Frederick William Gibson was born and raised in Somercotes, a mining community in North Derbyshire near the Nottinghamshire border, just south of where the A38 now joins the M1 at Junction 28. An imposing figure at six feet and two inches, Gibson worked in the coal mining industry in his teenage years and played for Laughton Common, Frickley Colliery and Dinnington Colliery. In September 1926 Fred, who had just turned 19, was signed by Hull City as deputy to Geordie Maddison, who had joined the Tigers from Tottenham Hotspur two years previously. Maddison was midway through a run of 123 consecutive senior starts when Gibson joined the Tigers meaning that Fred had to wait 15 months for his debut, which came when Geordie broke his collarbone in December 1927. A run of six matches with Gibson between the sticks yielded two wins, three draws and ten goals conceded, but when Maddison was restored fitness he returned to the first team. Nevertheless, Fred had clearly done enough to impress City manager Bill McCracken.
Gibson’s next opportunity came nearly a year later in November 1928, Maddison had just conceded five goals at Bradford Park Avenue and was given a three match rest. City had started the 1928/29 season in table topping form but their results collapsed in the New Year and as the club ended the season at its spiritual home, 14th in the Second Division, Gibson was selected to start the last five league games of the season. The 1929/30 season was to be one of the club’s most noteworthy, and after Maddison and Gibson shared the goalkeeper’s jersey in the opening weeks it was Gibson who emerged as first choice after Maddison suffered another injury. City were ninth in the table at Christmas and in the New Year embarked, with Gibson as netminder, on an historic FA Cup run that went all the way to a semi-final replay against First Division Arsenal. As their Cup progress blossomed City’s league form suffered and the club was relegated in May 1930.
City began 1930/31 season in Division Three North and with Geordie Maddison back as first choice keeper. Gibson took over in December and January and watched untroubled from 100 yards away as City thumped Halifax Town 10-0 on Boxing Day and Doncaster Rovers 8-2 in mid January. By April 1931 Gibson was finally the first choice keeper after new manager Hayden Green took the reins and while Maddison did get further chances in November and December 1931, Gibson was the predominant pick. Gibson started 1932/33 in possession of the shirt but by the end of September transfer talk was swirling around Anlaby Road and Maddison took over between the posts once again. In November 1932 Gibson joined First Division side Middlesbrough for a substantial fee.
At Middlesbrough he was part of the first team picture for five seasons, during which he made 122 League starts, 42 of which came in 1935/36 season when Fred was a First Division ever-present. He started fewer games in 1936/37 season and in May 1937 he joined Bradford City. Gibson managed only ten starts for the Bantams in 1937/38 season, so he again moved on to Midland League side Boston United in June 1938. At Boston he made 21 starts before moving on to Denaby United in July 1939. Alas the outbreak of World War Two blocked his appearances for Denaby and drew his playing career to a close.
Further information about Fred’s career and life has proved elusive, though we believe he died in the Derbyshire town of Glossop in 1969.
Date/Place of Birth: 18 June 1907, Somercotes
Hull City First Game: 3 December 1927, Stoke City A (Division Two), 20 years, 168 days old
Hull City Final Game: 24 September 1932, Doncaster Rovers A (Division Three North), 25 years, 98 days old
Laughton Common, Frickley Colliery, Dinnington Colliery, Hull City (1926-1932), Middlesbrough (1932-1937), Bradford City (1937-1938), Boston United (1938-1939), Denaby United (1939)
Hull City Record
Career: 110 apps, 0 goalsFred Gibson