Home > Football > My time at …Hull City. Part 3. In and out but mainly out.

My time at …Hull City. Part 3. In and out but mainly out.

The 2003-04 season started off really well. We won our opening match at home to Darlington. Traditionally, the weather on the opening day of the season is hot. But this particular day was a whole new level of hot.  I ended up getting 20 minutes that day which was to become a pattern throughout the season. It got to the stage where I knew if I would get on the pitch depending on how the game was materializing. If we were winning comfortably I would get about 20 minutes. If we were losing or drawing, and needed a goal, I would play behind Danny Allsop and Ben Burgess in a free role. If we were protecting a one goal lead I would not come on at all.

All footballers look at each situation from their own perspective. I wanted to play, thought I was good enough to play but had no complaints that I wasn’t in the starting line up more often. The team was winning most weeks so there was a good atmosphere round the club during the week. It could have been much worse.

One of the front two were injured so I started one game, against Yeovil, at the KC and managed to be on the end of a broken cheek bone from a flying elbow. It didn’t seem to be that painful and I went to the hospital for an X-Ray. It ended up that I required surgery which would keep me out of action for about 6 weeks. It was suggested that I could wear one of those ‘Phantom of the Opera’ type masks which would enable me to play whilst the bone healed. The specialist answered this by telling me that my face could collapse permanently if I received another blow whilst the bone was knitting together. Not really an option there then. I had been very fortunate during my career regarding injuries. A couple of groin operations was about as bad as it had got up to that point.  

Because my last injury the season before had forced me down the pecking order, I fully expected the same to happen again. There were plenty of good players that didn’t even make the bench each week and I thought I would be one of them when I returned to fitness.

As my recovery was complete and I was given the green light to play Danny Allsop received an injury which meant that I was thrust into first team action for the Boxing Day clash away at York City. I was not really expecting this but obviously welcomed my inclusion. When you don’t play regularly then beggars can’t be choosers ! I scored a penalty in a 2-0 victory so felt great. Two days later was Doncaster at home in front of the biggest crowd to that date at the KC.

I had not started a match for weeks, if not months, and suddenly I was playing two games in three days. I was just coming back from six weeks out so I wasn’t really in great condition for these two fixtures so close together. I didn’t effect the Doncaster game at all and put it down to this.

I managed to start all of the matches during Danny Allsop’s  injury. The team was still winning and it was great to be a bigger part of it. I always thought that, if I wasn’t scoring, that Danny would be back in the team as soon as he was fit.

Darlington away saw Danny on the bench. I knew that Peter Taylor wanted Danny back in the team. I knew my standing in the squad. I was a squad player. Nothing more. Over my career I have been at clubs where no matter how well or poorly I played, I would keep my place. At Hull City, no matter how well I played, I would always be behind Danny and Ben. That is just the way it goes.

At half-time we led 1-0. I set up the goal so all was good. Danny was asked to warm up at half time so I thought I would get another 15 minutes or so before I made way for him. I was wrong.

As the second half started I immediately saw him stripping his track suit off. The first time that the ball went out of play my number came up. It must have been 30 seconds. Although the end result was inevitable the way which Peter Taylor did this was a bit poor. Why not do it at half-time ? It left a bit of a bad taste in my mouth for a little while. A slightly disrespectful way to do it. I was not a young kid at the time and I was always a good professional. I trained well and was never a problem when I was out of the side. I don’t hold grudges and think that Peter Taylor is a great manager but that has been one of a few situations that I thought I was unfairly treated over the years.

On deadline day Bristol Rovers wanted to sign me. Kevan Broadhurst made the enquiries. Rovers were in real trouble of being relegated and needed some wins to avoid that. A host of players were recruited in a last-ditch attempt to get the required points to ensure league survival. I came as close to agreeing personal terms with Bristol Rovers but the deadline was too close which meant that Peter Taylor didn’t have enough time to sign a replacement so he pulled the plug. I was not too downhearted as I did not know what league Bristol Rovers would be playing in and I didn’t particularly want to play in the Conference  if I could help it.

The season finished very well. Promotion was achieved pretty comfortably. Officially it was done away at Yeovil but it was never in doubt really. The squad that Peter was beginning to assemble was more than good enough for League 2. Bristol rovers were the visitors for the final game of the season. It was a party atmosphere. As promotion had been confirmed it was one of those rare matches that you could not worry about the result too much. Again, I got about 20 minutes. I performed well and it proved to be a catalyst in my move there that summer. The club wanted to strengthen for football at the next level and I was surplus to requirements. I could have stayed as I still had a year remaining on my contract but Bristol Rovers keenness to get me coupled with Hull City’s eagerness for me to go was enough for me to be on my way. 

I enjoyed my time at the KC. I made some good friends but essentially footballers want to play football and in order for me to do that I needed to move on. So up sticks again all the way down to Bristol.

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