Thursday, 13 August 2015

Hull City: Five transfers that brought huge profit

I recently embarked on a project to track every transfer fee ever paid or received by Hull City – because I’m a nerd.

I’ll be picking out some interesting aspects of The Tigers transfer history. The club sold James Chester to WBA last month for £8m. A massive return on the £300,000 Nigel Pearson spent on him, it was the biggest profit the club has ever made on a transfer. In percentage terms though, it has been rivalled historically.

In this blog, I’ve picked out five of the best returns on investments the club have ever received. 

(C) Hull Daily Mail
Richard Jobson

Despite being born in Hull, “Jobbo” arrived at Boothferry Park via Burton Albion and Watford – Brian Horton paying the latter a fee of £40,000 for the gangly but incredibly stylish defender. He was signed after The Tigers gained promotion to Division Two and was a key part of the team that finished sixth in the second tier (pre-play offs). Until recently, that was the third best finish in the club’s history.

Jobbo appears in the top forty on the list of most appearances made for the club out of the twelve-hundred or so players to have worn the black and amber. City finished mid-table in Division Two in three of his five seasons with the club and were relegated the season after he was sold to Oldham Athletic for £460,000 which, like Whitehurst, was a record signing and sale for the two clubs involved in the deal.

For any fan too young to have seen the incredible City side of the mid-60s, the best three defenders they will have seen line-up for City are Jobbo, Michael Turner and James Chester. In which order is up for debate.

Andy Oakes

The tall, agile and confident goalkeeper Oakes is one of the most invaluable signings City have ever made. He signed on a free transfer from Winsford United during the 1998/99 season or “The Great Escape” as it’s obviously better known. Urban legend says that the scout who recommended Oakes to manager Warren Joyce was Michael Quigley – a useless midfielder Terry Dolan brought to Hull in 1995 who was doing nothing playing wise at the time.

Not only did Oakes play a key role in the club avoiding dropping out of the league – an incredible late save against Exeter at Boothferry Park being my personal highlight – but he was then sold to Premier League Derby County after just twenty appearances for £460,000. Sadly, his career never really took off and he spent a lot of time playing back-up goalie at various clubs.
Thomas “Boy” Browell

The youngest of the three Browell brothers who played for the club in 1910, hence the nickname “Boy”. Thomas was signed from north-east amateurs Newton Grange for £2 which was only the third transfer fee the club had ever paid but was some way short of the record £750 the club paid Celtic for James McIntosh that same year.

Browell scored 32 goals in 48 appearances for City before being sold to Everton for £1550 the following season. In modern terms, that’s the equivalent of plucking a lad out of non-league for £100,000 and selling him a year later for £77,500,000!

Billy Whitehurst

Big Billy Whitehurst is the ultimate cult-hero. Tales of his escapades are as legendary amongst fans as his reputation as a hard man is amongst his peers. He wasn’t a cultured footballer although he became better than he gives himself credit for but his biggest strength was his fearsome reputation.

Big Billy is many things to many Hull City fans but it’s rarely mentioned what a success he was financially. In his first spell at Boothferry Park he became a part of the side that won two promotions from Division Four under Colin Appleton and Division Three under Brian Horton. Following the second promotion, Whitehurst became Newcastle United’s record signing for a fee of £232,000. It was an incredible return on a player that Mike Smith signed from Mexborough Town in October 1980 for £2,500.

Leon Cort

Peter Taylor made many shrewd signings during his time as City manager and Leon Cort was one of the best. He was picked up on a free transfer from Southend ahead of the club’s return to the third tier after eight seasons away. Despite initially looking more than little ungainly, he improved immeasurably under Taylor in similar fashion to his replacement at City, Michael Turner.

Cort formed a very good defensive partnership with Damien Delaney and added strength and intelligence to his natural height as well as composure in possession. He scored ten goals in his two seasons at the KC Stadium which is a very good return from centre half. He followed Taylor to Crystal Palace following Championship survival in 2006 for £1,250,000. It was a club record sale at the time and remains the largest fee the club have ever received for a player who cost nothing (including home-grown players).

Bonus: Five more who deserve a mention…

Tony Norman – Signed from Burnley by Mike Smith for £30,000 in 1980 – Sold to Sunderland for £400,000 (plus two players) in 1988.

Dean Windass – Re-signed from North Ferriby United by Terry Dolan on a free transfer in 1991 – Sold to Aberdeen for £700,000 in late 1995.

Michael Turner - Signed from Brentford by Phil Parkinson for £300,000 in 2006 – Sold to Sunderland in a £4m deal in 2009.

Boaz Myhill – Signed from Aston Villa by Peter Taylor for £50,000 in 2003 – Sold to WBA for £1,500,000 in 2010.

George Boyd – Signed from Peterborough by Steve Bruce for £250,000 in 2013 – Sold to Burnley for £3,000,000 in 2014.


  1. I was gutted when we sold Cort. I thought we'd never replace his quality.

  2. We signed Micky Turner from Brentford

    1. Thanks. Charlton were the other club who received a chunk of the fee. Wrong way around!


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