Away at Wolves
Supporting the tigers for the last 55 years has thrown up lots of heartaches and laughter.
I remember in the 90's going to an away game at Wolves It was a bit special to me as one of my school pals years ago played centre forward for them, Roy Swinbourne. As usual our tigers travel coach was full of mostly 65 yr olds and over. Upon arrival at a car park near to the ground our coach much to our surprise was surrounded by about fifteen or more police officers.We were lined up into 2's in the car park and marched in line across a dual carriageway, stopping all the traffic, much to the amusement of drivers who had been held up to watch the procession.
Much to the amazement of the officers we all held hands some of us who shall remain nameless hitched up our trousers to look like schoolboys and actually skipped, YES SKIPPED, across the 2 carriageways some of the drivers shouting to us "smile your on candid camera". We were at that time the only tigers supporters in sight Then to cap it all the stewards at the turnstiles searched us all including removing our head gear, what they were looking for I do not know. At this stage a 'wag' at the rear of the procession shouted "Bill why is that nit nurse dressed up as a steward?".That made us very popular, the same stewards had the last laugh when confiscating all the bottle tops off our drinks, which was the norm in those days.
Was any of our members on that particular trip ?
Down Memory Lane ...KELLINCS TIGER TOURS
Back in the mid-1960s when our beloved football club did not organise any away match travel there were very limited options of coach transport to support the Tigers away from Boothferry Park. Hence in 1965, yours truly Graham Kellington and Peter Lincoln formed KELLINCS TIGER TOURS to provide supporters with an additional new choice and whilst still at school we ran our first away trip on the 20th November to Shrewsbury Town. The coach was full and the Tigers earned a valuable point with a 2-2 draw (Ian Butler and Waggy) on their way to promotion as the Division Three Champions.
Our first coach excursion included some fans who would much later become members of the Senior Tigers Club, namely Brenda Hammonds (nee Jewitt), Sylvia Kirk (nee Jewitt), Peter Thompson, David Beal and Peter Smurthwaite. Committee member Ernie Addy also travelled on some subsequent trips.
For four successive seasons KELLINCS TIGER TOURS took supporters to away matches all over the country to as far north as Carlisle United, east to Norwich City, south to Crystal Palace and west to Bristol City.
One of the most memorable trips was Easter 1966 when on Good Friday with a full coach of 41 fans we went to Oxford United and bathing in glorious sunshine we saw the Tigers gain a 2-0 victory (Waggy and Ken Houghton). We then moved on to London and an overnight stay at the St. Athans Hotel, Tavistock Place, Russell Square - still open for business - despite one of our lot sitting on a bedroom hand basin, causing it to hang off the wall! The Easter Saturday weather was in direct contrast to the previous day with pro-longed torrential rain causing all of the games in London to be postponed due to waterlogged pitches but for the very lucky exception of the Tigers' match at Brentford. This was helpfully publicised on the pirate station Radio Caroline and our big following of supporters on the open terracing was swelled by lots of Leeds United fans as their fixture at Arsenal was one of the foul weather victims. There was no animosity between the supporters in that era and together we all cheered the Tigers on to another exciting triumph by 4-2 with all of our goals scored by the irrepressible Waggy. The coach fare for this round trip was £2.00 plus another 10 shillings (50 pence) for the B&B accommodation. The whole trip proved to be an enriching adventure for a coach load of teenagers from the north as for many of them it was their first experience of London.
We had lots of fans on the KELLINCS TIGER TOURS coach trips who had also been friends from school and after we had both started work we made new friends with other Tigers supporters who also became regular passengers and who booked on almost every trip we organised. However, although we had a good nucleolus of regular travellers we often still had to work hard to ensure a full coach-load and without any of the current modern day communication or copying facilities we used to laboriously produce lots of type-written small advertising flyers for distribution to supporters on Bunkers Hill to help fill any vacant seats.
The road networks were without the present day motorways and there were very few dual carriageways or by-passes so consequently all journeys took considerably longer than nowadays with our departures to long distance matches usually starting from Hull outside the ABC Cinema, Ferensway at about 11.00pm and those into the Midlands and Lancashire as early as 7.30am. We always used Frostways Coaches based in St. George's Road which was also a pick-up point and it was our normal practice to collect and drop-off fans at many other stages wherever requested en-route - all part of the KELLINCS TIGER TOURS fans luxury service!
Brenda takes up the memories, "We often sang, 'This is the best trip we've ever been on', as we enjoyed our first journey in the Premier League but back in the 1960s we also sang that song in response to the trips organised by our school friends Graham and Peter. Quite a gang of us from South Cave and North Cave travelled the country, not only supporting our favourite team - the TIGERS! - but also meeting new friends and having a great social time. Our regular coach driver was Jack Boulton, known as 'Happy Jack' who became a big friend to many of us. He was very easy-going (he had to be) and he helped us out of a few scrapes by e.g. diverting the coach to pick up a fan from a police station who had been arrested for throwing toilet rolls, going to the A&E in Pontefract to collect two fans hurt in a fight after we had stopped there on a return journey and putting his foot down when the coach was attacked with bricks by Palace yobs!"
Sylvia recalls, "Following the Tigers gave us some exciting matches to watch and great nights out on the way home. At one away game quite a few of us narrowly escaped the clutches of plain clothes policemen who had infiltrated the crowd and found us throwing oranges at our favourite goalkeeper Ian McKechnie. It was all in good fun as Ian had once commented he loved oranges and it became a tradition for our fans to throw loads of them to him at every home and away match but the police took a lot of convincing! 'Happy Jack' drove us thousands of miles and never quibbled about either stopping at public houses on the return journeys or having alcohol on the coach. One of the favoured visits on the way home from journeys south of Bawtry was to the 'White Hart' pub in Thorne, near Doncaster where there was a concert room. We used to completely take over with some of our gang allowed to go on the stage playing the drums and using the microphone to sing a few of the Tigers' songs. We had lots of happy nights in there".
Happy Jack' also helped us to create a very comradely and friendly atmosphere allowing the inside of the coach to be adorned with black and amber scarves, banners, posters etc. Yet there was one rare occasion when even he was not his usual self. This was for our trip to Huddersfield Town on the 27th December 1966 when after we had picked fans up at Welton and knowing we had more of our regulars to collect in the villages from Brough to North Cave he deduced we were going to be seriously overloaded and so refused to drive on any further. A couple of times previously we had had slightly more on-board than the coach could legally carry but on this occasion we were going to have 49 passengers on but with only 41 seats! However, he knew we couldn't notify the fans awaiting being picked up (no mobile phones in those days) and of course we didn't want to let them down so with some gentle persuasion and the persistent chants of 'Happy Jack' ringing in his ears he eventually relented and carried on regardless!
Our long journey to Bristol City in March 1967 had late night departures from Hull and Bristol too to enable us to enjoy a night out in Bristol after the match. We knew there were football pitches in a park close to Ashton Gate so we pre-arranged an early morning 11-side football game against some Bristol City fans before going on to support our respective teams. Afterwards some of our number went to the cinema but were so tired they fell asleep and missed the whole film except for the credits!
John Clutterbrook's vivid recollections are of a big plastic Tiger's head that had once been affixed to an Esso petrol pump when the oil company's slogan was 'Put a Tiger in Your Tank!' John recounts, "In late 1966 I innocently acquired this plastic Tiger's head from a relative although some of my pals strongly accused me of handling stolen property! However, I kept it and fitted it with a battery power-pack and light bulbs and it travelled with me on many away trips with KELLINCS TIGER TOURS.
