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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.

DeanoHat

Available soon: The ‘Deano’ bobble, by Football Bobbles.

DeanoHat

Our friends at Football Bobbles, purveyors of fine headwear based on (amongst other things) football kits of historic note, have made the logical step of basing a bobble hat on a shirt that is simultaneously the greatest and the worst ever conceived.

Named in honour of (who else?) Dean Windass, ‘The Deano’ riffs on City’s 1992/93 home shirt and is made in England from 100% polyester.

There are just 50 available, and they go on sale at 7pm tonight, the fastest fingers will be rewarded. Get yours at Football Bobbles.

 

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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.

featCup

NOSTALGIA: City v Liverpool, FA Cup R5, 1989 – from those who were there

Liv1

The 1980s were drawing to an end and Hull City had been through an eventful decade. It had begun with a first ever relegation to the bottom tier, followed by a summoning of the receivers as notice of the club’s closure was given in early 1982.

Don Robinson became the saviour, and not only gave the club a future, but also an identity and a charisma that had been lacking at any level since the early 70s. He appointed Colin Appleton, who won instant promotion back to the Third Division, then along came Brian Horton, who in 1985 got the Tigers back into the Second Division and then reached the dizzy heights of sixth in 1986. By 1988, Eddie Gray was the manager and City were again hoping to challenge for a top tier spot, which was still the big ambition.

Within all this, there had been a surprising lack of truly big occasions at Boothferry Park. Attendances weren’t great, personalities were short on supply and even in the more interesting seasons, we didn’t get any promotion six-pointers or winner-takes-all relegation encounters, and most Yorkshire derbies came with little more than regional pride at stake. The cups were unkind, with City either playing poorly, coming out as the away side or just not getting paired with the big names. That is, until Gray’s side began an FA Cup run in 1988/89 with wins at Cardiff and Bradford…

“The Bradford City fourth round tie had been my first ever away game. I went on Tiger Travel and had never seen men drink or need to piss so much. We were in such terrific form, with Garreth Roberts, Keith Edwards and Billy Whitehurst enjoying Indian summers, and Billy Askew simply head and shoulders above everyone else pretty much every time he stepped on the pitch. The excitement of the Bradford game was still seeping into Monday morning, when I’d be meeting the schoolmates that I’d gone to Valley Parade with, and I’d pretty much forgotten that the draw was on. I was upstairs getting ready for school when my mum screamed up the stairs ‘It’s Liverpool. They’ve got Liverpool!'” Richard Gardham, West Stand

“Back then, the FA Cup draw was made on the BBC’s Breakfast Time and I have it in my head that it was John Stapleton who took the viewer across to Lancaster Gate for the fifth round draw. Graham Kelly was the happy-go-lucky chap from the FA who always hosted the draw as if it were a wake, with the only acknowledgement for television being his vague awareness that a camera was somewhere in the room. Two FA committee members whose names were always mumbled to the viewer would empty the balls and do the draw and I’m convinced I didn’t watch it because it ran late and I had to rush to another part of the house to brush my hair or find my coat or something equally as mundane. My mum, who hated football but knew how important this was, shouted the draw up at me and I whooped and hollered like a falsetto schoolboy (which is what I was at the time). During the day, and the next couple of weeks, the South Holderness pupils who were plastic Liverpool fans gave me and my mate Chris, with whom I often attended games, masses of stick over what “their” team would do to City, but it washed over us. We had Liverpool. We just didn’t get days like this and it simply couldn’t come soon enough.” Matthew Rudd, the Well.

“I think they were the top team in Europe at the time. To be honest the first thing came into my mind was I’m colourblind, red-brown-green colourblind. Liverpool play in all red and I’m going to be playing against them! The grass is red to me and when I play against teams in all red, it blends in.” Garreth Roberts, Hull City club captain.

“The thing that is hard to convey to anyone under the age of, say, 30 was the sheer size of the excitement associated with the game. The FA Cup still mattered a lot in those days, and this was City’s first game of real national note in it for a generation – even the run to the fifth round two years previously, fun though it was, didn’t feature any really big (‘plum’, one must doubtless say) ties, nor any at home. Moreover, even though we’d had a few lively fixtures at home in the resurgence of two promotions in the early/mid 80s (Port Vale, then later Leeds, for example), the ground had still been nowhere near full, which it would be for the Liverpool game.” Stephen Weatherill, South Stand.

