Versatile defender Matthew James Hocking joined the Tigers in late September 1997 as new City manager Mark Hateley sought to plug holes in the leaky defence he had constructed. Matt was born in Boston in Lincolnshire and came through the junior ranks at Sheffield United, although he did not make a first team appearance for the Blades prior to his transfer to Hull City. Hocking was a cool and collected defender with flowing locks, he slotted straight into the centre of City’s defence despite having not yet reached his 20th birthday. Switching between central defence and right back Hocking made 36 consecutive senior fixtures and scored his first Tigers’ goal in a November 1997 3-0 win over hapless Doncaster Rovers. An injury in mid-March cut short his first season but he had already proven himself to be a rare positive in what had been a chaotic first season under Hateley.
Matt returned to first team action at the start of the 1998/99 season and scored in a 2-3 defeat at home to Brentford that formed part of a grizzly run of defeats that eventually saw Hateley sacked in November 1998 with the club at the foot of the League Division 3 table. Player manager Warren Joyce took up the considerable challenge of managing City away from the threat of expulsion from the Football League and Hocking was initially part of his first team plans. However in January 1999, with City still rooted at the bottom of the table, Joyce turned to force rather than flair and Hocking’s first team place was handed to gnarlier characters. As City made an unlikely recovery and retained their Football League place, Hocking was despatched to the reserves and left the club in the 1999 close season after a brief loan spell at York City.
Hocking signed for York City in July 1999 and spent three seasons at Bootham Crescent as the Minstermen consolidated in League Division 3 after relegation in May 1999. Hocking was a first team regular for those three seasons and when he left York in the summer of 2002 he had made 110 senior appearances and scored two goals. Boston United been promoted from the Conference at the end of the 2001/02 season and despite a points deduction due to the financial chicanery of manager Steve Evans, Hocking accepted the challenge to join his home town club for their first season in the Football League. He played but in all but one League game during that debut season for the Pilgrims and scored a vital goal in late April that avoided an immediate relegation back to the Conference. Matt stayed at York Street for a second season but injuries and loss of form reduced his first team exposure – a red card against Hull City in August 2003 also didn’t help – and he left the club in the summer of 2004 having made 76 senior appearances and one goal for the Lincolnshire side, taking his senior career tally to 257 appearances and 5 goals.
Hocking then had a further seven years playing in the non-league scene, initially spending two seasons at Stevenage Borough. He joined South East London side Fisher Athletic in July 2006 but six months later he signed for Conference side Southport. After a season and a half at Southport Hocking joined Conference rivals Gateshead in August 2008 but his time on the banks of the Tyne lasted only one season. He returned to Boston in the summer of 2009, playing for non-leaguers Boston Town, then ended his playing career spending the latter part of the 2011/12 season at St Albans City. Hocking returned to Boston Town in 2012 to be joint manager alongside Ian Dunn, a role the pair held for 14 months, then held a football in the community role at Boston United and coached the youngsters at Peterborough United. In 2017, soon after achieving his UEFA “A” Coaching Licence, Hocking and his family moved to California, USA, where he coached youth team football at MLS feeder club Murrieta Surf.
Date/Place of Birth: 30 January 1978, Boston
Hull City First Game: 27 September 1997, Scunthorpe United A (League Division 3), 19 years, 240 days old
Hull City Final Game: 6 February 1999, Brentford A (League Division 3), 21 years, 7 days old
Sheffield United (1995-1997), Hull City (1997-1999), York City (1999, loan), York City (1999-2002), Boston United (2002-2004), Stevenage Borough (2004-2006), Fisher Athletic (2006-2007), Southport (2007-2008), Gateshead (2008-2009), Boston Town (2009-2010), St Albans City (2010-2011)
Hull City Record
Career: 71 apps, 2 goalsMatt Hocking
|1997/98||31 (0)||1||1 (0)||0||2 (0)||0||-||-||2 (0)||0|
|1998/99||24 (2)||1||3 (0)||0||4 (0)||0||-||-||2 (0)||0|