Hull City’s Beginning
Right through the local history of the game certain clubs have had their periods. I have already alluded to the Harlequins, Comet, and Hull City Amateurs side, composed of Andrews, Traynor, The Hays, and Co. This collection eventually migrated to Hessle , and, strengthened by Grantham and some of the Robsons, continued their victorious career, winning in 1904 the Senior Cup, the gift of Sir H. Seymour King , M.P., on the occasion of its first being offered for competition. They also secure the Beverley Hospital Cup. The Charity Cup went to Grimsby St, John’s, East Hull Thursday won the Mid-Week Cup, and Day-Street Old Boys – then just beginning what was to prove the most excellent record of any junior club – secured the Dr. Lilley Cup.
The formation of a first-class Association team fit for inclusion in higher-class football had long been a cherished idea in the minds of several local enthusiasts, a notable exhibition of the game on the Boulevard between Aston Villa and Small Heath adding greatly to the enthusiasm. The success of the Comet, Hull City Amateurs, and Hessle Clubs really caused the first step to be taken, for Ben Crompton and Fred Levitt and a few of their confreres all connected with the Hessle Club took the bull by the horns, and in August 1904, incorporated themselves into a limited company, known as the Hull City A..F.C. Co., Ltd, Mr William Gilyott, of High-street, being the first chairman. A team of ten professionals was signed on, and friendly fixtures were arranged with most of the leading clubs in the two divisions of the English League. The Boulevard ground was taken on a lease, and arrangements made for matches to be played on alternate Saturdays with the Hull N.U. F.C.
Notts County were the club’s first visitors, a draw of 2-2 taking place before about 4,000 spectators, the match being played on September 1st , 1904. They were unfortunate in the F.A. Cup, inasmuch as they were drawn with Stockton at home, but owing to the Boulevard being occupied by the Rugby club they had to journey to Stockton, where a 3-3 draw ensued on September 17th. The match was re-played on the following Thursday, City being badly beaten 4-1. The full record of the team was: 45 played, 26 won, 11 lost, 8 drawn, 118 goals for, 70 against. In April, 1905, Messrs Alwyn D. Smith, J.B.Bainton, E.K. Wilson, and H. Ostler joined the board , on which Messrs J.H. Bielby, A.E. Spring, and F.G. Stringer had sat since the inauguration of the club, Mr. A.D. Smith following Mr Gilyott in the chair.
It is a matter of history that the club failed on the first voting to secure admission to the League in 1905, only receiving 18 votes, but on the extension of the League, they were admitted, along with Burton United, polling the full 36 votes, Mr. J.F. Haller, who had succeeded Mr. Crompton as secretary, being the club’s spokesman at the League meeting. The club’s chief players in the first season were Whitehouse (goal); Jones and Davies (full backs), Martin, Thornton, and Raisbeck (half backs); and Rushton, Spence, Howe and Wilkinson (forwards). Beyond this the doings of Hull City do not come into a chronicle of East Riding Soccer, sufficient having been said to prove the claim of the East Riding Association to claim credit for the debut of the club.
Not alone was 1904 noteworthy because of the beginning of Hull City (which happening the croakers predicted would automatically close down junior play, whereas it had a directly opposite effect), but it also witnessed the clubs managing their own League affairs for the first time. It had been a part of the Association’s work to run the Leagues, but this necessitated so many meetings, and so much work for one man, that with Mr Hampton’s resignation of the office of Association Secretary it was decided to hand the League affairs over to a special committee appointed by the clubs themselves, with Messrs W.G. Terry, C.E. Hampton, and G. Oldfield as Council representatives and advisers, the latter becoming the first secretary, and no one knows better than George Oldfield the work necessitated in those days. This was the first movement towards League extension locally, but even then no one foresaw the great developments likely to take place during the following decade, all of which will come under review in due course.
Many alterations were made in the official side of the game. The number of vice-presidents was increased to three, Messrs J.F. Haller and Ben Smith joining Mr. G.W. Cook. Mr E.A. Wilkinson took over the secretarial duties, Mr. H. Kirk of Hessle, being a new comer to the Council.
Another innovation, and one which produced great excitement, was a six-a-side tournament, held at Dairycoates at the end of the season, April 22nd, to be exact. The final was contested by Holderness Athletic and Brunswick Wesleyans, the former providing the winners. The winning team was W. Moody, Jackson, F.R. Vasey, Rose, Purvis, and Wright. Jackson, Vasey, and Wright all eventually went to Beverley, and had a glorious career in the local soccer world.
The Association grew by leaps and bounds, nearly 100 clubs having affiliated by 1905.
A stern struggle took place for the Senior Cup, Hessle, who won the trophy the previous season, again being in the final, having Filey United as their opponents, the North Yorkshiremen thus coming into prominence for the first time. The robust fishermen were all over Hessle, and won 3-0. “Rammy” Boynton, Gardiner, and Jenkinson scored the goals. Others in the ranks wearing the familiar blue and white were Cammish, Jack Douglas, Storry, and “Jack” Jones, all of whom were very prominent, subsequently in the records of the game. Hessle were also in the Charity Cup final, having earned the right by defeating Brunswick Wesleyans in the Yorkshire final, but they only put up a poor display when meeting Grimsby, Hagerup and Doughty losing 6-2. Whether these disappointments after such a long period of success, had a depressing effect on the club or not is a moot point, at any rate it finished its career at the end of the season, the players scattering all over the district.
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