BBC Sport football

IN ASSOCIATION WITH

Related BBC sites

Page last updated at 05:31 GMT, Friday, 15 August 2008 06:31 UK

Myhill's journey back to Premier League

By Jonathan Stevenson

Hull City goalkeeper Boaz Myhill
Myhill played in all-but three Championship games for Hull last term
Sometimes in life you have to take one step back to take two steps forward.

Take Boaz Myhill, for example: a promising young goalkeeper with Premier League side Aston Villa one minute; sold to Hull City and thrown into first-team action in the Football League's basement division the next.

A drop down three divisions can rarely have paid such remarkable dividends in the space of five years.

Myhill, now 25, has made over 200 appearances for the Tigers - with three promotions and an international cap for Wales (his mum is Welsh) under his belt - and he now has a season in the world's highest-profile league to look forward to.

So surely Villa made a mistake in getting rid of the California-born, English-raised shot-stopper?

"Definitely not, no," Myhill told BBC Sport. "I wasn't good enough to play for Villa at that time, I agreed with the coaches completely.

"I wasn't ready or good enough to play in the Premier League. It was in their interests to let me go and it was in my interests to leave and get some first-team football.

606: DEBATE
TomRitchie (Bristol City fan)

"I had to wait a while until the right opportunity came along but it did in the end with Hull and I was privileged to join this club.

"I was sad not to make the grade but these things happen in life and football. I thought I needed to try to play my way up the levels."

And how! Under the guidance of former Leicester and England Under-21 boss Peter Taylor, Hull won back-to-back promotions in Myhill's first two seasons and they were suddenly within touching distance of the Premier League.

The Championship proved more difficult as Hull attempted to maintain their second-tier status, successfully beating the drop twice in a row, finishing 18th and then 21st.

But after Taylor and then Phil Parkinson failed to lift Hull up the league, Phil Brown, who took over in December 2006, oversaw a revolution at the KC Stadium.

With veteran hitman Dean Windass leading the charge the Tigers bagged a play-off berth, winning the final to lead the club into the top flight for the first time in their 104-year history.

When I put it to Myhill that the club's journey over the past five years has resembled something of a fairytale, he eventually comes around to my way of thinking.

"It hasn't all been success since I signed for Hull in 2003. We have had some horrible seasons!" he said.

Hull prepare for the Premier League

"Our first two in the Championship were so difficult, definitely not the same as the high-flying success we enjoyed last season.

"But I can understand why you're saying it's like a fairytale. We've come from the bottom division to the top division in the space of five years and it is a massive achievement when you think about it.

"I'll be playing in my fourth division with Hull but that's the sort of thing you sit down and reflect on when you've finished playing, not now. Right now I just want to get out there and play."

So what does Myhill, who made his Wales bow in March against Luxembourg, remember about that heady day at Wembley in May when Windass spanked home a glorious volley to see off Bristol City 1-0 and spark a summer of celebrations in the city of Hull?

"I really wanted to play at Wembley, so even though we were a bit disappointed not to finish in the top two I was delighted to be going there and everyone said it's the best way to go up anyway," stated Myhill.

"We went to the stadium the night before the game and it looked a lot more intimidating when it was empty, bigger than it did the next day when all the fans were in it.

"But on the day it just kind of felt like home. I was very relaxed and I really enjoyed the game. It was probably the most relaxed I've ever been for such a big game in my career.

"Deano delivered as he always does and it was just brilliant, a great day. The achievement probably still hasn't sunk in - I don't think it will until Saturday when we start playing Premier League fixtures."

There is one encounter that Myhill is anticipating above all the others - even the Manchester United, Arsenal and Liverpool matches.

BOAZ MYHILL FACTFILE
Full name: Glyn Oliver Myhill
Born: Modesto, California, on 9 November, 1982
Clubs: Aston Villa, Stoke (loan), Bristol City (loan), Bradford (loan), Macclesfield (loan), Stockport (loan), Hull City
International: One Welsh cap
"When the fixtures came out I just sat with my wife and thought how surreal it all is but it's reality and we've now got to get on with it," he said.

"I know it sounds a stupid thing to say but the one game I'm absolutely desperate to play in is Aston Villa away and it's not until quite late, on 2 May.

"I'm not so bothered about the home game in December, I just massively want to play at Villa Park."

Myhill has fond memories of his time in the Midlands. It is no wonder, given the quality of goalkeepers he was able to learn his trade from.

Peter Schmeichel, David James and Mark Bosnich were all in residence when Myhill was an impressionable young stopper - and he is grateful for the education he received at Villa.

"All three of them were absolutely incredible to me while I was there," he revealed.

"Some of the things I saw them do were just amazing and it was a real privilege for a young lad to learn from goalkeepers like them.

"James was naturally very athletic but Schmeichel, he was just the greatest goalkeeper of all time. To get to train with him regularly, that was never going to do me any harm!

"Sometimes it could be a bit frustrating because I thought 'I'll never be able to do that' but then you realise not many other keepers would have been able to either, so it was a big honour."

On Saturday when he walks out for Hull's top-flight debut against Fulham, Myhill becomes a Premier League goalkeeper in his own right.

Few would argue he has earned the chance to play at the highest level.




see also
Lawro's Premier League guide
12 Aug 08 |  Premier League
Premier League newcomers
13 Aug 08 |  Premier League
Premier League ins and outs
12 Aug 08 |  Premier League
Lawro's predictions
14 Aug 08 |  Football
Hull City v Fulham
14 Aug 08 |  Premier League
Can Liverpool launch title tilt?
14 Aug 08 |  Football
Bristol City 0-1 Hull
24 May 08 |  Championship
Myhill proud to answer Wales call
25 Mar 08 |  Internationals
McIlroy hit by Myhill loss
16 Dec 03 |  Stockport


related bbc links:

related internet links:
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites