NOSTALGIA: Tiger Nation locked out, Myhill caught out

Ever since Leicester City moved to what they now call the King Power Stadium, fixtures against Hull City there have always been eventful. The action on the pitch has only sometimes provided the main story of the day; unsurprising, given that the two clubs have a pair of managers in common.

The Tigers’ first visit to Leicester’s soulless new stadium was in March 2006, the first season in 15 that City spent in the second tier of English football. The chap who had got us back there via back-to-back promotions was Peter Taylor, by now a heroic (if sometimes hard to really love) manager who, as part of a varied career in management, had endured a year in charge of Leicester at the old Filbert Street.

Taylor’s experience at Leicester showed starkly how much a gaffer’s stock could fall from a great height; in October 2000, his side were top of the Premier League and almost exactly a year later, he was fired after a woeful start to the season. His time in charge was epitomised by a nine-game losing run at the end of 2000/01 which had been triggered by a shock (and shocking) defeat to Third Division artisans Wycombe Wanderers in the quarter finals of the FA Cup courtesy of a goal by a bloke they bought off the internet. Leicester fans loathed him by the time of his exit for his allegedly negative football and his evidently dubious decisions in the transfer market.

Just over a year later, after a brief spell as caretaker manager of his country and a (promotion) season with Brighton & Hove Albion, Taylor arrived at Boothferry Park. With the club finally showing some business acumen and financial strength, as well as nearing a move to a sparkly new stadium, he was able to make canny marquee signings that finally dragged the Tigers out of the bottom division and then, beyond every expectation, did the same a year later. In August 2005, he was in charge of a side that was in the Second Division ahead of schedule and, assuming he could keep City heads above water, had secured his legacy with the club. Read more

NOSTALGIA: Stan Ternent back at City, eh?

It’s not the despair. I can take the despair. It’s the hope I can’t stand’.

So declared the John Cleese character in the 1986 film Clockwise. The film is notable for inclusion of some splendid scenes set on Paragon station, as well as others in Kirkella and Anlaby – the Cleese house itself is on West Ella Way. The quote is notable for capturing just why Stan Ternent is the Hull City manager that I hate the most.

I can take the despair. I was in despair under Terry Dolan’s incompetent stewardship. I hated the way the club was run, I hated the contempt shown to the (ever dwindling band of) fans, I hated the stench of evaded accountability for dismal failure, I hated the miserable poverty-stricken football on show, but I’m not sure I ever hated Dolan himself.

He must have been as bemused as the rest of us that Fish extended his contract. His limp demeanour as yet another Kidderminster, yet another Macclesfield, yet another Rochdale administered yet another pitiless horsing suggested he was as fed up as the rest of us by the reek of failure.

Sure, Dolan was getting paid to serve up this trash, so I wasn’t in soft sympathy with him. And judged statistically by the gap between the club’s League position when the job was taken up and League position when it was relinquished, Terry Dolan was the Worst Football Manager In History Ever. He sent me to the depths of despair. But I can take the despair.

Ternent I hated. In him I had hope. He brutalised that aspiration, he kicked it to pieces, he sneered at it, his little-man snarling, his petty grievances, his bitter bug-eyed attitude to life. O, I hated him. Read more

NOSTALGIA: Millwall win the title at the Ark

It was a white-hot atmosphere around the city of Hull as Boothferry Park was being prepared for the final home game of a tumultuous season, but on this occasion the Tigers were making up the numbers.

All the focus was on Millwall, visitors on the day who were going after the Division Two title. Victory would seal it. Anything else would leave the last day up in the air, as Aston Villa, Middlesbrough, Bradford City and Blackburn Rovers were all in hot pursuit and any two from these five could make it on the final day, but only if the Lions lost.

That was the scenario for May 2nd 1988, the Mayday Bank Holiday, as a sporting occasion. The scenario as a public event was very different. This was Millwall in the 1980s. And with Millwall in the 1980s came Millwall supporters of the 1980s. Read more

NOSTALGIA: Andy ‘Jock’ Davidson, 60 years on

On September 8th 1952, a Hull City side took to the field at Ewood Park, Blackburn for a Division Two game. Viggo Jensen played, although fellow luminaries Eddie Burbanks and Neil Franklin were absent through injury. Also absent was inside forward Terry Murray and so manager Bob Jackson, short on players and needing to put together a forward line, looked at his reserves for reinforcements.

