Before my time but the stats speak for themselves, plus the great humility and loyalty shown by both true Tiger legends.
    Whitehurst and Payton the most memorable for my era. Although Dean was pure class.

  2. gjhdurham
    gjhdurham says:

    Certainly was eager to get to BP in this era! Pity Marsh was around and the darling of the London centric media…not a new phenomena!…otherwise an England call up for Waggy? He really was on fire for a year or two. Also think an investment in two or three quality defenders would have gained the top flight…Div.1…years earlier than that playoff event. Not that I would have missed that!
    The Stoke & Chelsea cup ties, and the Northampton & Norwich Div.2 games stand out immediately. The first half v Wolves, when we played them off the pitch to go in 3-0, was also special. Great goal by Henderson in that one…

  3. Hawley's Hammer
    Hawley's Hammer says:

    Surely the greatest strike partnership never to grace the top flight. As a young boy I fell in love with Hull City watching Waggy, Chillo and the supporting cast of attack minded players in the late 1960s. Despite leaving Hull a decade later and the desperate nature of much of the intervening period I’ve never let that attachment go. Those were exciting times at Boothferry Park. Waggy’s brace of goals against Gordon Banks in the first half of the FA Cup quarter final against Stoke stands out as a highlight, but the way in which we let the game slip from that position rather typified the period and why such a talented side never quite fulfilled it’s promise.

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