Standing on the dimly lit terraces I would hold it aloft, especially after the Tigers had scored, and it would be seen brightly illuminated from all parts of each away ground. Unfortunately its final demise was in February 1968 when we played an FA Cup third round, second replay against Middlesbrough at Bootham Crescent, York. It was a capacity attendance and in a massive crowd surge it met with a sad and untimely end by being crushed against a barrier with the head's remains in hundreds of bits of plastic on the terraces."
Whenever our fixtures in the autumn included matches at Preston North End or Blackburn Rovers we would also go on to spend the night in Blackpool and leave at midnight with 'Happy Jack' giving us a full tour of the illuminations. The coach fare for such an extended trip following a five goal thriller at Preston (Waggy and Chillo) in October 1968 was all of 16/6d (or 83 pence)!
Brenda also remembers, "Graham and Peter also formed their own version of a pirate radio station known as RADIO KELLINCS and they produced and recorded record request shows that were broadcasted on the 'Frostways Wavelength', i.e. the coach's loud speaker system. They became a highlight of the trips but they were not so much request shows but opportunities for Graham and Peter to be mischievous with their choice of songs and recipients. Wherever possible they would use the sauciest song titles of the day, e.g. "I Just Want To Make Love To You", "Let's Spend The Night Together", "Then He Kissed Me" and "I Like It" to play so-called requests for guys and gals who were never the perfect match for each other nor had any inclinations of ever being so! I'm sure they had great fun putting it together, and my sister and I (except when the dedications were aimed at us) had great fun listening to it. All in the 'best possible taste' but notwithstanding the abiding titters some serious courtships did develop (whilst others probably perished) with six of our friends and usual rear seat occupants eventually getting married, namely Richard Hill and Ruth Waudby; Pete Featherstone and Margaret Barlow; Brian Swash and Pauline Barlow."
Sylvia finishes, "The trips didn't stop in the football season as KELLINCS TIGER TOURS also ran summer trips to Scarborough - the close seasons were far too long for us all to be separated. Plus also Christmas Eve trips for the cabaret shows at the White Horse Inn Theatre Bar at Hutton Cranswick. When we look back now we remember what fantastic times we had and how lucky we were to be part of the adventure. Thanks to Graham and Peter for all the organisation when they really did give us 'the time of our lives'!"
GREAT TIMES fuelled by an incomparable forward line, loyal supporters and superb friends.
Graham Kellington & Peter Lincoln
My First Match - Alan Tichias
Probably the memory which stands out over anything else in 67 years of watching Hull City would be the first game I attended at Boothferry Park. I was taken by an Uncle and Aunt, both of whom regularly attended matches.
It was in April 1949, the Third Division (North) match against Stockport County. The result was a 6 - 1 victory, which clinched promotion to the Second Division.
I don't remember too much about the actual game although I am still able to recite the names of the team and know that Raich Carter scored two of the goals.
What I do recall quite clearly was the crowd, there were just short of 40,000 spectators, I had never seen such a crowd. But the abiding memory was of sitting on planks of wood placed on the running track around the pitch. Not only that but I was just to one side of the North Stand goal and was almost within touching of my all-time hero Billy Bly.
I was from that time a committed Hull City fan, I still have the Black and Amber scarf that my Aunt bought me for that game, and although there have been several more scarves since then I still treasure that one.
Over the years I have witnessed many highs and quite a few lows, but I don't think any of them have quite matched up to my first Hull City match.
1966 FA Cup Hull City v Chelsea - Rob Milner
Although I'd been to my first match at Boothferry Park a year or two previously, the first game of any significance that I can recall is the famous FA Cup sixth round against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge in March 1966.
A group of four school mates at Hull Grammar School all aged 14, decided to make the trip, by rail, although I cannot recall whose original idea it was. My companions were Rob Carmichael, Geoff Close and Kev Tock, and I seem to think it was Kev who guided us on the journey, including travelling on the underground - it certainly wasn't me, as I would have been clueless, and we'd probably have ended up at the wrong ground!!
As for the match itself, every City fan over a certain age will know that we snatched a 2-2 draw, courtesy of two goals from Waggy in the last ten minutes, which sent the Tiger fans wild with delight.
The journey home was full of anticipation about how many we would put past Chelsea in the replay; it was also memorable for Rob C., who was a big lad for his age, managing to get served with several cans of Double Diamond in the buffet carriage. If my memory is correct, I seem to think we managed to get back home in time to watch some highlights on a 14" television.
As for the replay, the match itself didn't fulfil our dreams. Amazingly, it seemed about half of Hull Grammar left school early!! We arrived at Boothferry Park around 4.30pm and finally got into the ground around 7.15pm, some of our group to be seated on benches around the pitch. Although the game was well lost 1-3, at least we scored the best goal of the match - a 30 yard thunderbolt from Chris Simpkin.
Rob Milner, Hedon
PS. I am still in contact with Geoff Close, but I would love to see Rob Carmichael and Kevin Tock. If anyone can help, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Memories of Boothfery Park - Gordon Towse
My memories of Boothferry Park stretch back to the late 1940's. I remember vividly the Raich Carter days, his skill on the ball and how he taunted the opposition with his foot on the ball, totally directing operations. Of course he had skilful wingers in Eddie Burbanks and Ken Harrison. I remember our first overseas player was Viggo Jensen- he was a magnificent all round player. Long serving goalkeeper Billy Bly made many memorable saves.
The installation of the first floodlights at Boothferry Park along the East and West stands, mans the gasps of amazement when they were brought to full power, it was just like daylight!! The advent of floodlights brought many interesting friendly games against British and Continental opposition, it brought the game to a new era.
The first time I ever worked a turnstile at Boothferry Park was at the South Stand on 11th December 1965 for the visit of Bristol Rovers when the attendance was 16,349. The next match was on Boxing Day 1965 when the attendance was 40,231 for the visit of Millwall. On turnstile 13, I admitted 1292 at 4/- ( £258.40 in today's money) and most of it was in silver which meant a lot of counting.
My First Match - Peter Wilson
I was 10 years old in 1948 when Jack Rudd ( later to become my brother-in-law ) took me to watch my first Hull City game at Boothferry Park, it was also Raich Carter's first game in charge of the Tigers. It was magic!
Later that season I was lucky to be taken again by Jack to watch the Manchester Utd FA Cup game. I remember us lads being allowed to sit on the other side of the barrier on the track around the pitch.
I was sat near the East stand corner flag. During the game, Hull City got a corner and Eddie Burbanks came across to take it. He placed the ball and stepped back and in doing so stood on my foot, he turned round ruffled my hair and said "sorry son" then took the corner.
I have been a passionate supporter ever since.
Becoming a Tigers fan - Richard Bays
My Dad used to take me to reserve games at first - always enjoyed the half time crisps - this would be around 1950.
My first experience of the first team, also with my dad, was around the 1952/53 season. Can't recall the actual game but I think it was Blackburn (remember the Blue and White shirts), was a big crowd as well and we won.
Started going on my own and with mates around 55/56 when I was 11 (something you can't do now). Have stood or sat in all areas of the Arc and have lots of fond memories (I mislay the bad memories and can't remember where I put them).
Had my first season pass when I was 16 (A standing pass) and then a seat pass in the best stand at 21 (with my Dad and best friend)
Love the KCOM for the amenities and comfort, but mainly for the success we have had there. So totting up have been a Tiger fan for around 60 years and a pass holder for 50+ years. Despite all the recent negatives, still loving it.
