“Do not, I repeat, do not fall in love with a loan player…”

So Karl Darlow is set to break out little footballing hearts. He came in, was really ace and it simply seemed a no-brainer that he’d be back. However perhaps he was just too good and the greater footballing world saw that as well. Newcastle then had more admirers than teenage boys watching Love Island and hey presto, they asked for 10 mill plus. They’ll probably get it from a club with full pockets as a reward for being relegated (don’t start me on that parachute nonsense) so we have nothing but good memories and the certainty that he’ll be booed if he comes back to play us with a side in white.

Anywho… this slightly predictable tragedy made me think of other loan players who came into our lives, made us feel all fuzzy inside, only to snap our supporter flowers in two and wipe their arse with them whilst laughing. Do not fall in love with a loan player folks… here’s some cautionary tales as to why…

Martin Carruthers

There wasn’t a great deal to cheer about in the nineties for City fans. Bar Deano’s three year stint near the start and the Great Escapers at the end, it was a truly inglorious decade. One of which saw Boothferry Park fall into a permanent disrepair and the lower leagues become our natural habitat.

There were however small periods where hope sprang up a little, a Windass and Brown strike partnership that got us close twice to the play-offs in 93-94 and 94-95, or basking in the genius that was Theo Whitmore in 1999.

They were ultimately proven to be periods of fallen hope though, and loan players sometimes contributed to these false dawns. One of which was Martin Carruthers. A leggy, graceful striker signed on loan from Aston Villa in 1992. He instantly became a fans favourite despite being surrounded by an especially average support cast and banged in 6 goals in just 13 appearances.

Not that I think Villa were asking for a king’s ransom for the lad, but if the amount was more than a night out at Pepi’s nightclub and a kebab, we (and by “we” I mean Martin Fish and Terry Dolan) weren’t going to be able to pay the bill. Thus he exited stage left and signed for Stoke City the next season. Whereas we signed the perma-rubbish Christian Hargreaves and a 135 year old Steve Moran. Deep joy.

Frazier Campbell

I did toy with this one as…

  1. He came back later on and..
  2. He helped us achieve something so massive, we probably should have still loved him


3. When he left and became a reserve at Spurs and then a massive twat at Sunderland my tiny Hull City heart was trampled on in new and painful ways I never imagined possible.

I don’t need to tell you about Frazier Campbell. But I will, very briefly. We almost certainly don’t go up in 2008 without him. If Deano was the finisher, Campbell was the legs, the youth and also the other major source of goals. He was just brilliant that year. Never summed up more clearly than the running to keep the ball in play followed by the awareness and beautifully weighted cross to pick out Mr Windass for “that” goal. As good as the finish was, the spot and delivery by FC was almost as outrageous.

Just like we did with Darlow and countless others, we knew he’d be back for more, he must sign, surely? We love him, he loves… erm… Spurs? Wait no, he loves… Sunderland?! FFS.

Not only was he the fantastic talent we thought he was but he was almost as good at trolling as he was playing against us. Thus loads of goals, celebrations and general stamping on our broken hearts for another decade or so. When will we learn?

Andrea Ranocchia

Les Motherby knows a thing or two about a thing or two. But he really, really knows two things to obsessive levels. One is kits clearly and the second is Italian football. Therefore when Andrea signed for City in January 2017 and Les said on the fantastic Amber Nectar podcast that he was a little underwhelmed I was disappointed.

I think in Les’s defence he hadn’t generally ripped up trees in Italy after a very expensive move from Genoa to Inter Milan. He’d played international football too, but his star had certainly fallen since his move in 2010.

Marco Silva really did have a habit in a short amount of time of making a silk purse out of a sow’s ear though. Thus the ailing career of Harry Maguire was about to be transformed in ways we never thought possible, Eldin Jakupovic was about to go from Flappy hands McGraw to prime Buffon and a little ginger lad called Clucas who was not very good on the wing was about to become a sublime talent in the centre of midfield.

Was Ranocchia quite that standard of transformation? It’s hard to tell, but he really was very good indeed. He was graceful on the ball, strong and read the game well. He looked every inch the player that he was clearly once regarded as. Even a slip in the opening seconds of a late whacking by Crystal Palace couldn’t make me dislike the lad, he was a Rolls Royce and along with a couple of others, you’d have to think we could have dodged the trap door if he’d have been brought in the window before.

Woulda, coulda, shoulda. We went down, were as poor as church mice and the graceful Andrea tip-toed his way back to Italy. Pah.

Harry Wilson

Which is an apt time to mention young Harry Wilson. The next season we flirted with double relegation, after Slutsky-ball became, erm, Nigelball.

We were so bad at the back that season that I still shudder at the thought of Stephen Kingsley moonwalking his way down the left wing, or Michael Hector two footing the ref who he’s wrongly thought is the opposing striker.

We did however, thank god, have goals in us. Bowen, Campbell, Hernandez and Wilson were either good or very good, thus we drew 5-5 with Bristol City and beat Norwich 4-3. We quite literally had to, as the defence was about as carefully guarded and organised as the M1 junction 13.

Harry was a breath of fresh air. Quick, mobile, instinctive and clever. He was a reason to watch City almost by himself. He was just too good. The City fans sang about letting him have a relationship with their wives, however in some ways I’m not sure that was actually a reward for him.

At the end of the season Liverpool decided to loan him to a team that weren’t a lost cause and so he was done with us. Worse still he went to Derby where as sure as eggs is eggs, he was 100% guaranteed to lose in the playoffs and of course did. Slim consolation for us.

If he starts banging in goals, don’t start liking Liam Delap City faithful, it will end in tears I tell you.

Thanks for reading as ever. I hope you’ve had a restful summer and are looking forward to the new season. Send your hate tweets to @thelikesofhull and I’ll see you all soon. UTT.