Hull City

The Senior Tigers Club

est 2000

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Diary Dates for the 2018-2019 Season

A summary of our meeting held on 2nd August, 2018.

Our first meeting of the new season was our AGM and minutes from that meeting will be available elsewhere.

The meeting began with the invitation for members to renew their membership. Renewal forms had been prepared for every member and given the recent changes to data protection (GDPR) they were all invited to sign their acceptance of our use of their email/telephone contact details. If any member chose not to do so we would not be able to communicate with them other than via the website. Members signed their forms, paid their dues and booked their places on the forthcoming Autumn Outings.

Our guest speaker had no links with football – that was a break in tradition! Sue Hickson-Marsey introduced herself as a “Storm Tossed Lady” and shared her fascinating story. She was the first woman to become a Humber Pilot. Starting as a deck hand, the first female crew member, she eventually became coxswain of the Pilot Launch working on one of the most difficult rivers in the world. The launch takes Humber Pilots to incoming ships before they navigate their way up the river and collects them on their return – in any weather condition. Transferring from launch to ship is one of the most hazardous tasks and with 30,000 ship movements in the Humber every year they have their work cut out. Originally based at Spurn Point they are now operating out of Grimsby – 3 launches working round the clock. Sue had seen adverts for deckhands and over 1000 people enquired but she was successful. Her appointment caused plenty of media interest but she coped!

Her first real challenge was sea-sickness! She was too proud to walk away after all the publicity and tried every possible remedy including ‘old wives legends’. One piece of advice was to eat Bread & Jam before going on board – when she later asked for a reason why she was told, “simple, it tastes just as good when it comes back!” Twenty three years later she has the experience that no one can challenge but still receives anxious glances from skippers when they are asked to hand control over to her!Sue is a legend at the Humber Pilots but her story goes further. When Hornsea lost their lifeboat there were many anxious concerns in the resort. Any incident off the shore would see a lifeboat coming out of Bridlington or Withernsea and a crucial delay of up to 30 minutes. That could be too late to rescue a child drifting out on an inflatable. They needed their own Rescue Inflatable and a volunteer crew ready to launch into action. £20k was raised locally and the Hornsea Inshore Rescue had come into being – with Sue becoming one of the volunteer crew. Their first call out was to rescue not a child but some 60 year old ladies who had drifted out on their inflatable! Later they were able to save a very grateful & cheerful man and bring him safely back to shore – only for his wife to storm up and give him what for! He turned to Sue and said “you should have left me out there!”Sue was a fantastic speaker and the HIR benefits from her energy and enthusiasm. They have no central funding, nothing from the RNLI and must raise all the costs themselves. The Senior Tigers are making a special Summer Outing on Thursday, 23rd August, when Sue will show us round the HQ in Hornsea, share the story and see that we are fed with local fish ‘n chips.

Other business from our August meeting: David, our Chair, informed the members present that the football club had once again offered to provide a free buffet luncheon prior to our September meeting. This is wonderful news for us and very much appreciated. It means that we need to come a little earlier for the meeting on September 6th. The doors will open at 12.30 and the buffet will start at 1.00 pm.

Sue Kemp was invited to speak in memory of a former member, Graham Newdick. Graham, who died in December 2016, had been a stalwart of the Tigers, regular away match attender, a Senior Tiger and the man behind the wonderful Withernsea Official Supporters Club. There were so many memories of players visiting WOSC meetings over the years thanks to Graham. The WOSC had now closed and their closing funds, £630, were given in his memory to a local kids football club and a plaque placed in the changing rooms at Patrington AFC.

Rob Wilson gave an update on the Photo Gallery Site. Unfortunately the projector failed and Rob was unable to show members where they were up to. He mentioned that there were now between 700/800 photos from matches in the 1950/60’s to look up. The current emphasis is on providing team photos. 162 have recently been added and they have an interactive opportunity for members. Altogether there are some 3200 faces that need identifying so when someone scrolls over the pictures each face will give the opportunity for people to identify the player. Rob, as Moderator, would receive contributions and make suitable amendments.

