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FAMOUS FIVE: Successful City loanees

To prove we’re not just sneery, negative misanthropes when it comes to professional footballers, we’re following up our Failed Loanees piece with one that celebrates five temporary acquisitions who proved nothing but a success for City. We sought the opinions of 12 other City fans of our acquaintance before picking, mainly at random, five from their suggestions, discounting any that went on to sign for us permanently. The vast majority of our correspondents claimed one particular player was our best ever loan signing, so…

1: Fraizer Campbell
CampbellF
… here he is. Exactly what you’d want from a loan player, then a whole heap more. Campbell was raw and untried in the English game when he joined City in October 2007 on a season-long deal from Manchester United, and such deals often come with a fear in the back of the collective mind that such a player would not see the benefit in dropping down from a huge club to one in a lower division with negligible history.

But while to say Campbell was an exception is unfair on many a decent young lad at a big club waiting for games, he was certainly more of a revelation on loan than most of his ilk. He was, very simply, the extra bit of sparkle required by a team that was gifted, experienced and well-drilled, but needed just a certain extra something to be a challenger. That something may well have been pace, as Campbell was blessed with tons of it, and when a striker takes to the pitch with both confidence in front of goal and natural pace to burn off, you have the perfect player.

Campbell’s debut was quiet as he got used to his new team-mates and City lost a very dull game by a single goal at Watford. He played the whole match, and in the second half a sub was brought on to play alongside him, one Dean Windass.

Windass was 38, Campbell 20, nearly half his age; it sounds like a Heaven 17 lyric, and certainly was an atypical sight in football, but it worked. Campbell would spend the whole season telling anyone and everyone how much Windass helped him as a player and educated him on what being a City player actually meant.

Three days later Campbell shovelled in two goals of real striking expertise in the opening 18 minutes of a game against Barnsley at the Circle, allowing all City fans to take him to their hearts immediately. He and Windass became regular partners whenever the old man’s bones didn’t need a rest, and the pair got a goal each in a 3-0 win over Preston in the midst of a three-game run of victories. The return of record signing Caleb Folan after a head injury on his debut at Blackpool back in August provided both respite and competition for the front pairing, and it thereafter became a case of who would partner Campbell each week.

Campbell scored in three of five unbeaten games over the festive period as City picked up 11 points going into 2008 and rumblings of hope began, small ones, of a push for promotion as City snaked slowly up the top half of the table. Campbell scored a big equalising goal at Norwich on a very windy night at Carrow Road, then salvaged a point for an underperforming City against Colchester at the Circle. His third in three games, however, is likely to be the goal he is most remembered for, within an occasion that epitomised City’s sly, quiet run into the promotion picture.

West Brom were the leaders and the best team in the division, few disputed this. They outplayed a nonetheless high calibre City at the Circle in January with a 3-1 win which saw both teams applauded off the park by all in attendance. Six weeks later, City were at the Hawthorns and after a typically imaginative bit of body swerving from Jay Jay Okocha made some space, the virtuoso Nigerian aimed a sharp, distant pass through the centre for Campbell to control, just outside the area.

The footage shows colleagues of Campbell on either side screaming for a pass in space – Okocha’s swift delivery of the ball had not given defenders time to retreat, and Campbell had real options. The one he took was to take a cursory look up at goal and then bend an outrageous shot from almost a standing position into the corner of the net.

This was a golden moment for us, and for Campbell. It was the encouragement from Windass to free himself, the example of unpredictability set by Okocha, the self-belief given to Campbell by seeing an attacking shape built and rebuilt around him as the constant, the focal point, the spearhead. Everything had been put in place to make Campbell feel as though he could try anything and it would work, because the team he played for let him and because he had the natural ability to do so.

It was a goal nobody there would ever forget.

West Brom were still no slouches and managed an equaliser, only for Folan to score a famous winner. Now City were serious contenders, no longer under the radar. And the manager, Phil Brown, had his team for the rest of the season. Hangers-on were phased out more, changes were less necessary. And as long as Campbell was around, the possibilities felt endless.

Campbell scored in springtime home wins over Burnley, Southampton and Watford, with a brace at Colchester for good measure. A difficult day at Sheffield United, amidst a mild defensive crisis and ending in defeat, meant City had to beat Crystal Palace in the last home game of the regular season to take the chase for automatic promotion to the last day. Campbell scored the early opener, his skipper Ian Ashbee the late winner. Other results made automatic elevation now unlikely (despite Brown telling the press City could still win the title), but City were guaranteed third spot and home advantage in the second leg of the play-offs.

That was the end of Campbell’s goalscoring run for City, but his contribution to play-off success was stellar and iconic. He worked hard with little reward on a personal level in both legs of the comfortable semi-final against Watford, then shuffled free of his marker at Wembley on the counter attack before chipping the ball immaculately on to the right boot of the bleach-haired Windass for the only goal of the final against Bristol City.

Substituted late after a spot of petulance led to a booking, he was on the bench when the final whistle went and he ran on to the pitch, grabbed a black and amber curly wig and was tearfully embraced the team-mates who had made him one of them so readily, and saluted the fans who had worshipped his every move.

The circumstances in which Campbell didn’t sign permanently for City afterwards divides opinion to this day. Initially, the club made a bid but Manchester United, aware of his new-found value, made him a temporary makeweight in a deal to get Dimitar Berbatov to Old Trafford. Campbell duly played for Spurs against City in September 2008, with the Tigers winning 1-0, and the fans sang his name when he came across to the away end for a short corner routine.

When City bid again to take Campbell on after his loan at Spurs ended (having started just one Premier League game), Campbell instead chose to go to Sunderland. City were a basket case of a club at the time – in a way that Sunderland are now, but certainly weren’t then – and Campbell’s decision, influenced heavily by his father, was taken as an affront by City fans. When City went to Sunderland that season, Campbell stuck his tongue out at the away fans after a round of abuse, and naturally they went mad at him, as ever not realising that disrespect can be a two-way street. His form on Wearside initially was good enough to earn him a solitary England cap, but then he did his cruciate ligament which ruled him out of football for over a year. Back in Hull, some classless individuals claimed, cruelly, ludicrously, wrongly, that he deserved it.

Fit again, Campbell dropped a division and joined Cardiff, memorably scoring at the Circle on the last day of the 2012/13 season when both sides went up, with him pretending to laugh at the home fans while fixing his eyes firmly on the jubilant, title-winning Cardiff supporters. He is now at Crystal Palace, and of course scored their last minute equaliser at the Circle in this season’s 3-3 draw, this time celebrating wildly at the achievement, rather than in an effort to antagonise. A subsequent managerial change at Selhurst Park means he is currently not in favour there, and, approaching his 30th birthday, his next move will be an important one.

Campbell’s impact in 2007/08 will never, ever be underestimated, and it is largely because he was just so good that he remains a player of such interest to City supporters, on both sides of the argument (if an argument really exists). In the Premier League era we never found an alternative to him in terms of combining touch and finishing ability with sheer pace (Marlon King didn’t have pace; Shane Long did, but he wasn’t as good a finisher), and it’s hard to believe any centre forward on our books in the last nine seasons has been as good as Campbell was, even though he was playing exclusively against Championship defences at the time.

His name is still regularly linked with us, but Campbell won’t play for us again. However much many a City fan would see such a deal as something of a homecoming, he saw us purely as a stepping stone to bigger things. And he had every right to. He gave us everything he had but then, not unreasonably, felt he could get more because his talent had already proved worthy of the odd senior appearance for Manchester United, while Spurs and Sunderland represented big steps up for him. He ended up playing for England as a consequence so, even if club affairs didn’t go his way, he can point to that single achievement as a justification for taking his selected paths.