Hope I have now earned my stripes.
Steve Bruce - Hull City Legend - A tribute by David Osgerby
It feels like a bereavement;
Yes, Stevie Bruce has gone.
The heart has gone from our club.
Now we must soldier on.
Four years to make a legend.
We’re going to miss you, Steve.
I read the news with disbelief.
Did you really have to leave?
Twice you worked your miracles and took the Tigers up.
Then came that day at Wembley, when we nearly won the Cup.
But it’s Steve the man we’re going to miss for his honesty and grace,
He told the truth, he backed his team. How can anyone take his place?
He took us into Europe, we Tigers were so proud,
And when you sing Steve Bruce’s name, be sure to sing it loud.
The finest boss we’ve ever had, he reputation is secure,
Steve Bruce we’ll miss you, we thank you, your legend will endure.
Addiction is something that can be very destructive in anyone’s life. Drugs, alcohol, etc., can kill. My addiction though has left me in a reasonable state of health but instead quite often penniless.
Hull City is my addiction. I was first taken to watch the Tigers at the age of eight in 1957 and though it was not love at first sight by the early 1960's I was smitten. Initially, I was a regular at home matches and then in February 1965 a whole new world opened up for me, the away match. I was allowed by mother to travel on a day excursion from Paragon to see City play at Carlisle United. Though it was a bitterly cold day that ended with a 0-0 draw (City though had a goal chalked off because the linesman said the ball had crossed the dead ball line prior to being crossed and put in the net) I was hooked on the away day with City.
Gradually I increased the number of away games I went to but then I hit a major stumbling block which was finance. I could not keep asking mother for her hard earned cash. So I hit on the idea of hitching to games. I could probably pin down the first match I hitched to by looking carefully at the fixture lists of the mid 1960's but it is of little consequence as needless to say I was soon a dedicated ‘thumber’ along the Queen's Highway.
I could ramble through the many excursions I enjoyed, or endured but I thought it best to describe a couple of excursions taken in the late 1960's. Two eventful trips come to mind, one because I hitched with a friend Pete Lincoln, which still raises a chuckle between us even though over forty-five years have passed since the trip, and the second an equally eventful trip because it proved totally disastrous.
Cardiff City v Hull City on 22nd March 1968
I do not know how this madcap idea came about, hitch-hiking away to Cardiff for a match on the Friday evening, but we did. We set off from Fiveways roundabout on the day before the match. We made good progress and two lifts saw us just north of Sandy at the junction of the A1 and A421 which stretched westwards towards Oxford, Swindon and ultimately Wales. Almost immediately after our second lift dropped us off we were picked up by an American military chap who was stationed at one the US air bases in the area. I elected to sit up front of this large American car he was driving. It had a bench front seat, as was the custom with American cars of that era, and the car was exceptionally long and wide. It was very dark and the man sets off as if he was demented as he completely ignored any speed limits or hazards on the single carriageway road. He would pull out from vehicles in front of him with complete abandon to see if he could overtake. I, of course, would see the oncoming traffic before him. He twice reached a speed in excess of 100 m.p.h.!
It scared the pants off me but he reassured us with a phrase uttered in a strong Texas drawl, “I know this road like the back of my hand”. These words still raise a laugh between Peter and me after all these years. The fourth and last lift of this first day was by way of stark contrast – we sat in the back of a blood transfusion van upon rattling crates containing empty glass blood donor bottles. This took us as far as the Oxford ring road where we breathed sighs of relief at having made it in one piece and by this time it was well past 10.00 p.m. so we decided to stop for the night.
Unrolling our sleeping bags we promptly laid down for the night in some bushes in the middle of a roundabout. The next morning we set off and made very good time and reached Cardiff in the early afternoon. As the match was a Friday night game we decided to look for a B&B to stay in for the night after the game. It proved to be somewhat difficult as the Welsh rugby union team were playing the French at Cardiff Arms Park the next day in the Five Nations Championship. In fact this was the reason the football was on the Friday evening. After finally finding a bed for the night we dropped our rucksacks off and went to the game. It was worth all the effort as we won 3-2 with a goal from Waggy and two from Ray Henderson one of which I recall as being an overhead kick. Mind you Cardiff did make it somewhat easier for us as on the Tuesday of that week they had had a European Cup-winners Cup Quarter Final tie at Torpedo Moscow so they were probably not at their best mentally or physically.
After the match we had a few celebratory beers and leaving the pub at closing time we made our way back to the B&B only to find the crafty Welsh landlady said there had been a terrible error and she had double booked our room by mistake. Mistake my foot. She had sold our beds to some French rugby fans. She knew that she had us over a barrel as we would not find alternative accommodation at that time of night so we were forced to accept sleeping on camp beds in the kitchen.
The next morning we were then woken up at 6.00 a.m. as some lorry drivers who were staying there wanted to be away early. I have hated the Welsh since that day! As we had an early start we made good progress back home helped by a very nice couple who not only dropped us off at Sutton Coldfield which is to the north of Birmingham but also bought us a meal. Our last lift which was back into Hull was from a driver who was obviously related to the madman from the USA who we had encountered on the Thursday evening. This time it was Peter’s turn to need a change of underpants occupying the front passenger seat. This was another mad driver who again seemingly broke every rule of the Highway Code, for e.g. overtaking on the double white lined ‘S’ bends road leading out of Rawcliffe (near Goole) in a mad dash to get to Paragon Station in time to pick his girlfriend up off the train.
Apart from the lifts off the Stig's relatives and the Welsh landlady's underhand behaviour it was a great trip as we had seen City win away from home. The whole experience cost us each about 30 shillings (£1.50) the bulk of which was 17s and 6d (80 pence) for the lodgings and Waggy gave us complimentary match tickets.
Portsmouth v Hull City on 8th February 1969
By 1969 I was at university in Manchester. Manchester was chosen for two reasons, one because I could get home relatively easy, and two you could watch a football match somewhere in the Greater Manchester area on most evenings. When City were at home I would hitch-hike home on the Friday afternoon complete with dirty washing for mother to sort out. My university friends all thought I was mad as we had the European Cup holders just down the road complete with Best, Charlton, Crerand, Stepney, etc. But let’s face it a true supporter does not change his or her allegiance over such minor things.
City were away at Portsmouth at the beginning of February 1969 and it seemed at the time a good idea to hitch-hike there. So on the Friday, the day before the game I caught the train to Altrincham to start hitch-hiking along the A56 which led you down to the incomplete M6. You have to remember at that time that the motorway network was very fragmented, in fact coming home to Hull on a Friday at that time was a problem as the M62 was only complete westwards from Hull as far as Outlane near Huddersfield.
It was starting to snow as I left my flat in Levenshulme but by the time I reached Altrincham it had developed into a full blown blizzard. The traffic was nose to tail and almost gridlocked. I found I was hitching along the road into the teeth of a blizzard as well as moving faster than the traffic I was trying to entice a lift off! Luckily I got a lift which took me as far south as Gloucester. Unfortunately the weather conditions had meant it had taken us till after teatime to get there.
The temperature was dropping rapidly by then and it was impossible to get a lift. I took refuge in a pub so as to warm up. By the time I came out the roads and pavements were sheet ice and almost impossible to walk on without falling over. After near freezing to death by the side of the Gloucester inner ring road for a couple of hours I gave up trying to get a lift and got into my sleeping bag. I laid it down on a park bench behind some public conveniences. Though I had a top class sleeping bag I do not think I ever been so cold in all of my life.
