Imps Legends Who Is Gordon Hobson
Feature by Neil Hobbs
Updated Wednesday, 27th April 2011
3 Gordon Hobson (77/78-84/85 and 88/89-89/900 Aps 321 (12) Goals 96
Gordon Hobson was actually sold to Grimsby Town, then came back to cement himself as our third highest goal machine of all time. Yes it’s another ex-Imps tale to lift our spirits. We wanted to do a musical introduction by Tiatanic Tribute Band Rusted Brass but we did not have the budget. But as long suffering and patient Imps we knew you would understand.
Gordon Hobson was white lightening personified and though he also played in a central role for a couple of seasons the tricky-Dicky wooed the Clanford End from the wing. Yes our third top scorer of all time left many a mesmerising memory etched on every Imp over 35 leaving players on their backsides left right and centre. Scoring regularly throughout his playing career he plundered 129 goals from his 459 appearances over a career spanning 14 years. He not only netted 105 goals in all for the Imps with 96 coming in Division 3 and 4. Without wishing to add pressure to the race to sign a ‘stonking great’ striker glamour goal merchant Gordon was also one of only three of the top ten not to do it in black and White.
Hobson had already played for Sheffield Rangers, who were regarded as a bit of a nursery team for the Imps, as a teenager but slipped the net. Lost to the game he began an apprenticeship as a plumber when he left school. He continued to play in local football, turning out for a junior side on Saturdays and for Manchester Villa, a Sheffield pub team, on Sundays. Then newly qualified as a plumber Imps' scout Geoff Worth recommended him to George Kerr who liked what he saw in a trial and signed him in December 1977.
He would be kept in the shade until the April, but oh how he would blossom in the Sincil Spring. His debut against Cambridge left the Bank speechless as the cheeky chappy had a stormer. His mesmerising mazy runs left the left midfield, left back, centre half and at one point the ref in his wake. What a gift what an end product as two crosses provided two goals in a 4-1 victory over a team that was pushing hard for the Third Division title. He also got the goal of the game himself to a standing ovation before his beloved Clanford Choir. He quickly established himself as a first team regular along with another youth prodigy by the name of Mick Harford. The Sincil H Bombs blew opposing defences into the following week but it was not until Colin Murphy became manager that the Imps really began to flourish and turn cameos into points on the board.
His first hat-trick came in a 5-2 victory at Torquay on the final day of the 1979/80 season. The following season he finished leading scorer with 21 goals as City won promotion from the Fourth Division as sexy football had fans leaving the Bank scratching their heads in utter disbelief at the majesty of the men in red and white. Local rivals Northampton nursed an 8-0 hammering as Hobson plundered four with another two assists!
Over the next two seasons Murphy's team mounted a serious challenge for a place in the second tier of English football. In 1982 a glorious Hat trick V Bournemouth in a nine nil win that put us 4 points clear for Christmas saw the Imps at our peak. The hallowed return to the second tier of English football was to be ours again. No it wasn’t thanks to lack of ambition and money at the top. The transfer of Peak and Gilbert Blades incredible meanness, broke the back of the club. The death threats on the man were unnecessary, yet lack of ambition broke the clubs spine and the City’s hearts. We had 11,832 V Huddersfield, 13,899 V West Ham (R3 FA Cup - more than went to see the replay at Upton Park) 5 games over 6,000 2 over 5k. But after the Gilbert Blades Fiasco crowds halved as City slipped down the table. The long and short of it Blades sold Peak to pay the wages and then refused to give Murphy any money to replace him. Other players such as Tony Cunningham and Glenn Cockerill moved on but Hobson stayed at Sincil Bank until the fateful summer of 1985, leaving at the same time as Murphy. Bradford was a terrible finale to his Imp career for more than football reasons.
Hobson moved on to Grimsby Town for a £35,000 fee and finished leading scorer with 15 goals in his first season. In November 1986 he was sold to First Division Southampton for £120,000 where he linked up with Cockerill, his former City team mate. Hobson scored on his debut for the Saints in a 3-1 win over Watford and towards the end of the season netted a hat-trick at Manchester City, becoming the first Southampton player to net three times in an away match for almost 20 years.