“First memory was the draw, which I’m pretty sure was on breakfast TV on the Monday morning after the fourth round. I remember dancing round the living room of my bungalow in Gilberdyke before going off to work in the legal department of British Coal in Doncaster.” Ian Thomson, Hull City fan and (at the time) club employee.

“Hard for my own kids to imagine now, but this was THE big game, in fact the biggest game my generation had. For my two, trips to Wembley, seeing multi-million pound players, being in the top flight (‘the best league in the world’) and so on is the norm. For us, it was beyond our wildest dreams. So when we drew Liverpool in the fifth round of the FA Cup, it was a must-see game.” Sue Leighton, South Stand.

“Ask any player, he wants to play against the likes of Liverpool, Manchester United – they’re the games you want to be involved in, playing against the best players. What a team they had – Barnes, Beardsley, McMahon, Aldridge.” Billy Askew, Hull City midfielder.

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“An awful lot of people from the East Riding with zero interest in Hull City suddenly wanted to attend a game. Don Robinson did precisely the right thing by making sure the glory hunters worked hard for their place in the crowd, introducing a voucher scheme for the preceding home game against Shrewsbury Town. If you didn’t have your voucher from the Shrewsbury match, acquired after you’d paid your cash at the turnstiles, you didn’t get a Liverpool ticket. Season pass holders like me – I had a junior pass for the Well – were always guaranteed a ticket in advance, but everyone else had to buy their voucher and then pay. Some of the plastic Scousers at school didn’t like this, which just made me laugh at them.” MR

“If you attended the Shrewsbury game you were entitled to a Liverpool ticket, and on this occasion City blasted the game 3-0. As I watched from the South Stand seats, proud that my team had got 11,000 for a meaningless game, I sat in dismay as at least 3,000 poured out of the ground with 20 minutes remaining to start queuing for the Liverpool tickets.” Brian Lee, East Stand.

“Living down south at the time did nothing to diminish my love for the Tigers. Amidst all the Arsenal and Spurs rivalry where I worked, I did my best to educate the youth in supporting your local team, no matter how shit they are. Barnet should have given me some commission. Somewhere in a staff room in deepest Hertfordshire there will still be a faded 1988 Hull City mug which I decided to leave as a lasting reminder of my time there. Getting a ticket then? Easy – none of this no ticket office, do it online nonsense. I’d been going for years, surely I could get a ticket then. Er no, some things never change – we’d have to do it the hard way and get vouchers at other matches to prove our worth and show we weren’t just turning up to watch the big boys. In the depths of my memory I vaguely remember the now customary outrage as there weren’t enough tickets for everyone, why couldn’t the club do it differently? Oh, and of course, a request from a friend of a friend who was a Liverpool fan to get him a ticket. Yeah, right. Like I said, nothing changes. But I was one of the lucky ones.” SL

“Due to being near neighbours of the Buckley family on North Hull Estate, my brother and I were not only sorted with matchday tickets for the biggest Hull City game of our lifetimes, but also access to the players’ bar afterwards. I don’t know which I was most excited about. That Liverpool team was simply astonishing. When they’d beaten second-placed Nottingham Forest 5-0 the season earlier – in a game that still saw Forest keeper Steve Sutton get the man of the match award, such had been Liverpool’s dominance – Tom Finney declared that they were the greatest club side of all time. Few would argue with him.” RG

“Mumbled to myself all the way home after the Shrewsbury game, then after preparing myself for a big night out in LAs, off I trudged into town. After celebrating our 3-0 victory with fellow City fans, who were also season ticket holders and therefore didn’t have to queue for their Liverpool tickets, I entered LAs. Later that evening I popped up to the ‘cool’ area of the club, and for those of you who knew it, it was Peppermint Park, where [ex-City keeper, retired through injury, subsequent FITC officer] John ‘Gunner’ Davies was standing at the bar. As on most Saturday nights in those days you either bumped into staff or players from the club on a night out in LAs. So, as usual I got into deep conversation with John about City. From what I can remember that night (which isn’t a lot), his parting words were ‘everybody who queued got a ticket, but the ticket office didn’t close until 9.30pm’. As John and I headed our separate ways that night, I was sadistically pleased that those people who were not loyal fans had to queue for so long.” BL

