Clive Sullivan - A Hero on Both Sides of the City Remembered

Hull FC and Hull Kingston Rovers will once again meet for the Clive Sullivan Trophy in pre-season. Here's why a hero on both sides of the city is remembered.

Hull FC and Hull Kingston Rovers will once again meet for the Clive Sullivan Trophy in pre-season. Here’s why a hero on both sides of the city is remembered.

After its first outing in 2001, the match has now become an annual event between the two clubs, who the Welsh-born wing-wizard served with such distinction.

But it’s not just locally where he is such a renowned name - internationally he was the first black man to captain a major British international sports team, and who could forget his gut-busting effort to score against Australia in the 1972 World Cup final.

Sullivan’s try-scoring feats are second to none. With 250 tries for the Black and Whites and 118 for the Robins, he will remain a legend on both sides of the divided city.

He also scored 25 tries in 36 international appearances, with 13 tries in 17 games for Great Britain and 12 touch downs in 19 games for his native Wales side.

He also played in three World Cup tournaments.

Sullivan still holds two club records for the Airlie Birds: 250 career tries is the most ever scored by a Hull FC player and his seven tries against Doncaster on 15 April 1968 is the most ever scored by a Hull player in a single match.

His bravery can never be questioned, playing despite needing constant attention for his knees.

After a near-fatal car crash in October 1963, he returned to playing just three months later.

He switched to cross-city rivals Hull Kingston Rovers for a successful six-year spell before returning to the Airlie Birds to help them lift the Challenge Cup in the final replay at Elland Road against Widnes in 1982.

Sullivan took up the coaching position at Doncaster after his playing days, although he did return for a third and final stint at the Boulevard in 1983, playing a handful of matches for the Airlie Birds to help them reach the Challenge Cup final.

Sadly, cancer claimed his life only six months after his last appearance for Hull FC. His legacy is still felt across the city.

The A63 road on the western edge of Hull was renamed ‘Clive Sullivan Way’ after his death – a fitting memorial that links both halves of the community which he served with distinction for nearly a quarter of a century.

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