Defender Richard Jobson joined Hull City in February 1985 for a £40,000 fee and went on to become the club’s finest defender for a generation in the last two decades of the 20th century. But the early signs were not promising – he was returning to the city of his birth under the protective wing of manager Brian Horton, but within weeks of signing he had gone AWOL and his City career appeared over before it had properly begun. It is therefore testament to Jobson’s improving attitude, and Horton’s splendid man-management skills, that Jobbo returned to the City fold at the start of the 1985/86 to commence action in the Second Division following promotion the previous May. For the next five seasons Jobson was a firm first team fixture – rarely injured, rarely flustered, always strong in the air, always tough in the tackle and always willing to step out of defence and prompt attacks with the ball at his feet.
The statistics were impressive – between August 1985, a home match against Portsmouth, and May 1990, an away match at Watford, Jobson played in 245 of City’s 255 senior fixtures and bagged 17 goals. He scored his first City goal in a barnstorming 1-1 draw at Leeds in August 1985, repeating the feat four months later when the West Yorkshire foes were beaten 2-1 at Boothferry Park. He scored twice in a January 1986 4-2 win over Oldham, continuing the unknowable trend of scoring against his future clubs. In February 1987, in a far-flung corner of South Wales and with the night air thick with the pungent whiff of coal dust, Jobson scored the only goal of an FA Cup replay against Swansea City to set up a Fifth Round tie against Wigan that, if won, could have propelled the Tigers to national attention – but this was 20th century Hull City, we lost 0-3. In January 1988 Jobbo again netted against Leeds, in a thrilling 3-1 win that announced the arrival of Andy Payton – but that was Brian Horton’s last league victory as City manager and Nobby was cruelly sacked three months later.
The model of consistency at both centre back and right back, Jobson was the division’s leading defensive player as well as City’s. He transcended the mere numbers and played an absolutely pivotal role in the success of Horton’s Tigers during the late 1980s. He was always amongst the best players in teams put together by successors Eddie Gray, Colin Appleton and Stan Ternent, but it was the latter who chose to cash in on the ambitious Jobson and netted a £460,000 fee in August 1990 – which he duly wasted on inferior dross. Which serves to emphasise the quality that Richard Jobson bought to Hull City for five mostly glorious years.
Jobson was born in Cottingham but rejected the typical path into football – he was studying for a Civil Engineering degree in Nottingham and had been chosen for the British Universities XI when he joined Northern Premier League part-timers Burton Albion in 1981. Graham Taylor spotted him in 1982, lured him away from his studies and signed him for Watford. Jobson was quickly introduced to the Hornets’ first team as the newly promoted side powered through their First Division opponents to finish second. Jobson’s first Watford goal came in an April 1983 4-2 win over local rivals Luton Town, the first of several he scored in various derby matches. He was not selected for the 1984 FA Cup Final by Taylor and was out of the first team in early 1985 when Hull City claimed his signature, a signing that appeared humdrum at the time. How wrong we were!
Jobson joined Oldham Athletic in August 1990 and played in every game as the Latics won promotion to the First Division, placing him at a level of football commensurate with his talent. He was a first team regular for Oldham’s three seasons in the top flight, scoring nine goals and in 1994 playing in a FA Cup Semi-Final. Playing in the Premier League, tasting FA Cup glory – Jobbo came close to both of these with City, but it took the move to Oldham to deliver in full. As the 1990s wore on and Jobson entered his 30s injuries became more regular and he played less frequently. In October 1995 Leeds United paid £1 million for Jobson’s services as relegated Oldham cashed in their prized assets, but in two seasons at Elland Road Richard started only 26 matches for the Premier League side and was loaned to Southend United. Early in 1998 Joe Royle, Jobson’s manager at Oldham now in charge at Manchester City, secured his signature a second time but more injuries kept him out of the game for over a year. When he returned at the start of the 1999/00 season the old consistency came back and Jobson was a first team regular as the Maine Road side finished second in the League, winning promotion to the Premier League. He had three further seasons at Tranmere and Rochdale before retiring in the 2003 close season.
Jobson had been a prominent players’ representative for the Professional Footballers’ Association for many years, stretching back to his time at Hull City – between 1998 and 2003 he served on the PFA Management Committee and he became PFA Chairman in November 2002. He then joined the staff of the PFA in 2003, once his playing days ended, and spent a long second career working for the footballers’ union, rising to the position of Assistant Chief Executive.
Jobson was called up for two England B internationals in 1992, at the height of his powers at Oldham, but was never selected for the England first team. Scandalously overlooked, some would say.
Date/Place of Birth: 9 May 1963, Cottingham
Hull City First Game: 9 February 1985, Burnley H (Division Three), 21 years, 276 days old
Hull City Final Game: 28 August 1990, Blackburn Rovers A (Division Two), 27 years, 111 days old
Burton Albion (1981-1982), Watford (1982-1985), Hull City (1985-1990), Oldham Athletic (1990-1995), Leeds United (1995-1998), Southend United (1998, loan), Manchester City (1998-2001), Watford (2000, loan), Tranmere Rovers (2000-2001, loan), Tranmere Rovers (2001), Rochdale (2001-2003)
Hull City Record
Career: 255 apps, 18 goalsRichard Jobson
|1985/86||36 (0)||7||3 (0)||0||4 (0)||0||-||-||4 (0)||0|
|1986/87||40 (0)||5||3 (0)||1||2 (0)||0||-||-||2 (0)||0|
|1987/88||44 (0)||2||3 (0)||0||2 (0)||0||-||-||1 (0)||0|
|1988/89||46 (0)||1||3 (0)||0||2 (0)||0||-||-||1 (0)||0|
|1989/90||45 (0)||2||1 (0)||0||2 (0)||0||-||-||1 (0)||0|