NEWS: Tigers great Feasey dies

Former City defender Paul Feasey has died at the age of 78.

Hull-born Feasey joined the Tigers as a teenager from non-league York Railway Institute and made his debut as a 19 year old in February 1953.

It took another three years – partly due to his national service obligations with the East Yorkshire Regiment – before he could establish himself as a first choice central defender but he did so, despite being under six feet in height, and made more than 300 first team appearances in the managerial eras of Bob Jackson, Bob Brocklebank and Cliff Britton. He was in the side that won promotion from Division Three in 1959 (and was relegated back down again a year later) and eventually played for City until 1965. Quirkily, he never scored for City once, making him the outfield player to have made the most post-war appearances for the club without ever finding the net.

Feasey went on to become a painter and decorator after leaving City while also enjoying the non-league game with a spell at Goole Town. During City’s centenary celebrations in 2004 he was named as one of the Top 100 Tigers in a fans’ poll. His death was announced on Saturday, and our thoughts are with his family. His funeral is in Hull tomorrow.

One more time: A tribute to Bo Myhill

City host Birmingham on Wednesday night, bringing with them two former Tigers who couldn’t be further apart on the humanity scale. As useful as he was when at City, we won’t dwell on Marlon King and his moral trespasses, choosing instead to focus on Bo Myhill, the man who kept goal for the Tigers for seven and a half years and three promotion campaigns. We posted the following article late in July last year, and we do so again on the eve of a bonafide Hull City hero’s return. Every Tiger National should give Myhill a warm welcome, and if you don’t know why you should read on…

Listing the amazing saves he pulled off during his time with the Tigers would take forever. Recalling the games when the improbable intervention of a Myhill paw to deflect a goal-bound shot pinched us a result would be an equalling daunting task. Hell, just that one game at Spurs would take a while. But as we steel ourself for life after Boaz Myhill, it’d be remiss of us not to pass an approving eye over his achievements.

For those achievements are monumental. Signed from Aston Villa in December 2003, we nearly didn’t get him at all. He’d been on loan at Macclesfield prior to arriving at the Circle, and they wanted his permanent signature. However, the £50,000 demanded by Villa was beyond the penniless Silkman and, via two loan matches at Stockport, the then 21-year old keeper joined the Tigers as the long-term replacement for Paul Musselwhite. If there’s ever been a better £50,000 spent by this club, we’d love to hear about it.

His debut was a forgettable one. City lost 1-0 at home to Mansfield to slip to fifth in the bottom tier, but shortly after that setback the Tigers embarked on a spree of wins that eventually took Peter Taylor’s charges to promotion. Myhill made 23 appearances in that successful season, and was a virtual ever-present in 2004/2005 as City were again promoted. He picked up the first red card during his time with the Tigers during that season, being dismissed during a penalty shoot-out defeat at Hartlepool in the Auto LDV Johnston Paints Trophy Thingy, but somehow shrugged off that trauma to help City to a second promotion, Taylor’s men conceding just 17 goals at home that season.

2005/2006 took Myhill and co into the Championship, a tougher time results-wise but another success for City’s number one. He effortlessly adapted to life at this higher level, the highlight being two penalty saves during City’s 3-0 win at Stoke in January 2006 and though Matt Duke’s arrival the season before provided him with genuine competition, Myhill remained between the sticks as City limped to penultimate-day survival at Cardiff in 2006/2007.

What happened the following season changed everyone’s lives at City, perhaps none more so than Boaz Myhill’s. A season of modest expectation ended in untold glory at Wembley, with Myhill’s agile and consistent goalkeeping a feature of City’s breathtaking and exhausting late-season push. With City 2-0 up at Watford up in the first leg of the play-off final, Myhill pulled off a genuinely jaw-dropping save to preserve that lead and ensure we took a healthy lead back to the Circle.

He was steady and unbeaten at Wembley, and his majestic rise and catch in the 94th minute at Wembley was the moment we KNEW we were going up. We hope he remembers that moment as fondly as did the 40,000 City fans present.

Onto the Premier League…and Myhill remained first choice netman, joining a small band of players who’ve played in all four divisions for the same club. And yet again, he was not out of place. Matt Duke, an able understudy, took his place a couple of times during the Tigers’ time in the top flight but Myhill’s overall ascendency was rarely in doubt.

It was during the second season in the Premier League that Myhill starred in one of those vanishingly small number of “I was there” moments in English football that involve City: THAT game at Tottenham. At full-time, as the disbelieving majority filed out of White Hart Lane unable to comprehend what’d just happened, the equally incredulous minority in a corner boomed as one “Myhill, in the middle of our goal, Myhill”. Choose your own superlative for his display that day, or maybe even invent a few – none come close to describing just how absolutely brilliant the City keeper was. Anyone there will tell you it was a privilege to witness.