He noticed a youthful Scotsman who had been knocking about with the first team since the age of 16, dragging kit bags around and brewing up while patiently waiting for his chance. Previous moments that would have suited this boy, cocky and stocky in equal measure, had been ruined by his injury record; a pair of broken legs in his teens did not a good start to a football career make. But now, two months after turning 20, he was fit and available.

“You’re playing centre forward on Saturday,” Jackson told the youngster.

And so, 60 years ago today, began the single most remarkable career of any Hull City player. Andy ‘Jock’ Davidson, a boy from South Lanarkshire who had ended up at Boothferry Park through some rather eccentric circumstances, would become – eventually – the player who represented Hull City more than anyone else. Read more

NOSTALGIA: Chillo & Waggy outjump the Trotters

The 1969/70 season was the last for Cliff Britton’s patriarchal presence in the Hull City manager’s chair and his talented side were dominated for so much of that period by the partnership of Chris Chilton and Ken Wagstaff up front. Their achievements are well-documented among City fans, of course, but as notable as anything is the number of times they both managed to score in the same game, as opposed to one having a better spell in front of goal than the other.

This is evident in this game, taken from our own TigerTube archives from ITV footage and featuring commentary from Gerry Harrison, as first the towering local boy Chilton and then his gobbier partner from Derbyshire put away tremendous headers; Chillo’s from a fine ball by long-serving midfield workhorse Chris Simpkin, then Waggy’s from a rare piece of creative footwork outside the box by Chilton himself.

Though the archive only shows these two goals, it was a closer and more eventful match than mooted, with Bolton also scoring twice before Chilton’s second, then a fourth of the season for mercurial winger Ian Butler (making him momentarily City’s top scorer for the season) clinched victory. It was a fourth win during the first five home matches of the season but wretched away form – including a 2-1 defeat in the return fixture at Burnden Park just before Christmas – scuppered any hopes of a promotion challenge and City ended the campaign in 13th, a fourth straight mid-table finish in the second tier following the Third Division title win of 1965/66.

Chillo and Waggy scored in the same game on eight more occasions during the season and equally shared 38 goals for the campaign. Britton, approaching 61, called time on his nine years in the manager’s office and Terry Neill arrived, all front and youthfulness, to usher in a more flamboyant new era for the Tigers. Bolton, for their part, were being managed by club legend Nat Lofthouse during this period but finished a lowly 16th in the table at the end of the season. A year later, they were rock bottom and relegated.

In recent times, the Tigers have had some memorable visits from Bolton Wanderers. Perhaps this one is less so purely because of its antiquity, but it never does any harm to remind oneself of our greatest goalscorers – as individuals and as a duo – especially as scoring goals is something of an issue for the current Hull City side.

NOSTALGIA: Tykes comeback panics Parkinson

It sounds crazy to suggest that a new manager lost his way in his fresh surroundings just two games into his job, but that is precisely what happened during Phil Parkinson’s ill-fated era in charge of the Tigers. And it was tomorrow night’s visitors to the KC Stadium, Barnsley, that hammered the last nail into a coffin that would take another four months to be interred.

Peter Taylor’s resignation after a first season back in football’s second tier had prompted Adam Pearson to look for a young, insightful manager to add a more progressive element to the Tigers after Taylor’s effective, successful but sometimes dour “safety first” philosophy. Though sides built by Taylor were capable of some barnstorming football, there was a restrictive, repetitive and predictable undertone to much of his tactical outlook, and supporters (of the spoilt variety, mainly) bemoaned him for such. Parkinson was seen very quickly by both Pearson and the fans as the ideal candidate once Taylor’s departure to Crystal Palace was confirmed. Read more

TIGERTUBE: City fend off Boro in seven-goal thriller

Not a headline we’re likely to be writing in the present day, one suspects, so as the Tigers prepare to face Middlesbrough on a run of one goal (and no points) in five matches, it seems almost like a public service to show that a cheery afternoon on hallowed turf in Hull against Boro is possible.

