Hull City legend Les Mutrie sadly passed away on October 3rd, aged 66. Les had been fighting laryngeal cancer for many months but sadly succumbed in the early hours of Tuesday morning.
Les is very fondly remembered by all who saw him don the black and amber. Signing from non-league Blyth in 1980 – after so nearly knocking City out of the FA Cup while the north-eastern club – Les quickly endeared himself to the Boothferry Park faithful, who’d been shorn of hope and excitement for many seasons. Striking up a lethal partnership with Billy Whitehurst, Les was a key player in the club’s renaissance after suffering double relegations and flirting with liquidation. His record of scoring in nine consecutive games is still a club record, and he was picked in the PFA’s Division 4 team of the season in 1982 after scoring 27 goals. Les followed this with 12 the next season as City were promoted. His career at City fizzled out a little after that, but he’d made his mark at Boothferry Park. No one would forget him.
Les was more than a footballer who scored a few goals for the club, however. Les was a true working class hero who’d make time for fans whenever he encountered them. Off the pitch and on it he was the epitome of a man who was delighted to get his shot at being a professional footballer, regardless of how late in his career it had come. One HCSS member tells a story of having his car badly damaged by some hooligans after an away win at Tranmere. Les happened to be in the same pub as the travelling fans after the game and asked why they were so sad. When they told him their story he insisted on buying their drinks all night. That was Les all over. A good man. A man who knew what he meant to the people of the city that had embraced him so readily.
At the Southern Supporters in recent months we’ve been in touch with Les and his family regarding him being our first inductee into the HCSS Hall of Fame. We sent Les a book filled with photos of him in action and fan memories (plus one message from team-mate Pete Skipper and another from a one-time star-struck fan in Nick Barmby). The book evidently meant the world to Les and his family, who have since requested we send some more for Les’s funeral, something we are glad to be able to do. In all of our time dealing with Les, it was consistently apparent what a wonderful, humble man he was, with a special, loving family. We will miss him, but never lose sight of how lucky we were to have seen him in the black and amber.
So RIP Les. And thanks. Our heartfelt condolences go to wife Sandra, children Mark, Nicola and Lauren, Les’s eight grandchildren and all those who knew and loved him.