Fan Gets A Major Beating

Last updated : 12 January 2007 By James Lodge
Footballers (sportsmen in general) have always enjoyed a pint and in the post-war days they would usually have it, and their cigarette, in the bar of the local pub or club chatting with fans who supported them on a Saturday afternoon.

Nowadays we hear far too much of players and fans getting out of hand when they have been drinking, but when Major Frank Buckley was manager at Boothferry Park things were very different… or were they?

Now, Major Buckley must be regarded as one the most successful football managers of all time, and especially of his era. However, his time at Hull City was not the best part of his career, but he was still an excellent manager and that cannot be denied.

As this event occurred even before my time on this earth (possibly when I was just a few months old) I am only reporting what I have heard, but heard on very good authority, from those who were present at the time.

On Buckley's team sheet almost every week was one name (which I know not, but that is not important to the story) who was repeatedly barracked by a section of the crowd led by one "supporter" in particular.

One day the Major received a letter accusing this player of being drunk and disorderly one Friday night in the New Manchester Hotel in the town centre and then having played badly on the Saturday as a result. The Major took this very seriously as things of this nature would spread around the supporters like wildfire just through word of mouth. He had to act, and act he did.

Firstly he would make further enquires so sent one of the ground-staff lads with a note to the address on the letter inviting the supporter to see him that evening (a Tuesday) before the weekly Directors Meeting, which Buckley attended. The staff were around at the time as Tuesdays and Thursdays were the nights when the part-timers and amateurs came to train – the Tigers running 5 or 6 teams at various levels for many years after the war.

Now, I am not sure whether the Major actually carried his pace stick as a matter or routine. He ushered the man into his office under the West Stand just beside the exit which the players used to get onto the pitch. Heated words were exchanged and the supporter came charging out with the Major beating him with the stick.

How do we know the background? The Major, calmly walked along the corridor to the home dressing room and told the staff that a player had been accused of being drunk and not to believe the rumours. He could not possibly have been drunk as he had been with the Major at the time discussing a private matter. I was told that the Major's parting shot was "I think that gentleman will not be as vocal from now on as I have dealt with him" and, you know what, the barracking stopped for good although the "fan" still attended every game.