If anything did go wrong with Campbell, it was probably the way his father seemed to dismiss Hull as a permanent home for his son with barely a sideways glance – continuing to blame a boy who was barely 21 at the time for this is a fairly ghastly thing to do. But nobody in the Campbell family owed us anything. We gave him adoration as a support, City gave him regular football – but let’s not forget that in return, this greatest of great loanees gave us goals, Wembley and the Premier League for the first time. Look at that squad and then see if you can argue that we would have done it without him.

2: John Hickton
Loans have been around in one form or another for most of football’s professional existence, although only after the Second World War was something roughly resembling today’s system set down, and even then it was a rare occurrence for anyone to borrow another team’s players. Round these parts, the first example most City fans of, ahem, seasoned status remember was when Hickton arrived in 1977.

The Middlesbrough striker had been a consistent goalscorer at Ayresome Park for more than ten years, slamming in 192 goals in the first team, including four against City in a 5-3 win back in 1969. But at 32, and with manager Jack Charlton looking for a long-term replacement for his goals, Hickton was allowed to come to Boothferry Park on loan.

Hickton played six times, scored once (a peach of a shot from distance against Carlisle at Boothferry Park) and was involved in most of the goals scored elsewhere in the team, but became the classic example of the brightest flame dying out quickly, as Middlesbrough wouldn’t extend the loan, just as City were getting used to having him about the place. Annoyingly, they didn’t pick him again that season. He played a handful of games as either a sub or an emergency centre back the following season before his contract was cancelled to allow him to cross the Atlantic and play in the NASL. A broken leg early in his time there ended his career.

3: Nick Culkin
CulkinNWhen you’re at the bottom of the league, you get the goalkeepers you deserve. The ones who aren’t good enough for anyone else play for you, the ones that are good enough for someone else soon leave you, or were never yours to begin with.

Culkin was, unbelievably, the seventh* (and last) different keeper used by City in the 1999/2000 season, a club record, and we had yet to reach the millennium. Yet over four games, the giant 21 year old proved himself to be impressive and commanding in a way that none of the others were, showing exactly why his earliest years at hometown club York had motivated a £250,000 swoop by Manchester United. The only goal he conceded was in his last game, a 1-1 home draw with Cheltenham, while previously he had excelled in scoreless draws at Darlington and Leyton Orient (saving a penalty in the latter) and a 2-0 win at home to Mansfield in between.

Naturally, such a fine custodian wasn’t going to muddy his boots with us for as long as absolutely necessary, and back to Old Trafford he went. He had further loans (much longer ones, too) before joining QPR in 2002 and succumbing to injury three years later. These days, he is known for having the shortest Premier League career in history, with his only appearance for Manchester United coming when he was an injury time sub for the crocked Raimond Van der Gouw, against Arsenal in August 1999. Culkin took the free kick that restarted the game, and the referee blew for full time.

4: Martin Carruthers
CarruthersM
Elegant, lightning-quick centre forward from the ranks at Aston Villa who was a proper showbiz signing by Terry Dolan at a time when City’s present and future seemed incredibly bleak. “Evening Carruthers!” said the headlines, tragically and predictably, when he pitched up in October 1992.

And goodness, we needed him. We had nothing close to a proper centre forward. Dean Windass was still in midfield (his shift up front wasn’t far away though) and we were relying on overrated nonentities like Paul Hunter to lead the line, with wingers Graeme Atkinson and Leigh Jenkinson providing not just back-up, but front-up as well.

Carruthers was fighting the likes of Dean Saunders, Dalian Atkinson and an emerging Dwight Yorke for a place in a very good Villa side, so coming to City made sense for him and was a rare “sit up and take notice” bit of business under Dolan. Instantly he looked the part when he took over Hunter’s number 9 shirt, despite a typically Dolan-esque bit of fudging over injuries which saw Carruthers score against Mansfield in his second match and then drop into midfield for two games afterwards. However, he managed to find the net on each of those occasions too – against Port Vale and Blackpool – and made it three straight scoring games with a goal in a 4-0 shoeing of Exeter which earned City seven points from nine.

He played seven more games but scored just once more (in a 2-1 win at Preston) as City’s creativity died a death, coinciding with an injury to Windass. The end of his loan was greeted with sadness from City supporters, who had invested a lot of hope in the club being able to retain Carruthers’ service for the remainder of the season. Eventually, Linton Brown arrived, funded by the fans; although not as natural a player, a remedy for the striking ills was found, especially when Windass was shoved up alongside him.

Carruthers returned to Villa, who were challenging for the Premier League title, and was released in the summer. He eventually played for numerous contemporaries of City in the lower divisions, including a gallingly prolific two seasons at Scunthorpe, but never achieved a better scoring record than when he was at City. He was still playing the non-league game well into his 40s and is back in his native Nottinghamshire now, managing Basford United.

5: Anthony Gerrard
GerrardA
It maybe would come as a surprise to Gerrard just how much love there remains for him in Hull, as he stepped into our defence at a time of transition, when money was tight after relegation from the Premier League and City were aiming for nothing other than continued existence. But what a fine defender he was.

Gerrard was 24 when he joined from Cardiff on loan in September 2010, as new manager Nigel Pearson realised that the centre backs he’d inherited lacked steel (as well as consistency and, in at least one case, a decent attitude). With no top-tier pretensions, despite an older cousin at the helm of the world game (in some people’s minds, at least), Gerrard slotted in as a Championship centre back in a Championship team and played his heart out every week.

His debut was peculiar, as a deal was struck that allowed Gerrard, on loan from Cardiff, and Seyi Olofinjana, on loan in the reverse direction, to play against their parent clubs. It felt inevitable that one of these two would have a major say on the game and, naturally, it was the Nigerian who scored as Cardiff won 2-0. That kind of experiment made us a laughing stock and stopped immediately afterwards.

Gerrard settled, alongside fellow loanee Daniel Ayala, and soon it was obvious he wasn’t subtle, and this lack of discretion when dealing with opposing centre forwards got him many a cheer from the City fans while concurrently earning him a swathe of yellow cards. But throughout the season he was strong, positive, capable of leading by example, decent on the ball, and, it seemed, hard as nails. He was useful going forwards too, with a memorable winning goal at Derby among the five he got for the Tigers, at a time when City were in a bit of form and still hoping for the play-offs. His last goal came in a bizarre 4-2 home defeat by Middlesbrough, when he slapped in a free kick from pushing 30 yards as a late consolation.

City fans voted Gerrard their Player of the Year but Cardiff wouldn’t sell him to a divisional rival, and he got back in their team for a season before joining Huddersfield. He has never been a top flight defender but has had a consistent and admirable lower division career and is currently in the back four at Oldham. At City, he was the kind of player we needed at a time of off-field crisis – focussed, uncompromising… and forgiving too, as he continued to play well for us despite the lousy, uncouth song about his cousin – a member of his own family, for goodness’ sake – that City fans insisted on singing his way as if somehow he’d draw inspiration from it or take it as a compliment.

He must have thought we had some right thickoes following us.

*Lee Bracey, Matthew Baker, Jon Schofield, Steve Wilson, Richard Knight, Steven Bywater, Nick Culkin. After Culkin left, Wilson stayed in goal for the remainder of the season.

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FAMOUS FIVE: Failed City loanees

RamirezNobleMark 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

WaltonSTen 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

BostockJohnA 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.

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FAMOUS FIVE: Quirky goalscoring achievements

So, Sam Clucas has scored in six straight seasons in six different divisions, climbing a division each time. It’s a brilliantly geeky footballing feat, as well as a fine tribute to the persistence of a stellar player to make it as a top professional, and we should be proud of him even if we only became part of the trip last season.