But Myhill is no longer in the middle of our goal. He wanted to stay. Not for a man of his character the obsession with money, fame or status that corrupts others. His time here saw him become a fervent City fan. Everyone who knows him speaks highly of him. Anecdotes of his humble, genuine and considerate nature abound. It’s one thing to be a good footballer; it’s quite another to be a good man. He’s both, and we haven’t just lost a goalkeeper, but also part of the club’s soul. As we look back on the achievements of Glyn Oliver Myhill, Hull City 2003-2010, it is no exaggeration to say that he is an authentic Tigers legend.

NOSTALGIA: Marathon Cup tie sees Watford through

For the current generation of Hull City regulars, a visit of Watford to the KC Stadium will always spark memories of a balmy East Yorkshire evening in 2008 when City completed a 6-1 aggregate hammering and secured a place at Wembley and, ultimately, the madness of the Premier League.

And quite right too, frankly. That night was sent from the gods to the Tiger Nation. We were going to Wembley, we were within 90 minutes of the Premier League, we were allowed on to the pitch, everything.

So naturally, we’re not going to reminisce about that night. Frankly, the various ramblings of inebriated, dumbfounded City fans on the very forums housed within these pages could do a far better job of conveying the events and feelings of that May night than any amateur writer with a password for the front page. So, instead, let’s go back on a much longer journey. Read more

Objet d’art v. Objet d’arse (part 1)

Objet d’art – Wembley anthem jackets

Never seen before, never seen since, and sadly not available to buy, the black Umbro jackets worn by City’s first XI before kick off in the 2008 Championship play off final added a real touch of  class to proceedings.

If the enormity of a first appearance at Wembley hadn’t sufficiently hit home, the sight of the lads lining up for the national anthem nailed it, inspiring widespread tearful blubbing among Tiger Nationals.

Scheduled entreaties for the safety of our monarch are very rare at City games, the last time the national anthem was played ahead of a Tigers’ fixture was probably back in 1984 when City entertained the Tampa Bay Rowdies in the first leg of the Arrow Air Anglo-American Trophy double header. Also witnessed that day was chairman Don Robinson, dressed as a cowboy, circumnavigating the pitch on horseback while majorettes twirled batons in the centre-circle. Crikey.

This time the anthem was a much more dignified affair, and as Opera singer Katherine Sayles asked God to confound the knavish tricks of foreigners, City looked utterly resplendent in their anthem jackets, a garb more readily associated with World Cups (think Argentina’s navy blue trackies in 1978) and European Cup finals (think Franz Beckenbaur in a red adidas Europa jacket shaking Billy Bremner’s hand ahead of Leeds v. Bayern Munich in Paris, 1975)

That the jackets never went on sale is both admirable and annoying, admirable in the sense that it keeps them special, a reward for a deserving few, annoying as surely every City fan would love to pull on such a unique piece of our promotion campaign.

Objet d’arse – Thriller at the Villa hats

As if their ill-conceived Tigers on Tyneside caps from 1997 weren’t bad enough, the Hull Daily Mail decided to follow up on them two years later when City, bottom of the Football League, faced top of the Premiership Aston Villa in the third round of the FA Cup.

Match of the Day estimated that 7000 travelled from Hull to cheer on City at a time when they were drawing crowds of 4000-6000 in Division Three. Day-trippers and fair weather types were easily distinguishable from those who went every week, they were the only ones* wearing the HDM’s free ‘Thriller at the Villa’ caps, handed out at service stations between Hull and Birmingham.

The craps, sorry caps, were clearly yellow rather than amber (though to be fair, City’s shirts that year weren’t amber either, rather an abominable orange that gradiated into white, like a can of Tango spilt on a white tablecloth) and featured the head of a tiger that seemed to be yowling in pain, as if a suppository had be unexpectedly and forcefully jammed up it’s bum (this logo appeared on the club kit in 1998/1999 too, the only season it was used).

Also featured was the Hull Daily Mail logo. Given that the relationship between the local paper and the club and fans was openly hostile at the time, most die-hard Tiger Nationals would rather have worn a turd covered in burnt hair on their heads than any HDM promotional millinery. The Aston Villa fanzine ‘Heroes and Villans’ later noted that scores of people wearing identical yellow caps made them look a bit remedial, and they weren’t wrong (the young lad to the right of the picture sums it up nicely).

As it happens, the game wasn’t a ‘thriller’ at all, ‘Three-Niller at the Villa’ would have been more appropriate in light of the home side’s comfortable Stan Collymore inspired win.

*This may not be entirely true, but for the sake of a simple throwaway narrative, we’re running with it…

Happy Wembley Day!

Has is really been three years since our first Wembley appearance resulted in promotion to the Premier League? Crikey. To all Tiger Nationals, have a great Wembley Day.

The Soul of Hull City – Part six


For some people, Hull City didn’t exist until May 2008, when the club joined the upper echelons and entered the national consciousness. For long time City fans though, the Tigers are far more than a single match or season, they are the sum of childhood memories of standing on Boothferry Park’s ‘well’, of recollections of Simon Gray coach trips to away games, even of events not witnessed first hand but passed down from a previous generation of Tiger Nationals. Hull City is a rich tapestry comprised of many individual and overlapping threads.