The next morning I awoke to a bright sunny day and very slowly I moved south. As an aside it is amazing how you often connect events or places in your life with certain songs. As an example I always associate the song, 'Simple Simon Says' with a hike to a midweek game at Norwich where we won 2-0. And whenever I hear, 'Where Do You Go To My Lovely?' by Peter Sarstedt this reminds me of the trip to Portsmouth as it was in the charts at the time and seemed to be playing on the radio of every lift I got that weekend.
After lifts in an ice cream van and a horse-box I arrived at Eastleigh which is some twenty miles North West of Portsmouth at about 2.00 p.m. I realised I was cutting it close for getting to the game in time. Then a guy in his brand new sports car stopped and even though he was not originally going to Fratton he offered to take me there. Off we zoomed. Unfortunately we hit a traffic jam a few miles down the road. The traffic was gridlocked. The sports car driver reluctantly had to drop me off and turn around. By then it was about 2.45p.m. and I was still about 15 miles from the ground. I was panicking. I walked along the road and found a railway station. Then luck ran out on me one last time. I just missed the train to Portsmouth. After waiting for an hour for the next train I arrived at Fratton Park just in time to see a couple of minutes play and hear the final whistle blow in a 1-0 defeat.
Utter dejection. I had missed kick-offs before, in fact I am renowned for it, but never had I previously missed the whole game. I walked back to Fratton station where I found I just had enough money for a single fare back to Manchester. Funny really because I could have probably got a day return from Manchester to Portsmouth for about the same price! By this time I was starving but had no money left for food. However, on boarding the train I found I was sharing it as far as Waterloo with the City team. Cliff Britton the then manager on hearing of my story invited me to share the team’s large picnic hamper provided for their tea. A true gentleman. Older readers will remember the Sports Mail used to carry a weekly article called 'What you are Wondering?’ The next week a couple of lines asked, “What was the City fan thinking when he arrived at Portsmouth in time to hear the final whistle?” I presume Brian Taylor the superb Hull City reporter for the Mail at the time, who was on the train, put it in.
Footnotes on that dismal trip. There were only four matches in the whole of the Football League played that day and Portsmouth versus Hull City was one of them. The highlights of our match were shown Sunday afternoon on Yorkshire TV. Also the night I slept out was the coldest night in Gloucester at the time since records began.
CITY FANS MAKE A SPLASH IN LONDON
It was a beautiful opening Spring-time morning on the 21st March 1970 and the Tigers’ fixture that afternoon was away to Millwall at their notorious Den.
The away coaches that I and most fellow fans regularly travelled on for any long distance matches south of Bawtry usually departed about 11.30pm from outside of the YEB showrooms in Ferensway. A much slower journey by today’s standards had us arriving in London normally around 6.30am and we were dropped off outside the Houses of Parliament where we similarly re-boarded the coach at a likewise departure time of 11.30pm. (The coach fare being all of 30/- to 35/-).
Thus the many away trips to London not only enabled us to support the Tigers but also afforded us the opportunities to do plenty of sight-seeing. There were no bag searches or bombings to fear and for e.g. Downing Street was always open to walk down whatever the time and pose for a photograph with the sole and agreeable Police Constable standing outside the door at number 10.
On this particular morning I was with another four regular City fans, being Ian White, Paul Spavold, Arthur Smith and Dick Marr. Unfortunately I lost touch many years ago with Arthur and sadly Dick has passed on. However, both Ian and Paul have always remained loyal to the cause and are signed-up to the current thoroughly mis-guided membership scheme.
We had previously visited many of the sites and buildings on earlier trips, e.g. Trafalgar Square, Palace of Westminster, Saint Paul’s Cathedral, etc. but had never visited Regent’s Park. Hence, after breakfast in an adopted Wimpey Bar (forerunners to McDonalds?) we decided to put the record straight as it was such a pleasant sunny morning.
By the time we arrived into the park it was mid-morning and it was already well populated with plenty of fellow sightseers and locals. We thought we would begin our little tour with a lakeside walk and we were soon attracted to a boat-house from where rowing boats could be hired. We thought what a good idea it would be to hire a couple of boats for a nice ride around the lake but unfortunately each boat had only a capacity for two people. However, Paul quickly declared himself to be a strict land-lubber and rapidly withdrew his interest. This left Ian and I to share a boat whilst Dick and Arthur took the second one.
The boats’ hulls appeared quite shallow. There was a seat for the oars person and another at the stern for the second ‘crew member’ to use the rope guidelines attached to the rudder for steering purposes. The oars rested in oarlocks which in turn were extended on outboard riggers.
We set together off together in jovial spirits for a leisurely one hour ride around the lake. However, we soon split off meandering into different directions and after about half of our designated time we slowly came across Dick and Arthur simply drifting whilst enjoying their home-made sandwiches. As we slowly rowed away again from them I called out, “Come on lads, catch us up!” Dick who was in the rowing seat quickly leaned and stretched right across to his port side rigger to reach out and grab hold of the oar but in so doing promptly capsized the boat!
Fortunately they were able to swim to the lakeside where they were both greeted, not with any sympathy from a startled crowd, but with shrieks of laughter from many passers-by and particularly from a rotund lady of obvious Caribbean origin and her similarly colourfully dressed tribe of kids who were prattling all around her. Their volume increased into a crescendo of noise when Arthur realised his City scarf was still entwined with the rudder’s guidelines and he swam back to recover it!
Soaking wet through they trundled back to the boat-house whilst we tentatively rowed back to forewarn the boat operator of the mishap. I can never forget Paul’s reaction when he heard of what had happened which was exactly as he had earlier jokingly predicted. He leaned against the nearest tree trunk thumping it with a clenched fist whilst doubled-up with laughter and tears streaming down his face.
We found our way out of the park and luckily got some quick directions from a passing beat-bobby as to the whereabouts of the nearest launderette. Upon approach I noticed some big signs around the windows all of the same type, each bearing a picture of a little yellow chick chirping the words, “Look your Chic fresh for Easter!” (it being the next weekend).
We all entered the shop which was extremely busy with, not surprisingly, lots of women using the washing and drying machines. The two ladies who were in charge behind the counter were acquainted with what had happened and they together with many of their customers also found the episode highly amusing with laughter gathering apace with as the story unfolded.
So much so, that their immediate suspicions were that it was a Jonathan Routh “Candid Camera” stunt which was a popular ITV show in that era. However, we convinced them it was reality and not fiction with Dick’s waterlogged watch, stopped at 11.10am, serving as evidence of the precise time of the capsize.
Amidst all the laughter the two ladies readily agreed that Dick and Arthur could use the private toilet cubicle behind their counter to take off all of their sodden clothes and footwear. It was very tiny but the very heavily built Dick and the much slimmer Arthur shoe-horned themselves into it and slowly but surely all their clothing came out for transfer into two spin driers. I have vivid memories of taking the last batch from them with big Dick sat on the toilet pan and skinny Arthur precariously perched upon his left knee – both completely starkers! -- and there we left them for a full hour’s drying programme whilst most fortuitously we other three could spend the time inside the next door pub!
Henceforth, an hour later Dick and Arthur got re-dressed into their relatively dried out clothing and shoes and we paid a quick visit into the next door pub again to enable them to quaff some much needed whiskies after which we set off to go to the match. With little time to spare we eventually arrived outside the Den in time to greet the arrival of our team coach outside the Players’ entrance.
