NEWS: Les Mutrie dies, aged 66

MutrieLFormer City striker Les Mutrie has died at the age of 66 after a long battle with cancer.

Mutrie played professional football for Carlisle United briefly at the age of 26 but otherwise was a non-league centre forward in his native north east throughout the 70s, playing for Gateshead and most famously, Blyth Spartans, for whom he was a notoriously difficult opponent during a marathon FA Cup tie in which he scored in all three games against the Tigers, even though Blyth eventually lost the second replay 2-1.

Mike Smith snapped him up immediately, paying a record £30,000 for a non-league player, and on Boxing Day 1980 Mutrie, aged 29, made his league debut for City, just four days after scoring the last of his three goals against his new club.

City were poor in 1980/81 and were relegated to the Fourth Division for the first time in their history but Mutrie, who had ended the season with five goals, came into his own at this level. After Keith Edwards’ departure, Mutrie became City’s main source of goals and he responded with 27 in the league in 1981/82 including a run of nine consecutive scoring games, which remains a club record. During this sequence of scoring, he managed 14 goals, including four in a 5-2 win over Hartlepool.

In 1982/83, by now with Colin Appleton in charge, he scored 12 more in a side now more competitive for places up front and with numerous sources for goals as City won promotion back to the Third Division as runners-up.

Appleton only made one significant change in 1983/84 and that was to offload Mutrie, whom he deemed too old for the Third Division. Mutrie’s last game for City was a 3-2 win over Bournemouth in November 1983; his last goal (one of five in 1983/84) was in a 1-1 draw at Brentford a month earlier. He had a loan spell at Doncaster before joining Colchester, but his stay in the south was brief and he was swiftly back in the north east playing for Hartlepool before retiring from the professional game in 1985.

Mutrie clobbered in 49 league goals in just 115 games for the Tigers and remains an icon of the early 1980s when City had both dark hours and moments of glory. A hugely popular figure with the City fans and his team-mates of the time, he will be sorely missed. We offer our condolences to his family.

7 replies
  1. Ambertigerfan
    Ambertigerfan says:

    Les Mutrie was indeed a slither of light during a dark period of being a City fan.

    66: too young for Tom Petty, too young for Les Mutrie.

  2. hovetiger
    hovetiger says:

    My first Hull City hero. The man was a genius. Particularly remember a goal against the Blunts, where he dribbled past at least 15 of em along the goal line, before slotting it in. Sadly discarded when he had more to offer, and even sadder now to hear of his demise

  3. Bunkers Bull
    Bunkers Bull says:

    He played for us during some of our lowest times, but leaves memories of his skill and prowess at that time. My recollection is of an underrated, moody, unorthodox forward whose abilities deserved a much higher level of football. We’e had plenty of worse strikers in the PL than Les. He could have taught Fagan, Altidore, Ghilas, Aluko etc how to score. Raise your glasses to Sir Les – a great City forward who did us proud!

  4. Lythamtiger
    Lythamtiger says:

    Silky, skilful Sir Les, taken too soon, feels like I’ve lost a part of my youth. Really sad news. RIP, respect.

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