“On the morning of the game I saw Neil Buckley briefly as I’d be attending the game with his family. He seemed completely nonplussed about facing Beardsley, Barnes, Rush, Aldridge, etc. When you think of the inexperience in that defence – three quarters of them, Neil, Wayne Jacobs and Nicky Brown, only had a few dozen first team games between them and were all in their teens/early-20s – it was a terrifying prospect.” RG

“All the frustrations of having poor seasons and nothing to scream and shout about, and all of a sudden we had this huge game against the best team in the world at the time and that’s why everybody reacted to it.” Keith Edwards, Hull City centre forward.

LivProg

“On the day itself it was possible to re-imagine the huge sense of occasion that accompanied our bigger games back in the late 60s and early 70s, when I first started going – the Liverpool game was very much the last great Boothferry Park occasion. I don’t remember ever being more full of anticipation about a City game; Stoke in 71 would be on a par.” SW

“I can remember the chairman getting carried away. I walked into the ground on the morning of the game and there was a big banner up on the far side of the ground that said ‘Go Get Them Rambo!’. I asked them what it was all about and they told me it was the chairman that wanted it up. I had to tell them to take it down, you don’t do things like that with Liverpool in town.” Eddie Gray, Hull City manager.

“I remember my ticket being in the East Stand with my cousin, but unfortunately as the game approached he broke his leg playing Sunday league football. Being gutted for our Keith that he couldn’t go in the East Stand, panic set in as there were no disabled facilities available. As it ended up, he had the best seat in the house! If you watch the footage of the game, at half time as the teams are walking off the pitch you can see our Keith sitting next to Eddie Gray and his coaching staff on a bench next to the dugout. Wow. Nowadays that would be equivalent to being the third sub!” BL

“Before travelling to the game, I watched Football Focus and Saint & Greavsie, one after the other. [BBC Look North anchorman and sports reporter] Harry Gration did a Humber-centric report for Football Focus which began with “The Humber Bridge, one of the sights of Europe” which linked City’s game with Grimsby’s tie across the water against Wimbledon, the FA Cup holders. There was footage of an autograph session at, I think, Debenhams in Hull, featuring Garreth Roberts, Keith Edwards and Billy Whitehurst, with the two strikers taking their interview opportunities to praise the other. They also interviewed Emlyn Hughes, who in his usual gregarious way claimed he was supporting City because of his status as a director of the club, despite his long association with Liverpool. Then on the other side, Saint & Greavsie featured a long interview with Keith, showing goals from his Sheffield United days and a famous FA Cup semi-final goal he scored for Leeds just two seasons ago, as well as stuff about his love for greyhound racing and a few words of praise from Eddie Gray. They also showed City beating Brentford in the fifth round back in 1971, the last time we’d won such a tie. Jimmy Greaves waxed lyrical about our legendary forward line of that era afterwards, and my dad said something to the effect of ‘coming from him, that’s very high praise’. By the time I turned the telly off and left the house, I couldn’t have been buzzing more.” MR

“I will never forget Eddie Gray going on TV beforehand and saying with such conviction and style that he had never worked with the lad before but goalscoring is an art, and he has got it off to a fine art. I had watched that and thought ‘bring on Liverpool’.” KE

“From 1983 to 1993 I served the drinks and looked after guests in the Boothferry Park boardroom and so was on duty as usual for the Liverpool game. I didn’t want to go into the boardroom looking like a scruffy get, so went to get my hair cut somewhere on Beverley Road, by a young lady hairdresser who had no idea that City were playing Liverpool that day. There was always a lot of hustle and bustle behind the scenes from about 10am on matchdays, but there was much more of an air of anticipation and excitement that particular day. Eventually directors and their guests started to arrive. Even the Liverpool directors – let alone their players – seemed larger than life, a more imposing and forbidding presence than your average Division Two director, rather like a bunch of Victorian mill owners. The one exception was their patrician chairman, John Smith, a very engaging personality. Well known for his hands-on approach, it was said that he knew all the Anfield staff by name. One of his rituals was to go down to the dressing room before games to speak to the team, and at about 2.20pm he asked me to show him down to the away dressing room. On the way he asked me if I knew the score the last time City and Liverpool met and who scored a hat-trick for Liverpool that day, the only one he ever achieved. He seemed genuinely impressed that I could answer both questions correctly.” IT

“It was the first time in my career that such attention had been on a game I was going to be involved in. As a youngster, the amount of press was incredible. All eyes were on us.” Wayne Jacobs, Hull City left back.