So what other fascinating scoring facts and quirks from City players and City games can we offer you? Chris Chilton’s record tally for the club is well known, and the achievements of Duane Darby (six in one game), Les Mutrie (14 in nine straight games), Alan Fettis (two in two games, but, well, you know…) and Ian Ashbee (goals in all four divisions, uniquely) are also very much on the record. These five others may not be so well known – until now…

1: Nick Barmby

BarmbyWalsallOur quickest ever goal came against Walsall as recently as November 2004 and, if seven seconds between kick off and 1-0 isn’t enough of a “what the…?” moment for you, let us also add that it was the only time the famed boot-out-to-the-right wing kick-off routine so beloved of Peter Taylor actually worked. Stuart Green collected Damien Delaney’s blind crossfield ball and his centre was side-volleyed into the net low down by Barmby.

City went on to win 3-1 with further goals before the break by Jason Price and Junior Lewis, but the opening strike was the one that went down in club folklore. If City scored after seven seconds now, three quarters of the eventual attendance would miss it because of the rotten automated turnstile system.

2: Bill McNaughton
McnaughtonHe’s there, in City’s record books, and he’s going to stay in place for as long as Hull City, and football, and sport, and civilisation, remains a thing. McNaughton joined in the summer of 1932 from Gateshead and achieved a perfect average in his first season with the Tigers, scoring 41 goals in 41 league games as the Third Division (North) title was swashbucklingly captured.

McNaughton didn’t score in the first three games, but once he was off the mark there was rarely any stopping him. The stats within a stat are fascinating; his longest run of scoring games was only four; he got four in one game, two hat-tricks and seven braces; he didn’t take penalties; and he was more than ably assisted by inside forward Russell Wainscoat, who shovelled in 21 of his own. A strike partnership of 62 goals.

Promotion meant McNaughton got less of his own way, with a meagre 15 in City’s mid-table Division Two season, prior to his sale in October 1934 to Stockport County. Fleeting his stay may have been, but he alone made sure it wouldn’t be forgotten.

To put it into perspective, while taking into account the raising of defensive and fitness standards, our better known goalscorers got the following seasonal bests in league football for City: Bradbury 30; Chilton, Wagstaff, Mutrie and Elliott all 27; Edwards 26; Payton 25; Windass 23; Houghton 22; Hernández 22; Whitehurst 20; Marwood 19; Burgess 18; Pearson 17; Fryatt 16 – all bar two of these were central attackers, and some of these embellished their totals with penalty kicks. Paddy Mills, the only other player behind Chilton and Wagstaff to hit three figures in league goals for City, got a season’s best of 25. And before the First World War, John Smith managed a best of 32 while Sammy Stevens got 26 in the last season prior to conflict.

So nobody is really close to what McNaughton managed, and only his very short spell with the club stops him, probably wrongly, from being regarded as a legend. His record will stand for all time.

3: Ken Wagstaff (with a bit of help from Ian Butler)

Waggy68Waggy battered in loads of hat-tricks within his 197 senior goals for City but the quickest one came in February 1968 when he plundered all three of his strikes in nine exhausting minutes. In fact, it was four in nine, with Butler managing to get one in between as the Tigers, a goal down to Bristol City at Boothferry Park, went very quickly 4-1 up and saw out the game. Wagstaff then promptly went three matches without scoring.

4: Stuart Green

GreenMKHim again. Not only did he contribute to our quickest ever goal, but we reckon his goals in the first minute and the 96th minute of the 3-2 win over MK Dons just two weeks before Barmby’s instant strike represent the longest gap between goals in normal time for any City scorer. Unless you know differently.

5: Sylvan Ebanks-Blake

EbanksBlakeDidn’t play for City, but did so against us twice at the Circle during his spell at Plymouth Argyle between 2006 and 2008. He managed to score in both games. Now, do bear with us.

The extraordinary thing about this was that the games were consecutive, despite being identical in competition and venue. City, having survived relegation and condemned Leeds simultaneously the previous week, ended the 2006/07 season with a 2-1 home defeat to Plymouth – Ebanks-Blake scored in that – and then began the following campaign three months later with a 3-2 home defeat to Plymouth, and he scored in that too (as did a certain winger called Péter Halmosi).

There may have been a massive gap in between – similar to the massive gap left by Danny Coles in City’s defence for Ebanks-Blake to score on that second occasion – but there were no competitive fixtures during that time, and so the ex-Manchester United trainee can claim to have scored in identical consecutive competitive games, with City happening to be the opposition.

No City player was in a position to achieve the same as Stuart Elliott, the scorer in the first defeat, wasn’t picked for the second.

It probably isn’t unique a goalscoring quirk in English football but we rather hope it is, despite being on the receiving end. It’s not as if our season then went from bad to worse, after all.

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FAMOUS FIVE: Players for City and Leicester

Lazy one this week as we can’t think of anything else to do – after all, we covered City playing against reigning champions prior to day one of this season. Rest assured that none of the players below ever won the Premier League though…

1: Matt Fryatt

FryattMSupercool finisher and genuinely great goalscorer, whose ability as a first-rate Championship striker under Nigel Pearson and Nick Barmby was only really appreciated when he was out injured for almost all of the promotion season under Steve Bruce as City often struggled for goals.

Fryatt banged them in as a teenager for Walsall, playing in both games against City in 2004/05 as Peter Taylor’s side won promotion from League One, before joining Leicester in early 2006. One of his earliest games for the Foxes came in an infamous 3-2 win over City the day before his 20th birthday, when Boaz Myhill was lobbed from the halfway line by Joey Gudjonsson for one of their goals. Fryatt didn’t score that day – he never did score against the Tigers – but ended the season with six goals and in his five years at Leicester was generally never short of confidence, including a 20-goal blitz before the Christmas period of 2008/09. By the end of 2010 he had more than a half-century of goals in a Leicester shirt.

Nigel Pearson left Leicester to become manager of the Tigers in the summer of 2010 and brought Fryatt along in January 2011 for £1.2m. He scored on his debut against Portsmouth, thumped in an enjoyable hat-trick at Scunthorpe soon afterwards and on his 25th birthday scored the only goal at Nottingham Forest, arguably the most memorable strike of his City career. He carried on scoring for fun right through to the end of the 2011/12 season when a hat-trick against Barnsley helped him towards a healthy 16 goals for his first full season.

Injury in a League Cup tie against Rotherham in August 2012 ruled him out for almost the entire 2012/13 campaign and, while City did enough to win promotion, the absence of a natural finisher was a constant worry throughout, despite the arrival of Sone Aluko as both scorer and provider. He and Fryatt would have been ideal together.

On achieving fitness, Fryatt scored four times in a loan spell with Sheffield Wednesday before returning to the Circle and putting away his first Premier League goal in December 2013 as City humped Fulham 6-0.

With two big-name, expensive strikers arriving in January, Fryatt was at his most useful in the burgeoning FA Cup campaign, for which Nikica Jelavić and Shane Long were cup-tied. He got four, including a key equaliser at Wembley in the semi-final against Sheffield United, as City reached the final.

He ploughed a lonely furrow against Arsenal but worked hard as City lost the game 3-2. Just 11 days earlier, he had hammered in a 25-yard consolation goal at Manchester United, his second and final Premier League goal and his last goal, as it would turn out, in City colours.

Fryatt was offered a new deal but decided to join Nottingham Forest on a free in the summer of 2014. His Midlands roots played a part, as well as his concern over a lack of first team football, though upon receiving a glut of social media messages of goodwill from Hull City fans, admitted publicly that he should have stayed, signed the deal and fight for a place. It’s doubtful that he would have been prolific in the Premier League but a fit and focussed Fryatt would have helped the Tigers go up automatically and avoid all that play-off nonsense in 2016.

Fryatt will be 31 this weekend and he remains at Forest, but hasn’t played for two years since suffering a serious Achilles tendon injury in a game at Charlton.

