Whatever Happened To The Likely Lads?
Paul Musselwhite was City's number 1 back then, but was demoted to the bench after the signing of Matt Glennon in the summer. 'Mussie' won back his place for the second half of the season, but after the appointment of Jan Molby as manager Glennon was back in the side. However, things swung back in Musselwhite's favour by September and Glennon was transferred to Carlisle. Peter Taylor then re-signed former Tigers favourite Alan Fettis in January 2002 so Mussie was back in the reserves until the Northern Irishman got injured just two weeks into the current season and he was recalled. But Taylor ended their battle for the number 1 spot by signing Boaz Myhill from Aston Villa in December. Musselwhite is now second choice.
Justin Whittle is another player who's been in and out of the side since the play-off campaign but is still around. He seen off challenges from the likes of Nicky Mohan and Greg Strong to keep his place and the captain's armband for most of the previous two seasons, but has played more of a cameo role this term. With Damien Delaney and Marc Joseph firmly established as City's centre back pairing, Whittle's made just two appearances since November and has also lost the team captaincy to Ian Ashbee, although he's still the club captain. His contract's up at the end of the season and it remains to be seen whether Taylor will keep him.
Whittle was partnered in defence by Ian Goodison back in 2001, and the Jamaican's recently teamed up with manager Brian Little again by signing for Tranmere Rovers. Player of the Year in 2000/01, a motorcycle accident and a string of injuries hampered his next season, with his last Tigers start at Plymouth in January 2002. He returned to Jamaica at the end of his contract in the summer to join Tivoli Gardens, but a niggling knee injury saw him struggling until Little offered him the chance at Tranmere. He made his debut in February after work permit problems delayed the move.
On the left-hand-side of City's back four was Jon Whitney. He was released on a free transfer shortly afterwards, and went non-league in September by joining King's Lynn (playing alongside 1993-95 Tiger Simon Dakin). He was an instant hit, but after just seven appearances he was forced to retire due to a knee cartilage injury that prevented him from doing any physical exercise. However, this wasn't to be the end of his involvement in the game. After achieving an FA Diploma in the treatment and management of injuries, the 34-year-old took over as physiotherapist at Walsall FC.
City's other full-back was Mike Edwards, and he remained a first team regular the following season. However, he didn't figure in Peter Taylor's plans and went on a short-term move to Colchester in April 2003. Despite impressing, the club were unable to offer him a permanent contract. He found himself playing first team football again in September after signing for Grimsby where he is a regular in defence.
Midfield anchor man Gary Brabin was a casualty of the shake-up following the play-offs. After unsuccessful short stays at Boston and Torquay (which included being sent off on his return to Boothferry Park), he spent the second half of the season with Conference side Chester. 'Brabs' then joined Welsh side TNS in July 2002, where he became captain and faced Manchester City in the early stages of this season's UEFA Cup. However, a heart scare a month ago could see him sidelined for the rest of the season.
Mark Greaves lasted longer at City than Brabin. The Hull-born utility player was in the team until Jan Molby gave him a free transfer to Boston in August 2002. He's still a regular at the back for the Pilgrims.
Left winger Andy Holt made his loan spell permanent in City's big summer spend, being bought from Oldham for £150,000. However, things didn't work out so well for the long-throw specialist. He dropped a stack of bathroom tiles on his foot in pre-season which ruled him out for the first month. He struggled at left-back, and was loaned out to Barnsley and Shrewsbury last season. But a remarkable turnaround in fitness and form saw Taylor remove him from the transfer list, and he's been included in the 16 for most of City's games this season.
On the right, Rob Matthews spent the opening months of the 2001/02 season playing in the absence of the injured Ryan Williams. However, he spent most of the closing months in the reserves before leaving on a free transfer at the end of the season. He's had spells at Northwich, Altrincham and Mossley, but left the North West Counties League side a month ago due to a family illness.
Lee Philpott came off the bench in both of the play-off games, but wasn't involved much the following season until Billy Russell's spell as caretaker manager. He didn't figure in Jan Molby's plans though, with a last minute substitute appearance in the opening game of the season against Southend his final league outing for City. The former Leicester midfielder joined Weymouth last summer and is a regular for Steve Claridge's Dr. Martins Premier League side.
Kevin Francis was out after the 2-0 defeat at Brisbane Road. He went part time by joining Hednesford Town, while also driving heavy goods vehicles and occassionally summarising for City matches on BBC Radio Humberside. He's now retired from playing after a knee injury, but has been training with his local side Bromsgrove Rovers where a comeback has been touted.
Francis had a successful strike partnership with Rodney Rowe, but he also failed to stay in City's plans. An injury-ravaged following season saw him become a bit part player, scoring only twice and then being released at the end of the season. After spells at Wakefield & Emley and Ashton, he joined Ossett Town in September where he now plays alongside fellow ex-Tigers Gary Hobson and Jason Harris.
John Eyre scored City's goal in the first leg win against Leyton Orient, but was forced out of the club in the summer exodus. He went to Oldham Athletic, where he started his career, on a free transfer, and he's still there now.
Mark Atkins was a used substitute but wasn't retained when his short-term deal expired. The veteren midfielder spent the next two years at Shrewsbury, before becoming player/coach at Harrogate Town in the summer.
David Brown's three-year association with City came to an end after the play-offs. He played three times in a short spell with Torquay before joining Chester from December 2001 'til the end of the season. In 2002/03 he scored 14 times for Telford, then joined Hereford in the summer where he's already notched up 15 goals.
Joining them on the bench was Tigers goalkeeper of ten years Steve Wilson. He moved to Macclesfield on a free transfer in the summer, and he's made just over 100 league appearances between the sticks for them so far.
Jamie Wood was an unused substitute in the second leg at Brisbane Road. He then joined Halifax for a year, for whom he failed to score a league goal. The Cayman Islands international forward managed to find the net twice in the 2002/03 season for Swansea, and stayed in Wales by joining Gary Brabin at TNS in the summer. He's scored 24 goals in 37 appearances this season.