by Neil Fissler
CHRIS CHILTON recalls that it needed some tough love towards strike partner Ken Wagstaff before the Tigers reaped the rewards of their partnership.
The Tigers spent the first half of the Swinging Sixties flying under the radar before finishing fourth, an agonising two points outside the promotion places in 1964-65.
Then, with the country gearing up to host the World Cup, Chilton and Wagstaff hit top gear and the Tigers were crowned Division Three champions.
Between them, one of the best front pairings never to have played in the top flight scored 52 goals, with Wagstaff scoring 27 of them.
Ken Houghton chipped in with 22 goals, Ray Henderson and Ian Butler with 13 each as Hull scored 109 goals, more than any other team in the Football League.
Chilton admits that, even though the pair still speak on the phone every week, it wasn’t always the case, especially just after Wagstaff’s record-breaking £40,000 arrival from Mansfield in November 1964.
“We were pretty useful, pretty slick. There was a weight of expectation on us to get the goals, but it wasn’t always the case and this is a perfectly true story.
“We had a night match at Boothferry Park and Waggy had just arrived at the club. He was on the right wing and I slotted this ball to him, right in front of him.
“He let it run into touch and turned to the crowd as if to say, ‘What in the hell kind of ball was that’, so I ran across to him and said, ‘If you do that again, I’ll break your bloody neck. It doesn’t matter to me if you have come from Mansfield or Birmingham. You just toe the line and we’ll get on all right’.
“And, from that day on, it was the best thing I ever did, because perhaps he thought he was above all of the other players and me in particular.
“Once we got that sorted out, I also remember once playing head tennis with him at Ipswich. He had won the ball at the back post and headed it across to me.
“I have headed it back, but he didn’t fancy it because of players on the goal-line and he headed it back to me and we missed the bloody goal,” he laughs.
Chilton believes the fact Hull used only 19 players in the whole of the season was a massive contributing factor to them finishing four points above second-placed Millwall.
Wagstaff, Chris Simpkin and Mike Milner played all 46 games, while Chilton, Houghton, Ian Butler and Andy Davidson missed only one game each.
“We didn’t have many injuries for a start. We had superficial injuries, where someone stuck the nut on you or you got hit by a flying bottle at Millwall.
“We didn’t change the team in any way, unless it was for an injury.
“It was not like it is today. They make five or six changes and then make substitutions. We never did.
“And I have a DVD that shows we played in all kinds of weather, snow and everything, but still kept the same team unless someone was injured.”
Mick Brown: A full-back who managed Oxford and coached under Ron Atkinson at WBA and Manchester United. He then scouted for a number of clubs.
Les Collinson: A full-back who became a maths teacher and is now the verger at St Andrew’s, Kirk Ella.
Paddy Greenwood: The central defender was a licensee in Hull before retiring to Northampton.
Terry Heath: Forward who became a storeman in Lincoln and at Scunthorpe steelworks, then a successful oil painter in Newquay, Cornwall. Died in Spain in January 2011.
Len Sharpe: A wing-half who was a fitter for his brother’s firm, Archer & Sharpe, before working for British Steel in his native Scunthorpe.
Gerry Summers: A wing-half who managed Oxford United and coached Gillingham, Derby County and Leicester, as well as scouting in the Midlands.
Billy Wilkinson: A midfielder who settled in Melbourne, Australia, where he coached before his death in 1996.
Mike Williams: A goalkeeper who spent 36 years working for BP Chemicals, becoming a superintendent until retiring in March 2014.