Tony Conway provided an update on the Memorabilia Gallery. It was clearly a bigger task than originally anticipated! Hundreds of scans have been made and some of those taken earlier this year will need to be done again to ensure they can be used. One exciting plan is to scan every match day programme – every page, not just the cover! To help with the task they are still looking for additional help and have made approaches to the local university/colleges.

Our Walking Football Club went on tour to Majorca earlier this summer and they were successful, returning home with Joint Winner’s Trophy. They now play in the Airco Arena on Mondays and Thursday mornings. New members will be welcome, either morning, Mondays at 10.00 am and Thursdays at 1-00pm.

Barbara mentioned that there were still places available for the trips to Hornsea, Hartlepool, Burton on Trent & Bradford.

Barbara had also been invited to attend a meeting in London to discuss Safe Standing in football stadiums. She took her seat round the table and glanced at her name plate – correct name, just that they had added the Hull FC logo!!! She also spoke up for those who can’t stand up and can’t see when those in front stand up regardless. This was appreciated and representatives from both Chelsea & Spurs agreed to take her comments back to their clubs.

Gerry Ashton had donated £100 for the Senior Tigers to provide a trophy for their Player of the Season. Pat Betts had agreed to run this and members would be invited each month to make their suggestion for the Player of the Month. These would accumulate through the season and the eventual winner would hopefully be revealed at our end of season Luncheon.

We were very happy to win the vouchers from the Garbutts Bar in the August raffle as it was our first visit as members of the Senior Tigers. We spent an enjoyable evening there, had a really good meal and still had vouchers to spare! We are looking forward to another evening of good food, as the service was very good and all the staff were pleasant and obliging. So thank you Senior Tigers for our really nice evening.

Sandra and Bernard Thorpe

Our meeting on 6th September, 2018

Our new season got underway with a wonderful buffet spread, provided by the kindness of the football club. Members tucked in and thoroughly enjoyed the provision. Our grateful thanks to Hull City afc.

With lunch consumed we gathered for our meeting and were introduced to the club’s Assistant Coach, Mr Andy Crosby. The Chair’s first question was to ask whether the players were responding in training following that tough loss to Derby County. Andy assured us that they had responded well and that they really cared about their performance. It had clearly been our best performance of the season to date and that young Dan Batty had been the best player on the pitch. Andy mentioned that young guys will make mistakes but that they are really trying hard and were determined to do well.

He mentioned the frustration of the Deadline Day when, as well as the two players they had signed, they had another player at the training ground but were unable to sign him because his own club had failed to bring in the player they needed as his replacement. Even so, he felt that bringing in Tom Elphick was bringing a player with knowledge & experience that would benefit the other players on both the pitch and at the training ground. Of Chris Martin he mentioned that 3/4 years ago he was a top top striker but that he had since lost his place in the Derby squad. This was the move he needed and that he would add good value to the team.

Our Chair then turned to Andy Crosby with a series of questions about himself. We learned that he was born in Rotherham, the only child to a mining family. From early days he loved football and mentioned that “if you love football, it will love you back”

Asked about his early heroes/idols he suggested Arthur Scargill!! He was watched by Rotherham United but at 11 years they turned him down. Three years later he was signed by Leeds United and progressed to their YTS scheme at 16 years. This coincided with Leeds challenging at the top of the Premiership and meant his own progression could be hampered by their ability to attract players from across the country. At 18 years he therefore moved to Doncaster Rovers. He played for them in defence or, as Andy preferred, as “a ball playing technical defender”. His next move was to Darlington where he became club captain at 21 years and appeared at Wembley in a League 2 Play-off Final. Unfortunately they were not successful.

In 1998 he was about to move to Wigan where terms had been agreed but the very next day, before forms had been signed, John Dehan, their manager, was sacked! He was then called in by Brentford only for their manager to also get the sack before forms had been signed! The only other option he had was an offer to join Chester City and with a pregnant wife he took the offer .... only for that club to go bust! Can anyone have a better series of misfortune than that?

