I’ve had lots of favourite players supporting our great club over the last 30 odd years. In other articles I’ve described my unhealthy emotional attachments to certain City players that have a small place in my heart, Tony Norman, Billy’s Whitehurst and Askew and the willo’ the wisp on the wing Stuart Elliott to name a few.
Here I’ll list some of our distinguished centre backs that have caught my eye (and heart) over the years. Until I thought hard about it, I didn’t realise there was that many I worshipped. After all no one ever wanted to be a centre back did they,
My first bruiser I had an affinity with was local lad, Pete Skipper. Skip came back to City about the time I started to get seriously into the Tigers. He’d started as a pro at City but fell out with someone so he fucked off to Darlington for two years. Darlington!!! He should have got a testimonial for sticking in that God forsaken hell hole for more then two weeks never mind two years.
The 80’s equivalent of crowd funding (or chucking money in a bucket & the like) raised the fee to get Skip back, just as Don Robinson & Colin Appleton rode in to drag us out of the shite. He was a hard defender with a good touch, and in the days where defenders could actually tackle before strikers went down quicker then Linda Lovelace at the merest touch, Skip was difficult to get through or round. He weighed in with a few goals, most notably the only goal in the 1-0 away win at Walsall in 85 that confirmed our promotion to the second division, it was special to see a local lad get the goal to get us up, especially after the heart breaking way we’d missed promotion the previous year.
Alongside Skip in the early to mid 80’s we had Stan McEwen, the jock with the new romantic haircut and a decent right foot. Then we got Jobbo, Richard Jobson who again was a local lad but we had to pay a few grand to Watford to get him to Boothferry. He looked like a top flight footballer with his mullet hair cut and blond streaks but he could play a bit, before we needed the cash and flogged him to Oldham for a few quid north of 400k were he nearly got to the Cup final and an England call up.
Through the 90’s we didn’t have any world beaters, but we had committed lads who put their heart and soul into the cause. Local born lads like Gary Hobson, Mike Edwards and Mark Greaves along with the likes of Rod Dewhurst and wing nut ears Simon Trevitt occupied the CB spots over varying lengths of time before either been sold or booted out.
Towards the end of the millennium we had two centre backs who will live long in my memory for totally differing reasons. Who could ever forget Ian Goodison who rocked up with his mate Theo Whitmore to light up our dreary footballing existences for a couple of seasons. Goodison was that laid back he had a mattress sewn into his shirt (or so it seemed) only the anoraks amongst us even knew who they were let alone what they could do. Goodison got player of the year in his first year.
If ever a player epitomised the fight of the ‘Great Escape’ season it has to be Justin Whittle. If you look up the definition of ‘cult hero’ then there should be a picture of Justin next to it. Every time he pulled on a City shirt he played like OUR lives depended on it. Not the most gifted player ever to don the shirt but in the top two or three of most committed that’s for sure. I bet ‘peanut head’ Alan Shearer still has nightmares about Justin’s elbow. It was a sad day when Justin left to join the cod heads.
Damien Delaney deserves a mention for his rise through the divisions with us as does the erratic nutter Kamil Zayette just for some comedic value, but in the mid noughties we had Michael Turner, a particular personal favourite, mainly because he scored the odd goal usually at long odds and I backed him every week. I think I broke even by the time ‘Turns’ was sold for about 8 quid and a big mac meal. Two time player of the year shipped out so the latest of a long line of shysters could service another debt.
I’m too old to hero worship now but I can’t finish this piece without mentioning Macca, Paul McShane another one who we should’ve and could’ve kept and would be welcomed back with open arms, if for nothing else his ability to get the crowd going. The reception he received at the recent Reading game is proof that I’m not the only one who’d have Macca back.