Forty seasons ago, life at Boothferry Park was pretty good. The youthful, confident Terry Neill had just finished his first year in charge and taken his side to their best post-war season, finishing fifth in the Second Division – two points and a rickety run-in away from promotion to the top flight – plus a charge to the sixth round of the FA Cup which ended only in a highly controversial exit to Stoke City that still haunts the Tigers’ fans who attended to this day.

The following year, despite the early sale of goalscoring legend Chris Chilton to Coventry City, the Tigers were again a reasonably settled outfit and Chilton’s departure paved the way for another East Yorkshire village boy, Stuart Pearson, to stake his claim to be the Tigers’ next heroic centre forward. Unfortunately, consistency was proving an issue and, as Middlesbrough’s visit in December 1971 approached, City had gone seven without a win.

Boro, who had just signed World Cup winner Nobby Stiles from Manchester United and immediately installed him as skipper, had their own youthful manager in Stan Anderson, who was a comparative veteran to Neill with five seasons in charge in traditional North Yorkshire, but was still only 38 when he took his side to Boothferry Park.

It was a riproaring encounter for a rare visit of ITV’s cameras, and it was 3-3 by half time. David Mills, whom City had tried to sign as a schoolboy, headed Boro ahead but John Kaye, not long back after a long injury lay-off, headed in the equaliser from Jimmy McGill’s quickly taken free kick. Pearson then guided elegantly a shot past teenage keeper Jim Platt for 2-1, but Mills quickly levelled with a brilliant first-time shot.

The right backs then traded goals; John Craggs beat City keeper Ian McKechnie from a tight angle to put the visitors back in the lead once again, only for Frank Banks to rifle in what would be the third of only six goals in total during his nine years with the Tigers.

The second half was a dourer affair, as if both teams had used up their entertainment quota for the season already, yet City won it with a late Kaye header from Ian Butler’s corner in front of Bunkers Hill. See it all for yourself, courtesy of our Tigertube page and featuring the authoritative voice of distinguished commentator Gerry Harrison, whose role as Anglia TV’s man of football occasionally required a jaunt further up the east coast.

Boothferry Park looks splendidly well-attended for the last home game before Christmas – the gate was 13,532 – and City still had a few of the old guard influencing things on the pitch, despite the departures of Chilton and midfield lynchpin Chris Simpkin during the season.

Ian McKechnie was still in goal, though this would be the last season as absolute first choice for the Caledonian orange-fetishist. At the back, Neill was out injured so, alongside Kaye, the dimly-recalled Mel Green played one of what would ultimately be only ten games for the Tigers. Roger deVries was his usual stoic self at left back, as was Banks on the right. McGill, sporting the most seventies haircut of the lot, played wide right in a midfield that had Butler still opening up defences on the left flank – he was subbed off for Malcolm Lord late in this game – and Ken Houghton scheming just ahead of Ken Knighton in the middle. Up front, young pretender Pearson was learning from the master, Ken Wagstaff.

As for the opposition, the generation of fans who started collecting Panini stickers from the mid-1970s onwards will enjoy hearing names like John Hickton and Willie Maddren alongside those of Mills, Platt and Craggs, all of whom were still at Middlesbrough by the end of the 70s. Stiles, meanwhile, is simply the oldest looking person in their twenties in the history of human civilisation.

Unfortunately, City’s consistency remained dreadful and they didn’t win again until the end of January, and the hope of repeating or surpassing the heroics of the previous season soon evaporated, especially because their away form was awful – they only won four on the road all season, and three of those came from February onwards.

Pearson ended the campaign with 15 goals as the Tigers finished 12th, while Boro, for their part, ended up ninth with 46 points, and got their revenge for this defeat by crushing City 3-0 at Ayresome Park on the final day of the season. Anderson quit after narrowly missing out on promotion the following year, to be replaced by Jack Charlton, who promptly took them up as runaway champions in his first season as a manager. As Boro celebrated their elevation and took their place in the top tier, City were selling Pearson to Manchester United and allowing Neill to talk to, and eventually take over at, Tottenham Hotspur. The rest of the 1970s proved to be a mixture of disappointing and disastrous for the Tigers.

