Football Statues No 41 (in a series of several): Hughie McIlmoyle (1940 – )
This statue of Hugh McIlmoyle was unveiled on 31st July, 2005 to commemorate the centenary of Carlisle United. In addition to celebrating McIlmoyle’s exploits at Brunton Park (he scored 76 times in 171 matches during three different spells with the Cumbrian’s) it also acknowledges the part that all of the club’s players, supporters and officials – past and present – have played in its history.
One of eleven children McIlmoyle was born in Port Glasgow and it was while playing for Port Glasgow Juniors that he was spotted by a scout, subsequently signed for Leicester City and began what would be a long and eventful career in football south of the border. He picked up an FA Cup finalists medal with the Foxes in 1961 before joining Rotherham United a year later and then Carlisle United for £5,000 during the 1962-63 season. The following campaign he broke the clubs goal scoring record netting 44 goals and soon the bigger clubs came a knocking.
He joined Wolverhampton Wanderers in a £30,000 deal in 1964 scoring 45 times in a century of games before Bristol City paid a club record £27,000 for his signature in 1966. However, his stay in the south-west was short lived and he was soon back in Carlisle for his second stint. His strike rate continued to impress the monied clubs and this time Middlesbrough came in for McIlmoyle. A £55,000 transfer to Ayresome Park was pushed through very much against his wishes and he failed to settle in the north-east. After threatening to quit the game he was transferred to Preston North End in 1971.
He returned to Carlisle for the third and final time in 1974 and during a brief stint at Greenock Morton, back in his native Inverclyde, he played his last professional game a year later aged 35.
Many thanks to David Instone at www.wolvesheroes.com for the picture.