Midfielder turned centre half Mark Andrew Greaves joined the Tigers in June 1996 from Brigg Town, for whom he had week earlier played at Wembley in the FA Vase Final. Like a few of his contemporaries in the mid-1990s, when Hull City were digging deep to mine for hidden gems, Greaves came through the local non-league football scene and joined the professional ranks at the age of 21. Mark came into the first team picture in October 1996 and for two months filled gaps created by injuries in midfield and defence. From mid-December 1996 until the end of the season he missed only two games, again showing his versatility in midfield and defence and also coming off the bench several times as Terry Dolan’s side spluttered to a lower half finish in the fourth tier of the English game. Mark scored his first City goal in a February 1997 1-1 draw at Torquay and notched again a month later in another 1-1 draw against Hereford.
During the 1997/98 close season Dolan left the Tigers hot seat to be replaced by former England forward Mark Hateley. Injuries and the band of Hateley’s eclectic signings combined to keep Greaves out of the first team for most of the season, though he did get a run of 14 consecutive first team starts in October and November 1997 that yielded goals against Torquay (again) and Cambridge, the latter delivering a rare win for Hateley’s side. Greaves remained a fringe player in Hateley’s second season in charge, although that tenure was abruptly ended in November 1998 with the Tigers marooned at the foot of the League Division 3 table. Warren Joyce was promoted from within to save the club from expulsion from the Football League and he used Greaves more regularly as the Tigers climbed clear of relegation.
With three seasons with the Tigers under his belt, Greaves was still to become a genuine first team regular. That finally came in mid-October 1999 when Joyce settled on using Greaves in the centre of defence and Mark missed only three games during the rest of the season, getting amongst the goals again in wins against Macclesfield (in the FA Cup), Southend and Mansfield – when Joyce was replaced by Brian Little in the last few weeks of the 1999/00 season Greaves kept his place and was voted the club’s Player of the Season. Little used Greaves in both defence and midfield during the 2000/01 season until an injury in February 2001 kept him out of action for two months. After starting the first five games of the 2001/02 season another injury kept Mark out of the team for four months, returning to the fold at the end of December and staying in the first team until the close season. Greaves started three of the first four games of the 2002/03 season, but Little had been replaced by new manager Jan Molby and Greaves was jettisoned to generate funds for the Dane’s continued player purchases, bringing to an end a six year association with the Tigers.
In August 2002 Greaves joined League Division 3 rivals Boston United and he served the Lincolnshire side for five years as they drifted around the mid-table area before slumping to relegation from the Football League in May 2007. Greaves was a first team regular for most of this time and amassed 175 senior appearances, scoring five goals. In July 2007 Greaves signed for Conference National side Burton Albion and assisted the Brewers to reach the Conference play-offs before switching to divisional rivals York City in May 2008, who immediately appointed him club captain. He played the full season as the Minstermen finsihed in mid-table and in May 2009 reached the FA Trophy Final at Wembley, a return to the national stadium for Greaves 13 years after his first visit with Brigg Town – York lost the Final 0-2 to Stevenage Borough. He left York in 2009 and spent three more seasons playing in the Humber non-league scene befoe retiring in 2011 – though he was briefly tempted out of retirement in 2015 by the brief but spectacular Hull United experiment intiated by local business figure Jamie Waltham.
As Mark’s playing days drew to a final close his son Jacob was coming through the junior ranks at Hull City. Jacob made his senior debut in August 2019 while on loan at Cheltenham Town and a year later he was handed his City debut by manager Grant McCann, quickly becoming a talented and flamboyant fixture in the centre of the Tigers’ defence. Mark and Jacob Greaves thus became the second father and son to have both played first team football for Hull City, following in the footsteps of Pat and Jamie Heard (and also Jimmy and Matt Bloomer, who were grandfather and grandson).
Date/Place of Birth: 22 January 1975, Hull
Hull City First Game: 5 October 1996, Scunthorpe United H (League Division 3), 21 years, 257 days old
Hull City Final Game: 24 August 2002, Bury H (League Division 3), 27 years, 214 days old
Hall Road Rangers, Gainsborough Trinity, Brigg Town (1995-1996), Hull City (1996-2002), Boston United (2002-2007), Burton Albion (2007-2008), York City (2008-2009), Gainsborough Trinity (2009-2011), North Ferriby United (2011), Hull United (2015-2016)
Hull City Record
Career: 204 apps, 12 goalsMark Greaves
|1996/97||23 (7)||2||1 (0)||0||-||-||-||-||1 (0)||0|
|1997/98||17 (8)||2||1 (0)||0||2 (0)||0||-||-||-||-|
|1998/99||18 (7)||0||3 (0)||0||2 (0)||0||-||-||0 (1)||0|
|1999/00||38 (0)||3||4 (0)||1||2 (0)||0||-||-||2 (0)||0|
|2000/01||28 (2)||2||2 (0)||0||1 (0)||0||-||-||1 (0)||0|
|2001/02||25 (1)||1||-||-||1 (0)||1||-||-||0 (1)||0|