Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Ten Years At The KC Stadium - #7

In this series of blogs, I'll pick the Top 10 Players, Games and Goals from the 10 years at the KC Stadium and will throw in a variety of top 10 lists and boring facts! This is number four in the series and number seven in the countdown:

Top 10 Players - #7


Geovanni is a one-time Brazlian international who joined Barcelona for 20m in 2001, played over 100 games for Benfica, has played 30-odd games in European competition and turned out at the 2000 Olympic games in Sydney and scored a winning goal against Manchester United in his one and only season at Manchester City. It’s fair to say that his signing was something of a coup for Hull City in the summer of 2008. Aside from an aging Jay-Jay Okocha the year before and an aging Raich Carter in the late 40’s, it was the biggest signing the club had ever made.

He wasn’t the most stylish Brazlian footballer, he wasn’t a tricky dribbler or a brilliant passer, though he did do both on occasion. Around the box, he came to life and possessed a phenomenal shot. He didn’t wait long to prove it. Twenty-two minutes into his Tigers debut, with City trailing one-nil in our first ever top flight game, he collected Sam Ricketts pass, strode forward and unleashed a strike beyond Mark Schwarzer. His name will go down in the club’s history for that one. City suffered a 0-5 hammering at home to Wigan in our second Premier League game at the KC and Geo was left on the bench as Phil Brown looked for a more rigid 4-4-2 system that yielded a win at Newcastle and a draw at home to Everton. For the trip to Arsenal the following week, he recalled Geo and played him behind Marlon King and Daniel Cousin in a suicidal looking 4-3-1-2 system. City trailed Arsenal in the second half when Geo struck a contender for the best goal we’ve ever scored. He cut in from the right and from 30 yards on the diagonal, he hammered the ball into the far top corner. Live on TV, it sent shockwaves up and down the country. When Daniel Cousin headed a winner 4 minutes later, the aftershock was bigger than Arsene Wenger’s nose.

Geo scored a brilliant winner the following week at Tottenham direct from a free-kick and followed it up with a goal in 3-0 win at West Brom, a penalty strike in a brave 3-4 defeat to Manchester United at Old Trafford and a deflected strike in a 2-2 draw with his old team, Man City. The Tigers where riding high in the Premier League when Marlon King went off the rails, Phil Brown’s ego grew out of control, Paul Duffen attempted to conquer Europe and Geo went into hibernation for the winter. He eventually woke up around March and scored a couple of goals as City clung onto their Premier League life’s by the skin of their teeth.  Geo hit 6 goals in the opening 11 games that season and followed it up with 4 in the opening 9 of 2009/10. As with the previous season, he disappeared once it got cold but his season had been disrupted by a ludicrous sending off at Burnley. Geo picked up a booking for complaining that his perfectly good free-kick “goal” was disallowed. He would later be sent off for a slightly late challenge. This time there was no recovery in the spring and the Tigers fell out of the Premier League. Following relegation, Geo agreed to rip up his City contract, saving the club a fortune at a time when our finances where already stretched almost to tearing point.

As Hull City took on the biggest teams in the country for the first time, Geovanni ‘s contribution was exceptional. He scored goals out of nothing. He won games on his own. He lived up to every stereotype of the South American footballer, both the good and the bad. He provided moments of individual genius that most of us will ever forget and will likely never see again. He was City’s number ten during the only time in our history that we’ve been one of the best teams in the country. Na, na-na, na-na, na, na, Geo, Geo….

Top 10 Matches - #7

Hull City 2 Leicester City 1 - 03/12/2011

In the summer of 2010, Nigel Pearson left Leicester City for Hull City. The tigers were a club in turmoil but as the new year approached, the Allam family took over the club, underwrote the massive debts and gave Pearson their backing in the transfer market. Pearson used the money over the next six months to produce an exciting young side that improved by the week. In November 2011, following a 2-0 home defeat against West Ham that, regardless of the scoreline, was probably the best performance by Pearson's Tigers, he walked away. Back to Leicester. Leicester had hired Sven Goran Eriksson, wasted a bundle of money and, despite starting the season as promotion favourites, languished at the wrong end of the table. Pearson decided it was a job worth having. The Hull City fans still haven't forgiven or forgotten.

A month after the West Ham game, Leicester visited the KC Stadium. The atmosphere was unlike anything the KC had seen since the promotion run-in 30 months earlier. The desire for victory emanating from the stands was over-whelming. The players he'd let down also wanted to stick it to Pearson. Leicester went down to ten early in the game and Matt Fryatt, who'd followed Pearson from Leicester to Hull, scored a penalty. However, Leicester bravely battled back from this blow and Paul Konchesky equalised on half time in front of the large traveling support. The Leicester goal led a charmed life in the second half and goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel had "one of those days". As stoppage time approached, the score remained 1-1 despite the visitors numerical disadvantage. Nigel's flat-top was glowing and the Leicester support were as smug as buggery. Enter Robert Koren. Liam Rosenior spotted a lovely pass on the edge of the box, Koren strode onto the ball and smashed home with his left foot from 18 yards. Deflation at one end, elation around the rest of the ground. The roar was incredible. The goal was epic. The win was vital. Nigel Who?

(The Leicester game was top of the bill on the Football League show and their highlights have been uploaded on YouTube by some fine tiger)

Top 10 Goals - #7

Jon Parkin (Hull City 1 Leeds United 0 - 01/04/2006)

Technically, this goal isn't as good as Richard Garcia's brilliant strike at #8. However, it's one of my favourite goals from the Tigers' KC era. An entire generation of City fans hadn't seen a competitive game against Leeds United, let alone a win. Plenty of them had taken stick working with Leeds fans around Yorkshire or, even worse, working with those despicable "Hull Whites". City battered Leeds that day without reward. The crowd, nearly 23,500, were frustrated and starting to believe that jammy old Leeds would escape comeuppance again. Then Stuart Green lofted a ball to the far post and Jon Parkin climbed higher than it's physically possible for anyone to lift a frame as big as his and planted a textbook downward header inside the near post. It's a brilliant header. I love it.

10 most appearances at the KC Stadium without scoring (outfield players)

1. Mark Joseph (48)
2. Liam Rosenior (40)
3. Corry Evans (34)
=. Paul McShane (34)
5. John Welsh (25)
6. Paul McKenna (23)
7. Kevin Ellison (19)
8. Justin Whittle (19)
9. Joe Dudgeon 18
10. Danny Coles (16)
=. Tony Gardner (16)

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