Eventually an offer came in from Brighton, paying £10,000 for his signature – “absolute bargain” was his comment. During his 4 years at the club he helped them to promotion into League 1. His next club would be Oxford United for whom he scored 12 goals (“mainly penalties” he claimed) before finally joining Brian Laws at Scunthorpe United - as an experienced pro’ to help develop the young players in the team. He played 167 games for the Iron, scoring 16 goals and promotions from League 2 to the Championship. In his 700th league game he had a penalty against Southampton. He always scored his penalties, always, yet on this occasion he failed – however he still scored a goal from the rebound! After 2 years at Scunthorpe, in 2006, Nigel Adkins took over as coach. Andy gave praise to his colleague, “a fantastic guy and friend”, “honest, does his best every single day” and “I’d trust him 100%”.

He mentioned that when Scunny lost the Johnson’s Paint Trophy Final at Wembley Nigel had gathered his disappointed squad and promised them they would be back at Wembley for the Play off Final and win. He really motivated those players. Andy’s playing days were largely behind him but Nigel wanted him to play in the play off semi against MKD for the experience he would bring to the players – it was his first match in almost 6 months but they won on penalties, after extra time. The Wembley Final would be against Millwall, what would also be Andy’s final match, and they won! There was a spontaneous round of applause round the room.

As a coach he went with Nigel to Southampton in League 1. They were fifth bottom on arrival but would be promoted to the Championship and then, again, to the Premiership. Sadly they were not to enjoy the fruits of their labours. With an opening run of fixtures like .. the Champions, Man City, away, then home fixtures first with the Cup Winners, Wigan, and then Manchester United followed by an away trip to Arsenal, they were always likely to struggle and the Saints were not to be patient. He would later go with Nigel to Reading and then Sheffield United, two clubs wanting success without delay before they eventually arrive at the Tigers last December – a large squad and 17 injured players! Here’s to the future.

Questions from the floor included one about the value of “Free Agents”. The difficulties were explained, Age, Injuries, Expensive Wages and whether they were prepared to give 100% to our club. He was asked whether we might go to three at the back. “It is an option” What went wrong against Blackburn? They didn’t do the fundamentals and basics. He mentioned that they had a frank & honest review on the Monday and the response was there to be seen the next night, at Rotherham. Was Dan Batty on contract? Yes, he was committed for the next 2 seasons. He was pleased with his development and that the player had been knocking on the door at the end of last season! His start had been “fantastic!”Is football in your DNA? “It has to be!”It had been an inspiring interview. Andy was then leaving us to go direct to the airport for an engagement somewhere on the Continent.

The meeting continued with the Chair first expressing our sadness at the loss over the summer of two members, Trevor Dunn and Pay Poskitt. Peter introduced us to the Raffle – brilliant as ever. Barbara mentioned that there were 6 places still available for the Hartlepool Naval Museum visit on 20th Sept. and that she was taking bookings for the National Brewery at Burton (October 18th) and Bradford City (November 15th). Rob gave us a brilliant introduction to the website and the photographs of old players waiting for members to come up with names. Finally, to great delight, our esteemed Chair, Dave, announced that the October meeting (4th) would be addressed by “Burnsie” from Radio Humberside.

Our monthly Members’ Meeting took place in the Circle Restaurant, this due to the Dug Out being in use as a School for the children of Hull Fair. Our special guest speaker was David Burns from BBC Radio Humberside.

At the beginning our Chair gave a number of notices starting with our December pre-Christmas Luncheon. We already had approaching 130 people booked and more were still booking their places. Dave mentioned that we would change the format from our in-house Quizzes to something very different. No secrets were being released but more was promised at the November meeting!

Notice was given of the Hull Photo Society’s Exhibition in Princes Quay throughout October. They had been very supportive to us doing the launch of our Memorabilia Programme earlier in the year. Pete introduced the Raffle and a list of exciting prizes whilst Babs drummed up support for the forthcoming visits to the National Brewery Museum in Burton (Oct) Valley Parade (Nov). Our Player of the Month was also introduced, noting that on arrival each month members would be invited to declare their choice for the Player of the Month. These will all add up through the season and lead to the announcement of our first Player of the season.

Burnsie introduced himself by sharing his delight that someone can still organise a “xxx-up in a brewery”. He mentioned just how pleased he was to be back in the commentary seat – which brought a spontaneous round of applause. He mentioned that he had missed this last season but that it had affected ‘Swanny’ more than himself since he did not have back-up opportunities to turn to.