“I was working for BP Chemicals in Hull at the time and went home to Liverpool to get a ticket but it sold out. So I got a Hull City members card and was able to get a ticket in the Hull end. When they took my photo for the members card at Boothferry Park, I had a Liverpool scarf on. They didn’t say anything!” Dom Shields, Liverpool fan, East Stand.

“Before the game, strolling along the walkway behind the Best Stand, I was in a trance. It was if my whole Hull City-supporting life had been leading up to this game. I trod on someone’s toe as I hadn’t been looking where I was going. I quickly apologised and Ian Rush, evidently not playing, looked down at me and said ‘don’t worry mate’.” RG

“It would be hard to get over to younger folk the stature of Liverpool. They were utterly dominant, but also widely liked and admired for playing proper football, over a long period, right back to Shankly. Sure, they were hard enough and couldn’t be bullied, but unlike, say, Leeds under Revie, the football came first, the thuggery mere self-preservation. And it was a club rooted in the city it came from, and respected as such – unlike Manchester United, always tainted by glory hunters and tourists (and sadly unlike Liverpool today). Their fans were better observed from afar than close up, but there was never any doubt that they were the real thing.” SW

“South Stand was packed out, my usual place taken but I managed to get a barrier to lean on just to the right of the goal. To be honest, as with many of our big games, it all became a bit of a blur. Maybe it’s down to the adrenaline, the excitement, the trying desperately to remember it in case this is the only big club you ever get to see, whatever it is, it always bloody happens to me.” SL

“The Well was absolutely stuffed with people, when usually you had lots of walking room. As a 15 year old of below average height, I found my way to the front corner, on the cusp of the wire players tunnel, and rested my chin on the famous white diamond railings while watching the teams warm up. A BBC camera for the following Monday’s Look North was filming the supporters, and a mulleted fellow in a wheelchair who always watched the game from the gravel in front of the Well was filmed shouting ‘Hull City!’ very loudly, with a manic grin on his face. I’m right behind him, blocked entirely from my first ever TV appearance, for which I was disappointed at the time but relieved now. When the players came out of the tunnel for the start of the game, I clenched my fist and muttered “C’mon Billy” to Billy Askew, a wonderful player, and he winked at me. He, and the rest of them, were seriously keyed up for this.” MR

“The boardroom was somewhat fuller than usual that day and the same went for the box, meaning that I had to forego my usual seat and unusually watched the game from the mouth of the players’ tunnel. The north side of the Well was usually kept empty but fans were allowed in that day and I remember thinking how strange it looked. It was genuinely marvellous to see the ground looking so full, the first 20,000 plus crowd – for a City game (several rugby crowds were in excess of that figure) – since a 13,000-strong Sunderland following swelled the gate to 21,000 on Easter Saturday 1974, and indeed the last one ever at Boothferry Park.” IT

“Everywhere was full except the crumbling South East corner terrace, which hadn’t housed any supporters since 1976, so we had the capacity 20,058 on the day but there was likely to be more than that, in truth. Rarely was the North East corner of the old place opened to away fans, but it was that day, and Liverpool brought plenty. The Well’s opposite half was open which I had never seen before and the three main home stands were jammed, with just a small gap of netting separating the [East Stand] Kempton from the Liverpool fans. You could almost touch the excitement – a city had finally come out to see its football team, even if a sizeable number of them were hoping for a day out watching the league champions put on a masterclass.” MR

“I was just proper excited, it was my first away game. Long journey on the train, then escorted on to buses at the train station. The away end wasn’t massive and not under cover either and the toilets were at the opposite end of the stand to where me and my dad were standing. We’d travel from Rhyl to home games but this was just better.” Scott Williams, Liverpool fan, North Stand.

