Harold Meens was born in Rotherham but raised further down the Don Valley in Doncaster. Between 1931 and 1933 the young Meens was captain of the Yorkshire Schoolboys side and was twice a trialist for the England Schoolboys team and by the time he reached 16 years of age he was playing for Shepherd’s Road Club, a Doncaster junior football side, and working as a plasterer. In 1936 he signed amateur terms for Hull City ahead of his seventeenth birthday and signed his first professional contract in April 1937. For nearly two years he served the Tigers’ reserves before being handed his first team debut in February 1939 – he performed sufficiently well at centre half to start all of the last fifteen fixtures of the season under the watchful eye of City manager Ernest Blackburn.
When World War Two commenced in September 1939 Meens was lodging in Perry Street off Anlaby Road and initially remained in Hull, making 45 wartime league appearances for the club. In April 1940 he was conscripted to join the Army and trained at a driver in West Yorkshire. When Hull City had to stop playing wartime league football due to bomb damage at their Anlaby Road ground, Meens played as a guest player once for Leeds United and seven times for Doncaster Rovers.
Returning to Hull City after the war, Meens (now approaching 27 years of age) was a key part of the new Hull City squad assembled by manager Major Frank Buckley. Initially chosen at centre half, Meens also played at left full back when the need arose and in the returning 1946/47 season he missed only four fixtures – three matches in frosty January 1947 and another two months later. Harold retained his place at centre half for most of the 1947/48 season, missing a month of football in February and March 1948 as Buckley sought to rekindle a winning formula as news spread that the Tigers were interested in signing ex-England international Raich Carter. Meens returned for the last ten matches of the season, by which time Buckley had resigned his post and Carter was the Tigers’ player-manager elect.
During the 1948/49 season, Carter’s first in charge, Meens was a stalwart centre half who missed only three senior fixtures all season as the Tigers swept aside the opposition to win the Division Three North title. However when the 1949/50 season began Meens was sidelined and considered a reserve player as new signings Gerry Bowler, Tom Berry and later ex-England centre half Neil Franklin took his shirt. Meens remained a loyal servant to the club and filled in for various absences at centre half and full back over the next three seasons. While his last first team appearance came in October 1951, he remained with the Tigers for another two and a half years, serving the Reserves and ‘A’ team as both player and coach.
Meens finally left the club in the 1954 close season and briefly joined Doncaster-based local league side Harworth Colliery Institute as player-coach, a role that only lasted for three months. Harold returned to East Yorkshire and lived in Beverley, where he died in September 1987.
Date/Place of Birth: 15 October 1919, Rotherham
Hull City First Game: 18 February 1939, Darlington A (Division Three North), 19 years, 126 days old
Hull City Final Game: 20 October 1951, Leeds United A (Division Two), 32 years, 5 days old
Hull City (1936-1954), HArworth Colliery Institute (1954)
Hull City Record
Career: 162 apps, 0 goalsHarold Meens