Mr Brian Taylor the highly respected Hull Daily Mail/Sports Mail sports journalist had travelled on the coach too and having known him for some time I was able to quickly attract his attention before he also disappeared via the Officials’ entrance. I described to Brian what had happened and in-turn he wired the story back to Hull.
In those days when the paper’s multiple editions were all printed in the Jameson Street premises the story caught the Daily Mail’s final edition of the day making the front page and bearing the sub-headline, “City Fans Make A Splash In London!”
Footnote: The Tigers won the match 2-1 with a brace from Ken Houghton --- happy days!
Memories of Boothferry Park - Dave Jackson
Remembering my early days watching Hull City at Boothferry Park, when as a lad you waited for the toss up to find out which way the Tigers were kicking. If you wanted to wanted to watch the team attacking you raced around the ground to get behind the opposition's goal.Then at half time you raced round to the other end.
At half time you waited for the half time results to be shown on the ABC boards that were diagonally opposite, each along the East and West stands. You had to look at your programme to see which teams ABC represented. No such thing as anyone announcing the results.
Going to one of the wooden tea huts to get a steaming drink of Bovril most welcoming on a cold Saturday afternoon.
Standing on Bunkers Hill in the teaming rain, in winter stamping your feet to try and get some heat or circulation back into them.
Can you remember how much it was to transfer into the Well back in 1955/60?
For those not familiar the Well was the standing area below the West Stand either side of where the players came onto the pitch.
I remember one particular afternoon waiting for the bus opposite the Red Lion in Anlaby ( I was waiting for my mate Allan Nicholson who was on the bus from Swanland) when this red sports car pulled up asked if I was going to the match and did I want a lift. I couldn't believe that Waggy had just offered to take me to the game. My reply would you believe was "thanks for the offer but I am waiting for my mate". When I got on the bus and told Allan, he called me a bloody fool and went on to say if the roles had been reversed he would have gone with Waggy (some mate). I can also recall Mr Kirk, the Chairman of Haltemprise Supporters Club, walking around the pitch before kick off with a Tiger under his arm showing it to the crowd then placing it on the centre spot. When he pulled the Tigers tail it would give out a roar.
Do you remember the hundreds of bicycles left in a huge heap on the North stand car park during the game, no one lost their bikes and everyone seemed to find their own without much difficulty after the game.
That's all for now
Mike Phelan - A tribute by David Osgerby
Between a rock and a hard place,
Following a well-loved face,
Couldn't really last the pace.
Given an impossible job to do,
No cash to bring in someone new
A victim of a bloodless coup
So, who comes next? What's the plan?
Who's to be the chosen man?
Who can possibly do better than
By David Osgerby 2017
Song For Hull City - Nora Jones
My love for football started up
With England's '66 world cup
A young girl, expectations high,
I thought I'd give my team a try,
So I knitted a scarf and for a lark,
Went with my mates to Boothferry Park.
And that was it - I loved it all!
The thrill of the Tigers' match day call.
Through thick and thin I've followed my team
Wept the tears, dreamed the dream.
Managers have come and gone
But fans and players carry on.
We saw three teams win promotion
Led by Ashbee's tough devotion.
But I never thought I'd see the day
I'd walk with pride down Wembley Way.
So glad to be amongst that crowd
To cheer when Deano did us proud!
And last year's team's determination
With Captain Dawson's motivation
Gained us the Premiership again;
This time to stay we hoped- in vain?
Good times are sadly in the past
The spirit's gone - it couldn't last.
No atmosphere, no Tiger Bright,
No buzz before a cup match night.
All we have before the game starts
Are empty seats and heavy hearts.
We're scattered now from where we sat
The membership's put paid to that.
We've moved stands after so long;
Don't really feel that I belong.
Staunch City fan for fifty years;
I'm left with memories and tears.
We sit and mouth a silent song,
Ask, 'Where did it all go wrong?'
The answer's clear and known to all;
The fans' backs are against the wall.
We know what's wrong and what we lack.
Money for players, concessions back,
Renew our badge, restore our name
Bring the pride back to our game!
Owners who care, a new beginning,
All these things and we'll be singing!
Ours IS to reason why-
For we are CITY 'til we die!
Nora (Nodge) Jones
Recently it has been announced that World Cup hero, Nobby Stiles is unwell, suffering from Alzheimer’s, which has affected him for quite a few years.
I had the pleasure of spending an evening with Nobby back in 2002 when I was club captain at Ganstead Park Golf Club. One of the usual expectations of the club captain is to organise a sportsman’s dinner during the year, but I decided it would not be ‘over-milking’ it, if I arranged two such occasions.
I liaised with Malcolm Lord (no, not Mally, ex Hull City) who is well known in the north of England for pulling these sorts of events together. Malcolm is quite a comic in his own right, with a wealth of sporting stories, that he recounts at gatherings of like-minded people – usually blokes.
Anyway, for the first dinner, we settled on Steve Kindon, former Burnley player, and then an excellent and very popular after dinner speaker, who also answered to the nickname of ‘Tank’. I’d seen and met Tank a couple of times before, so I knew how good he was. Then Malcolm offered Nobby Stiles for the other date, and I couldn’t say ‘yes’ fast enough. Just think, one of England’s all-time sporting heroes, a key member of Sir Alf Ramsey’s 1966 world cup winning team, was going be speaking at Ganstead Park Golf Club, and I would be sitting next to him. What an honour!! (for me that is, if not for Nobby).
So, ticket sales went well, which was very important, bearing in mind that any proceeds were destined for my chosen charities for that year. The big night was upon us and, as anyone who has arranged one of these things will understand, I was a bit on edge until I knew everything was in place. Will Malcolm and Nobby get here on time? No problems on the M62 or elsewhere on the journey from Lancashire to East Yorkshire? Will all the guests turn up, especially those who had elected to pay on the night? Will the food be OK? And so on.
Well, everyone turned up and we all began to have some nice pre-dinner drinks; I had not touched any alcohol up to this point. By the time we sat down to eat I was quite happy that things were going according to plan, and I could relax. Food seemed to go down well, Malcolm and Nobby had their parts sorted out and I had said my piece at the beginning, so the only outstanding functions I had to perform were the usual thankyou’s after dinner, and to pay Malcolm and Nobby with the cheques I had organised earlier in the week and which the club secretary had prepared for me for the night. Aaaaaaaarrrrggghhhhh!!! I had forgotten to organise the two cheques for Malcolm and Nobby. I almost choked on a mouthful of food as I realised my error. “You OK, Rob, you look a bit pale” enquired Nobby. “Oh, fine thanks Nobby” said I, with my brain working overtime. Then, thankfully, after consulting my very able vice captain, Bill Orr (himself a Hull City supporter for many years) we worked out how the issue could be resolved.
I mentioned earlier that many people end up paying for their ticket(s) on the night, so this meant I had about four pockets full of readies – surely enough to pay off Malcolm and Nobby later on. A quick escape to a backroom, count the dosh and heave a sigh of relief as I have plenty. Back to the table and continue to ‘relax’ but without getting as ‘relaxed as a newt’!!. However, the story doesn’t end there.
