Young goalkeeper Les Green joined Hull City in August 1960 as manager Bob Brocklebank assembled a new group of netminders to compete for the shirt vacated by departed club legend Billy Bly. Green was born in Atherstone, a market town on the boundary of Warwickshire and Leicestershire known for its strategic position on Watling Street and its hat industry. Green played for local colliery sides as a youngster before joining Birmingham Combination side Atherstone Town, and it was from the Adders that City signed the relatively diminutive 5 foot 8 inch goalkeeper after he received rave reviews and had a trial with Arsenal. Green learnt his trade in the reserves over the next two seasons, but when Brocklebank was replaced by Cliff Britton in 1961 Les was elevated to second choice keeper behind Bernard Fisher. When Fisher suffered a hand injury Green made his City debut on Boxing Day 1961 against Crystal Palace, and also played in the next three January fixtures. However those four games yielded three defeats and Green twice conceded four goals, so when Fisher was returned to fitness at the end of January he immediately won back his first team place. Green left the the Tigers in the 1962 close season.
Green returned to his Warwickshire and signed for Nuneaton Borough, where he played for three years to much local acclaim. By 1965 Les was ready to have a second go at the professional game and asked for a transfer, and in the summer of 1965 he joined Southern League side Burton Albion. Burton were managed by Peter Taylor (the one famed as Brian Clough’s assistant, not the future Hull City manager) and when Taylor moved to Hartlepool United in November 1965 to become Clough’s assistant for the first time, Green quickly followed. Back in the Football League, Green made 34 league appearances for Pools during two seasons before joining Rochdale in April 1967, where he played under another famous manager Bob Stokoe. Green was a first team regular for Dale during the 1967/68 season and showed form which again attracted the attention of Clough and Taylor, who were now in charge at Derby County.
Green moved to the Baseball Ground in May 1968 and was quickly established as first choice keeper, making 129 consecutive appearances as Clough created a highly successful team. Green’s reputation as an agile shot stopper with rapid reflexes mirrored those of Billy Bly, who he was signed to replace at Hull ten years earlier. Green’s first season with the Rams ended with lifting the Second Division championship title and reaching the top flight of English football – a fine achievement for someone who struggled to get a game in the Third Division eight years previously. His run of consecutive matches came to an end after a Boxing Day 1970 4-4 draw against Manchester United, where defensive blame was aimed in Green’s direction and he lost his place to former policeman Colin Boulton. Green never played for the Rams’ senior team again.
Green moved to South Africa in May 1971 and signed for Durban City. He played in South Africa for three years, winning the league title in 1972, but in 1974 he broke his leg during a derby match, an injury that ended his playing career. He was assistant manager for Durban City for several years but returned to England in the 1980s to become commercial manager at Nuneaton Borough. In the early 1990s Green was appointed manager at Nuneaton, then went on to helm Hinckley Town, Tamworth and Bedford. He remained in the Warwickshire area and died of cancer in a Leicester hospice in June 2012.
Date/Place of Birth: 17 October 1941, Atherstone
Hull City First Game: 26 December 1961, Crystal Palace H (Division Three), 20 years, 70 days old
Hull City Final Game: 20 January 1962, Torquay United A (Division Three), 20 years, 95 days old
Atherstone Town (1958-1960), Hull City (1960-1962), Nuneaton Borough (1962-1965), Burton Albion (1965), Hartlepool United (1965-1967), Rochdale (1967-1968), Derby County (1968-1971), Durban City (1971-1974)
Hull City Record
Career: 4 apps, 0 goalsLes Green