|Full name||Hull Football Club|
|Nickname(s)||Airlie Birds, The Black and Whites, The Cream|
|Head Coach||Lee Radford|
Hull Football Club, commonly referred to as Hull or Hull FC, is a professional rugby league football club established in 1865 and based in Hull, East Riding of Yorkshire, England. The club plays in the Super League competition.
Hull F.C. were one of the founding members of the Northern Rugby Football Union which was formed in 1895 in Huddersfield, making them one of the world's first twenty-two rugby league clubs. Later that year they moved to the Hull Athletic Club's ground at the Boulevard, Airlie Street, which gave rise to their nickname the "Airlie Birds". Traditionally people from the west side of Hull support Hull FC while Hull Kingston Rovers are supported by the east half, the 'border' being regarded as the River Hull.
- 1 History
- 2 Stadiums
- 3 Super League results
- 4 2015 squad
- 5 2016 transfers
- 6 Players
- 7 Honours
- 8 Past coaches
- 9 Records
- 10 References
- 11 External links
The club was formed in 1865 by a group of ex-schoolboys from York, most notably Anthony Bradley, who had been at Rugby School. The founders used to meet at the Young Men's Fellowship, at St. Mary’s Church in Lowgate. The vicar at that time was the Reverend Scott and his five sons made up the nucleus of the team. The club immediately took on members who were plumbers and glaziers. Soon another team, Hull White Star, was formed and the two clubs merged. Hull Football Club was one of the first clubs in the north of England to join the Rugby Football Union.
Hull, then nicknamed the All Blacks, were one of the initial 22 clubs to form the Northern Union after the acrimonious split from the Rugby Football Union in 1895. The club moved from East Hull to the Hull Athletic Club at the Boulevard in 1895, and subsequently played their first ever match there in September of that year. 8,000 people turned out to witness the first club's match in which Hull beat Liversedge.
The early years of the Northern Union saw Hull prosper, and their black and white irregular hooped jerseys became one of the most famous and feared strips in the league. Between 1908–10, Hull lost three consecutive Challenge Cup finals. In the first; they failed to score against Hunslet who would go on to win All Four Cups whilst in the second they failed to score against Wakefield Trinity. In the third final of 1910, they held Leeds to a 7–7 draw at Fartown, Huddersfield but were heavily beaten in the replay held two days later.
In 1913, they paid a world record £600, plus £14 per match, to Hunslet for Billy Batten, one of only seventeen players, and the only representative from Hull FC, so far inducted into the British Rugby League Hall of Fame. A year later the Airlie Birds won their first Challenge Cup, beating Huddersfield in the semi-final and Wakefield Trinity in the final held in Halifax. Playing alongside Billy on that day was John "Jack" Harrison VC, MC who scored a try. Harrison scored 52 tries in the 1913–4 season, a club record that still stands. Twelve Hull players were killed during the First World War.
The early-1920s were bittersweet years for the club. In 1921, Hull won the Yorkshire Cup but lost the county championship, both against rivals Hull Kingston Rovers. Hull couldn't match the successes of 1914, losing a further two consecutive cup finals in 1922–23 to Rochdale Hornets and Leeds respectively, but they managed to win the Yorkshire Cup and finish top of the league.
In the early 1930s, Hull had a full back and goal kicker called Joe Oliver. Oliver was so dependable with the boot that the crowd at one match spontaneously started singing the Gene Autry song, Old Faithful at him. Hull supporters adopted the song as their battle cry from then on.
Hull's record attendance was set in 1936 when 28,798 turned up for the visit of Leeds for a third round Challenge cup match.
Post Second World War
The 1952 Kangaroos visited the Boulevard on Monday 8 September. They had opened their tour with a victory at Keighley two days earlier, and they continued their winning run with a 28–0 victory over Hull.
In 1949, the black Welshman Roy Francis became the first black professional coach in any British team sport, when he coached Hull.
