Utility defender Paul Haigh was born in Scarborough and headed down the East Coast at 16 to join Hull City’s apprentice scheme, but not before he had spent time played for Pudsey Juniors near Bradford, a feeder club to Leeds United. Wisely choosing the Tigers over the Whites, Haigh was rewarded with a senior debut a week before his 17th birthday in April 1975. Haigh was chosen again for seven games in November and December 1975, a seventeen year old lining up in the Second Division against Chelsea, West Bromwich Albion and Sunderland.
In 1976/77 manager John Kaye decided that Haigh was ready for a regular berth in the Tigers’ first team, to the extent that he started all 48 senior league and Cup games that season. He scored his first goal for City in November 1976 during a 2-2 draw at home to Blackpool. This began a three season spell during which Haigh was a constant mainstay of the City defence, not even relegation to Division Three in 1977/78 hampered Haigh’s progress. In 1979/80 City boss Ken Houghton used Haigh less regularly, but when Houghton was replaced by Mike Smith Haigh was again a first team choice. Smith selected Haigh for the first 23 consecutive games in 1980/81, performing impressively in an expansive footballing side. Haigh was still only 22 years of age and building a good reputation, meaning in November 1980 a cash-strapped City boardroom cashed in and accepted a £100,000 fee from Carlisle United.
The Cumbrians were building a squad that won promotion to the Second Division in 1981/82 and Haigh was a part of that squad, playing regularly in the first half of the season but largely absent from early March as Carlisle powered up the table. Elevated to the higher division in 1982/83, Haigh missed only two games playing mostly at full back. Apart from occasional injury lay-offs, Haigh was a first team regular for another four seasons and left Brunton Park in July 1987 with nearly 250 senior appearances to his name. He signed for Hartlepool United and had a full season in the first team in 1987/88. He played his last game for Pools in mid-November 1988, a FA Cup game against Wigan Athletic, when he broke two bones in back after a heavy landing and never played League football again.
Paul became a financial adviser after he stopped playing football., In 2007 his son Tom signed professional terms for Hartlepool United but departed a year later without troubling the first team.
In October 1977 Haigh played for England under-21 as they crushed Finland under-21 8-1, a match played at Boothferry Park that saw Haigh, and his City team-mate Peter Daniel, line up alongside future England stars Peter Reid, Laurie Cunningham, Tony Woodcock, John Barnes and Glenn Hoddle.
Date/Place of Birth: 4 May 1958, Scarborough
Hull City First Game: 26 April 1975, Sheffield Wednesday H (Division Two), 16 years, 357 days old
Hull City Final Game: 1 November 1980, Plymouth Argyle H (Division Three), 22 years, 181 days old
Hull City (1974-1980), Carlisle United (1980-1987), Hartlepool United (1987-1988)
Hull City Record
Career: 209 apps, 12 goalsPaul Haigh
|1975/76||7 (0)||0||-||-||1 (0)||0||-||-||-||-|
|1976/77||42 (0)||2||2 (0)||0||1 (0)||0||-||-||3 (0)||0|
|1977/78||38 (0)||1||1 (0)||0||4 (0)||1||-||-||3 (0)||0|
|1978/79||45 (0)||1||2 (0)||0||3 (0)||1||-||-||-||-|
|1979/80||28 (1)||2||2 (0)||1||2 (0)||0||-||-||-||-|
|1980/81||18 (0)||2||-||-||2 (0)||0||-||-||3 (0)||1|