Hull FC to remember Johnny Whitely

Hull FC have confirmed their plans to remember the life and career of club legend Johnny Whiteley MBE ahead of Saturday’s Betfred Super League clash against St Helens.

The Black & Whites’ legendary former captain and coach passed away peacefully at the age of 91 on Sunday evening surrounded by his close family.

The club and the Whiteley family have received an outpouring of tributes from across the sport and beyond in recent days, for a man widely regarded as the greatest player to ever pull on the Hull jersey, and one of the finest forwards of all-time.

You can read a full obituary by clicking here

Further tributes, including a look back on his distinguished career, and reflections from Danny Houghton, Lee Crooks and Club Chaplain Rev. Tony Cotson are available across our club website.

The club will pay tribute to Johnny ahead of this weekend’s fixture with a series of commemorative events, in the presence of special guests from the Whiteley family. 

A book of condolence is also available for fans to contribute to at the club’s retail store at St Stephen’s shopping centre.

Friday 18th February 

Hull FC Moment of Reflection

Hull FC club staff will attend a short private event outside the MKM Stadium on Friday lunchtime alongside representatives of the Hull FC Ex-Players Association, the RFL and Hull KR to lay a memorial wreath, flowers and take a moment of reflection to privately remember their close friend. 

Please note, the stadium retail store will be closed between 12:00pm – 12:30pm. 

Hull FC vs Hull KR Reserves – The Johnny Whiteley Memorial Trophy

Fittingly, the first game of the new reserves season will see Johnny’s former clubs going head-to-head, with the match newly named the Johnny Whiteley Memorial Trophy. 

The sides will compete over two legs to earn the trophy, reflecting Johnny’s passion for supporting and nurturing the city’s brightest young sports stars.

The players will wear black armbands for the game and a minute’s silence will be held before the match, which takes place at 7:00pm at the University of Hull. 

Saturday 19th February – Hull FC vs St Helens

Book of Condolence

The club’s Book of Condolence will be moved to the MKM Stadium for supporters to sign. The book will be available in the Dugout Sports Bar at the stadium between 09:00am and 12:15pm for supporters to sign. 

Floral Tributes

Supporters who wish to lay floral tributes are invited to do so outside the MKM Stadium in front of the Jack Harrison VC MC Memorial, opposite the West Stand reception.

Commemorative match day programme

A special edition of The 18th Man match day programme will be dedicated to Johnny Whiteley MBE including special tributes and photographs, priced at just £2. The programme will be available from the stadium retail store (from 12 noon on Friday) and around the stadium on match day.

Life in Pictures

Johnny’s life and career will be relived through the lens with a series of special photographs, including some rare examples from the club and family archives, charting the best memories of the Hull FC legend, alongside some personal tributes. These will be played on the stadium big screens from when turnstiles open at the MKM Stadium up until kick-off. 

JW13 Fan Cards

Supporters will be able to collect a free JW13 fan card before the match featuring some of Johnny’s greatest achievements and these can be held aloft during a minute’s silence which will be held before kick-off. 

Pre-Match Memorial Tribute

Ahead of kick off, Hull FC will bring together representatives of the rugby league community that have been blessed by Johnny’s involvement over the years.

Lizzie Jones MBE will represent the rugby league family with a special rendition of the sport’s favourite anthem, Abide With Me, before a special video looks back on Johnny’s life in black and white.

Young players from West Hull ARLFC, the club Johnny helped form in the 1960s, will be flag bearers and mascots, joining special guests from the Hull FC Ex-Players Association who will form a Guard of Honour in tribute to their former team mate, coach and friend. 

Super League will be represented by both club captains, Luke Gale and James Roby, who will lay a wreath before kick-off, alongside referee Chris Kendall, on behalf of the RFL. They will be joined by the Lord Mayor of Hull, Councillor Lynn Petrini, and the Leader of Hull City Council, Cllr Darren Hale, who will pay thanks to Johnny on behalf of the City of Hull. 

To round off a special moment, the club will be proud to welcome Johnny’s great grandchildren, Jack and Leo, who will deliver the official match ball, under escort from military personnel reflecting Johnny’s time in the armed services, namely Sgt Nick Cross (RAF) and L/Cpl Ryan Watkin (Army) who both feature for their forces rugby league teams.

The pre-match commemorations will be rounded off by a special address from Hull FC Club Chaplain, Rev. Tony Cotson, which will be followed by a minute’s silence. 

Longer term opportunities to reflect the life and career of Johnny Whiteley MBE will continue to be discussed and shared in due course.