Hull FC was created in 1865 by a group of ex-schoolboys from York. The boys used to meet at Young Men’s Fellowship at St. Mary’s Church in Lowgate, where the vicar and his five sons were also involved. The club initially took on local tradesmen and when they merged with another club (Hull White Star) the club was recognised as a big enough club to be a founding member of the Northern Rugby Football Union in 1895, which effectively made Hull FC one of the first ever 20 rugby league teams.
The club gradually became a big name in the world of rugby and by 1908 was competing in its first Challenge Cup final. Unfortunately, Hull lost the final and went on to consecutively lose in the next two seasons as well. In 1913 the club lost another final (Yorkshire Cup) and it almost seemed as if the club was cursed. However in 1914, Hull reached their fourth Challenge Cup final in six years and marked the occasion with a well overdue victory.
With one major trophy to their name, the team that was once just a vicar, a couple of schoolboys and a few plumbers were making leaps and bounds come the First World War. After the cease fire, Hull FC won their first Championship in the 1919-20 season.
For once, Hull were going into a Challenge Cup final as favourites in 1921, this time it was against their local rivals Hull Kingston Rovers. It was the club’s fifth participation in a Challenge Cup final and was their fourth loss. Ironically, they faced Hull KR again in the Championship Grand Final and this time -triumphed. With back-to-back Championships come the end of 1921, Hull FC were finally being recognised as a major force in the game, despite their unlucky reputation in cup finals.
It would be over a decade before the club was honoured with any more silverware when Hull won their third Championship in 1936. Hull FC lost four more Yorkshire Cup finals before they lifted another trophy in 1956, which was yet another Championship. The club now had a reputation for winning leagues and losing cup finals.
The following year (1957), Hull FC were crowned European Club Champions. They bagged another Championship in ’58 and managed to shrug off their Challenge Cup demons in 1959 and 1960.
The club had a knack of finding its way to major Cup Finals and topping up their trophy cabinet with a few league titles along the way. The second part of that ‘knack’ filtered away after 1958 though and for the next 20 years the club was either losing finals or tumbling down the Championship ladder.
Coming out of the 70’s with top fight status again, the club managed a championship win in 1983 – on the back of a Challenge Cup victory in ‘82. They won the John Player Trophy in 1982 as well and the 80’s was more than just a reintroduction to top tier rugby, it was a brief but prosperous period for the club. They won the first ever BBC2 Floodlit Trophy in 1980 before going on to eat up three Yorkshire Cups throughout the decade and they seemed to be back on track going into the 90’s.
Hull won the Premiership in 1991 but soon slipped back into losing ways at the most unfortunate time: The Super League had just been introduced in 1996 and by finishing 10th in the preliminary season, Hull FC didn’t qualify for a place. The club changed their name to the Hull Sharks for this new era in rugby league and when they bounced back in 1997 under Phil Sigsworth with w Division One title, the Sharks were granted a place among the top European clubs in the Super League.
When financial misfortune struck the club in 1999, Gateshead Thunder came to the rescue and took over the club. They went back to using the traditional Hull FC brand and fully committed themselves to the cause with many players moving to Hull and Gateshead Thunder itself moving their home games to The Boulevard.
The club finally said farewell to The Boulevard in 2003 after 107 years playing there. They moved to the KC Stadium, sharing the ground with the local football side.
The major highlight of the noughties came in 2005 when Hull FC defeated Leeds Rhinos in the challenge cup final at the Millennium Stadium. There was a chance of even more celebrations in 2006 when the club reached their first ever super league grand final, St Helen’s killed the party mood however with a demoralising 26-4 victory.
Despite reaching the play-offs a couple of times in those post millennium Super League years, the club failed to capitalise on their opportunities and that Challenge Cup final back in 2005 was the only real positive to come out of the decade after the £44 million pound ground move of course.
Six time Championship Winners (1919–20, 1920–21, 1935–36, 1955–56, 1957–58, 1982–83)
Premiership Winners (1990–91)
Three time Division Two Championship Winners (1976–77, 1978–79, 1996–97)
Three time Challenge Cup Winners (1913–14, 1981–82, 2004–05)
John Player Trophy Winners (1981–82)
BBC2 Floodlit Trophy Winners (1979–80)
Five time Yorkshire Cup Winners (1923–24, 1969–70, 1982–83, 1983–84, 1984–85)
Four Time Yorkshire League Winners (1918–19, 1922–23, 1926–27, 1935–36)
European Club Champions (1956-1957)
Five time Eastern Division Championship Winners (1926-27, 1927–28, 1929–30, 1933–34, 1935–36)