He was guided to make reference to the possible return of Paul Duffen, backed by serious Saudi Arabian investors. He even put a note of caution in, reminding us that his first tenure at the club had not been successful and his departure saw the club in financial meltdown. However, this was a different approach and could be the break through we were waiting for. Due diligence is now underway. Sky Sports was suggesting that there were also two other groups bidding.

We learned from Burnsie that he was born in 1959 in Glasgow but that he and his family moved when he was 5 years old – “I was too hard for Glasgow!” He did, however, remember watching Sir Alex Ferguson play for Rangers. The family moved around, “my mother was addicted to Removal Men” – moving round the country and even as far as Nigeria.

He went to University, well, he admitted, to Birmingham Polytechnic. Four years during which he had one night in! A brilliant time and he still managed an Honours degree in Business Studies. Then came Journalism, a plan he just fell into – “I’ve fallen into a lot of things!” He started with the BBC on finance & personnel and then had opportunity to stand in for John Tonda at Grimsby Town. Overall it took him 7 years to make the transition to football, He left R.H. where he was working under David Gibbons, and took a job with Radio Sheffield as their Sport’s Editor, covering the period when Barnsley made the Premier League. In 2000 he transferred to London to work with BBC Radio 1, 2 and even 4 but admitted that “people didn’t quite get me!”. During his months in the Capital he felt like a hamster in a wheel and he really missed those nights visiting places like Spotland (Rochdale).

He was asked for his favourite away ground and admitted a liking for Arsenal & Manchester City which both provided a free bar with a preference for the Gunners as they also threw in personalised fish ‘n chips! Chelsea also provided him with bottles of wine for the journey home whilst the Vetchfield (Swansea) was among the scariest. The commentary box was at the top of the stand, accessed by a ladder which swayed as you climbed. He was once left at the top, post match, when all the lights were turned out and he had to find his way down in total darkness!

When the call to return to R.H. he was delighted. Preparing for a match meant a few hours and then the partnership with Swanny followed. He was asked whether the banter with Swanny was off the cuff or scripted and admitted it was totally ad lib, off the cuff.

Sport had always been a dominant part of his life. He played football, tennis, golf and had watched football across the country, in Nigeria and also in Trinidad. Many years previous he was crowned Butlin’s Putting Champion and he is the reigning HCOSC Dart’s Champion!

R.H. asked him to move from Sport’s Talk to the Morning Show as they wanted to boost the listening figures. He only agreed on the proviso that he remained on match commentary. He mentioned that he just tries to make a difference to people’s lives. In these recent years he has achieved a number of high accolades, 3 times Broadcaster of the Year no less. He was now in with a shout of the Sony Awards for Best Radio Presenter in the Country, already in the top six. (since then he has, of course, won that top place award. Our congratulations.)

Another big love is live music and he is always delighted to help publicise young local talent making their early marks. His love of music was really established in those days at Brum Poly when he was out night after night.

More questions would now be put to him:

He was asked about his experiences with different managers & owners. Nigel Pearson was always awkward in interviews but undoubtedly a really good manager. Phil Brown was terrific to work with even though he twice banned Burnsie. Terry Nolan also served a ban on Burnsie! Bruicie was great to deal with and Nigel Adkins is so positive, uber positive that he had to love him to bits.

His memories of 2008? Watching the queues outside the stadium looking for tickets and being promising bacon butties on air being challenged from the crowds where these butties were! He also predicted that Dean Windass would score!

He mentioned that Billy Bremner was one of his real heroes and that during his time at Radio Sheffield he had been join by Billy as a summariser. He was terrific.

Who would he most like to interview? Sir Alex and also the late John Peel.

The current absence of Mike Dean? He informed us that “he was just not well”

He was asked that if the Saudi Arabian take over is successful who would he like to nominate for the ritual beheadings at the KCOMM? Much humour which he safely navigated! He was asked whether the take over would include the SMC. He responded saying that it has to be included, there had to be a ‘clean break’.

During Slutsky’s tenure Burnsie had been given a Russian Doll set. He confirmed this and that it stands on his mantelpiece. Of Slutsky himself he said he was a really charming man but never had a chance. The quality of recruitment was simply not good enough.

