Ten years on: How Geovanni earned his rightful spot in Hull City folklore

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Ten years on: How Geovanni earned his rightful spot in Hull City folklore

Leaving Brazil to join European giants Barcelona in 2001, a move to then Division Three outfit Hull City seven years later would have been unimaginable for Geovanni as he arrived at the Nou Camp with a blossoming reputation.

Despite earning a spot in the Brazilian national side, the playmaker never quite settled in the Catalonian capital, and over the next seven years spent time at Benfica, Cruzeiro and Manchester City before his path collided with that of the Tigers.

Phil Brown’s side were preparing for their first ever season in the top flight, after three promotions in five seasons, continuing their incredible rise up the Football League and it’s fair to say they were aiming high.

Following the re-signing of Craig Fagan, the Tigers went in search of a marquee talent upon which their debut Premier League campaign could hinge, and Manchester City’s mercurial talent Geovanni certainly fitted the bill.



Geovanni in action for Barcelona

Geovanni in action for Barcelona

“He’s got a very good track record so I think he’ll be an excellent signing for us,” assistant manager Brian Horton said upon bagging Geovanni on a two-year deal on July 5, 2008.

“We’ve heard a lot about him and spoken to quite a few people, but we saw him ourselves so we know the player.”

No sooner had the Brazilian arrived on the banks of the Humber, he was jetting off the more familiar climate of Italy to meet up with his new teammates for pre-season.

However, City fans didn’t have to wait long before the words of Horton began to come to fruition, bagging goals in his first three pre-season friendlies against Winterton Rangers, Oostende and Chesterfield to set the scene for what laid ahead.

As the Tigers’ squad grew around Geovanni so did the excitement amongst the fanbase and when the turnstiles cranked into motion on the first day of the campaign, a sell-out crowd took their seats eagerly to see top flight football in East Yorkshire for the very first time.

Fulham would be the club’s inaugural Premier League opponents and on his bow in black and amber, Geovanni stepped up to the plate.

The Tigers fell behind early on in the game through the Ki-Hyeon Seol, but their lead lasted just 14 minutes when the Brazilian wrote his name in the history books, cutting in off the right before unleashing a rocket with his left foot to beat Mark Schwarzer and become the club’s first top flight scorer. City went to win thanks to a Caleb Folan strike, nine minutes from time.



Hull City have enjoyed five seasons in the Premier League

Hull City have enjoyed five seasons in the Premier League

However, despite being the man to break the club’s first tier duck, he etched his name into City folklore alongside the legends of bygone eras a month later at the Emirates Stadium.

Arsenal had taken the lead shortly after half-time through the unfortunate Paul McShane, but what followed was a moment of pure genius. Nonchalantly skipping past Theo Walcott, Geovanni confidently lashed home an effort from 30 yards to level the scores and kick-start the biggest upset in the club’s history, completed by the enigmatic Daniel Cousin four minutes later.

“Whenever people talk about my time at Hull they always remember the game against Arsenal,” Geovanni told football magazine FourFourTwo four years after leaving the KCOM Stadium.

“For a team to get promoted and then win away to Arsenal in the first season is incredible really.”

You can’t blame them either. City fans had never seen such dizzying heights as the club marched towards the summit of English football.

Just days later, Geovanni was pulling another rabbit out of his magic hat, approximately four miles across north London at White Hart Lane from a set-piece. With what can only be described as devastating accuracy, the midfielder rivalled a free-kick from a similar distance into Heurelho Gomes’ top corner to seal a 1-0 victory.



Geovanni celebrates scoring a free kick against Tottenham Hotspur

Geovanni celebrates scoring a free kick against Tottenham Hotspur

The Tigers were taking the Premier League by storm and City’s Samba Boy was at the heart of it.

Phil Brown’s side couldn’t follow the trajectory laid out over the first three months of the season, going onto win just two more games in the league after their 3-0 win over West Bromwich Albion in October, a game in which Geovanni scored City’s second.

The Brazilian went on to score eight goals for the Tigers in 2008-09 but his relationship with Brown soon deteriorated and couldn’t live up to the heights in his second season.

Following the club’s relegation back to the Championship he on a free transfer left to join San Jose Earthquakes but his legendary status had long been confirmed.

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