Croat striker Jelavic signed from Everton in January 2014 to spearhead City’s Premier League survival bid alongside Shane Long, a task achieved with a little to spare and with time left to reach the Cup Final. He contributed four vital goals in half a season, then a further eight Premier League scores in the following season, securing his place as City’s highest ever goalscorer in the top flight. That second season ended in relegation though, and Jelavic’s form and interest dipped rapidly the following season, a handful of lacklustre displays leading to his sale to West Ham United.
Jelavic was born in Capljina on the Croatian/Bosnian border, and his early years where affected by the Balkan wars of the 1990s. He signed for Hajduk Split at the age of 16, debuting at 17 but injuries resulted in him making few appearances during his five years at the club. In 2007 he took the plunge on a career outside his home country, signing for Belgian side Zulte Waregem. A year later he moved to Austria’s Rapid Wein, where in two seasons he scored goals regularly. By 2010 he had moved to Glasgow Rangers where his scoring form continued, prompting Everton to pay £5m for his services in January 2012. Jelavic again scored goals at Everton but his form had faded by the time he signed for City in early 2014.
After his spell at City Jelavic’s stay at West Ham United was short lived, within six months he chose a well-earned final payday and moved to Chinese second division side Beijing Rehne, the club owned by one-time prospective Hull City buyer Dai Yongge. After a loan spell at Guizhou Zhicheng in during much of 2017, Jelavic moved to permanently to the Chinese side in December 2017, retiring in March 2021 after a final season at Zagreb side Lokomotiva.
Jelavic was a regular starter for the Croatia national side from 2009 onwards, which climaxed in 2014 when he received the very first pass from the kick-off of the World Cup Finals in Brazil. He played his last game for Croatia in 2014, expressing dissatisfaction with his bit-part role following the World Cup finals.
Date/Place of Birth: 27 August 1985, Capljina (Yugoslavia)
Hull City First Game: 18 January 2014, Norwich City A (Premier League), 28 years, 144 days old
Hull City Final Game: 22 August 2015, Charlton Athletic A (Championship), 29 years, 360 days old
Hajduk Split (2002-2007), Zulte Waregem (2007-2008), Rapid Wein (2008-2010), Glasgow Rangers (2010-2012), Everton (2012-2014), Hull City (2014-2015), West Ham United (2015-2016), Beijing Rehne (2016-2017), Guizhou Zhicheng (2017, loan), Guizhou Zhicheng (2017-2020), Lokomotiva (2020-2021)
Hull City Record
Career: 50 apps, 13 goalsNikica Jelavic
|2014/15||21 (5)||8||-||-||-||-||0 (3)||0||-||-|
|2015/16||3 (1)||1||-||-||1 (0)||0||-||-||-||-|