Haydn Green was appointed manager of Hull City in May 1931, days after the departure of Bill McCracken, the Tigers’ boss for the last eight years. Green took over a club that had been relegated a year earlier for the first time and a squad that was in transition and in need of improvement. Haydn achieved this through the application of youth and experience, a mix that saw the Tigers battle their way out of the Third Division North in his second season.
In his first season in charge Green started with five wins in eight games but as new players were introduced to the team the form dropped off – four wins in the last six games of the season lifted the Tigers to eighth place.
The Tigers lost at Walsall in the first game of the 1932/33 season and after four games the club was in the lower half of the table. A run of eight wins in ten matches, scoring four or more goals on five occasions, propelled Green’s Tigers to the top two, a standing that they maintained throughout a season that ended in Hull City lifting the Division Three North title. The success of the team was founded on the goals scored by Green’s signings – Londoner Bill McNaughton was signed from Gateshead in the 1932 close season and netted 42 times, still a club record for a season nearly 100 years later, while experienced inside forward Russell Wainscoat, an England international during his time at Leeds United signed in Green’s first season in charge, bagged 26 goals. The City defence benefitted from solid half backs – Jack Hill was an experienced defender who won 11 England caps in the 1920s while playing for Burnley and Newcastle United, while Liverpudlian Tommy Gardner went on to play for England after he left the Tigers for Aston Villa in 1934.
With promotion safely pouched, the familiar financial restrictions that affected all Hull City managers of the time took hold, and squad rebuilding proved difficult. City started the 1933/34 season well and by early November 1933 a win against Plymouth Argyle took them fourth in the table. But with Bill McNaughton’s potency in front of goal much reduced in the higher division – he shared centre forward duties with young Irishman Davy Jordan – City were unable to maintain the pace and by mid March 1934 only four wins in 20 matches saw the club drift to 15th place. On 20 March 1934 Green tendered his resignation to the Hull City board and left his post immediately.
Adrian Green, who went by the first name Haydn throughout his football career, was born in Kirkby in Ashfield, a Nottinghamshire coal mining town situated between Nottingham and Mansfield. His father was a coal miner and Haydn was able to attend grammar school in Nottingham and establish himself as a local league centre forward with Stanton Hill Victoria before joining Division One side Nottingham Forest in August 1907. He served Forest’s Reserves side during the 1907/08 season before joining Division Two side Chesterfield Town in May 1908. Green scored on his Spireites debut against Clapton Orient in September 1908 and went on to score five goals in 22 appearances for the Spireites, but these goals were not enough to prevent Chesterfield’s relegation at the end of the season.
After dropping into the Midland League and scoring 29 times for Chesterfield Town in the 1909/10 season, Green signed for Division One side Manchester United in May 1910. The Red Devils won the League title in the 1910/11 season but Green was unable to break into the first team and joined Midland League side Worksop Town in July 1911. In March 1912 Haydn, now playing mostly at right half, again returned to Division One football when he signed for Aston Villa, but once again he was unable to break into the first team. He joined Southern League side Newport County in July 1913 and switched to Southern League rivals Reading in May 1914 before dropping out of football in the 1915 close season to join the war effort, signing up for the Middlesex Regiment 17th ‘Footballers’ Battalion. He was invalided from the war effort at the end of 1917 and by February 1918 he had recovered sufficiently to play wartime fixtures for Nottingham Forest. Haydn remained involved with football after World War One and in 1926 he became assistant manager at Lincoln City. He became manager at Southern League side Ebbw Vale in August 1930 and after a successful season in South Wales he attracted the attention of Hull City’s directors when the search for a new manager began in April 1931.
On leaving Hull City in March 1934 Green spent several seasons scouting players for Birmingham City, often signing young players from the Hull and East Riding area, before he took the manager’s post at Southern League side Guildford City in July 1936. Over the next three years he signed several ex-Tigers for Guildford including Stanley Denby and Thomas Foster. In June 1939 he returned to the Football League when he was appointed manager at Division Two side Swansea Town. Within weeks the Football League was suspended due to the outbreak of World War Two but Green remained with the Swans throughout the War and resumed his duties in the Football League when it resumed in the 1946/47 season. He managed Swansea for 51 senior matches, plus many more wartime fixtures, before he resigned his post in September 1947.
He scouted footballers for Leeds United and was shortlisted for the manager’s role at Belfast-based side Linfield in August 1948, then in August 1949 he was appointed manager at Bangor FC, another Northern Ireland League side. After a difficult first season he indicated his intention to vacate his post in April 1950 – however Bangor made him an offer he couldn’t refuse and Haydn stayed with the club for another season. In August 1951 Green was appointed manager at Division Three South side Watford, his Hornets side struggled in the 1951/52 season and he left the club in October 1952 after 61 matches in charge.
Green remained living in Watford and died in the Hertfordshire town in February 1957.
Date/Place of Birth: 11 March 1887, Kirkby-in-Ashfield, England
Date/Place of Death: 8 February 1957, Watford, England; 69 years, 334 days old
Appointed by Hull City: 6 May 1931; 44 years, 56 days old
Left Hull City: 20 March 1934; 47 years, 9 days old
Tenure: 2,998 days
Ebbw Vale (1930-1931), Hull City (1931-1934), Guildford City (1936-1939), Swansea Town (1939-1947), Bangor (1949-1951), Watford (1951-1952)
Hull City Record
Playing Record: Played 125, Won 61, Drawn 26, Lost 38, Goals For 251, Goals Against 165
Achievements: Champions of Division Three North, 1932/33 season