FAMOUS FIVE: City players and sustenance

Fat goalkeepers eating pies appear to be newsworthy these days so, while not underestimating the bigger picture over betting’s crazy hold on football, we felt obliged to write something about sustenance connected with City players and staff, while dodging the Needlers sweets being chucked into the crowd…

1: Pie
DixonWilfYes, we have a pie story too. Maybe there wasn’t the betting wing of a national newspaper involved on this occasion in 1973, but a pie still made up part of the headlines in an FA Cup tie at Coventry City back then.

It was much less sophisticated than a morbidly obese backup keeper scoffing it on telly for cash, mind. Wilf Dixon, assistant manager to Terry Neill, was struck in the face by a half-eaten crusty foodstuff aimed from someone among the home fans at Highfield Road just as he innocently strolled towards the away dugout. The culprit wasn’t apprehended, the pie was crushed underfoot (what a waste) and City lost the fifth round tie 3-0.

2: Coca Cola

WindassD94Well, we’d hope the Coke can lobbed at Dean Windass during a game at Cardiff contained said fizzy drink and not something more, er, organic, as the City striker opted to swig from it prior to scoring the penalty which had so antagonised the Cardiff fans in the first place. Even if it was flat, it was probably nicer than Tiger Cola.

3: Chocolate mousse

WhitehurstB“Locker room talk” became a buzz phrase during the recent presidential elections in the USA. However, even the most ardent apologist for the apricot-hued misogynist eventually given the role of leading the free world would struggle to comprehend the kind of “locker room” activity that occurred at City during the reign of one William Whitehurst.

The story is grotesque so, assuming you have not heard what is a very frequently told yarn before, don’t read on if you are of a nervous or delicate constitution. Whitehurst consumed a chocolate mousse, filled the empty pot with a similarly coloured, er, “natural substance” and then instructed an unnamed apprentice to return it to Kwik Save at Boothferry Park because it was “off”. Whitehurst admits it happened so there’s nothing apocryphal going on here, and we hope the apprentice in question, not to mention the poor staff member at Kwik Save who had to deal with the complaint (assuming it got that far), was able to recover their belief in humanity, not to mention to consume chocolate without feeling ill or coprophilic.

4: Oranges

McKechnieA well-thumbed tale. Having been spotted eating an orange on his stroll home from training, City keeper Ian McKechnie found a couple in his net at the next home game, sucked on them during his quieter spells and a deluge of oranges would then follow at all his remaining games for City.

It went further on occasion – he once appeared as a defence witness in court for a City fan arrested for chucking an orange his way at an away game, while someone’s declaration of love, complete with a phone number, scrawled on an orange turned out to be a schoolgirl and her embarrassed mum, uncovered when McKechnie and a Hull Daily Mail reporter turned up at their house.

McKechnie died last year, and at his funeral, oranges were thrown into his grave.

5: Onion

PearsonStuFoul and abusive language is commonplace in football, even though it is an offence when used towards an official. City striker Stuart Pearson found this out at Hillsborough in 1972 when, having been denied what he felt was a clear City throw-in, he called the linesman an “onion”.

The linesman flagged furiously to alert the referee and, after a brief discussion, Pearson was sent off. Sadly, the footage doesn’t show the dismissal, though it does show the two goals Pearson scored prior to his vegetablist indiscretion. Given what some players call officials to their faces, it has always felt like a decision that exposed the pomposity of officials rather than teach a lesson of deference to a footballer.

City lost the game 4-2, Pearson got a two-match ban and the linesman couldn’t stop crying for hours. If only Pearson had held him under water while insulting him.