Image Copyright: Hull FC Super League Ltd.
Following the war, Hull returned to winning ways with two Championship victories in three years, beating Halifax in 1956 and Workington two years later, healing the wounds of two successive Yorkshire Cup Final defeats just before.
Coach Roy Francis’ team fell in two further finals, consecutive Challenge Cup losses to Wigan and Wakefield in 1959 and 1960 but Hull’s first period of major dominance was yet to come.
That era fell under the guidance of legendary coach, Arthur Bunting. Returning to the top flight without a single loss in 1978/79, which still stands as a world record and winning the BBC2 trophy in 1979, the Airlie Birds lost the 1980 Cup Final to Hull KR.
Two years later, the Black & Whites won the John Player Trophy, but were crushed by Widnes in the Premiership final, before avenging that defeat with an 18-9 Challenge Cup replay win. A host of legendary figures played a prominent role in the success of the 80s, none more so than the likes of skipper David Topliss and former Great Britain ace, Lee Crooks.
In 1983, Hull won the league, as well as reaching the Premiership final, the Challenge Cup final and the Yorkshire Cup final, although only the latter would bring success. The signing of Kangaroo Test legend Peter Sterling maintained Hull’s level of excellence and Bunting’s men brought home their third successive Yorkshire Cup Final, before being edged out by Wigan at Wembley in 1985 - a game rated as arguably the greatest ever Challenge Cup Final.
A number of subsequent coaches, including Australians Brian Smith and Noel Cleal, had a spell at the helm but struggled to emulate the success of the 80s. Hull lost the Premiership Final in 1989 to Widnes, but two years later returned to beat them at Old Trafford.
Hull was one of the clubs that suffered at the advent of Super League, failing to join the top tier until Phil Sigsworth guided his side to the First Division Championship in 1997 but the future still looked rather bleak.
Financially, the club weren’t in a strong position following the loss of financial support from David Lloyd, but there was to be light at the end of the tunnel. In 1999, the proposed amalgamation of the Black and Whites and Super League’s newest club, Gateshead Thunder, was accepted by the council of Super League Chairmen and steadied the ship for the development of the club on the whole for the next decade, with a particular focus on developing the club behind the scenes.
The Thunder, under the control of Kath Hetherington and former Cronulla Sharks CEO, Shane Richardson, were introduced to Super League at the beginning of the 1999 season. With crippling debts, the merger was the only real option and eventually saw the pair re-branded as Hull FC with the Boulevard as their home, until 2003 at least.
After 107 years at the home of the Black and Whites, they moved into their new £44m state of the art Kingston Communications Stadium, alongside Association Football Club, Hull City.
After Paul Parker scored the club’s final ever try at the Boulevard on Tuesday 22nd October 2002 against New Zealand, Hull began life in their new home with a match against Sheffield in 2003.