To say Hull City have been blessed with some fine midfielders over the years is an understatement. In this issue I recall some more of my personal favourites I have seen in my 30 odd years following the Tigers.
In my early years of following the Tigers from the early 80’s, Brian Marwood was a player who mesmerised me. Although not born in Hull Brian came through the youth ranks and was a shining light in some of our darkest days. A fast, tricky winger Marwood was perfect for the likes of Whitehurst who thrived on his pin point crosses into the box. It was obvious quite quickly that he was too good for us and would go onto bigger and better things and after the heartbreak of Turf Moor he was sold on to Sheff Wednesday and then Arsenal and England. Marwood now gets to spend some of the petro dollars over at Man City.
A totally different type of midfielder but just as mesmeric in his brief stint at Boothferry Park was probably one of the greatest free signings ever. Reggae boy, Theo Whitmore was so laid back he made Bob Marley look like a hyper active puppy on speed. He rocked up at the club with his great mate Ian Goodison during yet another bleak time at the club, he often lit up another dreary performance with just one pass or run or drop of the shoulder to make a mug out of an opponent who was looking to kick shit out of him. He looked like he lived life in slow motion but his brain was going at 100mph and nearly always on a different page to his teammates. Theo wasn’t with us for too long either but he brought a smile to my face on more than one or two occasions when as a City fan a smile at a football match was about as rare as an Ehab Allam sympathiser.
A little later, like London buses, two of my all time favourite midfielders (and many other fans I bet) turned up together and went on the unforgettable journey from the bottom to the top, well one got all the way while one got off a stop before the end.
Ian Ashbee and Stuart Elliott joined in 2002 and both quickly became terrace heroes. Ash personified what a leader should be and sometimes a bit more. Getting sent off on is debut wasn’t the best start but he went above and beyond the call of duty and scrapped for everything to get the right result for the Tigers. Another player not blessed with silky skills but he had his moments not least the goal at Yeovil, but he had everything else and was the perfect man to lead us through the divisions.
Ash did it tough, coming back after a career threatening injury to play his part in the famous Wembley win and mix it with the best in the Premier League was testament to Ash’s commitment and resolve to win. His battling qualities shone again when he came back from a PCL injury and missed a season to score against Swansea. Captain Fantastic fits Ash well.
Stuey Elliott was more of a lover then a fighter, he looked about 8 stone wet through and struggled early on with injuries but under Peter Taylor he blossomed into an international quality winger who scored shit loads of goals. Different types of goals from tap ins to worldies and gravity defying headers were all in Stuey’s repertoire and he didn’t have a shabby left peg to ping balls onto the head of Ben Burgess and Danny Allsopp.
Elliott was instrumental in getting us into the Championship with the amount of goals he bagged and many of those goals were in close fought, knife edge games that were ultimately the difference in many games. His customary cart wheel celebration wasn’t too shabby either, unfortunately Stuey struggled with form and fitness in his last few months with us and moved onto Doncaster without really getting the accolades his performances deserved. As a left winger his goal to games record was of a fantastic standard and he more than played his part for us and Northern Ireland, and he is a genuinely nice down to earth bloke to boot.