Some threads are more important than others though, and we set out to define what it is that makes Hull City unique, different from every other club in the land. What are the 100 key events, people, sights and sounds that combine to form the soul of Hull City? Not every entry has to be of monumental historic importance, but it has to be quintessentially Hull City…

Heights of joy

Still aghast at the enormity of achieving a Wembley Play-Off victory the previous May, City fans entered season 2008-09, the club’s first in top flight football, with an attitude that said “let’s not worry about the results, let’s just enjoy the ride”. It was indeed, it transpired, to be the best trip most of us had ever been on. So it was a combination of bemusement, lung-emptying excitement and patronising by the world’s media that greeted City’s opening weeks in the Premier League when, contrary to received wisdom (and all common sense, let’s face it), City compiled a run of wins that propelled them momentarily to joint top of the richest league in the world.  Read more

NOSTALGIA/TIGERTUBE: Brightwell puts Scunts to the sword

Although Hull City generally have a decent record at Glanford Park, home of the primitive Scunthorpe United, one victory there always stands out because of the crazy circumstances in which it came.

In December 2000, City were sinking to their knees. Full details of the horrors were still to emerge, but the club’s debts were piling up, the bailiffs were having three Shredded Wheat in readiness for a busy few weeks and David Lloyd, former owner of the club but still very much in possession of Boothferry Park, was bleating about unpaid rent which had gone into six figures. And, within all this, manager Brian Little had assembled a squad that was hitting form within adversity that no professional should ever have to see in his footballing career.

City made the short trip to Glanford Park on a run of just one defeat in eight Division Three matches, and that was a single goal loss at leaders Chesterfield, whom the Tigers had pretty much matched all the way. However, four days before, the Tigers had been defeated humiliatingly by Kettering Town in the replay of the FA Cup first round. Scunthorpe were in a bit of League form too, beating Mansfield Town 6-0 in the League the previous week. Managed by the incontinent but effective Brian Laws, and featuring luminaries such as Alex Calvo Garcia, Steve Torpey and a youthful, bleach-haired Andy Dawson, they were hovering in mid-table and had experience of a successful promotion campaign courtesy of their win in the play-offs two seasons before. Naturally, they had come straight back down again, of course. Read more

NOSTALGIA: Elliott double sends QPR packing

There are a lot of Hull City fans who have little time for Queens Park Rangers. Reassuringly, these vendettas are mainly based on pettiness and human vindictiveness rather than any cast-iron, credible, mature, bolted-to-the-floor reasons for such dislike. However, if you attended the last but one game between these two sides at the Circle just over four years ago, then you’ll know a further reason to adopt lifelong disdain.

QPR’s visit to the KC on January 13th 2007 was simultaneously one of the most frustrating and one of the most joyful footballing occasions in recent times for the Tigers. Hard to believe in the context of an average Championship match, just a month into Phil Brown’s season-salvaging tenure with relegation very much a stark possibility for his charges. Given that in the years since passed, City have survived relegation, reached Wembley, achieved promotion, survived relegation again, finally succumbed to mismanagement and then survived financial oblivion, a bog-standard game against bog-standard opponents during an era when even bog-standard would have been generous to describe City’s form and fortune, doesn’t instantly offer reason to compare.

But you’re reckoning without QPR’s conduct that day. If you think some of the Premier League’s more artless members were cynical, timewasting exponents of gamesmanship and ultra-professionalism – such as that which Spurs fans lovingly label us – then you haven’t lived. QPR, 2007 vintage, were extraordinary. Read more

NOSTALGIA: Steve Wilson does for Crystal Palace

1997/8 was supposed to be a season of untold joy. Tennis gazillionaire David Lloyd was our new owner, charismatic Tim Wilby was the chairman, England legend Mark Hateley as manager…those were things we actually believed in during the heady summer of 1997.

We should have known better. We should always know better. City started badly, got worse and the whole thing ended in acrimony, despair and the all-pervading refrain of “thank fuck for Donny Rovers”. In the pre-Peter Taylor days, this was just another season of bitter unhappiness. Yet, there was one glint of glory among the darkness. That was City’s League Cup run – short, yet brilliant, and still talked about to this day.

It started off with a curiosity: Macclesfield Town’s first ever League Cup fixture, with the Cheshire minnows having just made to the Football League for the first time. City drew the first leg – for this was still a tournament with two legs in the first two rounds – before winning 2-1 in extra-time at Boothferry Park.

That set us up for a mouthwatering tie against Crystal Palace in September 1997. Yes, mouthwatering. At the time, City had bedded themselves in at the lower reaches of whatever the Fourth Division was calling itself at the time; Palace were in the top half of the Premier League. Few now would consider Palace anything other than a similarly sized club and a fixture of moderate but limited interest. To us, puzzled by a string of bottom-tier defeats, it was something to look forward to.

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