Mark Noble is apparently the answer to all of England’s midfield problems, if you believe the improbable number of supporters he has in the media. However, we remember him as a bored, slow, entirely unmotivated midfielder during a wretched loan spell with the Tigers more than a decade ago. Whatever (little) he has achieved as the local hero of yer actual West ‘Aaaaaam’s incessantly overindulged outfit since, that’s how we’ll always see him. And it was most amusing that he currently isn’t doing better than the bench for the unhappy Hammers and wasn’t considered crucial enough for the game at the weekend.
Gastón Ramirez, meanwhile, was a skilful but completely wimpish addition to City’s long list of temporary signings when we last had Premier League football at the Circle. He will be in Middlesbrough’s midfield on Wednesday when they visit, and the welcome is unlikely to even border on warm.
In honour of these two players who decisively underwhelmed when briefly in black and amber, we’ve charitably decided to remind you of five other loanees who didn’t exactly do the business for us…
1: Simon Walton
Ten league appearances in 2007/08 while on loan from QPR suggests that this midfielder made an impact, a contribution even, to City’s glorious promotion to the Premier League but the only thing that stops supporters recalling him exclusively as useless was the white sports socks he insisted on wearing over his kit stockings.
There was obviously something worth pursuing about Walton, as he was picked to play for England at three different youth levels while on the books at Leeds, and was still only 20 when he came to City. Eventually he settled into spells at Plymouth, Hartlepool and Crawley, and returned to West Yorkshire last year to play the non-league game.
2: Dougie Bell
Feels a bit unfair, this one, as the luxuriantly moustachioed Bell was a prized midfielder with honours from the Scottish game, but his arrival on loan from Shrewsbury in 1989 coincided with the massive money signings of Ian McParland and Peter Swan, and therefore nobody paid him the slightest bit of attention.
His debut was the 3-0 win over Plymouth that became infamous for being City’s only League win in the last three months of the campaign, and three entirely featureless performances followed before he was returned to Shropshire as unheralded as before.
3: Robbie Turner
Much-travelled lower division centre forward who had just turned 30 when he was recruited by Terry Dolan temporarily in October 1996. It started so well on a personal level, with both goals in a 3-2 defeat at Scarborough (a less embarrassing defeat than it would have been a year later) but then he proved somewhat ineffectual afterwards.
The nadir came when his parent club visited Boothferry Park but still let him play. He was rotten, booed by both sets and substituted early. City lost 3-1. Turner lasted one more game before heading back south. He drifted into non-league that summer.
4: Richard Knight
Goalkeeper from Derby who had already turned City down as part of the deal that took Andy Oakes to the east Midlands, but eventually he was signed temporarily because Lee Bracey was appalling and Steve Wilson was still deemed not good enough after eight years in the senior squad. Knight played one game, which City lost 2-0 at Hartlepool. Shakily positioned for the first goal and comically flappy judging by his actions prior to the second, he wasn’t mourned when Derby recalled him as cover for the injured Oakes. Wilson got back in the team the next week.
Knight never managed a first team appearance for Derby and was sold to Oxford in 2000. From the age of 25 onwards, he was a non-league keeper.
5: John Bostock
A natural, confident, swashbuckling, cultured footballer who had absolutely no team ethic whatsoever. Bostock had it all and blew it, basically.
A debutant at Crystal Palace at 15 and a £700,000 signing by Spurs at 16, Bostock joined City on loan in the complex summer of 2010 and on his debut against Swansea, he blootered in a shot from 30 yards that made everyone assume we’d signed a genius. Of course, we were only half right. All great sports stars back their talent with application but Bostock had no inkling so to do.
Rarely did he cut an interested or ambitious figure during his spell at the Circle, and even ruined his personal glory of a torpedo-esque free kick at Leeds which put us a goal up early on by getting himself sent off in the same game.
By the time he went back to Spurs on New Years Eve 2010, we were glad to see the back of him.
Bostock had a delightful touch, better than pretty much any footballer we’ve ever seen in City colours, but his attitude stank the place out. Pity. He’s still only 25 and left Spurs on a free in 2013, moving to Antwerp. He now plays for Lens.