Hull team won the league championship in 1956 when Colin Hutton kicked a last-minute penalty in the final against Halifax at Maine Road, Manchester. Hull won the play-offs again in 1958, against Workington Town. They also won the European Club championship in 1957 and lost in the cup finals at Wembley in 1959 and 1960. These triumphs healed the wound of two successive Yorkshire Cup final defeats in 1955 and 1957. They lost in two further Challenge Cup finals to Wigan and Wakefield Trinity in 1959 and 1960. All these reverses, when one hand had been grasping so many trophies, gave Hull a steely resolve and a thirst for success.
Johnny Whiteley became player coach in October 1963. When Roy Francis retired as Hull FC coach in 1965, Whiteley took over as coach. Hull F.C. lost to Wakefield Trinity 17–10 victory in the 1968 Rugby Football League Championship final at Headingley on 4 May 1968. Francis resigned in 1970 to coach Hull Kingston Rovers. Ivor Watts was then appointed coach from 1970–1971 of which Hull won 28 matches and lost 17.
With the coaching appointment of Arthur Bunting in 1978, Hull began a period of dominance. Hull won all of their 26 Division Two matches in 1978–79, the only time a club has won all of its league matches in a season and returning to the top flight. The Airlie Birds lost the 1980 Challenge Cup final against Hull KR 10–5 and have never won at Wembley since. It was reputed that a makeshift sign was left on the A63 (the major westerly road out of Hull) that read "last one out turn the lights off!" due to most of the city travelling to Wembley for the final. In 1982, Hull, crushed by Widnes in the Premiership final, avenged the defeat with an 18–9 Challenge Cup replay win at Elland Road.
Hull eventually won the league in 1983 and also reached the Premiership final, the Challenge Cup final and the Yorkshire Cup final, but the latter trophy would be their only reward from the three finals. They lost to Featherstone Rovers at Wembley in one of the great Challenge Cup final upsets and they also lost the Premiership final three years running.
The signing of Australian Peter Sterling, a 2006 inductee into the Australian Rugby League Hall of Fame, maintained Hull’s strength, and Bunting’s men went to their third successive Yorkshire Cup beating Hull KR 29–12, but were edged out in arguably the greatest ever Challenge Cup final in 1984–85 by Wigan at Wembley Stadium with a score of 28 to 24 in Wigan's favour. A number of subsequent coaches, such as Brian Smith (1988–90) failed to deliver consistent success. Hull lost the Premiership final in 1989 to Widnes, but two years later returned to beat them 14–4 at Old Trafford under coach Noel Cleal.
Royce Simmons moved to England to coach Hull for two seasons from 1992 to 1994. In June 1993, financial trouble forced Hull to put seven players on the transfer list and Royce Simmons ran five marathons to raise money to pay for players from Australia.
In 1996, the first tier of British rugby league clubs played the inaugural Super League season and changed from a winter to a summer season. As the sport in Britain entered a new era, controversy was sparked in the city of Hull when it was suggested that Hull should merge with Hull Kingston Rovers to form 'Humberside'. Hull FC's shareholders gave the idea general approval but it was ultimately resisted. The club like many other rugby league clubs re-branded and became known as the Hull Sharks. It is unclear who came up with the 'Sharks' as a nickname but for a nautical city it was a fairly obvious choice. Hull FC finished below the cut-off point of 10th in the existing top flight and so were excluded from the new Super League.
Phil Sigsworth joined the club in 1996 and coached them to the First Division championship title and promotion to Super League in 1997. However, the club struggled to gain a foothold in the competition under new manager Peter Walsh. The renaming was unpopular with the supporters, and the club spiralled in to financial difficulties and went out of business. Hull Sharks closed and was taken over by the recently formed expansion team Gateshead Thunder at the end of 1999 (with the backing of the Super League). The Association of Premiership Clubs blocked proposals for the newly merged company to enter a Hull-based team in the Northern Ford Premiership and so Hull FC closed and Gateshead Thunder took over the traditional Hull FC identity in Super League and moved its home games to The Boulevard. Most of the Gateshead playing squad moved to Hull FC along with their Board and ex-St Helens coach Shaun McRae who remained at the helm until 2004.