Who decides which match appears on R.H. FM frequency? It was the Sport’s Editors decision. Burnsie said he would have City on FM all the time but other factors are taken in to account.

Late night Yorkshire wide Radio Show? He had a run a couple of years ago, enjoyed the experience but was not invited back!

Have you reported on TV (local or national)? “Do I look like I could?” !

Most bizarre moment in the commentary box? At the Dell (Southampton) the Press Box was very tight and one guy tried to exit by a window and got stuck! Personally he recalled North Ferriby winning the FA Vase at Wembley. Gwillym Lloyd was on the pitch with the players and Burnsie was describing the scene. “The champagne cocks are popping!” It took a long time in the studio to calm down from that slip up!

Of the Allams he felt that much of their grief was probably self inflicted and that they had wasted a golden opportunity.

What would be his dream changes for the future? Tickets at £20, seniors at £10 and kids for a fiver.

So we came to a close on what had been a memorable afternoon. Many thanks to Burnsie from us all.

For our November meeting we were allocated the Circle Restaurant and with over 160 members present it did allow us the room we required. Our Chair opened by introducing two members who had recently been invited to join the Senior Tigers’ Committee. Helen Carter & Adrian Ellis received a warm welcome from all.

David introduced the pre-Christmas Luncheon by dangling the message that we have a great former player joining us ... but his identity would not be revealed until the day arrives! There would also be some entertainment that we are confident will be appreciated by all. The Luncheon is expected to be in the Circle Restaurant unless the numbers continue to grow! Members can arrive from 12 noon and the Bar would open at 12.30 pm. We have between 170/180 people coming.

Rob brought us up to date on our website which is attracting a reasonable number of visitors but lacks those regular return visits. Of the 140 old team photos which are now available approx 85% have all been identified but members were called upon to complete that task.

Peter introduced us to his gathered display of prizes in the raffle and called for some help, especially on the east side of the city, someone who can help secure good raffle prizes and collect them. Offers??

Barbara updated us on the visits. The Bradford trip would require members taking a packed lunch and that Bradford City would provide a room for us to eat in and enjoy drinks which they would kindly provide.

Once the business had been covered we were able to start the serious part of the meeting and Dave gave a warm welcome to our goalkeeper, Mr David Marshall.

David was born in Glasgow in 1985 and comes from a family of Celtic fans. Life growing up, before the arrival of iPads and similar was very simply football dominated. At the age of 9/10 years David was invited to join the Celtic network and that they moved him from up-field to between the goalposts – smart move there! He left school at 16 and joined Celtic fulltime, training with the first team players. At 18 he made his first team debut when the goalie was injured and he was given 10 minutes in a European fixture. In 2004, at 19 years, he played in the Nou Camp (Barcelona) and kept a clean sheet. His manager then was Martin O’Neal who he described as being “not tactical” and that he was quiet for 90% of the time but the other 10% would see him go “mental!” When Gordon Strachan took over David leaked some early goals and lost his place in the first team. That led him to seek a move and he was soon out on loan to Norwich City, a move that would eventually be made permanent. In 2007 he was the only member of the Canaries to play in every match

David shared the difficulties for the goalkeeper in holding concentration and that he was always encouraged to get a good early save in the game.

His next move saw him join Cardiff City under Dave Jones, gain promotion to the Premiership and then the falling apart of the team which saw them plummet from the summit.

Later Hull City would bring him a lifeline, in 2016, when Mike Phelan brought him to the KCOM and with the Tigers having just returned to the Premiership. Here he also had to battle for match time with both Alan McGregor and Eldin Jacupovic at the club and with a pre-season injury David rather lost out. Now he has the No 1 jersey and is clearly thriving on the opportunity. There was a spontaneous round of applause to mention of what a good season he is having. “I’m just enjoying being back”.

A series of questions were then put to him. Who was the person with the biggest impact on his career? His response was the Celtic goalie coach who shaped his skills when he first joined the club and ensured later that he had the opportunity to train regularly with the 1st team players.

About superstitions? He uses the inside warm up area at the stadium and always does the same routine and places his gloves in exactly the same position. He was later asked to comment on Elphick’s rather intriguing warm up where he talks to the post, rubs his left hand post, shakes it and kicks it! David declared he had not really noticed but would now! So are the fans!

