521 Paul O’Riley

Biography

Striker Paul John O’Riley was born in Prescot and raised in a large family with seven siblings in the Liverpool suburb of Huyton. He joined Hull City as a 16 year old apprentice in July 1966 and worked his way through the club’s juniors and reserves sides. Paul earned his first professional contract in November 1968, by which time he had already made his first team debut standing in for Chris Chilton in the early weeks of the 1968/69 season. A few weeks after his first team debut in November 1968 Paul struck four goals in an FA Youth Cup tie against Bradford City. He played a handful of first team games during the rest of the season then spent two further years impressing in the Tigers’ Reserves team as Terry Neill built a squad that was intended to challenge for a place in the top flight.

In March 1971 O’Riley had a two month loan spell at Division Four side Scunthorpe United, where he scored his first senior goal against Colchester United and ended his spell with four goals in 11 appearances. Paul was on the fringes of Neill’s first team squad during the 1971/72 season and netted his first City goal against Sheffield Wednesday in April 1972. For two further seasons O’Riley continued to play a supporting role in the first team squad before leaving City in July 1974 – his final appearance against Luton Town in March 1974 yielded the second goal of his Hull City career.

O’Riley was given a free transfer by the Tigers in May 1974 and within three weeks he had joined Division Four side Barnsley. He scored two goals in 14 appearances for the Tykes but in December 1974 a £250 fee lured Barnsley into selling O’Riley to Midland League side Goole Town. Within three weeks he was suspended by Goole Town for failing to show up for three festive fixtures.

In March 1975 Paul joined Division Four side Southport on a short term deal, scoring twice on his debut against Rochdale and ending the season with three goals in nine appearances. He played a supporting role to the Southport first team during the 1975/76 season and took his tally for the Sandgrounders to five goals in 35 senior appearances when he made his final start in September 1976. In November 1976 he signed for Southern League side Corby Town before emigrating to Australia in 1977, briefly reuniting with his former Hull City teammate Ken Wagstaff. He played football in Australia for several years while living in Melbourne, combining this with three seasons playing in Hong Kong for Eastern Athletic.

O’Riley remained in Melbourne for the rest of his life, where he died in a nursing home in November 2023.

Details

Nationality: England
Date/Place of Birth: 17 October 1950, Prescot
Hull City First Game: 24 August 1968, Oxford United A (Division Two), 17 years, 312 days old
Hull City Final Game: 9 March 1974, Luton Town H (Division Two), 23 years, 143 days old

Clubs

Hull City (1966-1974), Scunthorpe United (1971, loan), Barnsley (1974), Goole Town (1974-1975), Southport (1975-1976), Corby Town (1976), Mooroolbark (1977), Eastern Athletic (1978-1980), Ringwood City (1979-1983)

Hull City Record

Career: 34 apps, 2 goals

Paul O’Riley
SeasonLGE
App
LGE
Gls
FAC
App
FAC
Gls
FLC
App
FLC
Gls
EUR
App
EUR
Gls
OTH
App
OTH
Gls
1968/692 (1)0
1969/70
1970/71
1971/7213 (4)10 (1)01 (0)0
1972/733 (0)01 (0)0
1973/741 (6)10 (1)0

4 thoughts on “521 Paul O’Riley”

  1. He was a real good prospect as a young pro at Hull City but Terry Neill scuppered his chance. His co-striker Stuart Pearson, both playing reserve team football, showed no more potential but Neill gave him the nod sending Paul into obscurity and the rest was history for Stu. The luck of the draw can be cruel for some!

    Reply
    • Ray Pettit told me a similar story about being shunned by Terry Neill. This was after an inquiry from Everton was rejected and then a period out with injury. He ended up playing part time for Romford and working for Customs and Excise.

      Reply

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