I duly paid Malcolm and Nobby and wished them a safe journey back to Lancashire, while many of us continued ‘relaxing’. After the better part of an hour, I received a call from Malcolm. Have they broken down? Been a problem on the M62? Couldn’t get out of Yorkshire without their passports? No such thing. “Rob, Nobby’s not too happy – you short-changed him fifty quid!!” reported Malcolm. Oh no, my efforts to relax must have adversely affected my ability to count!! “ Tell Nobby I’m ever so sorry, and there’ll be a cheque on its way to him tomorrow” I told Malcolm.
It was a great evening, but I feel sure that Nobby would have thought of me as the cheating Yorkshire bugger, who tried to short-change him!! I saw Malcolm a couple times over the next few years and, fortunately, we were able to laugh off the incident, although I still have a vision of Nobby showing me his studs as he moves in to tackle me!!
I wish Nobby Stiles and his family all the best during these difficult times, and I continue to hold happy memories of the time I met a sporting hero.
Club Captain 2002
Ganstead Park Golf Club
From October 1971 until August 1975 I worked for the Bailey Organisation, the nightclub business which had opened in Hull in September 1971, on the top of the Co-op building, which had previously operated as the Skyline Ballroom.
In my role as Sales & Promotions Manager I was instrumental in organising party bookings, charity nights, dinner dances, boxing shows and the like. ‘Bums on seats’ was the name of the game.
In early 1974 Hull City was still under the stewardship of former Arsenal player Terry Neill who had joined the club as player/manager in June 1970, and around that time a plan was put in place to hold Hull City’s inaugural Player of the Season evening at Baileys in the summer of 1974. I met up with Terry on several occasions to hammer out details.
When the event took place, the winner was announced as local lad Malcolm (Mally) Lord. One member of the presentation team onstage was Radio Humberside’s David Gredington, who had been lined up to conduct an interview with the trophy winner.
It’s fair to say that the interview did not go exactly according to plan, as David immediately called the winner ‘Wally’ instead of Mally. At first those of us looking on assumed it was a slip of the tongue, but the error continued even after Mally himself attempted to put David right, although he just ploughed on regardless of numerous other signals, and attempts to get him to correct his continuous mistake.
To his credit, I believe Malcolm Lord went along with things, probably giving up on correcting David after trying several times. A few of us wondered if it had been a private joke, or if David had over-indulged in the falling-down juice which was flowing quite liberally (not for me – I was working!!). To this day, I don’t know the answer, although I have bumped into Malcolm a couple of times at golf dinners. Next time I see him, I must ask.
Not long after the event Terry Neill left the Tigers, to take up the manager’s job at Tottenham, succeeding the great Bill Nicholson.
Area Sales & Promotions Manager 1971-75
The Bailey Organisation
PS. Trick question. Who was the first recipient of Hull City’s Player of the Year trophy in 1974.
Answer – James Milner (not the current Liverpool player, but my son, James, who was born in May 1974 and kind of held the trophy when aged about two months, and propped up on our sofa!!)
Now let me take you back in time to 1974.
City versus Sunderland, 3-1 the final score.
The first goal: Scorer: Hawley. Hear the North Stand roar.
The greatest goal the Boothferry Park faithful ever saw.
It was like watching Brazil. It was poetry in motion,
Scored for us by a man who played with talent and devotion.
An amateur. The last there was. John Hawley was that man.
Can I name another like him? I don't think that I can.
Forty years before Delap, he had a mighty throw.
The last amateur to play the game; we had to let him go,
But folk like us remember. Folk like us recall.
He may be a bit of an antique now, but he could smack that ball!
So, raise a glass to our John Hawley. Last of a famous line.
I wish I had a time machine to travel back in time.
I'd go back under the North stand clock to watch that goal again,
To dwell in football pleasure, and forget about football pain.
By David Osgerby
There is a sport for older folk. Walking football is its name.
It’s a passion for all of us who still yearn to play the game.
It makes us feel nineteen again, and where’s the harm in that?
It even helps to keep you fit, and burns off excess fat.
We meet each Monday, put on our kit, and shed maybe forty years.
We go back to our younger days, reliving our souvenirs
of long past times when we were young, and we could really play,
And now we do, (but slower though), not quite like yesterday.
We pass the ball about, we laugh, and sometimes we will fall,
but usually we bounce back up, and chase that bouncing ball.
And in going back, we learn a lot. How good it is to play.
We don’t know how long our season lasts, or when’s that final day,
But while we can, we’ll walk quite fast and chase that bouncing ball,
and laugh and joke, and just have fun. That’s why we play. That’s all.
The sun didn’t shine, but we didn’t care.
It was simply a privilege just being there.
We were walking on sunshine. Higher than kites.
The night before; we had sleepless nights.
We strutted our stuff, as we seized the day.
The whistle blew, and we were on our way.
Ten minutes of glory for some aging wrecks.
We loved being there. It was better than sex.
Rob scored the first ( it was laid on a plate )
For him, not a good goal- it was totally great!
But we got one back, as Derek slid in.
One all and the crowd made a fabulous din.
So we did our Jimmy Bullard goal routine,
which made the crowd laugh; it made quite a scene.
But the game was drawing to its close,
and the whistle blew, as the North stand rose
and cheered us off, with smiles on our faces,
When the walking footballers went through their paces.
Will we do it again? Who knows? It’s not tough.
So, come and have a go, if you think you’re old enough!
From the Airco Arena to the KCOM Stadium in four short months – who would have thought it?!!
The Senior Tigers walking football group began playing on 3rd November last year and I believe all of us were taking a leap into the unknown, as this format is still relatively new. However, after those tentative early steps, we soon ‘found our feet’ and in March we played in our first tournament, at York, when competing against teams which had a much younger average age than us, and were also very well practised and much better organised on the pitch. It is fair to say the event was a steep learning curve for us!!
When the York date was arranged we were also told that there was a possibility that we might be invited to put on a ten-minute exhibition game at half-time during the Tigers game against Burnley. For any footballer, regardless of age or ability, the opportunity to kick a ball on a league football ground is a mouth-watering prospect. (I am fortunate enough to have played in a friendly game at Deepdale, the home of Preston North End, during the eighties, made possible as the surface was artificial at the time).
So, the weeks passed by and the Burnley game began to loom large. Ollie gave us our instructions at our regular Monday morning session at the beginning of the week. This involved meeting up early at the Arena to get our kit on, then putting on our coats and trousers, and taking up our seats in various parts of the ground, to watch the first half hour of the game. With instructions to gather at the north-west tunnel, ten minutes before half-time, this was going to be a challenge for a bunch of old blokes, without maps and compasses and, due to the time, unable to navigate by the stars. However, with a couple of exceptions, we managed to get to where we needed to be, at the appointed time, to be led into the bowels of the stadium, so that we could remove our coats and trousers, revealing the football kit underneath – half of us in white Tigers Trust tee shirts, half in black.
When we were called into the tunnel that leads onto the pitch, I remember saying to one of the guys, that I felt a bit like one of Russell Crowe’s mates as they trotted out into the Coliseum in the film ‘Gladiator’!! Ollie told us to have a kickabout while the pitch was being marked out, and I did consider waving to the south stand, where my grandson and son-in-law were seated, but decided to remain low profile …… with my yellow day-glo trainers on!!
Soon, it was kick-off time and we were under the spotlight. I remember team-mate Tony suggesting to me to go up front, while he volunteered to take up the high energy role in the middle. I didn’t need any persuading, and I had also carefully avoided having the goalkeeper’s bib thrown at me (refer to the York tournament!!).
