On May 16 2003, Hull City’s manager at the time Peter Taylor signed a left-back for the club who had just been released by Division Two side Scunthorpe United. Ten years later, that player — Andy Dawson — has just played his last ever game for The Tigers in a 3-0 win over Real Betis.
Dawson only played the last few minutes of the match due to an injury he picked up during Scunthorpe’s Capital One Cup first round loss in midweek. He did however take full participation in the Legends game, which took place before the main match. A collection of Dawson’s former teammates took part in the game including Wembley hero-Dean Windass and the man who captained Hull through all four divisions, Ian Ashbee. Special mentions must also go to Danny Allsopp who flew 5,000 miles at a cost of £5,000 to take part in the game, and Henrik Pedersen who has flown in on numerous occasions from Denmark to partake in, not only this game, but the Wembley reunion that took place earlier in the year.
Dawson, the older brother of Tottenham centre-back Michael Dawson, played 317 times for the club, including 60 appearances in the Premier League. Alongside his free-kicks, which he became famous for around East Yorkshire, he will be remembered equally for proving himself in the Premier League against some of the best wingers in the world, most notably Theo Walcott who, after bursting clear from Dawson, managed to get caught by a man eight years his senior and someone who has lacked pace since he was born. Dawson then executed an inch-perfect slide tackle.
During his 60 Premier League appearances, he received great acclaim. The man who released him from Nottingham Forest, Dave Bassett, said that “Dawson is a better defender than Ashley Cole, except for Cole’s pace.” During Dawson’s last two years at the club, he became a bit-part player after the emergence of former Manchester United youth player Joe Dudgeon and then the signing of Robbie Brady, also formerly of Manchester United. Dawson never once grumbled, but instead put his energy into helping to coach the under-18 team. As club captain, he wasn’t afraid to drop down to the reserves. And his professionalism has been well noted by a host of former managers.
His eight goals for the club were mostly from free-kicks except his first for the club, a screamer against Kidderminster, and one of his goals in the only game where he scored a brace in a FA Cup Third Round Replay against Middlesbrough.
His never-say-never attitude led to him becoming a a fan favorite at the KC Stadium. The 7,991 fans who came to his testimonial match gave him a huge standing ovation as he took to the pitch in Black and Amber for one last time. His first touch was met by a massive cheer. After 26,412 minutes on the pitch in a Tigers shirt, it was over. There was to be no last dazzling free-kick. No last Dawson turn.