Striker Nick Deacy joined the Tigers in February 1980 and while hindsight may not view his time at Boothferry Park especially kindly, at the time his signing was a pretty remarkable coup – a striker in his mid-20s prime with international caps under his belt and a recent winner of Dutch league titles and the UEFA Cup. He clearly had something about him that justified his £94,000 fee. Alas that something was a reluctance to score goals in anything like the volume his reputation and salary demanded. City manager Mike Smith had been in post for two months when he swooped to claim the signature of the man he had capped 12 times for Wales in 1977 and 1978, and Deacy was slotted straight into the City forward line alongside serial goalscorer Keith Edwards. Initially Edwards’ prowess in front of goal compensated for Deacy’s inability to score, though when his first goal came in April 1980 it was a good one, an equaliser in the local derby at Grimsby in front of 18,000 fans.
Deacy’s second City goal, once more against Grimsby in an Anglo-Scottish Cup tie, came at the start of the 1980/81 season, when the plan was to launch a full-on assault on promotion to the Second Division. To say it didn’t go to plan is an understatement, as City won just two of their opening 21 league fixtures, Deacy scoring just twice in a 3-3 draw against Exeter and a 1-0 win over Plymouth. He would have been devastating in the Devon leagues. Nick was now playing on the left side of the attack and matters continued to spiral downwards in the early months of 1981, though the decline was punctuated by an unlikely six match FA Cup run that culminated in a famous Third Round tie at White Hart Lane that threw Tony Norman into the limelight as he repelled Tottenham attacks for 80 minutes. A brief April 1981 revival saw City go unbeaten for four matches, in which Deacy scored twice, but by then relegation was inevitable.
Deacy’s scoring record wasn’t any better in the Fourth Division, hitting just one goal by early November despite being chosen as centre forward on several occasions. The increasingly frantic Smith, aware that the money he splodged on promotion had had the opposite effect and placed the club’s finances in dire straits, switched Deacy to centre half. This switch had a positive effect, the forward line was hardly denuded by Deacy’s absence and the defence conceded only 10 goals in 13 games. However by March 1982 the club was placed in receivership, Smith had gone and Deacy, briefly restored to the forward line by caretaker managers Bobby Brown and Chris Chilton, played his last game at the end of March 1982 before heading to Hong Kong for a payday. In those last few weeks of his time at City Deacy had been an outspoken critic of the club’s directors and the financial plight they had happened upon the club.
Nicholas Simon Deacy was born in Cardiff and took a less conventional route into the professional ranks. In the late early 1970s he played non-league football in South Wales for the excitingly named Cardiff side Cosmopolitan FC and Southern League side Merthyr Tydfil, while working in a Cardiff steelworks. In September 1974 he won his first professional contract at Hereford United but it was only after a December 1974 loan spell at Workington that yielded 2 goals in five games, did Deacy break into the Bulls first team scene. He scored his first goal for Hereford in February 1975 against Grimsby, naturally.
In June 1975 Deacy followed a path rarely trodden as he swapped Hereford’s Edgar Street for PSV Eindhoven’s Philips Stadion in return for a £20,000 fee. He had impressed representatives of the Dutch giants when Hereford won a post-season tournament in the Netherlands in May 1975, and he climbed aboard a Dutch side that were sweeping all before them. In 1975/76 PSV won the Dutch league and Cup double, while also reaching the European Cup semi-final and Deacy scored four goals in 15 appearances – two of which came in an October 1975 Euopean Cup demolition of Northern Irish side Linfield, who were beaten 8-0 in PSV’s home leg. Deacy also came on as substitute in both legs of the semi-final, which French giants Saint-Etienne won 1-0 on aggregate. In 1976/77 Nick played more regularly in both domestic and European fixtures, hitting two goals in 28 appearances. In 1977/78 PSV again won the Dutch league and also lifted the UEFA Cup, winning the two-legged final 3-0 on aggregate over the Corsicans of Bastia – Deacy came on as substitute in the triumphant second leg and lifted a European trophy, a feat few City players have ever achieved (especially those associated with Leeds United).
In the 1978 close season Deacy switched to Beringen, a Belgian First Division side. In 1978/79 season Deacy scored 10 times in 42 starts, attracting the attention of Dutch side Vitesse Arnhem who signed him for the 1979/80 season. Alas, Deacy only made nine appearances for the Vitas and he headed across the North Sea to sign for Hull City in February 1980.
Deacy and Micky Horswill both left City in March 1982 and joined Happy Valley in Hong Kong. In October 1983 Deacy returned to the UK and joined Bury, where he played 38 times mostly in a more defensive role, scoring once and participating in a 0-10 League Cup defeat at West Ham. Deacy’s career then petered out with spells at Welsh non-league teams and a brief return to Hong Kong.
Deacy won 12 Welsh caps in 1977 and 1978 while in his pomp at PSV Eindhoven, adding to single under-21 and under-23 caps won in 1976. He scored on his senior international debut against the Czech Republic in March 1977 and added three more international goals in subsequent matches.
When his football career ended Deacy retrained as an IT Technician, working for many years at British Aerospace at Filton in Bristol.
Date/Place of Birth: 19 July 1953, Cardiff
Hull City First Game: 1 March 1980, Chester H (Division Three), 26 years, 226 days old
Hull City Final Game: 26 March 1982, Colchester United A (Division Four), 28 years, 250 days old
Cosmopolitan FC (1970-1971), Merthyr Tydfil (1971-1974), Hereford United (1974-1975), PSV Eindhoven (1975-1978), FC Beringen (1978-1979), Vitesse Arnhem (1979-1980), Hull City (1980-1982), Happy Valley (1982-1983), Bury (1983-1984), Merthyr Tydfil (1984-1985), Swansea City, Double Flower, Ebbw Vale, Barry Town
Hull City Record
Career: 105 apps, 9 goalsNick Deacy
|1980/81||40 (2)||4||6 (0)||1||-||-||-||-||3 (0)||1|
|1981/82||25 (5)||2||6 (0)||0||1 (0)||0||-||-||1 (1)||0|