“I had fifty quid on us to win, at 6/1.” BA

“I put a run together in scoring in eight consecutive matches which was a record at the time, I’d done it once with Sheffield United and I did it with Hull City, and of course the eighth game just happened to be Liverpool. So I’m sitting there thinking that I want to equal my record at least, and try and beat it, but it would have to be against Liverpool.” KE

“When the game kicked off, it was horrible for the first 15 minutes or so. We just couldn’t touch them. When John Barnes put Liverpool one up, one of my group leaned over to me and said ‘we are going to get absolutely destroyed here’. It was hard to disagree. The gulf in class looked unbridgeable. But then on about 20 minutes we kicked into life. As I recollect, it was the Billy Whitehurst/Jan Mølby duel that would start it. It seemed to stir something in the players (helped to an extent by Andy Payton clattering into Gary Gillespie to see him stretchered off). Keith Edwards and Billy Askew started with the flicks and tricks. Neil Buckley went close with a header at the far post. We were gaining a foothold.” RG

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“I was too young for broadsheet newspapers at the time, but in Hedon’s library the following week was a copy of the Guardian from Monday 20th February, with the match report stating that Gillespie’s shin had been ‘blackened’ by Payton. As a wannabe football journalist, I loved that description.” MR

“Gillespie getting injured stuck with me always because I remember saying to my old man that he’d forgot his shinpads.” Scott Williams

“Alex Watson came on and our defence was all over the place, in a way we weren’t used to. I remember Hull feeling it was ‘on’ after Gillespie went off, for maybe ten or 15 minutes.” Steven Scragg, Liverpool fan, North Stand.

“John Barnes scored with a header in front of [South Stand] Bunkers. It seemed to take an age to go in and it seemed to take an age for Iain Hesford to dive towards it. The Liverpool fans cheered the goal almost casually but the rest of us went numb. For a while I was terrified that we’d be hammered, and it’d be 4-0 at half time. Already I was thinking of the stick I’d get from those dolts at school whose interest in football was nil but still claimed to support Liverpool.” MR

“I went to the toilet in the middle of the first half and while walking back to my dad we scored. I tripped over my own laces and in the ensuing celebrations, got kicked in the head. I remember the biggest Scouser I’d ever seen in my life dragged me up by my collar and said ‘eh soft lad, get back to your dad’.” Scott Williams

“I scored a goal, more due to Bruce Grobbelaar being a bit frightened than anything else, because it was a one on one and he stopped when he saw me, and it hit my shin and went in.” Billy Whitehurst, Hull City centre forward.

“The equaliser, while not expected, didn’t seem against the run of play. It could easily have gone to 2-0 and we’d have been dead and buried, but I remember Billy Askew starting another attack, the ball being fed in the box, Gary Ablett – who I’d loved in his loan spell at City – slipping, and then everyone standing up so I couldn’t see a thing. It didn’t matter. Everyone started going crazy and I knew that Billy Whitehurst had scored. Hull City had scored against the great Liverpool side. It was surreal.” RG

“Billy held his arms aloft to the Liverpool fans behind the goal and they gave him the finger. He could have taken them all on, no problem. He’d just scored our equaliser and we couldn’t get our heads round it, so when the second went in a couple of minutes later, it was as if we were in another world.” MR

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“A minute or two before half-time I went back up the tunnel in order to be back in the board room straight after the half-time whistle. I therefore watched the final moments of the half – including the Edwards goal – from the top of the Directors’ Box steps. Completely surreal.” IT

“The rest of that half will live with me forever. We just had Liverpool on the ropes. They didn’t want to know. Billy Whitehurst was bullying them and Billy Askew was effortlessly outshining the likes of Ray Houghton and Steve McMahon in midfield. We had them. We just needed to score.” RG

“Then Keith got one.” BW

“I think it hit his [Jan Mølby’s] arm and I can remember standing there thinking ‘God, I hope they don’t give a penalty, I’d rather just rifle it in now’. I just clipped it in and found the corner and to beat Grobbelaar was quite exciting. I was a fairly senior professional, got used to it, and I was always nice and relaxed in front of goal, and for me it was a pass into the corner of the net and if the keeper saves it, well done. I was always a big believer that you shouldn’t miss the target, and that’s all I aimed for, just to get it on target.” KE