2: Ian Ormondroyd
OrmondroydFamously compared to a flamingo by Jimmy Greaves in his weekly magazine column, Ormondroyd was ridiculed throughout his long career just by dint of being almost two metres tall, but he was seldom an ineffective or unwatchable player.

After scoring prolifically at Bradford, his hometown club, Ormondroyd joined Aston Villa and became a cult hero on the left wing for two seasons before joining Derby and then, eventually, Leicester City in 1992.

He played in three consecutive play-off finals for the Foxes, winning the latter, before joining City on loan after Leicester manager Brian Little left for Aston Villa.

Ormondroyd was an instant success at Boothferry Park, scoring twice on his debut against Cardiff and another brace at Bournemouth three weeks later.

He found the net six times in ten games under his former Bradford manager Terry Dolan, but was then recalled by Leicester manager Mark McGhee, who proceeded to pick him once and then leave him in the reserves.

He later had a second spell at Bradford and then a season each at Oldham and Scunthorpe before retiring in 1998 due to arthritis. Now 52, he remains a club ambassador at Bradford and works on local radio commentaries there under his long-time nickname of Sticks.

3: Wayne Brown

BrownWShiny-pated centre back renowned for his one great season at City when he partnered Michael Turner with total authority for the whole 2007/08 campaign which ended in promotion to the Premier League via the play-offs at Wembley.

Brown, signed from Colchester in 2007 for £450,000, relied on his reading of the game and his general toughness as he was neither tall nor quick, but he played 41 league games in that wondrous season, keeping many a savage centre forward at bay. He scored just once – a flick header at the Circle in a 3-1 win over Ipswich, his first club – and famously jumped on Boaz Myhill’s back at Wembley after the City keeper caught the final cross from a desperate Bristol City side prior to the whistle confirming City’s place in the the top tier. Brown promptly jumped on him again to give him a kiss, allowing for a photo opportunity that became part of City folklore.

Such were the harsh realities of football that Brown was immediately regarded as unsuited to the Premier League by his namesake manager Phil, who bought Anthony Gardner and, later, Kamil Zayatte to provide competition and partnerships for Turner. Brown’s only top flight game was the notorious 5-0 cuffing by Wigan at the Circle, during which he was handed his arse by Amr Zaki and Emile Heskey numerous times.

Looking back, given an obvious lack of match fitness, that was an unfair task for the 31 year old centre back but nevertheless his days were numbered and he joined Preston North End on loan in October 2008. He then joined Leicester, again on loan, in January 2009, helping them to the League One title, before making the deal permanent in the summer.

Brown was again a competent and consistent Championship centre back in Leicester colours but after it emerged he had voted for an extremist party at the 2010 general election, tensions in the first team squad arose and he was quickly sold to Preston. His namesake former manager then arrived at Deepdale and for the second time made the centre back surplus to requirements, but Brown eschewed offers from other league clubs to stay in Lancashire and play non-league football while pursuing business interests. Eventually he returned to Colchester to join the coaching staff, and there he remains. He’s 40 later this year.

4: Terry Heath

HeathTStriker who won the League Cup with Leicester and then wrote his name in FA Cup folklore for the Tigers while barely playing a league game for either. Eventually he found his calling, not to mention form and consistency, at Scunthorpe, for whom he scored 50 league goals, before a spell at Lincoln City and early retirement in 1973 through injury. He died in 2011.

5: Kevin Ellison
EllisonKevinAnother shiny-pated funster, and something of a contradictory figure during his time at the Circle, as he was always praised for his attitude and application despite being fairly obviously limited as a footballer.

Ellison, a left winger from Liverpool, was scouted by Leicester while playing non-league football for Altrincham and played six minutes of Premier League football for them when coming on as a sub at Manchester United in March 2001. His manager Peter Taylor then sold him to Stockport but still saw fit to try him again after becoming City manager, and Ellison joined the Tigers from Chester midway through the League One promotion campaign in 2004/05.

He scored a memorable solo goal at promotion rivals Tranmere but otherwise seemed a fairly haphazard signing borne out of panic after first choice left winger Stuart Elliott (and his goals) were forced into absence via a smashed cheekbone. Upon Elliott’s earlier than anticipated return, Ellison became a regular substitute.

Ellison played occasionally in the 2005/06 campaign, memorably so as a very obviously left-footed right winger in a game at Luton which was probably his best performance in a City shirt as the Tigers won 3-2. He also scored a magnificent solo equaliser at Southampton that season – his second and final goal for City – but was generally regarded as out of his depth. His clear willingness to work meant he avoided the worst kind of stick from the City fans, and he left for Tranmere early the next season after Phil Parkinson made it clear he wasn’t going to play.

Another spell at Chester and two seasons at Rotherham followed before he joined Morecambe in 2011 and, brilliantly, he remains there to this day as the club’s record scorer in league football, with 62 goals coming in more than 230 appearances. He is now 38 and shows no signs of slowing down, and all power to his elbow for that.

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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.

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FAMOUS FIVE: Players for City and Arsenal

Arsenal v City this weekend. We’ve had a few players in common down the years, and we’ve picked an interesting quintet out for you…

1: Jay Simpson

SimpsonJayArse

Stocky striker of the “sticks his bum out” type so loathed by defenders, who was close to proper progression from the ranks at Arsenal – two goals in three League Cup appearances and loads of plaudits and goals in various loan spells – prior to his coming our way on a free in the summer of 2010, one of Nigel Pearson’s first acquisitions as he began clearing up the debris from Premier League relegation.

Simpson took a while to settle and was never prolific, but once Sone Aluko arrived under Steve Bruce in 2012, they formed a genuinely artistic, watchable and successful strike partnership, showcasing an instant understanding as City gained promotion under the new manager at first go. Highlights included the first goal of Bruce’s reign in a 1-0 win over Brighton, and one from the byline that looked a physical impossibility as City beat Wolves at the Circle.

He was the headline-maker among the released players that summer, with 13 goals in 86 senior appearances. He went to Leyton Orient for three years where his scoring record was close to one in two in league football, and is now in the USA. He’s still only 28.

2: David Rocastle

RocastleDavidArseAn all-time hero of Arsenal and a rare breed of Arsenal footballer whom fans of all clubs could admire. Rocastle was the skilful winger with exquisite touch, strength, vision and incisiveness that played a key role in Arsenal’s rise to the top under George Graham, winning two League titles and a League Cup, picking up a smattering of England caps along the way, before he was insanely sold to Leeds United.

His time at Elland Road wasn’t a success, and spells at Manchester City and Chelsea were equally frustrating and injury-hit, and somewhat inexplicably, he joined a struggling City on loan, with Mark Hateley using his contacts to get us someone who was probably the most skilled player we’d ever seen in the black and amber, despite the level the rest of our team was at.

Rocastle played 11 times, scored once, galvanised everyone who was there to witness his performances, and then left again. His last game for the Tigers – a home defeat to Chester on Boxing Day 1997 – was his last game in English football, aged just 30. Three and a half years later, he had succumbed to non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, and all of football mourned him.

3: John Roberts

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Gangly Welsh international defender who impressed enough at Swansea and Northampton in the late 60s to earn a move to Bertie Mee’s Arsenal, where he earned a title medal in 1971, although didn’t make their victorious FA Cup final squad. Forever behind Frank McLintock and Peter Simpson in the pecking order, Roberts went to Birmingham City in 1972 and then back to Wrexham, before finishing his professional career with City, signing in 1980.

By now 34, Roberts stayed for two seasons but injury meant he only played in the first of those as City were relegated to the Fourth Division under his former international manager Mike Smith. His last game came in January 1981, when he also scored his only goal for the club in a 3-2 loss against Charlton.