After 107 years at the Boulevard, Hull FC moved in January 2003 to a £44 million state-of-the-art council-owned Kingston Communications Stadium, more commonly known as the KC Stadium and the rejuvenation of the club continued. Although they are joint tenants at the stadium alongside the city's football club Championship side Hull City AFC : the two teams sharing use of the stadium, Hull FC have been forced to play a cup match away at Doncaster to avoid two matches clashing. Shaun McRae left the club to return to Australia at the end of the 2004 season; he was replaced by former England coach John Kear, who had previously been McRae's deputy.
In his first season at the club, Kear led Hull FC to the Rugby League Challenge Cup final for the first time since 1985. Hull FC defeated Leeds 25–24 in a thrilling final at Cardiff's Millennium Stadium to lift the trophy. Paul Cooke's 77th minute try, which was converted by Danny Brough gave Hull FC a 1-point lead, which they held onto after Hull FC captain Richard Swain charged down a drop-goal attempt from Leeds skipper Kevin Sinfield in the dying seconds of the match.
John Kear left Hull FC on 3 April 2006 after a disappointing start to the season, which saw Hull lose four out of their first seven league games and also their defence of the Challenge Cup being ended at the first hurdle against the Bradford Bulls in a 23–12 defeat, to be replaced by Australian Peter Sharp who was recruited from Parramatta Eels where he was assistant coach. Between 14 April – 15 July 2006 Hull won 13 matches in succession, including a 27–26 defeat of the league leaders St Helens on 8 June 2006. The last time they beat St Helens on their ground was 18 years ago. This run ended in defeat at Harlequins RL on 23 July 2006. Hull FC managed to finish in second place, their highest league position in the Super League era. They lost to the league leaders St Helens in the first Grand Final playoff game, but succeeded in reaching the final by defeating the reigning champions Bradford. Over 20,000 Hull FC fans travelled to Old Trafford, but again they lost out to the Saints, this time by 26–4. The overall attendance broke the Grand Final record, mainly due to the stadium's recent expansion.
For the 2007 season, Hull FC signed five players: Matt Sing (a prolific National Rugby League try-scorer and Australian representative), Hutch Maiava, Willie Manu, Danny Tickle and Wayne Godwin. Also, the Hull Football Club v Hull Kingston Rovers derbies are back for the 2007 season due to Rovers' promotion from National League 1. The first of four of these derby matches was played on Easter Monday, 9 April 2007, at the KC Stadium. The game was played in front of a sell-out attendance of 23,002 and ended with a result for the Black and Whites who had been struggling early in the season. The final score was 22–14 with Sid Domic crossing the line for the Airlie Birds in the final seconds.
On 23 April Paul Cooke, stand-off, controversially resigned from Hull Football Club to join Hull Kingston Rovers. Cooke claimed he was out of contract as he had not signed the contract that the club had offered him. Following his departure, club chief executive David Plummer resigned. His replacement James Rule has come in for much criticism.
Hull FC have endured a poor 2008 season and on 19 May 2008 the club dismissed coach Peter Sharp. A week later they appointed his assistant Richard Agar as his replacement. John Sharp has since been named as an addition to the Hull FC coaching staff. Hull finished a poor 11th in the League in 2008, falling far short of the fans expectations, although a Challenge cup final appearance and a successful franchise application ensured the season was not a complete failure. The club announced that Australian test forward Michael Crocker will sign for the club on a three-year contract from the start of the 2008–09 season. Fullback Chris Thorman has signed a one-year deal for 2009, after leaving Huddersfield. Matty Dale, Matt Sing and James Webster were released at the end of the season. Former HKR favourite – Webster having only played one game.