Personal reasons led to him returning to Sincil Bank for a record £60,000 fee in 1988 and he spent two more years with the Imps, finishing top scorer on both occasions. Highlights included a hat-trick in a 4-1 win at table-topping Burnley in November 1988.
Despite being back with City, he kept his house in Southampton and in the summer of 1990 he joined Exeter City for his last full season of League football. He scored seven goals in 37 games for the Grecians but left the club after Alan Ball took over in charge from Terry Cooper.
He then had a brief spell with Walsall before playing non-League football with Farnborough Town and Salisbury City.
Since leaving the game, Hobson developed his business interests, becoming a director of a yacht charter and sales business, based in Hamble, near Southampton.
3 Gordon Hobson
(77/78-84/85 and 88/89-89/90
LCFC overall record :
Apps : 372 ; Subs : 14 ; Goals : 105
League Aps 321 (12) League Goals 96
Season 1977/1978 : Div 3
Div 3 Apps : 5 ; Subs : 0 ; Goals : 2
Season 1978/1979 : Div 3
Apps : 30 ; Subs : 6 ; Goals : 6
Highest crowd 7007 V Sheff Wed
Typical gate 2500
Season 1979/1980 : Div 4
Apps : 44 ; Subs : 2 ; Goals : 10
Highest Crowd 6733 V Barnsley
Typical gate 4200
Season 1980/1981 : Div 4
Apps : 48 ; Subs : 0 ; Goals : 21
4 goals V Northampton
Braces Crewe, Halifax in both games, Scunthorpe
Highest Crowd 8832 V Doncaster (plus 7k V Southend)
Typical gate 4,400
Season 1981/1982 : Div 3
Apps : 37 ; Subs : 2 ; Goals : 9
Hatricks V Doncaster at home.
Highest Crowd 8243 V Huddersfield
Typical Crowd 3800
Season 1982/1983 : Div 3
Apps : 54 ; Subs : 0 ; Goals : 16
Hat trick V Bournemouth in a nine nil win
Braces Sheffield Utd, Chesterfield
Crowds 11,832 V Huddersfield, 13,899 V West Ham (R3 FA Cup & more than went to see the replay at Upton Park)
Typical Crowd 4,000 (5 games over 6K, 2 over 5k)
Season 1983/1984 : Div 3
Apps : 42 ; Subs : 1 ; Goals : 6
Braces V Plymouth
Highest crowd 6686 V Sheff U, Cup 12886 V Spurs 7750 V Sheff U
Typical crowd 3300 dropping to a disastrous 15-1700 from February onwards.
Season 1984/1985 : Div 3
Apps : 45 ; Subs : 2 ; Goals : 11
Highest Crowd V Derby 5911
Typical crowd 1700-2200 even Derbies failed to get much above 3400
Season 1988/1989 :
Apps : 36 ; Subs : 0 ; Goals : 15
Hat trick V Burnley
Braces Colchester, Exeter, Wrexham.
Highest Crowd Grimsby 8038
Typical crowd 2900-3200 with 5000 for the derbies.
1 Andy Graver (50/51-54/55,55/56,58/59-60/61) Aps 274 (0) Goals 143
2 Johnny Campbell (33/34-38/39) Aps 184(0) Goals 104
3 Gordon Hobson (77/78-84/85,88/89-89/90) Aps 321 (12) Goals 96
4 John Ward (70/71-78/79,81/82) Aps 224 (17) Goals 90
5 Billy Dinsdale (26/27-30,30/31) Aps 126 Goals 89
6 Johnny Garvie (50/51-55/56) Aps 184 (0) Goals 78
7 Roy Chapman (57/58-60/61, 64/65-66/67) Aps 174 (1) Goals 77
8 Allan Hall (1931/32-1932/33) Aps 72 (0) Goals 64
9 Percy Freeman (70/71-72/73, 74/75-76/77 Aps 138 (14) Goals 64
10 Ernie Whittle (1949/50-1953/54 145 aps 62 goals