Roberts went back to Wales to play non-league football and subsequently worked as a driving instructor. He died last year, aged 69.

4: Vito Mannone

MannoneArseReliable, fierce-looking Italian goalkeeper who came on loan twice from Arsenal’s reserves and, with City fans wondering if we were ever going to sign a keeper of our own again, the most impressive of the loanees we had in between Boaz Myhill’s sale in 2010 and Allan McGregor’s arrival in 2013.

Mannone’s consistency was his greatest asset and it was irritating that City couldn’t get him permanently due to lack of funds, because Arsenal were quite content to sell him – and did so, to Sunderland, where he remains to this day. He fended off relegation twice before losing his place to youngster Jordan Pickford, but is now back in the team.

5: John Hawley

HawleyJohnArseStill a name of folklore in the game thanks to his apparent status as football’s last amateur, owing to his arrangement with City in the 1970s that saw him score goals for his bus fare home while training as an antique dealer in the family business.

Withernsea-born Hawley finally turned pro in 1976, four years after his City debut. He joined Leeds in 1978 following City’s relegation to the Third Division and he was a moderate success at Elland Road at a time when they were in sharp decline. He only stayed there a year before going to Sunderland, scoring a hat-trick in his first game, and then joining Arsenal in 1981, where he was not a success.

The North Bank got on his back and he returned for a loan at City in 1982 before joining Bradford, where he was on the pitch during the 1985 fire at Valley Parade and took part in the rescue of fans. He ended his career at Scunthorpe before returning to the antiques trade, which he still does to this day while also doing hospitality gubbins at the Circle on matchdays.

When Hawley joined Arsenal, it was the first – and, as it turned out, only – time that Terry Neill had signed one of his former charges at Boothferry Park.

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FAMOUS FIVE: Ex-Tigers scoring against City (version 2.0)

When Tom Cairney put one away against City for Fulham last season, we did a Famous Five on ex-Tigers scoring against us. Now Sone Aluko has followed suit, playing for the same club as Cairney, so we’ve done another round of ’em. It’s not as if there aren’t enough to choose from…

1: Keith Edwards

EdwardsSheff

Edwards was genuinely as natural a predator as any other striker in City’s history, if perhaps not as obvious a team player as those before him. He joined City in 1978 from Sheffield United, scored a ton of goals in some seriously failing sides, and went straight back to Bramall Lane in a huff three years later after relegation to the bottom tier.

Edwards was not a popular figure by the end, making it clear that Fourth Division football wasn’t for him, a standpoint that might have held firm had the club he scuttled back to not also been demoted alongside City the year before. Edwards banged in 35 league goals on his return to South Yorkshire and the Blades won the title, but none of those goals came against City – for that, he needed an FA Cup tie the following season.

It was a simple process for Edwards; he scored the equaliser in a 1-1 draw in the first round tie at Boothferry Park, and then another in the replay at Bramall Lane which ended 2-0. They ended up in the third round, where they were defeated by Stoke, and Edwards ended up back at Boothferry Park in 1988 after detours via Leeds and Aberdeen. More prolific than ever, he topped the Second Division scoring charts in 1988-89 before Colin Appleton let him go again.

2: Marlon King

KingBoro

King was superb during his four month loan spell at City. Signed by Phil Brown at the start of the Premier League adventure in 2008, he led the line with strength, real skill, bravery and a self-belief that regularly overflowed into visible arrogance. It made him a great footballer, and also made him a massive idiot.

After scoring a winner against Middlesbrough from the penalty spot in December 2008, King went to London in the evening for a night out. He was then arrested for assault and City terminated his loan instantly, having already dealt internally with a fight between King and Dean Windass in a casino. He temporarily joined, of all teams, Middlesbrough and, still on bail, played against City in April 2009.

The vitriol aimed King’s way was incessant; you could tell that even the Middlesbrough fans weren’t exactly cock-a-hoop at having such a dubious character in their colours. However, when he scored the third goal in a 3-1 win (in which City were appalling) they cheered as loudly as at any other time. The goal was simple for a player of his talent, taking a loose ball as City left bodies up front and sliding it past Matt Duke with total authority.

The abuse he got from City fans as he celebrated, and then sauntered off the pitch victorious a few minutes later, was loud and long – and, as it turns out, justified, as he was eventually given 18 months for ABH and indecent assault, and was sacked by his parent club Wigan Athletic the moment his conviction was confirmed.

3: Andy Mason

MasonvMacc

This striker was nothing but insignificant to City fans who remember him clodding hopelessly about the pitch in the latter Terry Dolan era as neither use nor ornament prior to his departure early in the 1996/7 season, considered not good enough for City’s first campaign in the bottom tier for 13 years. He played ever so briefly for Chesterfield before joining Macclesfield, with whom he faced City in the first round of the 1997/98 League Cup.

The early stages of the competition were still two-legged affairs back then, and the opener at Moss Rose saw Mason subbed midway through the second half, his ineffectiveness summing up the goalless game itself. Two weeks later, he trotted on to the Boothferry Park pitch, giving off no air of superiority whatsoever, but still bundled in a 47th minute equaliser to Richard Peacock’s early strike.

Dumbfounded looks, guppy fish at feeding time, enveloped the old place, and extra time was ultimately required. As an away goal, Mason’s strike came within three minutes of winning the visitors the tie, only for Warren Joyce to grab a winner in the 117th minute. City went on to beat Crystal Palace, memorably, in the second round before losing at Newcastle in the third.

Mason, meanwhile, couldn’t make the grade even at Macclesfield, and started a long trawl around the non-league pyramid with Kettering at the end of that season. His goal at Boothferry Park was the only one he got for the Silkmen.

4: Stuart Pearson

PearsonMU

It’s easy to argue a case for Pearson, a burly, fast-paced centre forward from Cottingham, as being the most successful player ever to begin his career with the Tigers. He played in four Wembley finals for two different clubs, winning a brace of FA Cups; he won two Second Division titles, again with two clubs; and was for a short period in the late Revie era of the England team, the first choice striker for his country.

The natural successor to Chris Chilton after the great man left in 1971, Pearson was never quite as prolific, taking stick from the terraces on occasion in the process, but impressed Tommy Docherty sufficiently during his brief tenure as assistant to Terry Neill for him to come back with a £200,000 offer in 1974 as manager of Manchester United.

Pearson was still in the Second Division when he moved to Old Trafford, courtesy of United’s infamous relegation the season before, and was part of a new broom of young, unproven but gifted footballers whom Docherty felt could define the remainder of the decade.

City hosted Manchester United in the autumn but Pearson missed the game, a 2-0 City win, due to injury. However, at Old Trafford in February 1975, Pearson scored one and made one for full back Stewart Houston as United ran out comfortable winners by an identical scoreline, and went on to win the Second Division title.

He was a runaway success at Old Trafford until 1979 when, with knee problems and Joe Jordan ahead of him in the pecking order, he joined West Ham United. He didn’t play against City again.

5: Alf Toward

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The costliest goal by an ex-Tiger ever, explained in mesmerising detail here

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FAMOUS FIVE: City in the FA Cup fourth round

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It may surprise you to learn that City have won more FA Cup fourth round ties than lost, with a 54% success ratio. Of course, statistics can be somewhat blinding, and City have only ever contested the last 32 of the competition 26 times before this weekend, which isn’t a stellar record for a club with 113 years of history. Getting to the fourth round itself used to be regarded as an achievement not so long back, with a notorious 20-season spell of recent vintage seeing the Tigers exiting the competition at the third round stage – at best. Anyway, we’ve looked at those 26 fourth round ties and highlighted five of them…

1: 1927 v Everton
1927cup

The first FA Cup fourth round tie City managed to win came in historically one of the most successful seasons in the club’s history. Everton had their ace goalscorer Dixie Dean settled in their team by now but were struggling at the wrong end of the First Division, whereas City were a comfortable and threatening presence in the top half of Division Two.

The Tigers had already beaten one top tier side in the third round with a 2-1 win on Anlaby Road against West Bromwich Albion but made much harder work of it against the Toffeemen in a first ever meeting between the teams. George Martin scored in a 1-1 draw, then in front of 45,000 at Goodison Park, goals from Henry Scott and big Scottish centre forward George Guyan forced a 2-2 draw.

Five days later the sides met neutrally at Villa Park to try to settle things, and City won a thriller by the odd goal in five with three Georges – Martin, Guyan and Whitworth – all on the scoresheet. Martin impressed Everton so much they signed him midway through the following season, during which time Dean banged in his record 60 goals in the top tier.

City, irritatingly (and perhaps typically) then proceeded to exit the competition in their first ever fifth round tie to Wolves, who were below them in the Second Division table. Cardiff won the competition in the end and to date it’s the only the time the FA Cup has been won by a team not in England.

2: 1972 v Coventry City

Great footballers score great goals. Great strikers score a few great goals, but loads of scruffy goals. Ken Wagstaff was a great footballer and a great striker, and boy, was this a scruffy goal. But as it was the only one of the game, and defeated a useful top flight side on their own patch to snaffle a last 16 place for the second straight season, it was beguiling in its scruffiness.

Six months after leaving the Tigers, Chris Chilton played against his old club for Coventry and was made captain for the day by his manager Noel Cantwell. He was also given a guard of honour by the two sets of players before the game but his day peaked at this point; a forlorn figure, he barely took part in the occasion and was transfer-listed straight afterwards, unable to settle in his new Midlands base. He retired at the end of the season.

Meanwhile, City now had two impressive away wins in the FA Cup as underdogs, having already beaten divisional rivals (and eventual champions) Norwich City at Carrow Road in the third round. And so Terry Neill’s men went into a fifth round tie labelled a “revenge mission” at Stoke, following the controversial and gutting 3-2 defeat at Boothferry Park in the quarter finals the year before. Waggy scored again – he notched seven goals in seven FA Cup ties over those two seasons – but there was no reprisal for City, as their hosts comfortably won 4-1.

There was revenge the following season, however. Unfortunately, it was Coventry who achieved it, beating City 3-0 in the fifth round.

3: 2012 v Crawley Town

If you insist. Having achieved a far harder task by beating Ipswich Town in the third round, Nick Barmby’s side were handed a rather enigmatic tie in the last 32, having never played Crawley Town before at any level. It was only the West Sussex side’s second season out of non-league football and the previous year they had reached the fifth round of the competition, losing to Manchester United.

They also had oafish fraudster Steve Evans in charge, reason alone for City to take the tie seriously and prevent such an unpleasant individual from receiving more of the oxygen of publicity he had gulped up so readily the year before.

So the rest was inevitable.

Matt Tubbs scored just before the hour, and City fans started wondering if the inconvenient but unique replay that acted as distinctly second best Plan B was now the best case scenario. Sadly, the players didn’t even get us that far. Despite being experienced enough – aside from Danny East, in his second and final senior appearance – to avoid banana skins like this, they kept slipping. The box with Crawley’s name adjacent to it remains unticked to this day, and the unlikely scourge of City that season went on to lose to Stoke in the fifth round, having sold Tubbs to Bournemouth just two days after he knocked City out.

4: 1958 v Sheffield Wednesday

1958cup

The phrase “oddly enjoyable defeats” has become a part of footballing parlance within City fans in recent times, with lots of punching above one’s weight on show in the last decade or so, prior (usually) to surrendering the points. It is entirely possible there was something “oddly enjoyable” about losing an away tie at Sheffield Wednesday by the odd goal in seven.

There were two divisions between the sides at the time, with City having a bit of a languish in the Third Division North, but each time Wednesday took a hold on the game, the Tigers roared back. Bill Bradbury, Johnny Stephens and Brian Bulless scored a goal each in an end-to-end, ripsnorting Yorkshire derby under the Hillsborough lights. The 51,000+ crowd departed feeling thoroughly entertained, while the majority were also mightily relieved.

The draw sent Wednesday to Old Trafford for round five, the mouth-watering prospect of facing the Busby Babes soon extinguished by the horrors at Munich a few days later, though a patched up Manchester United, full of kids, reserves and loanees, still won the tie 3-0. Wednesday were relegated, while City stayed in the third tier as regionalisation came to an end.

5: 1987 v Swansea City

  • that X-rated tackle by Frankie Bunn.
  • that insanely celebrated winner by Richard Jobson.
  • those red shorts.

And then it was Wigan Athletic away in the fifth round, an ordinary, history-free side in a lower division. Jackpot for City!

(They beat us 3-0).

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FAMOUS FIVE: Managerial debuts

We have a new manager and so far he has done quite well. Three games, three competitions, two wins, one proud defeat. The players seem to like him, he has fresh ideas, he cuts a dash with his stubble and open-necked shirt and has had inarticulate pundits making wild assumptions about his ability and language skills while panicking in general about foreigners. So this week, we’ve had a look back at managerial debuts in our recent past and, in replicating the situation regarding Silva’s appointment, stuck to ones that happened while a season was ongoing, as summer appointments tend to give new gaffers daft luxuries like time to plan and get to know the club and the squad. Not that it did Phil Parkinson much good, mind…

1: Iain Dowie
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Phil Brown’s dismissal in March 2010 was correct although ill-timed, and beyond the surprise expressed by the national press was a further confusion about what would happen about a successor. Brown had effectively ceased to work for City, but as negotiations began over the terms of his departure, he was placed on gardening leave until the end of the campaign. This meant only someone prepared to a) work until the end of the season; and b) adopt a title that was neither manager nor head coach, was permitted to step into the role.

And that was Iain Dowie.

Adam Pearson had been a long-time admirer of the former Northern Ireland striker with the unorthodox bone structure, and in Dowie’s defence he had been a successful and convincing gaffer at both Oldham Athletic and Crystal Palace. He was a graduate, a man of intellect and also someone whose appreciation of his opportunities had been borne out of a late start to his professional career. But when he was unveiled at the Circle with the title Temporary Football Management Consultant, his credibility went out of the window. He may as well have been called ‘Last Resort’ or ‘Sitting Duck’.

The word ‘temporary’ was just evil. ‘Acting’ might have been better. ‘At Large’ would have been very good. Dowie didn’t have any kind of personal mandate as a consequence of his appointment, but he did have a professional one, to keep City up. He, of course, didn’t.

His first game was at Portsmouth, and instantly the motif of Typical City hit him square between the nostrils, as the recalled Caleb Folan (a player he had once tried to sign) scored a brace to twice give City the lead, only for two disastrous pieces of defending in the 88th and 89th minutes allowing the home side a 3-2 win.

Dowie only won once, and that was at home to a mid-table Fulham side who had ditched the Premier League in favour of a run to the Europa League final. The one tick next to his name was his keenness to blood some further City youngsters, but although Will Atkinson and Mark Cullen scored a goal each at Wigan in the penultimate game of the season (which confirmed our relegation and Dowie’s departure), it was evident that neither were up to it in the way Tom Cairney and Liam Cooper seemed to be, hence why Brown hadn’t picked them himself. Dowie quietly walked away in May, job not done, and City had to begin again, in oh so many ways.

2: Terry Dolan
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Here’s a little poll for you, City fans of 25 years and more vintage: whose relegation was 1990/91? Was it Stan Ternent’s? Or was it Terry Dolan’s?

