AS Michael Dawson strode out on to the KC Stadium pitch shortly before kick-off on Thursday night to the acclaim of the Hull City fans, he could not help but chuckle at the memory of his last visit.
It had come just six or so months earlier as a Tottenham Hotspur player and, as the Tigers’ new signing is the first to admit, the reception could not have been more contrasting.
“You’re just a s*** Andy Dawson,” had been the cutting verdict that afternoon of the City fans, who appreciate the huge contribution Michael’s brother made to the Tiger cause in 10 years sporting amber and black.
Dawson did not take offence. In fact, had Spurs not been trailing at the time he would have even acknowledged the chant with a wave.
“Obviously, Andy had 10 years at this football club and had a great career here,” said City’s new £3m signing when asked about following in his elder brother’s footsteps.
“He played in every division for Hull City and that is a huge achievement. I am sure he will be here supporting me and Hull City whenever he can.
“I do remember that game (in February). It was all light-hearted stuff and it did make me laugh. Had Spurs not been 1-0 down at the time, I might have given them a wave.
“But it was all good fun. The reception I got on Thursday night (before the KSC Lokeren game) was massive. It was a massive welcome and I am looking forward to repaying Hull for signing me and I am sure the fans will be right behind me.”
Dawson is right on that last point. The response to his arrival this week from White Hart Lane has been hugely positive with City fans recognising that Steve Bruce has once again delivered in the transfer market.
At the age of 30 – he is five years younger than Andy – the Northallerton-born defender made 41 appearances for Spurs last season and fans of the north London club are not overly pleased to have seen him depart.
It is easy to understand why, with Dawson, a full international not so long ago, bringing a calming presence to any backline.
The prospect of him lining up alongside Curtis Davies, ‘Player of the Year’ at the KC in 2013-14, is a tantalising one for the Tigers, especially if Bruce sticks with his preferred 3-5-2 formation and includes the excellent James Chester.
That will not happen tomorrow, of course, due to Chester being suspended following his red card against Stoke City last weekend.
Nevertheless, Dawson is eagerly looking forward to possibly making his debut at Villa Park for his new club.
He said: “I am excited to get started. I have been here a few days now and trained with the boys. It probably helped that I knew a lot of the lads already before I came, they have made me feel welcome.
“I am good friends with Jake (Livermore) and Tom (Huddlestone). We were all at Spurs together and they are good lads. But it is not just them, it is the whole football club.
“It is a great group of boys in that dressing room who fight for one another and I am glad to be part of it.
“Hull is a club that has done well lately and it would be great to help that continue. They had a great time last season. The aim was to stay in the Premier League last year, and that is what they did.
“Along with that, they went on to reach an FA Cup final. Now this year we have got to look to build on that and keep improving. If we keep bringing in quality players like we have done, it can only stand us in good stead.”
The 30-year-old, like elder brothers Andy and Kevin, started his career at Nottingham Forest. However, while Andy moved to Hull in 2003 when Peter Taylor was in charge, Michael headed to London two years later in a £4m transfer.
He proved an instant success, going on to make more than 300 appearances at the Lane and being named captain. Dawson’s four England caps came during the 2010-11 season, the last in a Euro 2012 qualifier against Wales in March.
Dawson’s introduction to the KC crowd on Thursday night proved to be the highlight of a disappointing night for City, who, despite netting twice through Robbie Brady, were undone by the away goals rule.
“Getting knocked out was a disappointment,” he said. “I was looking forward to it (playing in Europe), of course. I have had the experience on many occasions and I know the boys were looking forward to it as well. But, unfortunately, it just wasn’t to be.
“I did, though, enjoy the reception I got from the fans. From a personal point of view, it was fantastic. But the main thing is the time and, in that respect, it was a disappointing night for everyone involved at Hull, who worked so hard to try and get the chance to play in the group stage.
“The lads are gutted.”
Bouncing back from that disappointment is now the priority as Dawson settles into life at a club where his brother is rightly regarded as one of the stalwarts.
As for Andy, now at Scunthorpe United after calling time on his decade at Hull in the summer of 2013, what did he say to his brother when Hull’s interest first broke earlier in the summer.
“He didn’t have to tell me too much,” replied the younger sibling. “I knew all about the football club from Andy’s time here. I would come and watch him quite a bit.
“It means I know the city, I know the club and it all played a big part in me coming here. Now, though, it is just about me now, getting my head down and working hard for my team-mates and the whole football club.”