1996/97 – History Of James Winfield – Fish Out Dolan Out

I thought I might allude to a bit of my past – I speak so much of what I do now, what I want to do, etc, that it might be nice seeing as I have a bit of time to write a bit about what happened in prior parts of my life.

See, I haven’t always had this calm, collected outlook on life – when I was younger, in particular when I was a teenager, I had quite a rage inside me that could come out.

In 1996/97, I was 16/17, and after miraculously passing my GCSE’s despite only having studied about two months for them (I was always very bright at school, just a lazy, rebellious little shit) I was more heads down studying for my A-levels, I actually wanted to pass them so I could get the hell out of Hull, and to Reading University to study Meteorology.  And I had swapped outdoor drinking dens like the local railway lines and derelict shopping precincts for the relatively mature pubs and clubs of Hull where there were hefty bouncers to mess you up if you put a place out of line – no going round smashing bottles in venues if you wanted to keep your eyesight.

And I swapped the anger of jungle music for the more optimistic house music once again…and some of the so-called Euro Trance which nobody in the UK liked at the time.

So I had grown up, almost overnight, but there was still a place for my rage and juvenile delinquent antics, and that was at my local football club, Hull City.

Hull City hadn’t always been one of the biggest football clubs in the country – during the 1990’s it had been systematically run-down – this is the club that most of my family had supported, both alive and deceased, and now it was a shambles and was effectively being raped and pillaged by the chairman and manager, Martin Fish and Terry Dolan, respectively.  Such as the chairman giving the manager a three year contract extension for getting relegated to the bottom division, and rumours of a cut of transfer fees for players sold (this was never denied).

Our club hero, Dean Windass, who was sold on the cheap to Aberdeen, reportedly said that he learnt more in two weeks at Aberdeen than he did in two years at Hull City under Terry Dolan.  And that is Scottish football he is talking about!  Yes, Terry liked them to run.

Plus the owner Christopher Needler seemed to hate the club which is strange given that his father before he died put his heart and soul into trying to make Hull City a top flight club.

I was angry.  So were many others – those that hadn’t just given up in despair.  Anger and despair – sounds like Hull.

So, a protest group formed called Tigers 2000.  I was member 2162.  Whether that means I was actually the 2,162nd member or 162nd I do not know.  Anyway, I handed over my beer money and got some bright orange posters saying “SACK DOLAN” and some stickers (one of these stickers actually ended up on the manager’s bald patch once).  The yellow “FISH OUT” ones were depleted and had already been posted up all over Hull in various prominent areas.

You can see the orange posters in this video, they were very effective, and listen to the villians defending themselves, Martin Fish and Terry Dolan.

The protests were quite imaginative, including a bus to the chairman’s house with loudspeakers to shout “Fish Out”, fireworks to signal a walk-out of the game, cod’s heads sent to the chairmen of all the other football clubs, jumping up and down during the game to demand they went, pitch invasions/sit-in’s, coffins down the beach front to symbolise the death of the club, bomb threats to the supermarket which had a 120 year lease on one end of the ground or something similar and was threatening to sell it to the evil owner…the list goes on”.

I of course made good use of those orange stickers and I think after a few games there was one on every single piece of traffic apparatus between Boothferry Park and my house.  And me and my friend Claire made weekly trips to Martin Fish’s accountancy office to post our latest printed creations from the IT class in the morning (from which I learnt nothing and was taught by a fat alcoholic who stank…forgive me if I ever get on my horse about teachers and their pensions).  Apparently Torquay was plastered with them one Saturday.

There was a song for Dolan too – well there were many, like “Fuck Off Terry D, you took us to division 3” but this one is quite well put together, to the tune of Common People by some 1990’s band called Pulp:

Common Dolan

He came from Rochdale with a lack of knowledge
He studied management at Bradford College
That’s where I (pause), caught his eye
He told me that he was a manager
I said: `In that case you’d better come and manage us’
He said: `Fine’
And then, in three seasons’ time
He said: `I want to take you to the Vauxhall Conference
I want to do whatever Halifax do
I want to sign lots of crap old players
I want to watch this club slide out of view
And hoof, and hoof and hoof
There’s nothing left to doooooooooo’

We did eventually win.  Kind of.

Our saviours were:

1. David Lloyd (who later locked us out of our own ground and said everyone from Hull is crap).
2. Mark Hateley as manager (who took us to the bottom of the bottom division, 9 points from safety, something even Terry D couldn’t manage).
3. Tim Wilby was the public face of the takeover and I think ended up chairman for a bit or certainly involved high up, pardon the pun…he is now facing extradition to the Czech Republic on drugs trafficking charges.

It is never easy being from Hull.

But it was fun, and a bit more constructive than pointless vandalism.


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