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“The chap in the wheelchair in front of me rolled on to the pitch with his arms raised, and even I climbed over the railings and jumped up and down on the touchline. A policeman told me to go back again. We were beating Liverpool, having been behind. It was utterly insane.” MR

“It was like running into a bizarre parallel universe, to a degree. Ken De Mange was running us ragged!” SS

“The goal was brutal and beautiful. Billy Askew brilliantly found Billy Whitehurst’s head. No red shirt wanted to know when the ball went towards Billy. Their defence was in a daze. And the ball fell to Keith. I’ve rarely celebrated goals until a) the ball’s hit the back of the net and b) I’ve had a very quick look at the linesman and ref to make sure it counts. Not on this occasion. As soon as I saw the ball landing on Keith’s foot I knew we were going ahead. We’ve not had a better finisher in my lifetime. I had a quick look over at the South Stand, where I’d normally be stood. It looked amazing. A packed sea of bodies just going crazy. Of all the things I saw that day, that vision will never leave me.” RG

“I shafted my knee in the mayhem as the second went in, thanks to a massive crowd surge in the Kempton. It blew up like a balloon afterwards. I remember moving from well over halfway up Kempton to somewhere near the front by the time the mayhem died down around half time. Twisted my knee, but couldn’t care less at the time. I still often feel that knee pain to this day.” Andy Medcalf, East Stand.

“The footage as the players went off at half time shows Billy Askew and Garreth Roberts, our two longest-serving players, congratulating each other and geeing up everyone else as they went off. They felt it just the same as we did, that a massive, massive shock was on.” MR

“I still remember my cousin Keith on his crutches applauding the teams off as we led Liverpool into the break.” BL

“We obviously think we’re in with a great chance of beating them.” BA

“Made up to be going to a ground I’d never been to, then a bit stunned at 2-1 down from 1-0 up.” SS

“I dashed back to the boardroom on the whistle and the first person to come in was [City director and future chairman] Martin Fish. We both agreed that we could barely believe what was happening.” IT

“I cannot quite recall a bliss of disbelief and euphoria to match that which I felt at half time.” SW

“The dressing room was buzzing at half time, we couldn’t believe we were 2-1 up and they’d outplayed us for 20 minutes. I always say to this day if we hadn’t had half time we’d have been okay and that impetus would have carried on.” GR

“We were a bit tense. We knew if we lost there’d be nothing left for us.” John Aldridge, Liverpool centre forward.

“It was such a fantastic atmosphere and the players responded. At half time I can always remember the team talk with Eddie Gray saying ‘we really have got a chance guys’. We went in 2-1 up and realised we’d got a great chance because Liverpool were a bit off but when you look at their individuals they just got the better of us in the end.” KE

“It was one of the best half times I’ve had, as a rabid Kempton taunted the silent Scousers at the other side of the dividing net thing.” AM

“There wasn’t too much grumbling at half time, like you’d get now. Everyone knew with the team we had that we’d get chances.” Scott Williams

“Yes, us, 2-1 up against Liverpool. The silence at half time was deafening. Disbelief, hope, the realisation that this was City so we knew the outcome but were just enjoying the feeling while it lasted. Half of us couldn’t wait for the second half, half of us wanted it to finish now.” SL

“We didn’t want that half to end. Another five minutes and we could easily have been 3-1 up. We just had them. They didn’t know how to deal with us. When the half-time whistle went, it was Cooper vs Clay in 1963 being replayed in Hull. We didn’t need half-time, but the best team in the country, maybe even Europe, did. Half-time itself felt surreal. Once the players had disappeared down the tunnel there was a sense of disbelief around the ground, among both home and away supporters. There was no time to bask in the glory though. We knew Liverpool would come back at us…” RG

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“We went in 2-1 at half time and then John Aldridge scored a couple. Then I missed an open net in the last minute, but we didn’t show ourselves up, we played particularly well against them.” BW

