Leigh Jenkinson was a tall, slightly built winger who came through the youth system at Hull City in the early 1990s. He made his debut on a November Tuesday night in Southampton, having travelled as 13th man for a Full Members Cup tie he was pressed into action when Tony Norman pulled up injured and Peter Skipper took over in goal. Eleven months later Brian Horton gave Jenkinson another run-out when he came on as substitute in a League Cup tie against Manchester United. Leigh made his League debut in February 1988 against Sheffield United, amid a crash in form and a winless run that led to Brian Horton’s sacking six weeks later. Jenkinson scored his first City goal against Swindon in April 1988, Horton’s last game in charge.
Eddie Gray was installed as City manager in the 1988/89 season and Jenkinson was given first team starts in November and December during a spell when City’s results were again poor. Further occasional appearances followed for the rest of the season as Jenkinson continued to inhabit the fringes of the first team. Colin Appleton took over the City reins at the start of 1989/90 season and used Jenkinson more regularly on the wing and at right back. Appleton was quickly moved on and replaced by Stan Ternent, who for the next year used Leigh as an occasional impact substitute. Only in December 1990 did Jenkinson get a run of starts on the wing, but these were the final weeks of Ternent’s tenure as results had again collapsed.
It was new manager Terry Dolan that was the making of Leigh Jenkinson. Having spent the last four and a half years as an occasional first team presence, Dolan gave Leigh more game time and was rewarded handsomely. Jenkinson was a wispy presence with a bamboozling shuffle trick and a fine turn of pace and Dolan used him as an out-and-out wide player. Relegated to the third tier the previous May, Jenkinson started the first game of the 1991/92 season against Reading and scored the winner. This set Leigh up for the rest of the season and he missed only four games in February due to injury, netting nine times including a League Cup winner against Blackburn, a March 1992 double at Stoke that secured a 3-2 win and an April 1992 winner against West Bromwich Albion. In April 1992 Leigh also represented City in the Rumbelows Sprint Challenge, reaching the final race at Wembley but finishing last in a field of eight behind Swansea’s flying former postman John Williams. Jenkinson was a regular starter during the 1992/93 season and his form in a struggling City side was starting to attract outside interest. In March 1993 he joined Premier League Coventry City for a £300,000 fee.
Jenkinson played a support role at Coventry and made 36 appearances in two seasons, scoring his only Premier League goal in a January 1995 2-2 draw at Norwich. In December 1995 he signed for St Johnstone and was a regular first teamer for three seasons, contributing to the Saints’ promotion to the Scottish Premier Division in 1997. He made 24 Premier Division appearances in 1997/98, scoring three goals at the end of the season against Dundee United and Motherwell (a brace). Leigh briefly joined Wigan Athletic at the start of the 1998/99 season but by Christmas he was back in Scotland signing for Hearts in return for a £50,000 fee. He barely played for the Jam Tarts and ended his professional career with a two month spell at Dundee United at the end of the 1999/00 season.
Jenkinson played on for three more years with non-league sides Barrow and Goole Town. He then withdrew from football and worked a a postman in North Yorkshire, though he briefly returned to the game in the mid-2010s to manage Lincolnshire League side Epworth Town.
Jenkinson was selected for a Wales B international match against Scotland in March 1998, but did not reach the senior team.
Date/Place of Birth: 9 July 1969, Thorne
Hull City First Game: 25 November 1986, Southampton A (Full Members Cup Second Round), 17 years, 139 days old
Hull City Final Game: 9 March 1993, Wigan Athletic H (League Division 2), 23 years, 243 days old
Hull City (1986-1993), Rotherham United (1990, loan), Coventry City (1993-1995), Birmingham City (1993, loan), St Johnstone (1995-1998), Wigan Athletic (1998), Heart of Midlothian (1998-2000), Dundee United (2000), Barrow (2000-2001), Goole Town (2001-2003)
Hull City Record
Career: 157 apps, 15 goalsLeigh Jenkinson
|1987/88||2 (1)||1||-||-||0 (1)||0||-||-||-||-|
|1988/89||6 (5)||0||-||-||-||-||-||-||1 (0)||0|
|1989/90||9 (13)||0||0 (1)||0||1 (1)||0||-||-||1 (0)||1|
|1990/91||12 (14)||0||1 (0)||0||-||-||-||-||0 (1)||0|
|1991/92||41 (1)||8||3 (0)||0||4 (0)||1||-||-||4 (0)||0|
|1992/93||25 (1)||4||2 (0)||0||2 (0)||0||-||-||3 (0)||0|