In March 2009 Michael Crocker was denied a visa to come to England to play for Hull FC. Hull FC announced four big name signings for the 2010 SL season: Craig Fitzgibbon, Mark O'Meley, Sean Long, and Jordan Tansey (although Tansey arrived at the club towards the end of the 2009 season, having been released early from his contract at Sydney Roosters). Several long serving players left the club at the end of the forgettable 2009 season, including Paul King, Graeme Horne, and Gareth Raynor.
Super League XV started well with five wins from the first seven games, the two losses coming away against Crusaders and Wigan Warriors. FC beat Hull KR 18–14 in the first derby of the year at Craven Park, but then followed a period of one win from five games, in which the team were convincingly knocked out of the Challenge Cup by Leeds. Hull FC finished the regular season in 6th place, however a convincing 21–4 home defeat to rivals Hull Kingston Rovers brought an early end to their playoff campaign.
On 22 July 2011 it was confirmed that Hull City's Head of Football Operations, Adam Pearson had purchased the entire shareholding of the club together with his close friend Mikey Drake and they had taken over full control from Kath Hetherington. In a statement on the club's website, it was also confirmed that James Rule would continue as chief executive.
Richard Agar left the club at the end of the 2011 season and was replaced by Australian Peter Gentle. The 2012 season was a largely transitional one, with high player turnover and many injuries hampering the side's progress mid-season, however the club finished a respectable 6th in the regular season. They went on to convincingly beat Huddersfield in the first round of play-off games but fell to defeat away at Warrington in the preliminary semi-finals.
For the 2013 season, Hull again finished 6th in the regular season and beat Catalans at home in the first round of the play-offs but were comprehensively beaten 76–18 by Huddersfield in the second round. Hull also reached the Challenge cup final for the first time in 5 years but were beaten 16–0 by Wigan. On 24 September 2013 Hull FC announced the departure of Peter Gentle with two years still remaining on his contract. It is thought the record loss to Huddersfield in the play-offs along with the poor performance at Wembley were the main factors behind his demise. The next day Hull announced that 34-year-old assistant Lee Radford will become Head Coach from 2014 and Andy Last would step up to become Lee's assistant. Also former player Motu Tony becomes the new director of football, replacing outgoing director Shaun McRae.
1895-2002: The Boulevard
Hull F.C. moved into the Boulevard shortly after the formation of the RFL. Between 1904 and 1905 the ground was shared with Hull City A.F.C and speedway also took place during the 1940s, 70s and 80s and also had a greyhound track in 2007. The Boulevard also host many international rugby league games.
2003 – present: KC Stadium
In 2003 Hull F.C. moved into the KC Stadium which they share with Hull City for a second time in their history. The record attendance for a rugby league ground was 23,004 in 2007 when they played local rivals Hull KR.
