Goalkeeper Paul Musselwhite was plucked from the Sheffield Wednesday bench in September 2000 and slotted straight into manager Brian Little’s first team ahead of unreliable shot stopper Lee Bracey. Mussy was the opposite of Bracey – not the most spectacular goalkeeper in the club’s history, but an ultra-reliable presence who performed all tasks asked of him to a decent and consistent standard. His primary strength was claiming high balls, a fine asset in the lower leagues that City were attempting to escape. Musselwhite started all but one City game for the rest of the 2000/01 season as City started modestly, suffered a major financial meltdown then mounted a superb recovery that saw the Tigers eventually qualify for the League Division 3 play-offs. His steady presence saw City claim a clean sheet in the first leg against Leyton Orient but in the return leg at Brisbane Road Mussy was beaten from distance by Matt Lockwood and the Tigers stumbled one step away from the final at the Millennium Stadium.
At the start of the 2001/02 season new ownership and a new stream of funding meant that Musselwhite started the season on the bench with new signing Matt Glennon favoured. As the season wore on it became clear that Glennon’s top flight pedigree was not always matched by his application to the task on matchdays, and Mussy returned for a 21 game spell between late December 2001 and early April 2002. When Jan Molby took over from Little in April 2002 he quickly restored Glennon for the first team and it wasn’t until two months into the 2002/03 season, with Molby’s team struggling for form, that Musselwhite was reintroduced. Molby was quickly replaced by Peter Taylor and Mussy’s steady style was attractive to the new boss. He remained in the first eleven until February 2003 when former City keeper Alan Fettis was signed. Fettis and Musselwhite were switched regularly by Taylor at the start of the 2003/04 season until December 2003 when Boaz Myhill was signed from Aston Villa. This signalled the end of first team action for Musselwhite, who left the club in the 2004 close season after four years of fine service.
Paul Stephen Musselwhite was born in Portsmouth on England’s south coast and came through the Pompey youth system before signing his first professional contract in December 1986. Over the next season and a half Mussy was unable to get any game time in the first eleven due to the ultra consistency of Alan Knight and Paul left Fratton Park in March 1988 to join Scunthorpe United. For the next four seasons Musselwhite was a first team regular as the Iron challenged at the upper end of the Fourth Division table, twice losing out in the play-off semi-finals to Wrexham in 1989 and Blackpool in 1991. Scunthorpe also reached the 1991/92 play-offs but preferred Mark Samways in goal for the closing weeks of that campaign, which ended with a penalty shoot out defeat in the Final against Blackpool.
Mussy moved on that summer having made 164 appearances for Scunthorpe and joined Port Vale in July 1992 who were competing one division up in the rebranded League Division 2. He gave eight seasons of service to the Valiants and was first choice keeper throughout as Vale lifted the Football League Trophy at Wembley in 1993 then won promotion to the second tier in 1994. Port Vale remained at that level until relegation in 2000 at the end of Mussy’s final season, which took his tally of appearances for the Valiants to 367. Now in his early thirties and reaching the prime of his career, Paul had several trials in the 2000 close season before being snapped up by League Division 1 contenders Sheffield Wednesday, but within a month he was lured to Boothferry Park by the prospect of more first team football.
In June 2004 Musselwhite returned to Scunthorpe United and served the League Two side well as they won promotion to League One in his first season. In May 2006, after a further 82 senior appearances for Scunthorpe, he returned to his south coast roots and signed for Conference South side Eastleigh, but by November 2006 he had joined Conference North side Kettering Town. In January 2007 Mussy returned to Port Vale to sit on the bench for the rest of the season, he then spent the first half of the 2007/08 season at Harrogate Town before switching to Gateshead in January 2008. He spent just over a year in the North East and won the Northern Premier League play-offs with the ‘Heid.
In February 2009 he returned to the Football League once again when he joined Lincoln City as player-coach. He made only one senior appearance for Lincoln as a substitute in October 2010, a few days after he took the temporary assistant manager role following Chris Sutton’s departure from the manager’s post. In June 2011 Mussy joined Conference National side York City, where he combined the roles of goalkeeper coach and back up goalkeeper. Late in the 2011/12 season Mussy started three Conference matches at the age of 43 then sat on the bench as York won the 2012 Conference National play-off final and returned to the Football League. He remained at York for most of the Minstermen’s first season back in the Football League before departing in March 2013. This drew an end to his Football League playing career that spanned 17 years and saw him make 718 senior appearances.
Mussy was briefly the goalkeeping coach at Bury before taking on the same role at Scunthorpe United in June 2013, a job he fulfilled for many seasons. Paul’s son Ryan was also a goalkeeper for several non-league sides while his other son Ronan tragically took his own life in 2020 while training as a junior doctor and struggling with depression.
Date/Place of Birth: 22 December 1968, Portsmouth
Hull City First Game: 23 September 2000, Barnet A (League Division 3), 31 years, 276 days old
Hull City Final Game: 26 December 2003, York City A (League Division 3), 35 years, 4 days old
Portsmouth (1986-1988), Scunthorpe United (1988-1992), Port Vale (1992-2000), Sheffield Wednesday (2000), Hull City (2000-2004), Scunthorpe United (2004-2006), Eastleigh (2006), Kettering Town (2006-2007), Port Vale (2007), Harrogate Town (2007-2008), Gateshead (2008-2009), Lincoln City (2009-2011), York City (2011-2013)
Hull City Record
Career: 104 apps, 0 goalsPaul Musselwhite
|2000/01||37 (0)||0||2 (0)||0||-||-||-||-||3 (0)||0|
|2001/02||20 (0)||0||-||-||-||-||-||-||1 (0)||0|
|2002/03||20 (0)||0||1 (0)||0||-||-||-||-||1 (0)||0|
|2003/04||17 (1)||0||1 (0)||0||-||-||-||-||-||-|