Standing six foot two with a slight build loaded full of extravagant skills, Theodore “Tappa” Whitmore joined the Tigers in October 1999 alongside his Jamaican compatriot Ian Goodison. Whitmore had come to global prominence at the 1998 World Cup Finals in France when he scored twice as Jamaica defeated Japan in Lyon. It was therefore a surprise that it took fifteen months and an approach from Hull City, a club languishing in England’s fourth tier of football, to lure him away from his Jamaican roots. He was immediately placed in City’s first team by manager Warren Joyce, who asked Whitmore to play in a roaming auxiliary forward role. He scored his first goal for City in his second appearance, a 2-0 win at Rochdale, and for two months he started regularly and contributed to a significant improvement in City’s form.
However as the new millennium dawned Whitmore was regularly missing due to international call ups and niggly injuries and it wasn’t until early April that Tappa returned to the first team. Joyce was dismissed shortly after this return and Brian Little took over the Tigers, giving Whitmore a prominent and regular first team start at the beginning of the 2000/01 season. By early November Theo had scored five goals and was a major reason for City challenging in the top half of the table. After more absences during December Whitmore had returned to Jamaica in mid-January 2001 when he was involved in a car crash that led to the death of his close friend and international team-mate Steve Malcolm. Whitmore was accused – and in 2002 was acquitted – of Malcolm’s manslaughter and missed two months of football, but when he returned to Hull he was barely used as Little’s squad powered to the League Division 3 play-offs despite the club’s financial woes and the players not being paid.
Whitmore was restored to the first team at the start of 2001/02 season as City picked themselves up after the previous May’s play-off disappointment. Thoe scored goals in two of the first three fixtures, an opening day 3-1 win at Exeter and a 3-2 win in the League Cup at Wrexham, but he drifted out of the first team during January 2002 and was used as a creative substitute for the second half of the season. When Little was replaced by Jan Molby in April 2002 Theo fell down City’s pecking order and left the club that summer.
Theodore Eccleston Whitmore was born in Montego Bay, Jamaica and came into senior competitive football in his early 20s having worked as a bakery delivery driver in his teens. First gaining international recognition in 1993, Tappa spent several seasons in the Jamaican National Premier League and it wasn’t until October 1999 that he swapped Montego Bay for the Humber Estuary.
At the start of the 2003/04 season Whitmore joined Scottish League side Livingston but after only three appearances h was released and returned to Jamaica. He returned to the UK again in the summer of 2004 and signed for Tranmere Rovers, where he was reunited with his Jamaican former Tigers’ team-mate Ian Goodison and in his first season at Prenton Park he was restored to first team football. He barely played for Tranmere in his second season and left the club in January 2006, after a short spell with Seba United, the Jamaican club he first played for in 1997, Whitmore retired from playing and began an illustrious coaching career.
In 2006 Whitmore was appointed manager of Seba United and a year later he combined his club duties with interim management of the Jamaican national team. Whitmore then was assistant to new Jamaican manager Rene Simoes but within nine months the Brazilian was dismissed and Whitmore was back in temporary charge. He was given the international manager’s job on a permanent basis in June 2009 following the end of John Barnes’ short tenure and held the post for four years until he resigned in June 2013. Whitmore returned to the international fold in 2014 when he took over coaching for the Jamaican Under-20 side for a three month spell and in September 2016 he was restored as head coach of the Jamaican senior team. He fulfilled that role for three years until he was sacked by the Jamaican Football Federation in December 2021.
As well as a long-standing manager of the Jamaican international side, Theodore served his country as a player for 11 years. Making his international debut against the United States in November 1993, Whitmore became an international regular in 1995 and by his final international appearance against United States in November 2004 he had won 119 international caps and scored 23 goals, including three starts and two goals in the France 1998 World Cup Finals tournament.
Date/Place of Birth: 5 August 1972, Montego Bay (Jamaica)
Hull City First Game: 30 October 1999, Macclesfield Town A (FA Cup First Round), 27 years, 86 days old
Hull City Final Game: 6 April 2002, Luton Town H (League Division 3), 29 years, 244 days old
Montego Bay Boys Club, Cape Town Spurs (1994), Violet Kickers (1996-1997), Seba United (1997-1999), Hull City (1999-2002), Seba United (2002-2003), Livingston (2003), Seba United (2003-2004), Tranmere Rovers (2004-2006), Seba United (2006)
Hull City Record
Career: 93 apps, 11 goalsTheodore Whitmore
|1999/00||17 (0)||2||5 (0)||0||-||-||-||-||1 (0)||0|
|2000/01||23 (3)||5||0 (1)||0||1 (0)||0||-||-||1 (0)||0|
|2001/02||23 (11)||2||2 (0)||0||2 (0)||1||-||-||3 (0)||1|