Asked about team spirit he replied that it “is very strong with this group” and that he is confident it would be worth a few points by the end of the season.

Someone asked if it helped him having a former goalkeeper as manager – simple response, “No!” The questions were now coming fast and furious. “What is it like to play for a team that scores 3 goals?”, and who, in his opinion, was the greatest Celtic manager, simple – Jock Stein he responded.

He was asked about the ‘old firm’ domination of Scottish football and replied that it was so difficult for other clubs to mount a serious challenge. Rogers at Celtic has ten times the budget that Aberdeen offer their manager. He also said that if ever Celtic & Rangers were admitted into the English game it would destroy Scottish football.

Fans are so important to the teams and frustrated supporters can give the players real challenges. He mentioned that in the 1950’s fans needed hard hats to stand on the terraces at Hamden Park, there were, apparently, bottles constantly flying around!

Asked what he thinks when going for a ball and seeing the boots of the forward coming towards him, he mentioned that it is the “instinct to do your part”.

Who are the goalkeepers he had looked up to. Peter Schmeichel in his day and he considers that Man United’s Spaniard is the one to look up to now.

He enjoyed ‘quiet’ games but loved the adrenalin of a game calling upon him to make 8/10 good saves. After every game he goes into debriefing mode. TV analysis covers every angle and he will go over them alongside the goalkeeping coach.

Of the recent Preston match he mentioned the agony of having a quiet game while the forwards hit the woodwork 3 times and the PNE goalie pulls off a number of good saves and then that moment in the 94th minute. “Devastating”

David said he preferred 3 centre backs – “more to shout at!” and gave a big rap to youngster McKenzie who he described as “brilliant” when he recently stepped up from the club’s Academy.

He was asked about zonal marking against man marking in the penalty box. He did not express a preference but mentioned that the coaching team do the analysis before every match and discuss what they expect from the defenders at the end of the week. Players should, therefore, know what is expected of them and where they need to be for defending corners.

He was asked about penalty takers who do the “shuffle”. He will have studied 3 or 4 opposition players before the match so that he can assess their likely approach should they take a penalty. David had no problems with the approach of VAR.

Well, it was a marathon session and David Marshall delivered well. The Senior Tigers were delighted with his response to the “grilling” and much appreciate the Tiger’s man between the sticks.

There was another excellent turnout for our opening meeting of 2019. Approx. 130 members took their places to welcome, for a change, a legend of another sport – Rugby League.

Dave, our Chairperson, welcomed the members to the meeting with a special welcome to our Raffle Maestro, Pete, back following illness. “Only just” Pete was heard to add. Dave expressed all our delight at the wonderful month of December for the football club with special praise for Nigel Adkins and his team for guiding us from the bottom to mid-table.

He mentioned that we are looking to update our P A System, either by repair or replacement. The Walking Football team would be back in action on the 7th & 10th January – more members would always be welcome.

Barbara updated everyone on our planned Outings for the Spring session. The bonus trip to Plaxtons in Scarborough (31st Jan) is full with priority having been given to our regular ‘trippers’. There are still spaces on the following 3 outings, Leeds United & Royal Armouries (Feb.), Sheffield Crucible Theatre & Abbeydale Industrial Hamlet (March) & Holmefirth + Huddersfield Town (April). On that trip there will also be the opportunity to go up and see the Emley Moor Mast. Pete then introduced his marvellous Raffle.

Now the Chair introduced us to our guest speaker, the legendary Mr Johnny Whiteley MBE.

Johnny’s first comment was to thank us for inviting him and said “it helps to keep me motivated!” He then recalled his early days down Hessle Road and saying that as a schoolboy during the Hull blitz he would pray for bombs because “we got off school and could go and play football, rugby or even swim!” His dad’s brother had a Gym down Scarborough Street and young Johnny grew up there. With both his dad and his uncle serving in the War, Johnny “ran the gym” – and nearly 80 years later he still runs a gym!

