Ken Wagstaff just edges out Dean Windass as ‘greatest Tiger’

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Deciding on who to choose as the best ever Hull City player is a tricky one. I started watching City in 1972 and therefore just caught the latter part of Ken Wagstaff's career with the club.

Other strikers have followed such as Keith Edwards, Les Mutrie, Billy Whitehurst, Andy Payton and Dean Windass; all of whom have scored plenty of goals for the club and Windass runs Waggy a close second in the affection of the fans.

Other notable players in the black and amber have included Raich Carter, Alf Ackerman, Billy Bly, Neil Franklin, Chris Chilton , Gareth Roberts and Stuart Elliott latterly but none can quite attain the huge affection that Waggy commands.

Ken Wagstaff signed for City in 1964 from Mansfield for a fee of £40,000, a record signing at the time. Waggy had been discovered by Raich Carter and had signed for the Stags in 1960.

Possessing a deceptive turn of speed and excellent close control he linked up with Hull born striker Chris Chilton to forge a powerful striking partnership which got City out of the old third division and into a challenging position for promotion to the old first division.

In his first season for City, Wagstaff notched 23 goals in 25 appearances and the following season he overtook Bill Bradbury's post war league & cup goals record notching 31 for the season 65/66. That Waggy was never capped for England was much to do with his loyalty to Hull City and not moving to a top flight club.

By 1972 he had scored 150 goals for City but gradually the injuries caught up with him and he left Hull City in 1975 to play in Australia.

I only saw three years of Waggy's football with Hull City but he was instantly my favourite player and the fact that City fans had to wait until 1978 and the arrival of Keith Edwards from Sheffield United for a regular goal scorer to replace him shows what a huge void he left for the club.

The Tigers signed the likes of Dave Sunley from Sheffield Wednesday and Peter Fletcher from Manchester United but neither flourished and with local lads Stuart Pearson and John Hawley making the move away from City it was left to the likes of Alf Wood, Jeff Hemmerman and eventually the ageing smash and grab hit men of Warboys & Bannister to try and get the goals for City.

Then along came Edwards and a true goalscorer was at last found to replace Waggy.

In 2005 a local poll of fans put Waggy at the top of the all time great Hull City players and who am I to argue with that?

Disclaimer: The views in this article are that of the writer and may not replicate those of the Professional Footballers' Association.

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