As for the game itself, it seemed to pass by very quickly, as ten minutes usually does. The possibility of scoring the first goal was not lost on me, nor was its significance, and soon the ball came to me from the left and I stretched out a leg, making reasonable contact propelling the ball goalwards. My arms began to go up in celebration, as I thought there was enough power in my deft touch to beat the opposing ‘keeper, but no, Dave Jackson made a fine save and my arms came down double quick as I hoped that no-one had noticed my premature celebration.
However, my disappointment was short-lived and a minute or two later I latched onto a pass and, from some distance, lashed a right-footer to the back of the net. My celebration was muted, although deep down I was dead chuffed. There was another decent chance that came my way, from which I only managed to get my socks and shorts wet and muddy, and near the end Derek scored a deserved equaliser which made the 1-1 result quite appropriate. Derek’s goal triggered a version of the Jimmy Bullard celebration at the Etihad, which itself had mimicked Phil Brown’s famous half-time rant at the same ground a year earlier. I had forgotten the plan when I scored, then missed the celebration following Derek’s goal, as I was welcoming Rory the Tiger onto the pitch as a substitute.
Then the final whistle sounded and we all shook hands and displayed the kind of sportsmanship that the fans would associate with mature, ‘well-rounded’ footballers. What did strike me during the game was the way the crowd became engaged with what was going on; hearing a few cheers and some applause was very heartening. As I came off the pitch I reflected on how I had played football on the same pitch as greats such as Dozy Altidore and U571 (German sub aka Nick Proschwitz) and I wished I could turn the clocks back about forty years.
When I returned to my seat in the south stand, I raised my bright yellow boots to my section; my grandson, Elliot, congratulated me on my long range goal but quickly reminded me that I had also missed two other chances, bringing me back down to earth with a bang!!
(Rob Milner – the First Player to Score a Goal at the KCOM Stadium in the Walking Football Format, February 2017)
We've been at it for some time now,
And it's coming along quite well.
We're getting slicker. A little bit quicker,
And the teamwork's beginning to gel.
We still grunt and groan in the warm up,
And the old legs continue to ache.
But improvement's the name of the game now,
Some more practice is all it will take.
Dave B plays like an old veteran,
But Dave C is the cream of the crop.
Seven goals in one game back on Monday!
Tell me, where is he going to stop?
If Campbell and Hernandez don't measure up,
He'll probably get in the first team.
He's our most improved Senior player,
And we hold him in highest esteem.
So, if it's a Monday, and you've got nowt to do,
Why not come and give us a shout.
You'll be entertained, you'll probably laugh,
And you might want to play. Check us out.
So, salute David Cormack, our seven goal man.
He's made of the sternest of stuff. And remember our
Motto if you possibly can.
Come and have a go if you think you're old enough.
By David Osgerby
Wembley Trip – Friday 10th November 2017 - England v Germany
All the names of the walking football regulars went into the hat and the lucky four came out, winning a trip to Wembley, by courtesy of the Tigers Trust, to see England play Germany, with transport provided. It doesn’t get much better, does it, playing the four times, and current, world champions, on home turf.
So, the gang of four – Dave Jackson, Denis Mills, Clive Musson and your writer, Rob Milner - met up just after midday and set off on the journey to the capital.
Our mode of transport was an EYMS coach – well, a large minibus to be more accurate, that looked like it had been to the moon and back!! No on-board toilet which, of course, removes that safety net needed on long journeys, for anyone who may not have 100% bladder control – normally the very young, the very old and ….. the very drunk!! As this was a ‘dry’ trip and our young travelling companions appeared to have at least reached puberty, the group most at risk was the four pensioners at the front of the bus!! Collectively we wished there was a plumber on board – to deal with any leaks!!
We need not have worried, our two drivers were happy to make pit-stops as required, so we had an incident-free drive to Wembley, arriving at the Pink Parking Zone in good time. When getting off the bus, Denis commented on how cold it was, expecting a Mediterranean climate, as we were 200 miles further south. My friends were also concerned that I was able to negotiate the rough surface of the car park, even with aid of a walking stick. No problem I reassured them, before we made our way to the stadium, up several flights of steps to get to the concourse, whereupon I purchased my usual four programmes, plus an extra one.
We waited outside the appropriate turnstiles for the best part of an hour, until they were opened at 6.30pm. Denis was still feeling the chill night, but Clive kept us all warmed up with his many stories of experiences working overseas for many years. It was like having Rudyard Kipling or Alan Whicker at our side!! Eventually, after waiting patiently like a bunch of drinkers waiting for the pub to open, or a group of benefit claimants waiting for the post office to open its doors so that they could cash their ‘giros’, we were allowed in and were quickly frisked before going up several escalators to the upper concourse.
After completing all the forms to get a loan, we bought a well-earned ‘refresher’ from the bar, before making our way to our seats. We didn’t know how far up Row 35 was going to, but we soon found out – in our section, Row 35 was at the very top!! Yes, we were close to heaven and at risk of having nose-bleeds!! (For those not familiar with the national stadium, think the away fans’ section at St. James’ Park, Newcastle; for those not familiar with either stadium, think …… very high and very steep). We certainly had a panoramic view to watch the game.
The match was preceded by a well observed acknowledgement of our armed forces, and war dead and injured. The trumpeted last post was followed by a short silence and the national anthems. Interestingly, both teams wore poppies on their shirts and participated jointly in the remembrance commemorations, which shows clearly that we are as one, when it comes to putting past conflicts aside, whilst honouring those who made the ultimate sacrifice … on both sides.
So, the match kicked off - the first international football game to feature a video assistant referee, who had an easy evening, not being called upon once to use the technology. The game ended as it began – goalless, although, as Denis said on the journey home it could have been 3 -3. Yes, it could, if both teams had taken all their chances, including England’s best chance with more or less the last kick of the game. Whilst it’s great to see a couple of former Hull City players in our national side – Maguire and Livermore – there is also some sadness, as it makes you reflect on how many talented footballers have been allowed to move on, since we first entered the elite league almost ten years ago.
So, off we trundled, fairly happy with the result and performance, and I had another goalless draw to add to the only other full international I have attended (Malta 0 Moldova 0). I know I should have taken the lift back down or looked for the ‘down’ escalator, but we found ourselves going down the stairs, and Denis kept me company as I took them one at a time.
We returned to the coach and our exit from Wembley was as smooth and speedy as I have experienced; in fact our drivers did an excellent job there and back. We were all feeling a bit sleepy on the return journey but it was difficult to find a comfortable position due to the tightness of the seating, so there was only limited nodding off, once we had analysed the game. This situation at least gave Dave the chance to practice his Russian, in the hope that he will get another chance to interview Leo!!
The party arrived back at the Airco Arena at around 3.00am and we were all eagerly anticipating some shut-eye.
Welcome to the Tigers. Welcome to Hull.
We love this club, and you will find it's very rarely dull.
We're proud of our history. We're proud to have you here.
I can't recommend the vodka. Better stick to beer.
We're the Senior Tigers. We'll back you all the way.
We hope to be at Wembley on Championship final day.
But most of all, we wish you luck, of that you'll need a lot.
But we believe you'll turn it round. You give it all you've got.
We know it won't be easy. It will not be a breeze.
But most of all, remember. Don't go climbing any trees.
By David Osgerby
Mallorca Walking Football Tournament May 2018
(Thursday 10th May) An early start from the KCOM Stadium to Leeds/Bradford Airport meant we arrived at our hotel in Santa Ponsa by mid afternoon, giving us plenty of time to have a look around and freshen up, prior to the official tournament opening ceremony that evening. We had shared our coach transfer with some of the Leyton Orient over 55’s squad, which gave us a bit of an insight into the format, as they were returnees.