Leaving school he went directly to Fish Docks and started filleting – he knew what to do, his dad ran a Fish Shop! In those early days he played football for Fish Trades and in 1946 they reached the Dr Lilley Cup Final and would play Hull City Juniors. They were not supposed to win but they did – 2-1 after extra time. The Tiger’s Major Buckley immediately called Johnny over and offered him trials at the Tigers only to be rebuffed because Johnny had already been offered the chance to play for Hull FC Under 18’s! Suddenly Johnny was playing 5 times a week and playing Saturdays and Sundays. His coach told him what he had to do and Johnny believed everything he was told! That included the advice that if he wanted to make it as an athlete he must veto Girls!! Another coach told the lads that he would teach them how to Dance, just in case! “Us, ‘essle Road lads, Dance!” he said with a surprise that still lingers from when he was a 17 year old boy. That coach then taught the boys how to dance the Rumba Blues to “Lady in Red”. Johnny was 23 years old before he realised that having nothing to do with girls had not been good advice – “I could have shot the geezer!”

Johnny’s youth was full of fun and dare but, he added, “us kids of ‘essle Road never got in trouble with the Law” He then contrasted the situation with our present times. Things were tough on ‘Road, many fathers were absent during the war, indeed many never came back, yet the kids came through without going off the rails. Today people comment on the problem of Single Parent kids – they didn’t in his days.

Johnny’s National Service

When he was called up he joined the Military Police and was posted to Vienna as a PE Teacher for the International Police Force. He was asked to teach them how to play Rugby Union, because “they were crap”, Johnny added. Johnny played himself six games at half back and suddenly found himself selected to play for the British Army. They put him in the centres for a match against France and he promptly stole the show with 5 tries! Afterwards he was offered the opportunity to play Union in Scotland, something which got the same response as Major Buckley had, ”I had committed to play for Hull FC!” For sure, the FC were waiting for him on his return home and at 19 years he was promptly offered a contract with a promise that he would play in the 1st team on the following Saturday. Throughout his 15 year career he was never dropped. He played for and captained Hull FC and went on to Manage them. He also played for Yorkshire, England & Great Britain and then manage all three in time.

Playing the Game

Johnny recalled playing away at Hunslet, a ground which had concrete posts round the side of the pitch. Hunslet had just bought a big lad from Union and Johnny was going to be his welcome to our Game. He took the opportunity for his trademark horizontal tackle and took the new man out and into those railings. The opponent suffered a dislocated shoulder whilst Johnny broke his arm! Both were sent in the same ambulance to Leeds General but the ‘big lad’ screamed & squealed so much that a Matron from nearby Maternity came and rebuked him. “I heard your scream from Maternity where a young lady has just given birth, and made far less noise”. The big fellow responded “Yes, but you try putting the bairn back in!”

Johnny, a legend in Sport, was inducted into Hull FC’s Hall of Fame in 2004, awarded an MBE “for services to sport” in 2005, given the Freedom of the City of Hull in 2009 and last year was inducted into the Rugby League Hall of Fame. Our Chair asked Johnny “What does all that that mean to you?”

The response from modest Johnny clearly took the wind out of Dave’s sails! “Well, you’ve missed a few things out!” Johnny then listed: 1950 Young player of the year; 1958 Man of Steel; 1999 No 1 Citizen of Hull; 2009 Hon Doctorate from university (all bogus and in jess) and then he responded to Dave’s original question “I’m not clever, just a kid off Scarborough Street. That helps to keep your feet on the ground!”

Questions for Johnny

Would you write a book? His response was clear. “I won’t, I’d have to say so many bad things about people!!”

Do you remember how much Hull FC paid you at the beginning. “Yes, I’ve still got the wage packet!” He mentioned it was £8 for a win, just £5 for a loss or away draw. Home draw, nothing!

He was asked about the 1970 tour to Australia. “I was responsible for 28 players, I was Manager, Coach, Doctor, Physio, Baggage Man & Media PR”. The RL Sec (Bill Fallowfield) offered him £250 for the 13 week tour and then had it dropped to £200! For all that it was the most successful tour ever by Great Britain to Australia. They brought home the Ashes, something that has not yet been repeated since. RL made a tour profit of £90k, the players received £1k each on top of their contracts, our clubs also received a bonus and Johnny, well Johnny got just his £200 and owed his dad £400!

