Thursday, 11 October 2012

Ten Years At The KC Stadium - #8

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 three in the series and number eight in the countdown:

Top 10 Players - #8

Boaz Myhill

If, on the day Boaz Myhill signed for Hull City in December 2003, someone had told you that he’d take the club through three promotions, play at the biggest grounds in the country, produce the best goalkeeping display Match Of The Day has ever highlighted, go onto be sold for thirty times what we paid for him and become the only possible answer other than “Tony Norman” in answer to the question “Who is Hull City’s greatest ever goalkeeper?”, then you’d most probably have been sectioned. Or shot.

Bo spent the first half of the 2003/04 season on loan at Macclesfield, playing 16 times, and Stockport, where he played 3 games, from his parent club Aston Villa. Peter Taylor saw something in the 21 year-old and paid £50,000 to bring him to the KC Stadium. He was immediately installed as the Tigers number one and, despite a surprise home defeat against Mansfield on his debut, he held onto the position for the rest of the season and helped City to a first promotion in 19 years. A promotion which was immediately followed by a second. Myhill missed only 2 league games in the next 3 seasons and was named the club’s Player of the Season in 2005/06 as the Tigers stayed in the Championship. In a remarkable game at Stoke in January 2006, Myhill saved two Stoke penalties to help City to a 3-0 win.

Everyone knows what happened in 2007/08. Myhill cemented his place in Hull City history as the club clinched promotion in the play-off final at Wembley. Myhill’s save at Watford in the semi-final (see above) is one of the best I’ve ever seen. If any other goalkeeper has ever played for the same team through all four divisions in the English league, I’m not aware of it. Myhill, who made his international debut for Wales in 2008, had two solid seasons in the top flight. As The Tigers magnificent start to the 2008/09 season faded after Christmas, Myhill started to struggle for form and lost his place to Matt Duke for a few games.  Despite the following season ending in relegation from the top flight and the Tigers suffering a few hammerings along the way, Bo generally remained solid in goal. He found himself playing behind a collection of morons at centre-half. In January at White Hart Lane, Myhill had the sort of game most ‘keepers can only dream about repelling Spurs SIXTEEN shots on target, making several miraculous saves and rendering Match Of The Day commentator, and Spurs fan, John Motson near-speechless.

Following the Tigers relegation and the revelation that the club was in severe financial danger, Myhill was sold to West Brom for around a million and a half quid. It was a move he didn’t want but took because the club needed to sell him. Myhill is one of the best investments Hull City have ever made. In fact, he’s probably the best £50,000 anyone ever spent. Not only because of the financial return but because of the service he provided in six and a half brilliant seasons “in the middle of our goal”. Bo is a true immortal.

Top 10 Matches - #8

Hull City 1 Swansea City 0 - 30/09/2003

It’s the final day of September, 2003. The Tigers sit second in the Division 3 table having played 10 games. The visitors, Swansea, are top; a single point better off. The KC Stadium is about to host it’s first classic encounter.

City had won 4 of 5 home games that season. The non-win was a thoroughly entertaining 3-3 draw against Cheltenham Town. Darlo were battered 4-1 on the opening day, Boston United beaten 2-1 courtesy of a late, late Stuart Green winner, Southend beaten 3-2 and, the previous Saturday, Kidderminster hammered 6-1. The average attendance for those 5 games was 13,000 and something. So it was something of a surprise when we walked over the bridge from Londesborough Street, saw the KC (still not yet a year old) beautifully lighting up the sky line and wondered who the hell all of hose people were.

The crowd of just short of 21,000 was the largest we’d drawn since the stadium opener against Hartlepool United on Boxing Day 2002. Given that the away end of around 4,000 seats had been allocated entirely to Swansea (who’d brought around 200) it was pretty much a sell out. The kick-off was delayed 15 minutes to get everyone inside and a rumoured 2,000 people were locked outside. The Hull Daily Mail certainly carried letters from super-fans who hadn’t missed a game for years but couldn’t get in.

Swansea were a good side. They had big fat Roger Freestone in goal, big fat Lee trundle up front, little fat Andy Robinson on the wing and Leon Britton in midfield alongside Mark Wilson, ex-Man United and future guest at her majesty’s pleasure if the race fixing allegations are proven. Wilson was on loan from Middlesbrough at the time and had a fine game. As did our own Ian Ashbee. The game was high in quality but with two good defences on display, low on chances. Damien Delaney, who was improving by the week, formed a great partnership with Justin Whittle. It’s a pity Peter Taylor broke it up. Swansea, who kicked us to death, hit the bar and the post while Roger Freestone defied gravity to make several splendid stops.

The previous meeting between the two teams came on the final day of the 2002/03 season at the Vetch Field, the Swans old ground. Swansea had to win to avoid relegation form the football league and prevailed 4-2 against a Tigers side who had nothing to play for and 11 desperate men and a bent referee to play against (Allegedly of course.) City exacted revenge for that defeat and took over at the top of Division Three courtesy of a thumping header from Stuart Elliott midway through the first half. Elliott arrived late in the box and met Andy Dawson’s left winger corner to beat Freestone and send the 20,000+ City fans into rapture. Swans built up a head of steam in the second half but the game ended as a contest when Richard Duffy, a contender for ugliest footballer alive, was sent off for a stupid foul on Elliott. The Tigers completed a league double of Swansea with a 3-2 away win in April and finished 2nd in Division 3. Swans fell away and ended up 10th.

Top 10 Goals - #8

Richard Garcia (Hull City 2 Burnley 0 - 04/03/2008)

The Tigers entered March 2008 on the cusp of a play-off place with a game in hand. Burnley, stting one place above City in the Championship table, visited the KC Stadium. With confidence growing throughout the team, City produced a vintage first half performance capped off by this wonder strike from Garcia. The seven goals I've got above this one will take some justifying!

Worst 10 Hull City players in the KC Stadium era

1. Steve Melton
2. Simon Walton
3. Mark Lynch
4. Danny Webb
5. Ibrahima Sonko
6. Mark Yeates
7. Rowan Vine
8. Dele Adebola
9. Robbie Stockdale
10. Manucho


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