NOSTALGIA: Askew bullet beats Baggies

Cult Heroes - Billy Askew

It’s strange to think that the best team Brian Horton had in his time as manager of Hull City was probably the one that got him sacked. In 1987/88, the Tigers looked equipped to challenge for promotion to the top flight for the first time ever, only for an immeasurable collapse in form to obliterate Horton’s chances.

Horton’s time in charge, from the summer of 1984 to April 1988, was 80 per cent highs and the rest rotten lows. His first two seasons were excellent; his second two inconsistent and debilitating. And yet it was in the last of those two seasons when his chances of taking the Tigers to the promised land seemed greatest.

The signings Horton made during his time with the club were, by and large, a success. Taking on an excellent but demoralised team that had just missed out on promotion by a single goal, he kept the majority of the squad inherited from Colin Appleton but used his considerable knowledge of the young players at Home Counties rivals Watford and Luton Town to bolster his options. From or via those two clubs alone he brought in Frankie Bunn, Garry Parker, Richard Jobson, Neil Williams, Alex Dyer, Ray Daniel and Charlie Palmer. By 1987/88, these players were among the mainstays of the club. Read more

TWTWT Podcast episode 4

Episode four of the Things We Think We Think podcast is now available for your aural pleasure. Discussed this week are the wildly contrasting Leyton Orient and Manchester City performances, deadline day rumblings and a word with the curator of the TigerTube City footage archive. The Amber Nectar podcasts are listed on iTunes for free subscription, search for Amber Nectar HCAFC.

NOSTALGIA: Chelsea fans run amok as City take a hammering

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Supporters still in the first flush of youth, or those who have only latched on to football for social purposes, may be surprised to learn that the much-decorated Chelsea FC were, in the fairly recent past, a very middling and troubled football club indeed. They were always cast as “trendy” due to their location, and consequently got more publicity and leeway than sometimes they deserved, but certainly there have been times in the technicolour era when their achievements on the football pitch were scant.

In the 1970s, the well-to-do club from Stamford Bridge fought endless battles. Their wonderful team of the late 1960s under Tommy Docherty and then Dave Sexton, that peaked when triumphing in the 1971 European Cup Winners Cup, got old. Little was evident from the ranks or from investment that the new breed of blue was going to match up as the ageing superstars were sold, retired or implored to carry on in their sporting dotage as fragile shadows of themselves. Stamford Bridge was hellish, both in design and atmosphere. There was a truly fearful element following the club, as violent and as prejudiced as any that pockmarked what would forever be known as a bad old decade that heralded hooliganism’s rise. Relegation followed just four years after European glory; the cracks were papered over temporarily but later Chelsea became known in the 80s for their poverty, bigotry and electrified fences – and had another pair of relegations thrown in. It wasn’t until the arrival of Glenn Hoddle in the early 1990s that the Chelsea we know today began, slowly, to evolve into a power of the game, though it took Roman Abramovich’s money to eventually get them beyond success in the minor competitions.

In the midst of all this was a two-year stint in the Second Division, where City, for their part, had spent all of the 70s thus far. Read more

NOSTALGIA: Jacobs stars as Tigers peg back Tykes

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The 1989-90 season hit both great heights and demoralising lows, but fortunately for City fans they didn’t occur in that order. Though the Stan Ternent area would end bitterly, and the effect of it would be felt for years to come, the belligerent bark who became the Tigers manager was, in the very short term, good for the club.

His arrival in November 1989 was required urgently, as City had not yet won during what had hitherto been a truly hideous Second Division campaign. Don Robinson’s sentimental re-appointment of Colin Appleton had spectacularly failed and, after a boardroom reshuffle, the new chairman in Richard Chetham was handing the beleaguered City boss his cards and seeking a replacement before the ink on the agenda had dried. Read more

NOSTALGIA: Dave Bamber finally scores at Boothferry Park

There have been some bad footballers at Hull City down the years. This hardly is an exclusive or shocking revelation, of course; it would be easy to come up with a worst XI to rival any other from some of the rotten periods of the 1990s alone, never mind any other time when the team wasn’t packed with talent.

And there have been badder footballers at Hull City than Dave Bamber too. We’ve had any number of target men down the years who lacked touch, finesse, strength, belief (in themselves, more than anything) or goalscoring capability. You could name a few who lacked all of the above but still, through blinkeredness, desperation or just bad judgment, made it as a player. Yet Bamber will forever head this list. Read more

NOSTALGIA: Eyre gives City play-off hope against Os

The play-offs, when they were introduced in 1987, became something new in football to aspire to.

They were truly innovative. They extended the season, created a few extra heroes, caused controversy, maintained interest and produced a stack of great matches. Naturally, in the case of Hull City, it took a heck of a long time to get anywhere near them, inaugurated as they were around the time that a steep decline at Boothferry Park was getting underway. Read more

NOSTALGIA: City pagger Leicester to briefly lift the gloom

Which of the disasters that wracked City in the last fifth of the 20th Century do you recall the best? Was it the financial meltdown and accompanying descent into Division Four in the early 1980s? How about the relegations and High Court appearances that scarred the 1990s? What about enduring agony in the bottom tier while being malevolently harmed by the Sheffield Stealers?

Let’s look back at the second of those. The 1990s were unremittingly desperate for City, made all the worse because football in general was booming and City were most certainly not a part of that. Yet we didn’t start that decade in a particularly worrying situation. The Tigers finished the 1989/90 season in an unremarkable but unthreatening 14th place, the exact spot in which some good judges consider to be City’s natural position.

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NOSTALGIA: Peacock double clatters Clarets

It has taken the 2012/13 Hull City side 17 games to collate a haul of 31 points. Impressive stuff. Now imagine those 31 points spread out over a full 46-game season. As ghastly and unrealistic a proposition that may seem, it has already happened in recent times. Welcome to 1995/96.

The common consensus from long term City sages is that this was the most grim season in the history of the club. Though nobody will have witnessed every season it is hard to imagine a worse term. Five wins, 25 losses, a winding-up order, star players sold, awful players signed, part of the stadium damaged by freak weather, relegated with five games remaining, 21 points from safety. Read more