NOSTALGIA: Ten years on since Jan Molby’s appointment

There are many ways of illustrating the pace of change at City in the 21st century, perhaps none are more indicative than the realisation that it’s ten years ago today that Jan Molby was appointed as the Tigers’ manager.

He was the full-time replacement for Brian Little, dismissed by Adam Pearson after our promotion campaign in 2001/2 petered out. Billy Russell was actually the man who made way for him, our loyal youth team coach having stepped in for the second of his three caretaking roles. Four defeats in five had seen off Little, whose time at City began brightly but faded badly, a pattern that blighted his managerial career.

Few doubted Molby’s appointment. City’s spell in the dungeon of English football had long since ceased to be an amusing novelty, and with the shiny new KC Stadium under construction, the prospect of Division Four football was simply unthinkable for a 25,000 all-seater. Molby was highly regarded as a player; he was an early successful foreign import at Liverpool, a visionary midfielder who spent 12 years at Anfield and had the phrase “his first yard of pace is in his head” coined in his honour, while also being a semi-regular for Denmark who was in the team that enthralled billions of neutrals at the 1986 World Cup before self-destructing against Spain. He also played against City in that FA Cup fifth round tie at Boothferry Park in 1989.

As a manager, he had had recent success at Kidderminster Harriers, taking them into the Football League for the first time in their history. The wheeze of appointing a young, hungry, up-and-coming manager appealed to the City chairman and to most of the Tiger Nation, and his recruitment seemed a prudent step in the quest for escape.

With only four games remaining in 2001/2, there was little time for him to bed in. His first match in charge was a 4-0 home defeat to Luton, with his brusque style immediately manifesting itself in the way two players were substituted in the first half for poor performances. There then came defeat at Rochdale before draws against Bristol Rovers and Lincoln ended a frustrating season. However, Molby was to have money at his disposal, the backing of comfortably the division’s largest support and the impending move into one the country’s best stadia. What could go wrong?

Read more

TIGERTUBE: Swan double gets Tigers a point

Last season’s win by the odd goal in five at Portsmouth was not only a thrilling victory, but also something of a first for a generation of Hull City fans. Prior to that 2-3 success at Fratton Park over the New Year holiday weekend, the Tigers had gone more than 23 years without acquiring a maximum haul there.

The previous victory in that bit of coastal Hampshire had come in September 1988, when a brace of goals from Keith Edwards and a third from Alex Dyer gave Eddie Gray’s men a comprehensive win. Things eventually went awry for Gray that year and he was out by the season’s end. The next trip to Fratton Park came almost exactly a year later, with City struggling to buy a first win under returning gaffer Colin Appleton. The opening three matches had produced two 1-1 draws and an eccentric 5-4 defeat at Bournemouth, and so the Tigers travelled down to the south coast in a slightly baffled state.

The video comes from an unspecified local news programme; the voice isn’t familiar and the script is criminally lacking in detail, with the reporter in question choosing not to bother identifying Pompey’s two scorers (substitute Guy Whittingham and skipper Kevin Ball). Nonetheless, the two goals from Peter Swan were classics of his kind; the thumping header from a set-piece followed by the uncontrolled but wholly unsaveable shot on the bounce. Here goes…

These goals took City ahead from a goal down, only for Ball’s free header – after a mistake by City substitute Nicky Brown in trying to dribble out of defence – to bring Portsmouth level.

Brown, a right back who came through the ranks and established himself under Gray the previous season, had come on in place of the misfiring Edwards, whose appearance turned out to be his last for the Tigers. Until Brown’s introduction, City had no specialist right back on the pitch, with Richard Jobson playing in a position he’d only previously occupied in his very earliest days with the Tigers.

Gavin Kelly was in goal while Iain Hesford shook off an injury, and Swan was partnered in defence – before later shifting up front at 1-1 after Edwards’ withdrawal – by Steve Terry. Wayne Jacobs completed the back four, and then a midfield quartet comprising of Leigh Jenkinson (a left winger in the #2 shirt), Billy Askew, Steve Doyle and Garreth Roberts made the openings at the top for Edwards and Ian McParland. Playing on the wing for Portsmouth that day was the Tigers’ current first team coach Steve Wigley.