Super League results
|1996||Super League I||Did not participate|
|1997||Super League II|
|1998||Super League III||23||8||0||15||16||9th|
|1999||Super League IV||30||5||0||25||10||13th|
|2000||Super League V||28||12||1||15||25||7th|
|2001||Super League VI||28||20||2||6||42||3rd|
|2002||Super League VII||28||16||0||12||32||5th|
|2003||Super League VIII||28||13||3||12||27||7th|
|2004||Super League IX||28||19||2||12||40||3rd|
|2005||Super League X||28||15||2||11||32||5th|
|2006||Super League XI||28||20||0||8||40||2nd|
|2007||Super League XII||27||14||2||11||30||5th|
|2008||Super League XIII||27||8||1||18||17||11th|
|2009||Super League XIV||27||10||0||17||20||12th|
|2010||Super League XV||27||16||0||11||32||6th|
|2011||Super League XVI||27||13||1||13||27||8th|
|2012||Super League XVII||27||15||2||10||32||6th|
|2013||Super League XVIII||27||13||2||12||28||6th|
|2014||Super League XIX||27||10||2||15||22||11th|
|2015||Super League XX||30||12||0||18||24||8th|
* Announced on 8 November 2014:
|2015 Hull F.C Squad|
|First team squad||Coaching staff|
Updated: 8 November 2014
|Player||Signed from||Contract Length||Date|
|Frank Pritchard||Canterbury Bulldogs||2 Years||June 2015|
|Scott Taylor||Wigan Warriors||3 Years||June 2015|
|Carlos Tuimavave||Newcastle Knights||3 Years||July 2015|
|Mahe Fonua||Melbourne Storm||3 Years||August 2015|
|Sika Manu||Penrith Panthers||3 Years||August 2015|
|Danny Washbrook||Wakefield Wildcats||Years||August 2015|
|Player||Signed for||Contract Length||Date|
|Joe Arundel||Wakefield Wildcats||1 Year||Feb 2015|
|Mickey Paea||Newcastle Knights||2 Years||May 2015|
|Stuart Howarth||Wakefield Wildcats||1 ½ Years||June 2015|
|Tom Lineham||Warrington Wolves||4 Years||June 2015|
|James Cunningham||London Broncos||1 ½ Years||July 2015|
|Setaimata Sa||Widnes Vikings||1 Year||August 2015|
|Jordan Rankin||Wests Tigers||2 Years||September 2015|
Hall of Fame
The following players have been inducted into Hull FC's Hall of Fame:
Bill Drake · Chris Davidson · Gary Kemble · Greg Mackay · Ivor Watts · James Leuluai · Jim Drake · Keith Boxall · Mick Crane · Paul Prendiville · Richard Swain · Tevita Vaikona · Trevor Skerrett · Billy Batten · Jim Kennedy · Joe Oliver · Clive Sullivan · Peter Sterling · Garry Schofield · Mick Scott · Arthur Keegan · Tommy Harris · Paul Eastwood · Phil Bell
- 1980–81: Steve Norton
- 1981–85: David Topliss
- 1985–87: Lee Crooks
- 1987–90: Dane O'Hara
- 1990–92: Greg MacKey
- 1992–94: Russ Walker
- 1994–96: Steve McNamara
- 1996: Gary Divorty
- 1997: Andy Fisher
- 1998: Alan Hunte
- 1998: Gary Lester
- 1999: Karl Harrison
- 2000-01: Tony Grimaldi
- 2002-04: Jason Smith
- 2005-06: Richard Swain
- 2007: Lee Radford
- 2010-11: Sean Long
- 2011-12: Craig Fitzgibbon
- 2012: Andy Lynch
- 2013: Gareth Ellis
- Rugby Football League Championships (6): 1919–20, 1920–21, 1935–36, 1955–56, 1957–58, 1982–83
- Premiership (1): 1990–91
- Division Two Championships (3): 1976–77, 1978–79, 1996–97
- Challenge Cups (3): 1913–14, 1981–82, 2005
- John Player Trophy (1): 1981–82
- BBC2 Floodlit Trophy (1): 1979–80 (not subsequently contested)
- Yorkshire Cups (5): 1923–24, 1969–70, 1982–83, 1983–84, 1984–85
- Yorkshire Leagues (4): 1918–19, 1922–23, 1926–27, 1935–36
- European Club Champions (1): 1956–1957
- Eastern Division Championship (5): 1926–27, 1927–28, 1929–30, 1933–34, 1935–36
- J Gray 1895–1900
- W Wright, C Hunter 1900-3
