Inside right Leonard Alfred “Len” Gaynor joined Hull City in April 1948 as an amateur, signing a professional deal a month later after playing in a handful of Reserves games. Born in Ollerton near Newark, Len was raised in Eastwood, a colliery town to the west of Nottingham where his father worked as a gardener. Len’s development as a footballer was hampered by World War Two but after spending time with local clubs he played for Brinsley in the Notts and Derbyshire Senior League during the 1946/47 season, switching to Eastwood Collieries for the 1947/48 season. Eastwood remained unbeaten all season and won the Nottinghamshire Amateur League title with Gaynor’s form attracting the attention of Football League sides.
For much of the next two seasons Gaynor plied his trade in City’s Reserves, the prospects of usurping manager Raich Carter from the inside right shirt proved to be slim. He finally made his debut in the closing weeks of the 1950/51 season as Carter reshuffled himself and the City forward line, but a second start a week later became Len’s last appearance for the Tigers.
In June 1951 he joined Division Three South side Bournemouth, he started the season in the Cherries’ first team and scored his first senior goal in late August 1951 against Gillingham. He dropped out of the Bournemouth side in late September and returned in February 1952, scoring three goals in five starts during April 1952. He remained an irregular choice during the 1952/53 season, playing in various forward positions and even trying his hand at right half. He finally established himself as a Cherries’ first team regular in the 1953/54 season, scoring seven times before transferring to Division Three South and South Coast rivals Southampton in March 1954. Len scored 12 goals for Bournemouth in 54 starts.
Len started 12 games for Southampton in the closing weeks of the 1953/54 season, scoring once in April 1954 against Millwall. However he was consigned to the Saints’ reserves for the entirety of the 1954/55 season until a February 1955 transfer took him to Division Three South rivals Aldershot. Len scored on his Shots debut against Northampton and was a first team regular for most of the 1955/56 season. His form dipped in the following season and he played less regularly – when he left Aldershot in July 1957 he had made 69 appearances and scored 11 goals. He joined Oldham Athletic for the 1957/58 season but made the last of only five senior starts for the Latics against Tranmere in October 1957. In January 1958 he joined Southern League side Yeovil Town, where he spent nine months before a broken leg in October 1958 drew his playing days to a close.
Folloiwng his retirement Len returned to Bournemouth and worked as a carpenter before forming a building company with his son. He died in Bournemouth in September 2017 at the fine old age of 92 years.
Date/Place of Birth: 22 September 1925, Ollerton
Hull City First Game: 3 March 1951, Chesterfield H (Division Two), 25 years, 162 days old
Hull City Final Game: 10 March 1951, Coventry City A (Division Two), 25 years, 169 days old
Giltbrook Villa, Ilkeston Town, Brinsley (1946-1947), Eastwood Colleries (1947-1948), Hull City (1948-1951), Bournemouth (1951-1954), Southampton (1954-1955), Aldershot (1955-1957), Oldham Athletic (1957-1958), Yeovil Town (1958)
Hull City Record
Career: 2 apps, 0 goalsLen Gaynor