One member asked about the Drake twins. “They could be naughty!” They would take advantage of a sky high kick and whilst everyone was watching the ball in the air and opposition player would mysteriously find himself flat out on the pitch!

At 88 he still a fitness freak, working out everyday. He was asked about the modern levels of fitness in the game and feels players suffer from too many rests rather than overplay. At the top of his game he played four full years without a break, domestic, off season tour, domestic etc.

The final question, “As a proud Yorkshireman, what’s your favourite place?” and in a heart beat he answered ... “HULL!”

Johnny Whiteley MBE being Inducted into the Rugby League Hall of Fame in 2018


Venue: Airco Arena 10-00am - 12-00pm

This is an ideal fit for Senior Tigers, targeting over 50s. Good exercise but with no running!

60 minutes of activity and 60 minutes of relaxation/ refreshments etc

£3 per session or £15 for the full 6 weeks

No experience needed, just turn up with a pair of trainer

Shorts/trackie bottoms and tee-shirt will be ideal

Spectators welcome

Further details from Trevor Richardson or contact the Tigers Trust

Senior Tigers Meeting on 7th February at the usual time of 13-45pm in the Dugout. This is our regular monthly meeting following a similar format to last season. Guest speakers and more details will appear here nearer the time.


Venue: Airco Arena 1-00pm - 3-00pm

This is an ideal fit for Senior Tigers, targeting over 50s. Good exercise but with no running!

60 minutes of activity and 60 minutes of relaxation/ refreshments etc

£3 per session or £15 for the full 6 weeks

No experience needed, just turn up with a pair of trainer

Spectators welcome

Shorts/trackie bottoms and tee-shirt will be ideal

Further details from Trevor Richardson or contact the Tigers Trust


Venue: Airco Arena 10-00am - 12-00pm

This is an ideal fit for Senior Tigers, targeting over 50s. Good exercise but with no running!

60 minutes of activity and 60 minutes of relaxation/ refreshments etc

£3 per session or £15 for the full 6 weeks

No experience needed, just turn up with a pair of trainer

Shorts/trackie bottoms and tee-shirt will be ideal

Spectators welcome

Further details from Trevor Richardson or contact the Tigers Trust


Venue: Airco Arena 1-00pm - 3-00pm

This is an ideal fit for Senior Tigers, targeting over 50s. Good exercise but with no running!

60 minutes of activity and 60 minutes of relaxation/ refreshments etc

£3 per session or £15 for the full 6 weeks

No experience needed, just turn up with a pair of trainer

Spectators welcome

Shorts/trackie bottoms and tee-shirt will be ideal

Further details from Trevor Richardson or contact the Tigers Trust

A visit to Elland Road - home of Leeds United - hopefully hosted by Eddie Gray.

Then a chance to eat your packed lunch and have coffee and tea.

Afterwards a visit to the Famous Armouries museum.

Pickup at South Car Park, KCOM Staium at 9-30am. Cost of the outing £15.

Senior Tigers Meeting on 7th March at the usual time of 13-45pm in the Dugout. This is our regular monthly meeting following a similar format to last season. Guest speakers and more details will appear here nearer the time.

A chance to see behind the scenes at the Crucible - Sheffield

We will then spend the afternoon at the Abbeydale Industrial Hamlet museum.

A packed lunch may be advisable.

Pick up from the KCOM Stadium at 9-00am. Cost of the outing £20.

Senior Tigers Meeting on 4th April at the usual time of 13-45pm in the Dugout. This is our regular monthly meeting following a similar format to last season. Guest speakers and more details will appear here nearer the time.

A visit to Holmfirth with the option of taking the 10 mile, 11 seater "Last of the Summer Wine coach tour at an extra cost. 4 of these have been booked.

Then in the afternoon - a tour of the Kirklees (John Smith's) Stadium - home of Huddesfield Town A F C.

There will be plenty of opportunity to have lunch in Holmefirth.

Pick up from the KCOM Stadium at 8-00am. Cost of the outing £17.50 (or £26 with tour inlcuded).

Senior Tigers End of Season Lunch on 2nd May from 12-00pm in the Circle Restaurant. More details and confirmation of the venue will appear here nearer the time..