Outside right Johnny Linaker cost Hull City a fee of £7,000 when he was signed from York City in October 1951, in the aftermath of Raich Carter’s resignation as manager. He came straight into the Tigers’ first eleven for four starts but then dropped out of contention as the Directors preferred to use Tynesider Alan Moore and Dane Viggo Jensen on the wing. Linaker returned for two starts in February 1952 but spent the remainder of the season in the Reserves.
At the start of the 1952/53 season new City manager Bob Jackson was impressed enough with Linaker to make him first choice outside right and at the end of September Johnny scored his first City goal, the fourth in a 4-0 win over Sheffield United. He missed most of November and December and returned to the first team on Boxing Day 1953, but was in and out of the side during January. In February he returned to the first team and scored a brace in a 2-2 draw against Barnsley, but within a couple of weeks he was again sidelined and made only one further start during the rest of the season. Linaker left the Tigers in June 1953.
John Edward Linaker was born in Southport, Lancashire and grew up during World War Two. In 1943 he was playing football for his local Air Training Corps brigade in Southport when he was spotted by a scout from Everton, who quickly signed him up. He played his first wartime fixture for the Toffees at the age of 16 but by September 1945 he had moved to Manchester City. During the 1945/46 season he played wartime fixtures for Manchester City, Southport and Bedford Town as he travelled while fulfilling his military duties. When the Football league resumed in August 1946 Linaker was not close to a first team game at Maine Road and in November 1946 he signed for his home town club Southport. Debuting against Barrow in November 1946, he made 16 appearances for the Sandgrounders and scored his first senior goal in April 1947 against Rotherham United.
In August 1947 Linaker joined Division Two side Nottingham Forest, after spending his first season entirely in the Reserves he made his first senior start for Forest in August 1948 and by November of that year he had scored twice in 13 starts. He missed the rest of the 1948/49 season, which ended in relegation for Forest to Division Three South. Although spending the 1949/50 season in a lower division, Forest gave Linaker only two starts and in June 1950 he switched to Division Three North side York City. At Bootham Crescent Linaker finally found his form – he started every game for the Minstermen during the 1950/51 season, scoring 13 times including a March 1951 brace against New Brighton. He carried that form into the 1951/52 season and in October 1951 he was snapped up by Hull City for a £7,000 fee.
In June 1953 Linaker returned to York City, his first season saw him start 35 first team matches and score four goals, however the following next two seasons saw him add only five further starts as York City entered a golden period, culminating in the club reaching the FA Cup semi-final in March 1955 with ex-Tigers Tommy Forgan, Ernie Phillips and Norman Wilkinson in the first XI. Eventually Linaker left York City in March 1956 to join Midland League side Scarborough and he might have thought his senior career was over. However in July 1957 he signed for Division Three North side Crewe Alexandra and scored three times in 35 starts for the Railwaymen before returning to the Midland League in the summer of 1958, signing for Northumberland side Ashington.
When his playing days were over Linaker returned to the York area and made a living in the golf industry – after a long life he died in Shipton by Beningborough, a village on the A19 just north of York, in June 2013.
Date/Place of Birth: 14 January 1927, Southport
Hull City First Game: 20 October 1951, Leeds United A (Division Two), 24 years, 279 days old
Hull City Final Game: 18 April 1953, Southampton H (Division Two), 26 years, 94 days old
Everton (1943-1945), Manchester City (1945-1946), Southport (1946-1947), Nottingham Forest (1947-1950), York City (1950-1951), Hull City (1951-1953), York City (1953-1956), Scarborough (1956-1957), Crewe Alexandra (1957-1958), Ashington (1958-1959)
Hull City Record
Career: 27 apps, 3 goalsJohnny Linaker