- H Coates 1903 to 1908
- J Lewis 1908–12
- Sid Melville 1912–27
- Edgar Wrigley 1927–31
- Edward Caswell 1931–46
- Ted Tattersfield 1946–9
- Roy Francis 1949–63
- John Whiteley 1963–70
- Ivor Watts 1970-1
- David Doyle-Davidson 1972-3
- Clive Sullivan 1973-4
- David Doyle-Davidson 1974-7
- Arthur Bunting 1978–85
- Len Casey 1986–8
- Tony Dean & Keith Hepworth 1988
- Brian Smith 1988–90
- Noel Cleal 1991-2
- Royce Simmons 1992-4
- Tony Gordon 1994
- Phil Windley & Russ Walker 1994-5
- Phil Windley 1995
- Phil Sigsworth 1996-7
- Peter Walsh 1997-9
- Steve Crooks 1999
- Shaun McRae 2000-4
- John Kear 2005-6
- Peter Sharp 2006-8
- Richard Agar 2008–11
- Peter Gentle 2011-13
- Lee Radford 2013–
- Most tries in a match: 7 by Clive Sullivan vs Doncaster, 15 April 1968
- Most goals in a match: 14 by Jim Kennedy vs Rochdale Hornets- 7 April 1921, Geoffrey "Geoff" 'Sammy' Lloyd v Oldham – 10 September 1978, Matt Crowther v Sheffield Eagles – 2 March 2003
- Most points in a match: 36 by Jim Kennedy vs Keighley, 29 January 1921
- Most tries in a season: 52 by John "Jack" Harrison VC, MC, 1914–15
- Most goals in a season: 170 by Geoffrey "Geoff" 'Sammy' Lloyd, 1978–79
- Most points in a season: 369 by Geoffrey "Geoff" 'Sammy' Lloyd, 1978–79
- Consecutive Tries: 11 by John "Jack" Harrison VC, MC, 1914–15 & Richard Horne, 2006
- Most goals: 687 – Joe Oliver 1928–37 & 1943–45
- Most tries: 250 – Clive Sullivan 1961–74 & 1981–85
- Most points: 1,842 – Joe Oliver 1928–37 & 1943–45
- Most appearances: 501 – Edward Rogers 1906–25
- Highest score: 88–0 vs Sheffield Eagles, 2 March 2003
- Highest against: 71–0 vs Bradford Bulls, play-offs 2005
- Highest attendance: 28,798 vs Leeds, 7 March 1936
- Fastest ever try in both codes of rugby: 9 seconds by Lee Jackson for Hull in the Yorkshire Cup semi-final against the Sheffield Eagles at the Don Valley Stadium, 1992 This World Record Archived 17 March 2006 at the Wayback Machine still stands today
- Only team to have won every single league game in a season: 1979 Division Two
- Most consecutive Super League victories: 13 games, (14 April 2006 – 15 July 2006, beating Huddersfield, Wakefield, Catalans, Wigan, Bradford, Leeds, Huddersfield, St Helens, Harlequins, Castleford, Catalans, Salford & Warrington).
Also made their first super league grand final but lost to St Helens in 2006
- Hull's Australians at Hull FC.com
- "David Topliss: Sparkling rugby international". The Independent (London). 19 June 2008. Retrieved 4 May 2010.
- hullfc.com. "Coaches and Captains". History. Hull FC. Retrieved 18 December 2011.
- "Factbox on sacked Penrith coach Royce Simmons". Australia: AAP Sports News. 11 September 2001. Retrieved 25 July 2010.
- Dave Hadfield (20 December 1995). "Rugby's pounds 87m deal gives Murdoch transfer veto". London: The Independent. Retrieved 6 May 2009.
- Hadfield, Dave (22 April 1995). "British tours will survive the Super League fall-out". The Independent (London). Retrieved 4 May 2010.
- Laybourn, Ian (16 November 1999). "Gateshead fold as League agrees merger". The Independent (London).
- Hadfield, Dave (27 November 1999). "Attempted revival of Don Valley club hits the buffers". The Independent (London). Retrieved 4 May 2010.
- "CLUB STATEMENT: ADAM PEARSON ON TAKEOVER". Hull F.C. 22 July 2011. Retrieved 22 July 2011.
- "Hall of Fame". hullfc.com. Hull FC. Retrieved 21 February 2014.