NOSTALGIA: City and Ipswich fight out six-goal thriller

It isn’t healthy to dwell on the 1990/91 season, so bad did it turn out to be, but thanks to the best natural finisher some Hull City fans have ever seen, there was never a shortage of goals. Sadly, whatever Andy Payton managed at one end was usually surpassed by what the defence couldn’t manage at the other end, but this was one occasion where City managed to entertain, offer hope and emerge with parity.

In November 1990, City were struggling near the bottom of the second tier as Stan Ternent‘s team of young hopefuls and overpaid marquee signings simply failed to show they were collectively bothered. Ternent, who had rescued the Tigers from relegation the year before and held a sense of entitlement because of this, had packed the side with players who had been around long enough to not worry about affinities with clubs or supporters. This would be the downfall of Ternent and, ultimately, the downfall of the club.

But as Ipswich arrived at Boothferry Park, there was hope. This is City, we always have hope. This time it had cast itself as a victory the previous weekend over Newcastle United, arguably the division’s mightiest side although evidently not the best. Prior to that, however, there had been straight defeats against Plymouth Argyle, Brighton & Hove Albion and Wolves, the concession of a two goal lead against Oldham to draw and, should you wish to know of further proof, a 7-1 humping by West Ham. City were losing, regularly and badly, and Ternent wasn’t ready yet to claim responsibility or admit they were even struggling at all. Read more

NOSTALGIA: City lose six-goal Hillsborough thriller

By the beginning of the 1972/73 season, Hull City fans were somewhat disappointed not to be a First Division club. The fun, prolific but ultimately fruitless 1960s which had seen Cliff Britton build a team of legends and then refuse to dismantle them as they aged had become a progressive, promising 1970s, with a very young and brash player-manager at the helm.

Terry Neill, the same age as a good number of the players he had inherited when taking over in the summer of 1970, had operated a new broom at the club, still getting plenty from some of the legends of swinging sixties Boothferry Park that had served Britton so well without being afraid to tell them when their time was up. After coming so close to promotion in his first full season – the fifth place in Division Two was City’s highest post-war finish – there was huge hope for the campaign that followed. It had to be achieved without Chris Chilton, however, as the iconic centre forward, who didn’t always see eye to eye with Neill, was sold to Coventry City after just two games of the 1971/72 season and was able to play the top tier football his goalscoring record deserved. Neill shrugged off the concern and consternation of the fans by giving Cottingham-born Stuart Pearson the famous No.9 shirt, and he responded by scoring three in his first three post-Chilton matches.

City ended the season 12th, most disappointingly, and so the beginning of 1972/73 was going to be as key a test of Neill’s abilities as any previous point in his two years at the helm. It started badly; defeat at Millwall and a goalless draw at home to Nottingham Forest meant that the Tigers had yet to score a goal, yet alone acquire a win, by the time they made the short trip to Hillsborough in the August sunshine. Read more

NOSTALGIA: Hateley’s only goal at Boothferry Park

While it is easy to recall just how awful Mark Hateley was as manager of Hull City, it is also worth remembering that he was pretty close to useless as a striker as well. This man had scored goals in some of the top leagues in Europe, and had put away a tidy number in an England shirt too, but when it came to leading the line as a Tigers centre forward in England’s least heralded professional division, he was truly wretched.

The supporters who trekked into Boothferry Park for the club’s match against Peterborough United, the second home game of the 1998/99 season, had little notion (yet somehow a horrifyingly good idea) of what horrors were to come in the months ahead, but in the short term at least they were about to witness something absolutely unique for Hateley’s playing career at the club: a goal at home. 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: 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.

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.

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?

TIGERTUBE: A bloke called Ian Wright scores at Selhurst Park

City travel to Crystal Palace this weekend in the Championship. Prior to the Tigers’ visit there last season, Amber Nectar remembered the most famous recent sojourn to that particular locale of south London when Mark Hateley’s side of bottom tier journeymen, led by heroic Bransholme custodian Steve Wilson, somehow contrived to win a League Cup tie via the away goals rule.

You can read AN’s personal memories of the occasion here; and now also enjoy the ITV coverage once again, with John Helm on the microphone. This is taken from our rather spiffing TigerTube page, which is jammed full of City memories and should be visited often.