The sun was shining, the doors where open, welcome to the Senior Tigers April meeting. Spirits were clearly buoyant following the two home victories over the Hammers & the ‘Boro, a confidence that we can survive for another Premier season.
Our special guest was Adam Lowthorpe who played over 70 times for the Tigers between 1993 and 1998. Adam was one of those rare local successes, born and bred in the city. He began playing for Greatfield in mid-field but was encouraged by the great Chris Chiltern to give right full-back a go .. Adam’s future was discovered. He joined the Tiger’s YTS scheme to be guided by Dale Roberts and then Mal Shotton – two good role models if ever there were any. It was a good production line which saw a number of local boys come through to the first team and make their mark. Adam’s debut came as something of a surprise when he thought he’d been ‘dropped’ from the Reserves only to find he was promoted to Terry Dolan’s first team – a match against Bradford City in which ‘Deano’ scored in the first minute. Adam recalls that sense of pride taking his place with his home city club and says he is just as proud today when he looks back at his success. These were different days, the old ‘drinks culture’ had not yet given way to the modern professionalism, but things were changing.
From full-back Adam only mustered three first team goals but our Chair still asked him “Do you remember any of them?” Adam responded with bite …. “when you only score three you remember them all!!” The first two were both away goals, at Scunny and from a flick on by Mark Hateley, and at Rochdale but to this day he has never seen any video. Surely someone in those club will have some archive footage? His final goal was at Boothferry Park against the Orient and this he has seen played back! He recalls that wonderful moment when he could stand in front of the South stand and milk their adoration.
The David Lloyd era had arrived and Mark Hateley was unable to raise moral among a squad he considered weak and was not allowed to strengthen. Adam was allowed to leave the only club he wanted to play for. He tried Gainsborough Trinity without success but eventually came through at North Ferriby United whilst helping with the coaching at the City Under 16’s. He soon retired to concentrate on the coaching side of the game although he greatest playing honour was yet to come! He was playing the game of Futsal, widely regarded round the globe if not in the UK and at the age of 32 was called up to play for England! Now a full International, at Futsal that is, he moved back to retirement and the discovery of his new contribution to the great Game.
Adam had taken a degree in Leisure Management at York and was involved in Hull City’s Football in the Community team and the Centre of Excellence when the opportunity to join the East Riding FA as a Development Officer came along. Now, a few years down the road, Adam is the County FA’s Chief Executive and guiding the future of football at all levels in this region – children, men, women, elderly ‘Walking in Football’ teams and, of course, the referees. Well done Adam on fulfilling such an important challenge.
There were many questions from the floor, about ‘Walking Football’ which is a fast rising star of the game – as well the Senior Tigers know! Ladies Football is also on the growth with some 16/17 local teams. The disappointment is that Hull City Ladies are not given any real support by the Club – one of only two Premier League clubs to fail to back their local ladies. Meanwhile the ERFA have a target of doubling the number of women & girls playing the game over the next 5 years. The problem of recruiting referees was also posed. The County F A have about 300 referees on their panel and run a number of courses every year to help increase the number but attitudes towards the officials can be so very hostile from the sides. Adam was asked why the County Cup Final would not be held at the KCOM Stadium. It seems that the club have raised the hire to an exorbitant level and whilst most County F A’s have the free use of the local stadium for the prestigious local cup finals that is not the case in Hull. It is a pity since most players, who will never play the game at the professional level dream of the privilege of walking out just that once on their local ‘theatre of dreams’.
Adam’s visit to the Senior Tigers was very much appreciated by the membership.
Adam Lowthorpe and Dave Jackson