Hull City’s Golden Generation: An Interview with Scott Wiseman

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This week HCST talk cleaning boots, Andy Dawson’s managerial attributes, and international duty with Gibraltar, with Hull-born Tigers Academy graduate, Scott Wiseman.

Hull-born defender Scott Wiseman joined Hull City at the age of just six years old, where he gradually made his way through all ranks of the youth-team set up under the watchful eye of Hull City’s Centre of Excellence manager Billy Russell. During an era where Hull City’s Academy produced very few professional players, Wiseman broke into Peter Taylor’s first team in 2003, making his first appearance against Kidderminster Harriers during the 2003/04 season. After a string of loan-moves Wiseman left the KC in 2007 and has gone on to have a successful career, playing for the likes of Barnsley, Preston and Scunthorpe United, as well as International football for Gibraltar.

Wiseman is a good illustration of the importance of timing in football. It could very well be argued that he was ironically a victim of the Tigers’ success during the period he was breaking into the first team, and that had it been a different generation he would still be wearing the famous Black and Amber shirt. A very modest Wiseman agrees.

“I don’t think it was that I was never given a chance at Hull. Unfortunately for the youth players when I was there, the club had a large cash injection for the first team so there were always at least two experienced players in front of the likes of me, so getting a chance was hard to come by.”

“By the time I returned from my loan at Rotherham, Peter Taylor had left for Palace, Phil Parkinson had come in and been sacked, and Phil Brown had never met me, let alone seen me play, so the writing was on the wall when I returned.”

Wiseman first joined the Tigers at the age of six, when the club was languishing in the fourth division, having never played top flight football. In many ways his time at City perfectly represented not only the rise of Hull City as a club, but also the evolution of modern football over recent decades.

Wiseman recalls, “I’d always been a Hull City fan as a boy, we used to get given a season ticket by the club for being in their Centre of Excellence and I used to love going to Boothferry Park. However, the club is a completely different beast these days from what I remember.”

“We used to keep the kit and balls in a white house on the main road near Boothferry Park, and we had to take it to the laundry at the back of the stadium so that it was ready for the first team. I don’t even think the Hull lads these days will even clean the pro’s boots! It’s a different world.”

The full-back is one of very few players of his generation to make it as a professional after coming through at City, and was singled out as a potential star by Billy Russell for a very early age. Indeed, the arrival of Peter Taylor in 2002 also proved key in Wiseman’s development, with appearances for England’s under-20 side coming in 2005 on the recommendation of Taylor himself.

Wiseman explains, “I don’t think anyone should underestimate the value and effect Billy [Russell] had on me and the lads at Hull. I don’t think I’ve heard a bad word said about him from a player, and in my eyes he’s not just a huge part of the youth set-up, but also a huge part of Hull City as a club. Even now, nine years after I’ve left, if I ask a youth player from Hull how Billy is they are full of praise for him.”

“Equally, I’ll always be grateful to Peter [Taylor] for what he did for my career from an early age. Most of all, he wanted men in his team, to be big and strong and know your responsibilities. So as a young lad coming through he made me very aware of what he wanted from me. This was something I greatly respected, and something I still remember to this day” he adds.

During his development at City, Wiseman played alongside a number of the club’s modern greats, including the ‘famous four’ who went on the represent the Tigers’ in all four professional divisions of the Football League – Ashbee, Dawson, Myhill, and France. Andy Dawson, in particular, played a huge role in Wiseman’s development, however, Wiseman, like so many others, never dreamt these players would represent Hull City in the Premier League.

“I used to look up to Daws as a young player, especially being a fellow full back, and you could always see he had the ability to progress. It was hard to see if anyone would cope with the top flight as they did, as you see so many players make the jump and fail, but it’s a testament to their individual characters that they stood up to the challenge for themselves and more importantly for Hull” Wiseman reflects.

Perhaps somewhat ironically, Andy Dawson, Wiseman’s role model during his time at the Circle, became his manager for a brief period earlier this year at Scunthorpe United following the sacking of Mark Robins. Despite missing long sections of the season through injury, Wiseman made 18 appearances for the Iron last season, helping the side finish 7th in League One, narrowly missing out on the Play-offs on goal-difference.

Wiseman explains, “Andy Dawson has been great this year, especially when the manager was sacked. It was a big ask as the lads were low on confidence but he was a massive part in picking everyone up and refocussing us for the end of season run we ended up having.”

“Personally it was a tough season. I carried an injury for pre-season which set me back and then ended up with having an operation in the new year, but I’m back fit now and looking forward to pre-season fit and healthy. The club itself have a great Chairman who has a big vision for Scunthorpe and has financially backed the club with the squad we have. Also, with a new stadium on the way, it should be an exciting time for the club within the next few years”

Interesting, Wiseman made the decision in 2013 to represent one of FIFA’s newest recognised nations, Gibraltar, on the international stage. Since then, he has represented the British territory seven times, being a regular starter in the side’s ultimately unsuccessful qualification campaign for Euro ’16.

“My grandparents were living in Gibraltar during the 60’s and my Mum and Uncle were both born out there, making me eligible on my mother’s side” Wiseman explains.

“I have loved every minute of my Gibraltar journey. A second chance at international football rarely comes along, so I was always going to take it. We have just been accepted into FIFA so going into the World Cup qualifiers next season will be fantastic.”

The 30-year-old full-back has one year left on his current contract at Scunthorpe, and has no plans to retire in the near future. However, Wiseman has started planning for when his footballing career does come to an end. Unlike many former pros, Wiseman has no desire to pursue a career within football as a manager or coach, instead choosing to go into business.

Wiseman explains, “As much as I love football, I’ll be going in a different direction. I already have a business call Zaddik.co.uk up-and-running. We sort bespoke mortgages, investments and wills. I myself am about to complete my mortgage advisor qualifications so will be focussing on the mortgage side and my partner sorts the investments.”

Wiseman made 16 first-team appearances for the Tigers between 2003 and 2007, and spent 15 years at the club in total. When asked about his fondest memories from his time at City, Wiseman reflects, “I will definitely always associate Hull with my debut against Kidderminster.  It’s a bit of a bittersweet one I suppose! Bittersweet because, unfortunately Lee Marshall broke his leg after 10 minutes, however, this provided an opportunity for me to make my debut. I remember nothing of the game except the elation of the final whistle and realising I had played my first professional game.”

“I loved my time at Hull City. During my time there, the club was always run in a professional manner regardless of division or status. It’s magnificent to see where the club is today and it makes me feel proud to be from Hull.”

 

Greg Whitaker (@Greg_Whitaker)

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