Left winger John “Charlie” Farley (his nickname derived from a long-running Two Ronnies sketch televised in the 1970s) joined Hull City in May 1978 as manager Ken Houghton sought to rebuild the solid but unspectacular City squad that had just been relegated from the Second Division. Farley was first choice winger for most of the 1978/79 season, providing the supply line to fellow Teessider Keith Edwards and Bradfordian Bruce Bannister – Farley himself waited until March 1979 for his first City goal in a 4-1 defeat of Bury. John missed the next nine games with injury after that Bury game but returned for the last month of a season that extended into late May due to severe winter weather in January.
John started 1979/80 season as first choice on the left wing once again, and rewarded manager Houghton with early season goals against Sheffield United in a September 3-1 win and Carlisle in an October 2-0 win. However these wins were the exception in a difficult season for the Tigers and after City endured an eleven match winless streak in October and November, culminating in a 2-7 thumping at Brentford in which Farley scored, Houghton was sacked and former Wales manager Mike Smith took over a month later. Farley was initially retained on the left wing by Smith and rewarded the new boss with the winner in a March 1980 1-0 victory over Chester. However by early April Farley and Smith had fallen out and the wide left shirt was given to Craig Norrie. Farley left the Tigers in the 1980 close season.
John Denis Farley was born in Middlesbrough and was on the Boro’s books as a teenager, but decided to learn his trade as a joiner at the age of 16 and played non-league football for Stockton FC. A coach at Stockton was good friends with Ken Furphy, manager of Second Division side Watford, and Farley joined the Hornets in July 1969. He had to wait 18 months for his debut against Bolton in January 1971 and scored his first Watford goal in March 1971, securing a 2-1 win at Charlton. In 1971/72 Watford struggled at the foot of the Second Division table and mustered only 19 points all season to finish 15 points adrift of safety – Farley was an occasional starter after an early season spell on loan at Third Division Halifax Town where he found his shooting boots with three goals in six starts. With Watford themselves now in the Third Division, Farley became a regular starter for two seasons and by the 1974 close season had made 114 senior appearances for the Hornets and scored 9 goals.
In May 1974 Wolverhampton Wanderers manager Bill McGarry paid £40,000 for the relatively unknown Farley – McGarry was Watford manager in the mid 1960s and perhaps still had links with staff at the Hertfordshire club. Wolves were riding high in the First Division so this was a big step up for John – especially as one of his early appearances for Wolves was a September 1974 UEFA Cup tie at Porto that the Portuguese side won 4-1, eventually progressing 5-4 on aggregate at Wolves’ expense. Farley made 21 appearances in 1974/75 and added a further 15 appearances in 1975/76 as Wolves suffered a collapse in form and ended the season relegated to the Second Division. Farley suffered a knee injury that meant he made no appearances at all in 1976/77 season as Wolves returned to the top flight as Second Division champions. John was transfer listed in the 1977 close season but returned to fitness and made seven appearances in 1977/78 as Wolves returned to First Division football. He left the Black Country club in the 1978 close season having made 43 senior appearances in four seasons.
Farley joined Bury for the 1980/81 season and made 25 appearances for the Fourth Division side, scoring the last of his senior goals in an October 1980 1-2 defeat at Rochdale. Farley hung up his boots in the 1981 close season and after running pubs in Cambridge and High Wycombe he settled in Hull and became a self-employed joiner.
Date/Place of Birth: 21 September 1951, Middlesbrough
Hull City First Game: 12 August 1978, Peterborough United H (League Cup First Round First Leg), 26 years, 325 days old
Hull City Final Game: 4 April 1980, Blackburn Rovers A (Division Three), 28 years, 196 days old
Middlesbrough, Stockton (1967-1969), Watford (1969-1974), Halifax Town (1971, loan), Wolverhampton Wanderers (1974-1978), Blackpool (1976, loan), Hull City (1978-1980), Bury (1980-1981)
Hull City Record
Career: 67 apps, 5 goalsJohn Farley
|1978/79||32 (0)||1||2 (0)||0||3 (0)||0||-||-||-||-|
|1979/80||27 (1)||4||1 (1)||0||-||-||-||-||-||-|