Hard working midfielder Micky Horswill joined the Tigers in July 1978 as manager Ken Houghton built a squad capable of competing for promotion back to the Second Division following the previous season’s relegation. Horswill was immediately introduced into the City engine room and looked the part with tough tackling, willing running and chipping in with regular goals. Micky scored City’s first League goal of the season in a 1-1 draw against Carlisle (future Tiger Mick Tait scoring for the opposition that day) and before Christmas he had added further goals in a 2-0 win at Rotherham and a 2-1 win against Tranmere. After missing three games in early January 1979 Horswill returned to the first XI and scored in a 3-5 defeat at Swansea, a 2-1 win against Plymouth and a 2-4 loss at Lincoln. By the end of the season he had missed only six of the 51 senior matches played and established himself as an important cog in Houghton’s midfield.
Things went less well in 1979/80 season, Horswill started the first five games before injury kept him out of the side for five months. When Mick returned in February 1980 Houghton was sacked and replaced by new manager Mike Smith, who had started his own squad rebuild. Horswill filled in at left back and in midfield for the rest of the season but the achilles injuries that dogged the rest of his career had started to take hold and he was unable to hold down a regular starting place. Mick was deployed at left back for the 1980/81 season before injuries again intervened and it wasn’t until April 1981 that he was back to full fitness and again able to play in his preferred midfield role. Further injuries hampered Horswill’s game time in 1981/82 and when the club entered administration in February 1982 and Smith was removed from the manager’s role, Horswill was one of several players who decided to leave the club.
Michael Frederick Horswill was born in Annfield Plain in the heart of the North Durham coalfield. He was spotted by Sunderland at a young age and entered their youth system, eventually signing his first contract at Roker Park in 1971. He made his debut in February 1972 and quickly established himself as a first team regular for the Second Division side. In 1972/73 Sunderland struggled early in the season but their form picked up and they finished in the top six with Horswill missing only three games and scoring his first senior goal in a 4-0 win over local rivals Middlesbrough. Of greater note though was Sunderland’s legendary FA Cup run which culminated in victory at Wembley over Leeds in the May 1973 final – Horswill started all nine ties including the final, scoring in the Sixth Round against Manchester City and featured heavily in the post-victory photography that persisted in the public conciousness for many years afterwards.
Horswill remained a first team regular in 1973/74 as Sunderland tried to gain promotion out of the Second Division, while also competing in the European Cup Winners Cup – Horswill started all four European ties as Sunderland beat Vasas Budapest 3-0 on aggregate, then narrowly lost 2-3 on aggregate to Sporting Lisbon with Micky scoring in the first leg at Roker Park. When Horswill left the club he had made 88 senior appearances and scored five goals.
In March 1974 Manchester City made a double transfer swoop with Dennis Tueart and Micky Horswill both switching to the Maine Road side and Tony Towers moving the other way – Horswill valuation in the transfer was £100,000. He made his First Division debut in the derby against Manchester United a few days later but he soon drifted out of the Manchester City side and in his only full season, 1974/75, he started only four matches. By the 1975 close season Micky had made just 15 senior appearances for Manchester City and he moved to Plymouth Argyle. His three seasons in the South West saw him re-established as a first team regular, though the Pilgrims were relegated to Division Three at the end of his second season. By the time Horswill transferred to Hull City in 1978 he had made 118 senior appearances for Plymouth and scored three goals.
Horswill left City in March 1982 and moved to Hong Kong to played for Happy Valley FC. He made a brief return to the Football League in 1983 to play for Carlisle United, reuniting with his Cup Final manager Bob Stokoe from ten years ealier, but after just one first team start in August 1983 his injuries meant he had to retire from playing. Horswill then entered to licensed trade, running pubs in Boldon and Durham during the 1980s. He spent the summer of 1989 coaching for Tampa Bay Rowdies, his only return to club football following his retirement as a player. From the 1990s onwards he sold kitchens and was a regular contributor to nightly North East local radio football phone-ins alongside other footballing legends Malcolm MacDonald and Bernie Slaven, a job that came to an abrupt end in 2013.
Date/Place of Birth: 6 March 1953, Annfield Plain
Hull City First Game: 12 August 1978, Peterborough United H (League Cup First Round First Leg), 25 years, 159 days old
Hull City Final Game: 9 March 1982, Scunthorpe United H (Division Four), 29 years, 3 days old
Sunderland (1971-1974), Manchester City (1974-1975), Plymouth Argyle (1975-1978), Hull City (1978-1982), Happy Valley (1982-1983), Carisle United (1983)
Hull City Record
Career: 100 apps, 6 goalsMicky Horswill
|1978/79||40 (0)||6||2 (0)||0||3 (0)||0||-||-||-||-|
|1979/80||12 (1)||0||-||-||2 (0)||0||-||-||-||-|
|1980/81||13 (0)||0||1 (0)||0||1 (0)||0||-||-||2 (0)||0|
|1981/82||17 (1)||0||-||-||2 (0)||0||-||-||3 (0)||0|