Centre forward Syd Gerrie joined the Tigers in November 1950 for a £11,000 fee, having been scouted extensively by former City manager Jack Hill. Current boss Raich Carter pursued Gerrie and former England defender Neil Franklin simultaneously and eventually landed both players to strengthen his attempts to rise out of the Second Division. Gerrie was immediately introduced to the City first team alongside South African striker Alf Ackerman and played in all three central attacking positions during the remainder of the season, missing only 4 League and Cup games. He opened his scoring account in his second start, a 5-1 thumping of QPR and by mid February Gerrie had contributed seven goals in 15 starts. Despite the big money signings, Carter’s City side struggled to string together consecutive wins for the rest of the season and finished 10th, a below par outcome for an expensively assembled side.
Much therefore rested on Gerrie’s shoulders at the start of the 1951/52 season, especially as his strike partner Ackerman had moved to pastures new. Gerrie delivered his side of the bargain, scoring 25 goals and missing only 4 League and Cup games all season. Syd missed the opening day fixture then roared into action at the end of August when he put a hattrick past QPR in Raich Carter’s penultimate match in charge. When Carter relinquished his position as City manager and went off to Beverley Barracks to train alone for three months, Gerrie rewarded the City selectors by scoring another 13 goals by Boxing Day including a second hattrick at home to Swansea Town. Syd went one goal better at the end of January, scoring four times in a 5-0 win over Bury but despite these big wins City were struggling at the other end of the pitch and began to flirt with possible relegation. Carter’s return to the first XI – as a player only, not as a manager – helped reverse the collapse, Raich and Gerrie both scoring enough goals to see the Tigers pull clear of the drop.
At the start of the 1952/53 season the Hull City managerial reins were passed to Bob Jackson, a man who had guided Portsmouth to two First Division titles a few years previously. Gerrie scored four times in the first 12 matches of the season but missed several games in October and November as Jackson looked at other striking options. Gerrie was restored to the centre forward position in December 1952 and held that role for the rest of the season, scoring 10 goals in 23 starts. Syd started the 1953/54 season again in the first XI and scored an early brace against Bury in late August, but his goals then dried up and after 14 goalless starts Gerrie was dropped in November 1953. He played only six more times that season including the last five fixtures and at the start of the 1954/55 season it was clear that Gerrie was seen as reserve team forward that would occasionally fill in for first team absences.
His loss of form, plus struggles with a serious knee injury, lay behind the decision to drop Gerrie but he was not happy and put in a transfer request. Interest from other clubs was thin on the ground and Syd stayed with the Tigers for another two years, fulfilling a support striker role. When Jackson was replaced by Bob Brocklebank in March 1955 Gerrie was bought back into the first team fold and in April 1955 he scored in 3 consecutive league games – a 1-4 defeat at Liverpool and two 1-0 wins against Bury and Fulham. But at the start of of the 1955/56 season Syd’s goals had again dried up and he was back in the Reserves. In October 1956 a final run of five first team games at inside left yielded one goal, his last for the Tigers in a 2-1 win over Oldham, but a month later Gerrie succumbed to the limitations his knee injury placed on his play and hung up his boots.
Sydney Gerrie was born in Aberdeen on Scotland’s east coast and after serving the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers in Africa for three years during World War Two, he returned to Scotland and spent the 1947/48 season playing for junior side Inverurie Loco Works. In June 1948 he signed for Dundee, where he had already spent a trial the previous season, and when Gerrie was given his debut in October 1948 he scored within 2 minutes of the first whistle. By the end of the 1949/50 season Syd had scored 26 times in 59 starts, form that led to his move to Hull City.
Gerrie spent many years out of football after his retirement from playing, working in the coal trade back in Inverurie. In January 1968 he was appointed first team manager at Brechin City but fourteen months later he was dismissed and went back to the coal trade. He spent the rest of his days in Inverurie, where he died in May 2005.
Date/Place of Birth: 14 June 1927, Aberdeen
Hull City First Game: 11 November 1950, Cardiff City A (Division Two), 23 years, 150 days old
Hull City Final Game: 3 November 1956, Chesterfield A (Division Three North), 29 years, 142 days old
Inverurie Loco Works (1947-1948), Dundee (1948-1950), Hull City (1950-1956)
Hull City Record
Career: 152 apps, 62 goalsSyd Gerrie