Infamously, Appleton couldn’t buy a win and the change of regime in the boardroom prompted new chairman Richard Chetham to get rid of the wild-haired carpenter after just 16 games back in charge and bring in Crystal Palace assistant manager Stan Ternent. Quickly the team took to the new manager and improved to the extent of a mid-table placing at the end of the campaign, two places behind Portsmouth, who beat the Tigers at Boothferry Park in the January return fixture. They too changed their gaffer mid-season, with the always unlikeable John Gregory replaced by his assistant Frank Burrows, under whom results noticeably improved.

Ternent’s brusque personality and insistence on bringing in aged players on daft salaries soon took root, and oddly enough, it was a 5-1 smashing at Portsmouth on New Years Day 1991 that prompted his sacking. We didn’t return to Fratton Park again until elevation to the Premier League.

One final observation on the video; look how deserted Fratton Park was at the end where Swan scored his goals. This was the designated away end – the presence of Manchester United fans during a League Cup tie a fortnight later proves that – but City took so few supporters on the day that they were housed in one small corner of the stand, totally out of camera shot (the cheering at Swan’s two goals sounds suspiciously dubbed). Tomorrow night’s game will, despite the horrid daypart and two straight defeats, hopefully still attract a few more fans than that.

TIGERTUBE: Payton hunts down Foxes

A trip to Leicester City this weekend, then. We’ve got lots of memories of the King Power (née Walkers) Stadium (née Bowl), most of them good. Prior to building arguably the least attractive of all the nation’s nu-stadia, however, the Foxes had the tightly-packed Filbert Street ground, one of those classic old football venues that had supporters within a fingertip-covered-in-snot distance of any unsuspecting player taking a throw-in.

City’s final visit to the ground that gave League bows to Shilton and Lineker was in March 1991. These were the opening weeks of the reign of Terry Dolan, who had taken over after the profligate and sour Stan Ternent was fired following a rotten drubbing on New Years Day at Portsmouth. Dolan’s own evildoing was a good while away yet, and although there was little real hope for the club’s survival in the second tier, the odd decent result did still emerge.

From the Tigertube archives then, as eloquently reported by Yorkshire TV’s gentleman commentator John Helm, we see Andy Payton shake off his marker as each chase a clearing header from David Mail, before sliding in a low 82nd minute shot with absolute authority. And that was that. It’s a bit brief, as Goals On Sunday showed just, er, goals, but enjoy it nonetheless…

It was Dolan’s second win in charge, his first away from home and, beyond that, Payton’s 20th goal of a remarkable individual season. He is probably the ultimate natural goalscorer of City’s recent history, and how the current incarnation could do with a selfish, confident and ruthless predator like him right now. That he and Peter Swan scored 37 goals between them while the team ended up rock bottom says much about just how much the Tigers defence of 1990-91 let down its attack.

Also on show that day were esteemed individuals such as Leigh Palin, who would soon fall out with Dolan and be quickly shifted on; local YTS graduate Les Thompson, who had a good run at left back and became quietly admired by the Tiger Nation, only for the new manager to give him a free transfer at the end of the season anyway; and loanees David Norton and Tommy Wright in midfield and in goal respectively. Mail was one of three centre backs on the pitch, alongside Malcolm Shotton and Russ Wilcox, while Lee Warren and David Hockaday made up the XI.

This win actually completed a pleasant double over supposedly more illustrious opponents, as the Tigers had already beaten Leicester 5-2 in the November while still in Ternent’s command. Payton and Swan scored twice each at the Ark that Friday evening, with Palin adding another from the spot.

Leicester, whose manager David Pleat left the club mid-season and was eventually replaced in the summer by one Brian Little, finished third bottom but avoided the drop for some convoluted reason involving divisional restructuring, so only West Bromwich Albion wound up in the third tier alongside the Tigers.

Now, who this weekend is going to score the winner for the Tigers with eight minutes to go?