You’ll have started to get the drift. Gary Clark answers all the usual questions but does so in his narrative. Here he discusses what he believes to be Hull City’s solid base and has kind words about decent ordinary players who give their hearts for the club they’re playing for. No need then, on Gary’s assessment, for Ian Hesford to step up to collect his award…
Hull have to survive this season and if we do we will be stronger club for a number of years to come.
It has to be remembered that we are under new ownership, the present board has only been here just over a year.
They came with a five year plan and we are already well in front of it. Promotion to the Premier League was totally unexpected even this time last year and as a result a lot of the backstage stuff such as ticket allocation is still geared up the the Championship.
Not that I’m knocking the Championship, far from it, but the club trebled in size overnight and it takes some getting used too.
Hull will be financially better off than many clubs in this league who operate with huge debts. Mainly because we have a ground that is paid for and relatively cheap to run and we have no long standing debts as such.
I think the bank overdraft is £2m and the club only have that because of some time lapse in getting hold of the Sky money.
The people who bought Hull for £12m offered £68m for West Ham, so do we have a war chest? I would have thought it depends which war we are fighting in. Compared to the top half dozen clubs in the PL Hull are still relative paupers and it will always be like that.
It has been said that Wigan are the example to follow but I disagree because Hull are potentially bigger than Wigan. I would like to be on par with yourselves. To do that we have to have at least five years at this level and increase the capapcity of our ground.
We have sold out every game this season and its probably 10,000 under sized at the moment. We get 24/25,000 now and we could be getting 30/35,000 if we had the seats, but that will only happen if we stay up for more than a season.
The same young lad I spoke to at Boro about the away ticket allocation had a different view on City’s best ever players. He thought Marlon King was.. he wouldn’t have even entered my head as a candidate. But you can see where he’s coming from. King was our number 9 when we were in the top six of the best league in the world and he was scoring goals at that level, so of course we let him go!
All my favourites played mainly at the old second division standard. Two stand out Chris Chilton and Ken Wagstaff. Both would have played for England if we had reached the First Division or played for more fashionable clubs.
Chilton was Don Revies number one choice for Leeds United but Hull wouldn’t sell him so he signed Mick Jones instead who went onto play for England. Wagstaff was as good as Jimmy Greaves and he possibly missed out on international honours by staying at Hull when Brian Clough wanted him at Derby then Forest.
From the present crop Geovanni can be something very special but for 100 per cent commitment and reliability it has to be Nicky Barmby. If anyone keeps City in this division it will be Barmby.
I also have a soft spot for good honest players like Billy Whitehurst, Pete Skipper (ex Darlo) Les Mutrie (ex H’pool) and from today’s squad our captain Ian Ashbee.
My worst ever player would be ex-Sunderland goalkeeper Ian Hesford. I thought he was sh***, unfit, not bothered and and not fit to lace Jeff Wealands’s boots.
Of course Hesford arrived at Hull on the back of the deal that took Tony Norman to Sunderland. He arrived with Whitehurst who was returning to us after making his name at Newcastle, Sunderland and anywhere else that would employ him. Whitehurst first time round was fabulous for City. When he arrived he couldn’t trap a bag of cement; when we sold him, after coaching from Chilton, he was one of the most feared centre forwards in the country – on and off the field.
If I named all of the Tigers worst players I would be here all week because we spent a generation at the bottom of the ladder and we have had some dross though our hands. I can accept that, and any player that pulls on that black and amber shirt and gives 100 per cent for the badge is a star in my eyes, no matter what league we are playing in. It’s the idle, couldn’t care less money grabbers that I have no time for. Sadly Hesford fits that bill.