“It was good, coming back straight after the break. It knocked the stuffing out of Hull.” JA

“Liverpool’s goals seemed to happen in the blink of an eye, and showed why John Aldridge was one of the most underrated strikers of his generation. His two finishes were the type that looked simple, but only because he was so good. Had we held on until the 60th minute or so, who knows what might have happened. Alas, it wasn’t to be. Looking back now, when you watch the game over again, you see just how good Liverpool’s movement was, how each player had an incredible first touch and close control. It makes you appreciate how well we’d done to rattle them in the first half. I was proud of how we carried on battling but it just had a feeling of ‘glorious failure’ after that. The goalmouth scramble in which Billy Whitehurst nearly scored summed it up really. That Liverpool team were never going to surrender a lead twice within the same game.” RG

“Could we? This time? Would we be the giant killer? The stuff dreams are made of? Actually living the magic of the Cup? Well, of course not, but we gave it a damn good go.” SL

“When Barnes scored I jumped around, all eyes were on me, including the police. When Aldridge scored the police dragged me out and stuck me in the Liverpool end.” SS

“There were a couple of chances at the end, Keith and Andy Payton had one, but it wasn’t to be. To lose 3-2 to one of the best teams in Europe, it didn’t seem it was a bad result at the time.” GR

“I wasn’t upset really. Immediately, when you’re walking off a pitch you’re disappointed to be leading any game you then lose. Maybe I was a romantic, but I thought we could win every game and I went out to do that. But you look back and see what a good side played against us that day, full of stars. It was incredible we were winning 2-1 at half time.” WJ

“I never took pride in defeat, that’s one thing you should never do.” EG

“It was great to make a game of it. We didn’t let ourselves down I thought Eddie Gray was fantastic, in his team talks he encouraged everybody to play their normal game and he got a great response from us. It was so special to have that ground full, I’d been there so many times with a lot of poor situations at Hull but to have all the good times there at that moment in time was fabulous and I thought that if successful this is how it would be every week.” KE

“Looking back now, I appreciate that it gave me a glimpse of what the old stadium was like in the days of Raich [Carter, Hull City player-manager 1948-52] and Viggo [Jensen, Hull City player 1948-56], and then Waggy [Ken Wagstaff, Hull City player 1964-75] and Chillo [Chris Chilton, Hull City player 1960-71]. This game, I suppose, was its death rattle.” RG

“I remember after the game people said they had seen Eddie Gray in his car only 20 minutes after the final whistle mulling over the 3-2 defeat.” BL

“The players’ lounge after the game was surreal, like a 3D Panini album. The sight that lives with me to this day, however, is Billy Whitehurst stood next to the old TV they had in there where you’d get the local final scores on Look North’s Saturday bulletin (thank you Elliot Oppel). With him, hanging on to his every word, were former Oxford team-mates John Aldridge and Ray Houghton. However, it was the sheer quantity of beer and cigarettes that Billy was getting through was a particularly satisfying memory of that day.” RG

“After the game I do remember that Kenny Dalglish would not come into the boardroom, maintaining that his place was outside in the hospitality room talking to the press. Inside the boardroom, John Smith gave a brief but very dignified little speech, concluding by saying that he thought that City would grace the First Division.” IT

“Watching on Match of the Day afterwards was brilliant. You could hear the sound of tens of thousands of video ‘record’ buttons being hit across the city.” RG

“Match Of The Day started with our game and they’d sent the great Barry Davies as commentator. Early on in his commentary he described Boothferry Park as a ‘nice ground’ which I thought was decent of him. The highlights were fantastic and heartbreaking at the same time, and the great chance Andy Payton missed in the second half which we all thought was a wild slice by an inexperienced player actually turned into an amazing block tackle by David Burrows, something that wasn’t obvious from the Well. On the final whistle, Barry Davies called it “a good challenge by Hull City, but the right side gained the victory”, and he was correct. There were no routine after-match interviews then, and after the highlights finished we just got Des Lynam confirming Gary Gillespie had suffered a “badly bruised shin” before he moved on to the next game. And that was it.” MR

“As soon as I got home I shaved off the moustache (well, it was the 80s) that I had been growing since Christmas, having decided not to get rid of it until City were out of the Cup.” IT