The opening ceremony took the form of all the teams being announced, and entering the main pitch arena to triumphant music. Not quite the Olympic Games, but a nice feeling for all concerned, nonetheless, with lots of cheering and waving; a good atmosphere was being created, although we still had a free day, before our tournament commenced.
(Friday 11th May) Several players took the opportunity to cast an eye over the teams playing in the other over 60’s group to gauge what we might be up against. The general feeling was that we should be able to provide a decent account of ourselves and certainly be able to avoid any heavy defeats. We also noticed that former England star, Chris Waddle, was playing in the over 55’s group with his team from Sheffield, Hallam FC. He is a very amenable guy, as most of us found out over the next few days.
Some of the boys went for a kick-about-cum-training session on the beach late morning, although Brendan was delayed as he had been reading his ‘Roy of the Rovers’ football coaching manual !! Others just lazed around and checked out the hotel pools, as it was a lovely sunny day.
That evening we all went to the Pirates Beach Bar in Magaluf, which had been pre-arranged by Rob Wilson, who is well known to the owner. We were looked after like visiting royalty and a great night was had by all. Adam and Brendan would have liked to have gone on to a nightclub, but their professionalism shone through, and they knew they had to return to base to plan team selection and tactics for the following day, using a lesser-known football bible – ‘How to Win Games and Entertain Crowds (volume VIII) by Neil Warnock!!
Back at the hotel we enjoyed a couple of quizzes hosted by Tony. Two close contests which confirmed how the fruit of the tree of knowledge had been spread far and wide!! Later, those remaining were given a one-man show by Graham, who displayed his story-telling talents.
(Saturday 12th May) Our moment of truth was arriving fast, so, after an early breakfast, we made the short walk to the football pitches for a 9.32 kick-off – one of the first games of the day. As we used the training area, being put through our paces by Brendan, we were met by another team sharing the same spot – the Finnish ladies team - the ‘Pink Ladies’. Now these girls were fit in both senses, and they even had a smile for us!! All blond with pony tails, they looked like they had been cloned from a Playboy centrefold model – just the kind of sight to get us all going …. and wishing we were almost half a century younger …. like Adam and Brendan!!
So, after a team huddle we began our first game (against Oldstars Welzijnskwartier). There was an early scare when Gerald seemed to allow a free kick go past him, but he was one step ahead, knowing that you can’t score direct from any free kick. Sigh of relief and we ground out a well-earned draw.
In the next game (against Feijenoord Old Stars) Tony scored the only goal to give us our first victory, which was followed by another goalless draw (against Oldstars Rood-Wit Veldhoven). We were beginning to look like a team that would take some beating. There followed a break of about a couple of hours, although we would have preferred to keep playing in order to maintain our early momentum.
When we returned after some lunch, you could sense a bit of lethargy, although Brendan soon got our limbs moving once again in preparation for the game against what looked like the outstanding team in our league (Oldstars RKC 1). Things began well enough although pressure finally forced us to concede our first goal – an own goal at that!! In attempting to cut out a low, hard shot from the right, Rob (your writer!!) only managed to clip the ball nicely inside the near post. I wanted the ground to swallow me up, especially as Gerald would probably have stopped the shot without my intervention. Yes, I had become the Kamil Zayatte of walking football. We finally lost the game 0-4, which was a bit disappointing, although it was against a decent side.
Two more games left to play on the day, against IJVV Ijsselmuiden and NAC Oldstars, and the team showed real character to bounce back with two wins, so the day ended on a high note with us occupying second spot in our league table. We could all feel really pleased with the day’s efforts.
Saturday evening was spent in different ways following dinner at the hotel.
(Sunday 13th May) In order to complete our league programme, we needed another early breakfast to make a 9.15 kick-off, and this time there were no ‘Pink Ladies’ to urge us along as we warmed up under Brendan’s guidance!!
The game (against Oldstars ESA) started well and we eventually won 2-0 with probably our best overall performance. As we confirmed our final league position as runners-up on goal difference, we looked forward to the knock-out competition with some confidence, as we would be playing the 7th placed and bottom team from the other league, who had only managed a single draw and five defeats in their league programme. Things were going well and hopes were high. Our seven league goals scored were split between Martin (4) and Tony (3).
Our cup match (against Oldstars RKC 2) kicked off 10.00am and it soon became clear that this was not going to be an easy game. The thing we noticed immediately was that there was one player we had played against the day before in a league match. The referee said it was not for him to investigate this matter. Then very soon I realised I was marking a big bloke wearing spectacles, who I had called ‘Big Fella’ when facing him the day before. We went a goal down which soon became two and finally we lost the game 3-0. (It turned out that teams under the same name were allowed to interchange players between teams, which still seemed a bit unfair, as it favoured those teams with larger squads).
Anyway, that was the end of our tournament and we duly received our runners-up trophy; we just had to look forward to the finals and closing celebrations, and hopefully an incident-free journey home!!
The finals, taking place on the main pitch in front of a large crowd, were greatly entertaining, not least the ladies’ final which demonstrated the superb standard of the women’s game. We also watched Chris Waddle’s Hallam team win their over 55’s final in an all English clash against our mates from Leyton Orient. The other team from Leyton Orient won the over 60’s final.
The closing ceremony didn’t really happen, as all the teams were handed their trophies as they were won, so the evening was more a chance to party and mingle with other teams. After a while we decided another one of Tony’s quizzes was our best option for some home-made entertainment, so we all returned to our hotel. Around this time Brendan made a presentation to his choice of the player who had made the biggest impact during our games, so congratulations to ….. Gerald!! We were advised to be ready for a morning pick-up at 10.45 ……… !!
(Monday 14th May) So, after a leisurely (later) breakfast, it was check-out time and packing for our return journey. Except that we had been misinformed about the time, and our coach arrived at 10.20, as per the driver’s schedule; confusion worthy of a ‘Carry On’ film ensued!!
The driver insisted on leaving before all our party of sixteen had assembled, so seven were left behind. We stopped at another hotel around the corner, to collect some more passengers, during which time Barbara arranged for the others to dash from our hotel to catch us up. Graham decided he could run back to the corner to meet them. However, that did not happen and when the driver said we had to leave without further delay, Rob Wilson went chasing after Graham, who, by then, had decided to go all the way back to our hotel. Realising this, Rob dashed back to the coach, just before ‘Fernando Alonso’ made off for the airport; the original nine on the coach had temporarily been reduced to seven, before being restored to eight, leaving ‘hero’ Graham to join those who then had to grab a couple of taxis in order to re-join the main party at the airport.
This duly happened and the rest of the journey back to the KCOM Stadium was, thankfully, incident-free, and our weekend adventure came to a close. So, was this team the first group of players representing Hull City in any format, to win a trophy in Europe? Will we return in 2019 to try and improve upon this initial performance? Watch this space!!
Summary and Attendees
P7 W4 D2 L1 Pts 14
Coaches Adam Newton and Brendan Townend
Committee Barbara Wilkinson and Rob Wilson
Players Mike Melvin (Capt); Tony Bilton; Graham Jenkinson; Martin Lingwood; Denis Mills; Rob Milner; Gerald Morrill and Trevor Richardson.
(Plus the wives - Cathleen, Eileen, Kathryn and Mary)