Stuart Elliott joined Hull City in July 2002, one of a handful of signings that new manager Jan Molby bought to the club – another being future Premier League captain Ian Ashbee. Elliott attracted a £230,000 fee, then a club record fee paid, and came with a reputation as a pacy left winger with an eye for goal. It’s fair to say he lived up to his billing with some distinction.
Elliott made his debut on the opening day of the 2002/03 season and opened his goalscoring account during a 2-2 draw against Southend that saw Ashbee blot his copy book with a red card. In Elliott’s third start against Exeter he suffered an injury that kept him out of the first team for two months, by the time he returned City were on a poor run and Molby was on the verge of being dismissed. When Peter Taylor took over the helm at City he initially used Elliott mostly as a substitute, preferring the elegant promptings of Steve Melton on the left wing to Stuart’s all-action style. In January 2003, with results best described as variable, Taylor shuffled his attacking resources and reintroduced Elliott as an auxiliary forward playing on the left, outstripping full backs and arriving late into the six yard box with his piledriving shots and prodigious leaping headers. This change quickly delivered with Stuey scoring twice against Exeter in January then netting seven times in nine starts during March and April including braces against Carlisle and Bournemouth, thus drawing his first season at the KC Stadium to a satisfactory close.
Elliott began the 2003/04 season as first choice left sided attacker for Taylor’s side and three early season goals included a late winner against Southend that avenged the lost points on his City debut. After missing a handful of games during October Elliott returned in the run-up to Christmas and missed only one game for the rest of the season, scoring 7 times in 21 games between a January 2004 brace against Cambridge and the final day promotion celebration against Bristol Rovers. While Elliott’s contribution of goals during City’s first promotion season for 19 years was relatively modest, his supply of chances a strike force of Burgess, Allsopp and Walters was considerable.
Elevated to the third tier, City’s opening steps in the higher division were cautious but Elliott found his goalscoring form straight away, netting a brace in an August win at Torquay. Despite defeats at Port Vale, Bradford and Huddersfield – the latter a horror show that Stuey did not play in – City were top of the table by late September and Elliott’s 8 goals in 11 appearances were vital to that success. Between October and December 2004 Stuart had a remarkable run of 13 starts that yielded 15 goals and 11 wins for the Tigers – highlights included a braces at home to Luton, Brentford and Blackpool, a hattrick against keeper-less Tranmere and a goal against Brentford struck from 40 yards with his back to goal. The man could do no wrong and his trademark cartwheeling goal celebration was a staple of most matchdays. A New Years Day clash against Huddersfield Town saw Elliott suffer a injury that kept him out of the side for six weeks and seven games – City won only once during that period of absence, reinforcing Elliott’s vital role in the Tigers’ promotion drive. Elliott returned in mid-February and contributed a further six goals in the closing months of the season as City secured consecutive promotions. While Elliott was important to City’s first promotion in 2004, he was absolutely pivotal to this second promotion in 2005.
Taylor’s Tigers now sought to consolidate in the Championship and for the first three months Elliott was a first team regular starter, albeit not a regular scorer. In the second half of the season Stuart absences became more frequent as he struggled to control problems with acid reflux and exercise-induced asthma, and also took time out to recover from a viral infection. When Phil Parkinson took over as manager in the summer of 2006 he selected Elliott infrequently and when Phil Brown arrived in December 2006 he preferred to use Stuart as an impact substitute. As the Tigers launched an unlikely promotion campaign in the 2007/08 season Elliott was a rare sight in the City first team and by the early weeks of 2008 City agreed to terminate his contract and let him move on. This bought a less than stellar end to a City career that had pinnacled three years earlier with perhaps the most potent display of goalscoring seen in black and amber since the 1960s days of Waggy and Chillo. Top man Stuey.
Stuart Elliott was born in Belfast and by his own admission lurked on the wrong side of the tracks at times during his upbringing – experiences that later influenced his teachings as a born-again christian. After playing in Belfast junior football Elliott signed for Glentoran in 1995 and over the next five years he contributed 51 goals in 156 appearances as the Glens won the Northern Irish League in 1999 and the Cup in 2000. In the 1999/00 season Elliott scored 23 goals in 51 appearances for Glentoran, form that drew attention from clubs in England and Scotland. In July 2000 Scottish Premier League side Motherwell paid £100,000 for Elliott, in two seasons at Fir Park he added 23 goals to his tally in 75 appearances. A fans favourite at Motherwell, financial struggles forced Elliott’s sale in the 2002 close season.
Stuart joined League One title challengers Doncaster Rovers in January 2008 but over the next two years he struggled to establish himself in the first team and reach peak fitness due to his breathing problems. He had a three month spell at League Two side Grimsby Town early in 2009 that yielded two goals in 11 appearances, then in January 2010 he returned to Scotland and signed for Hamilton Academical. After just seven appearances in two months for the Accies Elliott was loaned to Stirling Albion before he decided to hang up his boots in the 2010 close season. It was therefore a surprise in August 2012 when he reappeared and signed for Glentoran, but after only four starts in seven months Elliott retired a second time in March 2013. Following his retirement Elliott focussed on his second career as a Christian pastor and preacher, leading the One Goal Ministries movement. He also had property interests and owned a confectionery shop in Ballymena.
Elliott was a regular Northern Ireland international during the peak of his playing days, making his international debut in September 2000 against Malta shortly after his move to Motherwell. In total he won 39 senior caps, 26 while playing for the Tigers, and scored four goals against Bulgaria (March 2001), Trinidad & Tobago (June 2004), Austria (October 2004) and Azerbaijan (September 2005). His final cap came in a friendly against Georgia in March 2008.
Nationality: Northern Ireland
Date/Place of Birth: 23 July 1978, Belfast
Hull City First Game: 10 August 2002, Southend United H (League Division 3), 24 years, 18 days old
Hull City Final Game: 5 January 2008, Plymouth Argyle A (FA Cup Third Round), 29 years, 166 days old
Dungoyne Boys, Glentoran (1995-2000), Motherwell (2000-2002), Hull City (2002-2008), Doncaster Rovers (2008, loan), Doncaster Rovers (2008-2010), Grimsby Town (2009, loan), Hamilton Academical (2010), Stirling Albion (2010, loan), Glentoran (2012-2013)
Hull City Record
Career: 211 apps, 68 goalsStuart Elliott
|2002/03||30 (6)||12||0 (1)||0||-||-||-||-||-||-|
|2003/04||42 (0)||14||0 (1)||0||1 (0)||0||-||-||-||-|
|2004/05||35 (1)||27||2 (0)||1||0 (1)||0||-||-||0 (1)||1|
|2005/06||26 (14)||7||0 (1)||0||0 (1)||0||-||-||-||-|
|2006/07||20 (12)||5||1 (1)||0||2 (1)||0||-||-||-||-|
|2007/08||3 (4)||0||1 (0)||0||3 (0)||1||-||-||-||-|