Ternent, the man who ruined his initial reputation as a supreme troubleshooter after his rescue act of 1989/90, overspent on some truly awful ageing footballers afterwards and got a deserved bullet following a New Years Day shellacking at Portsmouth. That was a correct call, undoubtedly. City were appalling and rock bottom. But the board then dithered like a teenage boy buying condoms when trying to sort out a replacement, as if they had dumped Ternent on a whim (despite his dismissal being entirely deserved) without realising it was then their job to get someone else in to take over.

Dolan, in charge of Rochdale, was mentioned quite quickly, and his reputation was good after coming within a whisker of getting an overplaying Bradford side promotion in 1988, something City fans witnessed through gritted teeth as their own team fell markedly down the table. But whoever it was going to be didn’t get his feet under the table prior to the FA Cup third round defeat to Notts County on January 5th, and caretaker boss Tom Wilson ended up taking charge for two further games, both of which ended in defeat.

The City board finally gave the job to Dolan on the last day of January, 30 days after Ternent’s exit and approximately 29 after his name was first mooted, and instantly City responded with a 2-0 win over Bristol Rovers, courtesy of Peter Swan and Neil Buckley. Dolan only made one change from the last team Wilson picked but the effect was clear.

City were relegated via a five-point shortfall, despite having a strike partnership in Swan and Andy Payton that put away 27 goals. Nobody is saying Dolan would have had the same effect had he walked through the door three days after Ternent instead of 30, but he won five games in charge when seven would have proved enough, so the board take some mild blame for the demotion just through their own indecision, which proved final.

To answer our own question then, the relegation was principally the fault of Ternent, unquestionably, but the board that fired and then hired need to accept some of the flak. As for Dolan, his many days of vilification would come.

3: John Kaye
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When the great Bill Nicholson, wiping away furious, bitter tears after seeing Tottenham fans rioting at the end of their 1974 UEFA Cup final defeat to Feyenoord, decided that football wasn’t for him any more, Spurs needed a new manager. This wasn’t something anyone at the boardroom table within White Hart Lane had needed to ponder for 16 years. Nicholson had been at the helm of everything that had made Tottenham revered, feared and respected, kicking it off in 1961 with the 20th century’s first League and FA Cup double. In total, a league title, three FA Cups, two League Cups and two European trophies was quite a haul during an extremely competitive era.

Seeing the evidence that young managers can build destinies as well as clubs – Nicholson was only 39 when he got the job – Spurs decided to try the trick again. There were problems with their choice though – he had not achieved anything tangible in his current job and he was previously an Arsenal man, albeit one who quit at 29 because he couldn’t get in the team any more. Round these parts, a further problem was pointed out that Hull City were about to lose a manager who, if not entirely enveloped by achievements, had at least done something acquainted with a passable job within a long term plan. That was, of course, not an issue once the compensation chequebook came out, and Harold Needler let Terry Neill join Spurs from City, and presumably took back the E-Type Jaguar, in September 1974.

The immediate future for both clubs was to prove very ordinary. Neill nearly got Spurs relegated in 1975 and then wangled – and, given his record at the Lane, heaven knows how – a trip across North London and back to Highbury in 1976, again replacing a retiring winner of the Double in Bertie Mee. His first team coach at City, the tough-talking Goole-born John Kaye, became City’s gaffer. He began with a trip to Nottingham Forest, themselves still four months away from a significant managerial alteration of their own, and who, like City, had only won one of their opening six matches of the season.

We’ll put it down to the trauma of seeing their boyish manager leave, but City’s players utterly froze on the day. Only two of the dozen on duty – Ken Wagstaff and Malcolm Lord – had played for the first team prior to Neill’s appointment, so the rest had placed their careers thus far in the hands of a manager who had believed in them, and now he was very suddenly gone. Scottish striker Alan Martin scored twice for Forest, with further goals from future City midfielder George Lyall and European Cup winner in waiting Martin O’Neill.

Kaye did take a while to get going, and a return to the same city later in the season resulted in a 5-0 cuffing by Notts County, but the Tigers recovered well to finish eighth that season (eight places higher than Forest, who appointed Brian Clough in the January), and Kaye stayed in the job until 1977, unable to get higher in the Second Division than Neill’s 1970/71 peak of 5th. The players who had invested their professional feelings in Neill may have ruefully noted later on that perhaps he didn’t think much of them after all, as he didn’t come back to Hull to sign a single one of them.

4: Nick Barmby
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It took approximately nine thousand years for Nigel Pearson to finally leave Hull City after initially admitting that he wanted to go back to his old job at Leicester, and when it finally happened the Allams – a popular, charitable family whose intentions for Hull City were entirely selfless and philanthropic in 2011, children – installed Nick Barmby as his replacement.

Though Barmby had no experience, this was probably the most popular managerial appointment in Hull City’s history. He was local, worshipped, symbolic of the club, a phenomenal player and had the absolute respect of the squad. He also was winding down his own career – indeed, the moment he got the job he stopped playing entirely – and had been doing some coaching under Pearson prior to his elevation.

Pearson still gets some stick now from City fans because of the way he left the club and also the perception that his tactical preferences were rather safe and limited. Neither were fair – he saw through the Allams before anyone else, and we did play some fine football on his watch at times – but it nonetheless cannot be said that Barmby’s first game in charge replicated anything Pearson would have encouraged or plotted, as City went to Derby and ripped them to pieces.

The first half was a stupendous, mesmeric exhibition of flowing pass and move football, with each player on duty making themselves permanently available to receive the ball. It was utterly unbecoming of a City side to play like this, which made it all the more fantastic. Matt Fryatt and Cameron Stewart scored in the first 25 minutes and the game was won. Derby were spared further torture in the second half as City played the percentage game to guarantee the points, and the Tiger Nation wandered away afterwards thinking, with inevitable excess of ambition, that promotion was a cert.

The bubbles were popped quickly the following week when Burnley scored three times in the final 12 minutes at the Circle to win 3-2 and in truth, only at Cardiff later that season did City play as freely and dominantly under Barmby again. That was the one highlight of a crazy nine-match March for City, which ended in exhaustion, five straight losses and zero hope of the play-offs. On the final day, after a gallant 2-1 defeat at West Ham, Barmby calmly told the local press that he’d like a bit of cash to spend on players in the summer, and all hell broke loose.

5: Brian Little
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After, and indeed despite, three straight wins, the ultimate managerial hero is sacked by an ownership everyone despises, then you come in for the last day of the season and oversee a 3-0 home defeat to ten-man Hartlepool United which is over by half time. Welcome to Hull, Brian.

Brian Little, one of the nicest men in football, must have wondered what he had let himself in for. He’d won a League Cup as Villa manager just four seasons before, after all. Did he need all this? Fortunately, he then had a summer to think about it, decide it really was worthwhile and show a remarkable combination of tactical acumen, professional gallantry and mental strength over the next 12 months to earn City a play-off place rendered all the more improbable with the vitriol and posturing off the field that had left the club unable to access their own training facilities and put players into financial difficulty when wages went unpaid.

The play-offs didn’t work out for Little and City, but boy had he done enough to allow fans pining for Warren Joyce to accept that life had now moved on, and would continue to do so. The arrival of Adam Pearson as owner and saviour allowed everyone to concentrate on on-pitch matters afterwards, to everyone’s relief and delight, and although Little didn’t quite do enough to warrant another full season, he left Boothferry Park with everyone’s gratitude and warm wishes. A home defeat to Hartlepool was now more than forgivable.

We didn’t include Stan Ternent’s mid-season debut as manager, despite it being probably the most impressive, because we’ve featured it on a previous edition of Famous Five.

