Hull-born defender Peter Dennis Skipper joined the Tigers in September 1978, having come to the club’s attention playing for Schultz Youth Club. He made his first team debut in March 1979 and remained in the side for the rest of that season, but was unable to break into the first eleven the following term with any regularity. In January 1980 Skip made his last appearance for City in ex-Wales international manager Mike Smith first match at the City helm.
Skipper joined Scunthorpe United on loan in February 1980, making only a single substitute appearance, then made a permanent switch to Darlington that summer. Skipper missed only one league game in two seasons at Feethams, scoring four goals in 98 senior appearances and developing his reputation as a no-nonsense hard-tackling centre back with a sweet left foot, a penchant for rampaging upfield in possession and a fearsome reputation for winning headers from corners.
These attributes led City, now led by newly appointed ex-Scarborough manager Colin Appleton, to re-sign Skipper in August 1982 and immediately place him in the first team. Over the next three seasons Skipper missed zero games – repeat, ZERO games. In the first and second of those ever-present seasons the Tigers won promotion to the Third Division and missed out on a second promotion the following season by a single goal at Burnley. In the third season Appleton was replaced by Brian Horton, who placed similar faith in Skipper as the fulcrum of the Tigers’ defence. In early May 1985 on a far-flung field in Walsall it was Peter Skipper who rose to nod home a corner and secure a 1-0 victory that sealed promotion to the Second Division. Fans and players cavorted together on the Fellows Park pitch after the final whistle, a few receiving a light chewing from a police Alsatian, and Brian Horton and Peter Skipper were both elevated into any reasonably stocked Hull City Hall of Fame.
Skipper gave another three seasons’ service for the Tigers in the second tier, missing only a dozen or so games due to injury. Skip’s versatility was stretched to the limit in November 1986 when City ventured to Southampton for an Associate Members’ Cup tie. An injury to goalkeeper Tony Norman in the warm-up meant that Skipper had to play 90 minutes between the posts, where he performed admirably in a 2-1 defeat.
The 1988/89 season saw City install ex-Leeds flyer Eddie Gray at the helm. Skipper started the first three games of the season but was then replaced by Richard Jobson and new signing Lee Warren. In October 1988 he signed for Oldham Athletic, having amassed 21 goals and 338 senior appearances for the Tigers and won himself a place in the list of the club’s finest defenders.
Skipper spent only one season at Oldham’s Boundary Park, scoring once in 30 appearances before joining Walsall in July 1989. In the 1991 close season Skipper was released by Walsall after three goals in 99 appearances and spent the summer without a club. After a short trial period at Wrexham in which he made two senior appearances, he signed for Wigan Athletic in October 1991 and spent the rest of that season at Spingfield Park. Again a free agent after 18 appearances for Wigan, Skip had a few weeks at Stafford Rangers in 1992 before returning to Wigan, where he spent another two seasons, scoring six goals in 87 appearances before ending his Football League career in 1994.
After football Skipper landlorded two pubs in West Hull, the National off Bricknell Avenue and the Grafton off Newlands Avenue. He worked in insurance for a few years before joining former City team-mate Tim Hotte at EYG Commercial Glazing in 2011, working in the sales team and managing the firm’s Scarborough showroom. Throughout this time Pete was a stalwart in the ex-Tigers XI, proving himself simultaneously to be a perfect gentleman and a rock solid hard man – a challenge with Skip was functionally identical to running into a wall. For many seasons he was also a genial, understated host in the West Stand Hospitality Lounge prior to City home games.
In April 2019 Skipper tragically died after a stroke. The Tiger Nation gathered at the next KCOM Stadium home game to pay condolences to the Skipper family. Former City players queued up to laud him in the local press and pay their respects at his funeral. He will always be a 1980s City legend. Played Skip.
Date/Place of Birth: 11 April 1958, Hull
Hull City First Game: 2 March 1979, Swansea City A (Division Three), 20 years, 325 days old
Hull City Final Game: 3 September 1988, Plymouth Argyle A (Division Two), 30 years, 145 days old
Schultz YC, Hull City (1978-1980), Scunthorpe United (1980, loan), Darlington (1980-1982), Hull City (1982-1988), Oldham Athletic (1988-1989), Walsall (1989-1991), Wrexham (1991), Wigan Athletic (1991-1992), Stafford Rangers (1992), Wigan Athletic (1992-1994)
Hull City Record
Career: 338 apps, 21 goalsPeter Skipper
|1979/80||5 (1)||0||1 (0)||0||-||-||-||-||-||-|
|1982/83||46 (0)||4||2 (0)||0||2 (0)||0||-||-||3 (0)||0|
|1983/84||46 (0)||1||2 (0)||0||2 (0)||1||-||-||5 (0)||0|
|1984/85||46 (0)||5||3 (0)||1||4 (0)||0||-||-||2 (0)||0|
|1985/86||39 (1)||1||3 (0)||0||4 (0)||0||-||-||3 (1)||0|
|1986/87||41 (0)||4||3 (0)||0||2 (0)||0||-||-||2 (0)||0|
|1987/88||43 (0)||2||3 (0)||0||2 (0)||0||-||-||1 (0)||0|