Wrexham Football Club was saddened to hear of the passing of former player Peter Skipper, at the relatively young age of just 61.
Born in Hull, Peter only played two games for Wrexham at the beginning of the 1991/92 season, replacing the injured Joey Jones in the side for a 3-0 defeat at Mansfield and a 3-1 defeat at Doncaster. He received a knee injury in that second match and was substituted by Karl Connolly.
‘Skip’ as he was popularly known, began playing football at school in his native Hull and represented Hull Schoolboys. However, it was whilst playing for Schultz Youth Club in Hull that the 'Tigers' spotted Peter and gave him a trial in September 1978, which led him to initially signing as an amateur before progressing to professional terms in February 1979 as a 20-year-old.
He made his Football League debut for the ‘Tigers’ in March 1979, in a 5-3 away defeat at Swansea, as he went on to complete a further 17 League matches before the end of the season, scoring two goals. The following season found Peter struggle to command a regular first team place, and in February 1980 he was allowed to join Scunthorpe United on a month's loan, but only made one substitute appearance during his time at the Old Show Ground.
At the end of the 1979-80 season, Peter left Boothferry Park to join Darlington. The uncompromising centre-back went on to spend just over two years at Feethams, in which time he missed only one league match, scoring four goals in 91 league games for the ‘Quakers’
In August 1982, Peter returned to Boothferry Park, after Hull City paid out a £10,000 fee for his services, the money for which was funded partly by Hull's supporters. He was soon to repay this as his second spell with the 'Tigers' saw him do tremendously well. His consistent form was a major factor in their rise from the Fourth to Second Division, and it was fitting that this great-hearted defender's header at Walsall in May 1985 should be the goal that clinched promotion for Hull to the Second Division.
Peter was said to be an excellent reader of the game; was strong in the air; with a sweet left foot as he made a run of 149 consecutive league appearances for the ‘Tigers’, becoming an indispensable part of the Boothferry Park rear-guard until losing his place at the beginning of the 1988/89 season to new signing Steve Terry.
It was wasn’t just as an outfield player that he starred for Hull, he played in goal at Southampton in November 1986, when he was called upon to play opposite Peter Shilton in a 2-1 defeat at the Dell.
In October 1988, Peter was sold to Oldham Athletic, where he made 27 League appearances in his short spell at Boundary Park, which ended in July 1989 with a move to Walsall. However, his first season with the 'Saddlers' saw them suffer relegation to the Fourth Division, but during his time with Walsall he was described as being a 'strong defender, who enjoyed a battle. He was always totally committed and ever reliable.'
At the end of the 1990/91 season, Walsall released Peter after he made 83 league appearances for the Saddlers, scoring two goals. It was then that he joined Wrexham in September 1991, on a non-contract basis, with a view to a contract, but it wasn’t to be and once fit he joined Wigan Athletic in October, making his debut for the Latics as a substitute in a 1-0 home win over Stoke City.
He went on to make a further 17 league appearances for Wigan before being released at the end of the season. Peter then switched to GM Conference League side, Stafford Rangers for the 1992/93 season, but after just five league games for them he was back at Springfield Park with Wigan. He went on to miss just one league game up to the end of the 1993/94 season, which brought down the curtain on his professional football career.
Peter remained a fans’ favourite at Hull, continuing to work on match days as a corporate host at the KCOM Stadium, only to suffer a stroke over the Easter weekend that led to him passing away on 23rd April, aged just 61.
Our thoughts go out to Peter’s family and friends at this sad time.
By Peter Jones