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FAMOUS FIVE: Goalscoring teenagers

Josh Tymon’s goal at the weekend at the age of 17 got us thinking about the teenage scorers of City’s past. There have been quite a lot, thanks to City having a propensity to blood very young players because they were either very talented or they were all that was left. Unlike Tymon, these are all attackers, and they all have a story…

1: Mark Cullen

CullenGoalFlame-haired, buzzcutted striking product from the north east who was given his chance as a last resort towards the end of the wretched and occasionally hateful Premier League ejector seat season of 2009/10. He scored one goal, two weeks after his 18th birthday, when he nodded in a George Boateng cross from close range at Wigan to put City 2-1 up, with fellow youth product Will Atkinson earlier getting City’s first goal.

It was the final away game, and a final chance for City to win one of them, but the inevitable late equaliser meant relegation was confirmed and City’s whole campaign had been free of success on their travels, an extra undesirable mini-stat to accompany what was a rotten, horrid campaign of egos, in-fighting, profligacy and general hopelessness.

Even with a goal that made him the top flight’s youngest scorer in 2009/10, Cullen didn’t benefit from the subsequent step down, with Nigel Pearson not seeing enough in him to take more than a shrugging interest. He did score at Brentford in the League Cup but then the numerous loan spells got underway, prior to a permanent move to Luton Town in 2013. There he was a success, winning a Conference title medal, and he now plays for Blackpool.

2: Craig Dudley
Loanee centre forward who didn’t hang around Boothferry Park very long, but his impact on arrival was instant. On arrival from Notts County in November 1998, weeks after he turned 19, he scored in both of his first two games for City. The first was inconsequential thanks to Scunthorpe winning 3-2, but a week later he headed the only goal in the last minute of a very even game against later-to-be fellow strugglers Carlisle United at Boothferry Park.

Dudley was as one of Warren Joyce’s first bits of business after replacing the sacked Mark Hateley. With the new consortium controlling the boardroom led by the avuncular Tom Belton, and a hated manager gone, it seemed things were starting slowly to go right for City, and Dudley – like fellow loanee striker Mark Bonner two months later – made small but telling contributions to what eventually became the Great Escape. And, naturally, things would only improve afterwards, wouldn’t they? Well, wouldn’t they?

Dudley extended his loan to the end of December and featured in seven games in total, without scoring again. After returning to Notts County, he eventually joined Oldham Athletic before injury forced him to quit the full-time game.

3: Charlie Crickmore

Sharp, fleet-of-foot winger from the ranks who debuted at 17 in 1959 and looked to have a role as City’s face of the 60s written for him, especially as relegation for City at the end of the 1959/60 season seemed to lead to a deep clean of the club.

Crickmore was only small but had good close control and could really shift, and his two spells in the side during that first season at senior level earned him much praise. His long-awaited goal came at the end of the campaign in a 2-0 win over Ipswich during a seven-match spell when a) Crickmore didn’t miss a minute; and b) City didn’t actually lose. For a side to be relegated after ending the season with a seven-match unbeaten spell is a remarkable feat in itself (and showcases how lousy City were earlier in the campaign) and Crickmore, with the experienced Brian Bulless behind him, took all the plaudits.

But then it went wrong. He was injured on the opening day of the next season (a 4-0 hammering at Colchester, during which one Christopher Chilton made his debut) and after an abortive return in December, didn’t get back his fitness, and his place, until February. He stayed in the side, however, scoring four goals as City finished 11th in the newfangled national Division Three.

Cliff Britton took over as manager and picked Crickmore for every game of 1961/62 right up to the point he unexpectedly dropped him just after Christmas. He never played for City again and was sold in the summer to Bournemouth, who were a divisional rival and had just missed out on promotion. Crickmore had eight goals in 23 appearances that season and the sale came as a surprise and a disappointment, as he clearly had a big future.

With Bulless and Doug Clarke ageing, there was much pressure on Britton to revive the wings of the team after Crickmore’s sale, especially as the teenager had been allowed to join a better-placed club. While the eventual conversion of inside forward Ray Henderson and crucial signing of Ian Butler did just that to devastating effect, there are numerous supporters of the era who wonder how good Crickmore could have been in a team that eventually would have Chilton and the Kens Wagstaff and Houghton up front.

Crickmore never played for City as anything other than a teenager – his final game for the Tigers was on Boxing Day 1961, six weeks before he turned 20. He scored 13 goals in 53 league games, by any stretch a tremendous start to his footballing life, especially for someone who wasn’t a centre forward. Injuries played a part in stunting his progress with five more clubs in the league, with his only honour being a Fourth Division title medal with Notts County. He later moved back to Hull and became a fireman. He also refereed county level games well into his 60s.

4: Andy Flounders

FloundersGoalAnother boy from the ranks, born into the city and the club, and whose dogged presence throughout the 1980s was greatly to his credit given the number of prolific and popular goalscorers with which he had to compete. Not a fully-developed teenager, Flounders looked scrawny and underfed when he debuted just before his 17th birthday in October 1980 during a horrific relegation season, but once in Division Four he came more into his own.

Flounders needed the sale of Keith Edwards and an injury to Billy Whitehurst before his first game of that season in January 1982, a month past his 18th birthday, but when it came he scored the only goal in a 1-0 win over Torquay United at Boothferry Park. In and out for the rest of the season as Whitehurst and Les Mutrie formed a decent partnership, Flounders still managed four more goals before the end of the campaign.

Looking through his City career, it’s hard to see a period when Flounders was truly the first choice striker, but he was nevertheless always there, always learning (and had plenty of good centre forwards to learn from). He struck 13 times in City’s promotion season of 1982/83, more than both Mutrie and Whitehurst, who were still picked an awful lot more. He put away another nine in 1983/84 – during which time he turned 20 – as City failed to win promotion for a second straight season by a single goal.

His best run of games was in the 1984/85 promotion season under Brian Horton when he settled into a proper partnership with Whitehurst, and his return of 14 goals was his best seasonal haul. He partnered new signing Frankie Bunn as City finished sixth in Divison Two in 1985/86. After the team started the following season slowly, with Whitehurst gone and Bunn off form, Horton bought Alex Dyer in February 1987 and recouped some of the money by selling Flounders, still not yet 24, to Scunthorpe United. He had 54 league goals for the club next to his name by the time he left, an impressive total given the difficulties of the club during his early years and the abundance of striking talent he had to topple.

Flounders remained prolific – his best seasonal total for Scunthorpe was 27, twice – and he ended his career in the mid 1990s at North Ferriby United.

5: Gavin Gordon

The youngest of the lot. Manchester-born, musclebound centre forward who was just four months into his YTS when Terry Dolan gave him his bow in the League Cup against Coventry in September 1995, coming on as sub in both legs as City lost 3-0 on aggregate.

His league debut came the following January, by which time it already seemed inevitable City would be heading back down to the fourth tier, and the goal that put him into the record books came in a 3-2 home defeat by Bristol City in April 1996. He was 16 years and 282 days of age.

He got another from the bench in a home defeat by Crewe before Dolan put him in the starting XI for the final three matches of a catastrophic season, and he confidently put away the opening goal in the notorious, toxic 3-2 defeat by Bradford City at Boothferry Park on the final day. It still looks really weird watching a Hull City player score in front of Bunkers Hill and seeing nobody behind the goal celebrate it.

Injuries and his youthfulness meant that Dolan, inexplicably still in a job, used him sparingly the next season but he got five goals in all competitions, then his time was up when Mark Hateley arrived. He scored two goals in five sub appearances under the new manager, five more than the useless Hateley himself managed during that period, but Matt Hocking’s arrival needed funding so, at still only 18, Gordon was flogged to Lincoln. There he did so well he ended up at Cardiff in a £550,000 deal while still just 20 years old.

It never worked for him in Wales due to injuries and competition for places, and he ended his senior career at Notts County. Until recently he was still playing and coaching at non-league Sleaford Town.