Experienced former England international left half Austen Campbell joined the Tigers in November 1935, signed by another ex-England man Jack Hill (although the two never played together for their country). Campbell was at the tail end of his career and looking for a regular game, Hill was in charge of a team struggling at the lower reaches of the Second Division and leaking goals – in the ten games before Campbell’s arrival City had conceded 27 times. Sadly Austen’s arrival didn’t change the situation as West Ham United put four past City in late November and Sheffield United readied themselves for the festive period by putting seven unanswered goals past the Tigers at Bramall Lane. Hill resigned from his post in mid-January 1936 and Campbell started only two more matches for the Directors (two more heavy defeats, 1-4 and 2-5) before new boss David Menzies turned to other defenders and did not use Campbell at all. Austen left the Tigers on the dawn of the 1936/37 season, ending an unhappy 10 months at Anlaby Road.
Austen Fenwick Campbell was born in Ebchester, a Roman fort town on the borders of County Durham and Northumberland. His father was a coal miner and by 1911 the Campbells had moved a few miles east to Rowlands Gill in the Derwent Valley above Gateshead. When Austen left school he worked in the coal mines at Medomsley near Consett and played amateur football for North Eastern League side Leadgate Park. In September 1919 Campbell signed for Coventry City, newly elected to the Football League, but in two seasons he managed only one appearance and returned to Leadgate Park in May 1921.
After nearly two seasons back in County Durham, during which Leadgate Park lifted the Durham Senior Cup in 1922, Campbell joined First Division side Blackburn Rovers in February 1923. This second attempt at League football proved far more successful than the first and Austen went on to become a stalwart defender for Blackburn, making 162 appearances in six years. In 1928 Campbell played in the FA Cup Final, which Blackburn won 3-1 over Huddersfield Town. A year after this victory in September 1929 Campbell signed for Huddersfield Town in return for a substantial transfer fee and he spent a further six years with the Terriers. He played in the 1930 FA Cup Final for Huddersfield against Arsenal, who had controversially eliminated Hull City in the semi-finals, but the Gunners prevailed 2-0 and Austen had to make do with a runners-up medal. In May 1931 he set sail from Liverpool as part of a three month FA XI tour of Canada that saw over 300 goals scored in 17 fixtures. By 1935 Campbell had made 193 League appearances for the Terriers, prior to his move to Hull City.
Campbell left the Tigers in September 1936 and joined Darwen, where he played until his retirement in 1937 – he expressed an interested in becoming Wigan Athletic’s manager in 1937 but was overlooked. By 1939 Austen was the landlord of a pub in the northern suburbs of Blackburn, which was to be his home town until his death in September 1981.
Campbell was an England international who won eight caps between his debut against Ireland in October 1928 and his final cap against Spain in December 1931 – notably, England won all eight of the matches he started, seven of which were in the British Home Championship.
Date/Place of Birth: 5 May 1901, Ebchester
Hull City First Game: 16 November 1935, Southampton H (Division Two), 34 years, 195 days old
Hull City Final Game: 18 April 1936, Swansea Town A (Division Two), 34 years, 349 days old
Leadgate Park (1919), Coventry City (1919-1921), Leadgate Park (1921-1923), Blackburn Rovers (1923-1929), Huddersfield Town (1929-1935), Hull City (1935-1936), Darwen (1936-1937)
Hull City Record
Career: 11 apps, 0 goalsAusten Campbell