“I’d been too young to remember the last time we’d been on Match of the Day, so knowing that the likes of Des Lynam even knew we existed was just brilliant. It was the last great game of the 80s – a decade that had been so good for Hull City – and the last great Hull City game for the likes of Richard Jobson, Garreth Roberts, Billy Askew, Billy Whitehurst and Keith Edwards. It didn’t feel like the end of an era at the time – there were a lot of good young players in that team and in that squad – but looking back now it went all downhill from there.” RG

“On the Monday morning, again on breakfast telly, Liverpool were drawn the piss easy home tie against outsiders Brentford in the sixth round – every other team in the last eight were from the top division. That could have been us at home to Brentford, it really could. I went to school to face the plastic Scousers still wondering what might have been. Then Look North on the Monday night did its follow-up report, and that was it.” MR

“The 1989 FA Cup will (rightly) forever be tainted by the events at Hillsborough in the semi-final, and the subsequent actions thereafter of the scum at South Yorkshire Police and at The Sun (among others). That we’d seen that team, those fans, at close quarters just a couple of months before such a tragic event gave it all and added poignancy for me. The minute’s silence at the home game against Oldham the Saturday after Hillsborough was probably the most emotional and heartfelt I’ve ever been a part of. Liverpool had given me my greatest day in football at that point in my life. Yet two months later you saw how, in the grand scheme of things, football didn’t really matter all that much.” RG

“We were in a friendly Hull pub before the match and I’ll never forget that the lads we met phoned us up after Hillsborough. Always had a soft spot for Hull after that.” Ged Wright, Liverpool fan, North Stand.

“The immediate reaction after the game was disappointment, and after that our season tailed off. You can look for excuses and say that was a reason but we weren’t good enough to climb the table.” EG

“We had a bad run after and Eddie got the boot for that, but it was far too early and he should have stayed. It was in pre-season when I got the news that he’d left, and I was immensely disappointed at that.” KE

“Eddie Gray really believed in the youngsters at the club and he’s always given youth a chance. His man-management was fantastic. I personally thought Eddie got a bad deal really, because our successful Cup run cost us in the league. History shows we barely won a game after and Eddie got the sack. If we hadn’t had that Cup run, the league form would have been a bit more successful.” WJ

“I was at home in pre-season and I’d heard Eddie had got the sack. I was devastated, but he was probably too nice to be a manager. You probably need a ruthless streak in you. I wanted to play for him. I thought Eddie was fantastic, but he was probably a bit too nice.” BA

“We didn’t get past the third round of the FA Cup for 20 years afterwards, and often didn’t even get that far, so the Liverpool game was put on a pedestal for a long, long time.” MR

“And kids? Never forget where we came from. Not that your Mum, Dad, Grandma or Grandad will ever let you…” SL

“Nowadays, for my kids it always ends in victory at home to Liverpool!” BL

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In context:

  • After this FA Cup tie, City won just once in the remaining three months of the season, and sank from the top half of Division Two to finish fourth from bottom. Eddie Gray was sacked at the end of the season.
  • Billy Whitehurst, Keith Edwards and Billy Askew all left the following season.
  • Garreth Roberts retired with a knee injury in 1991 after 12 years of first team football and received a testimonial.
  • Wayne Jacobs was released by the club controversially in 1993 after City claimed he would not recover from a knee injury but went on to play Premier League football for Bradford City.
  • Liverpool beat Brentford 4-0 in the quarter-final before the horrors at Hillsborough in the semi-final took the lives of 96 supporters. They eventually won the rescheduled game against Nottingham Forest and beat Everton in the final, but lost the league title on the final day to Arsenal.
  • John Aldridge scored twice in the rescheduled semi-final and once in the final, and left Liverpool in September 1989.

Sources: KCFM podcast archive; Hull Daily Mail; Daily Mirror.

Thanks to fans of both clubs for sharing their memories via email and social media.

Thanks also to Chris Hughes and Martin Batchelor for their help.

In memory of:
The 96
Iain Hesford
Gary Ablett
Emlyn Hughes

FEATfamous5s

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.

FEATfamous5s

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

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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

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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
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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

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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.