Dean Windass has described his 2008 play-off final goal which secured his hometown club Hull City’s promotion back to the Premier League as his ‘defining moment’, though he does hold one regret from the game.
Having graduated from the Tigers’ youth system, Windass left the club he’d supported since his childhood in 1995, before returning to help them win promotion to the Premier League in the latter stages of his career.
The frontman’s dreams became a reality as he struck one of the most memorable play-off goals ever in the 2008 final to hand Hull a 1-0 win over Bristol City. Despite being 39 years of age at the time Windass has described the goal as the defining moment of his career.
“I live in Hull now, you walk down the street and they still talk about it and it’s 13 years ago,” he told 90min. “I remember being at Middlesbrough and Steve McClaren said to me ‘one game or one defining moment’ and that was a defining moment.
“I’ve watched the game back many, many times and Bristol City had two or three chances which they never took. They were the better team on the day, just didn’t take their chances.
“When Fraizer [Campbell] chipped it over my first thought was to hit it, not to take a touch – just hit the target. I’ve been a footballer 20 years and there’s many times I’ve hit that volley and it’s gone and smashed someone’s window.
“That defining moment won us the game of football and I watch it back and wonder how I did it. Being a local lad was extra special obviously.”
You’d think scoring an unbelievable volley at Wembley to win your hometown club promotion to the Premier League for the first time couldn’t possibly get any better, but Windass does have one regret from the occasion…
“I wish I’d have scored it at the Hull end. I’d have dived in the crowd and sat there for another 40 minutes,” he said. “I wouldn’t have got out of there.
“To turn round and run towards the supporters and see people physically crying after the game – I watch it and still cry – so for me to cry on the pitch and then to look at supporters crying it was so emotional.”
Saturday’s play-off final between Brentford and Swansea will be played in front of just 10,000 fans as the country continues to ease its way out of lockdown restrictions.
Hull’s victory back in 2008 was played out in front of nearly 87,000 fans, and while Windass believes those in attendance on Saturday will still create a brilliant atmosphere, he couldn’t deny the effect the fans had on his performance at Wembley.
“It’s incredible the energy they bring to the stadium,” he said. “Behind closed doors games just aren’t the same, football’s all about supporters, they bring the revenue in, they cheer, they slag you off and that’s part and parcel of football.
“Yes, I know there’ll only be 10,000 at Wembley but it’s better than none. Them 10,000 will be shouting from the rooftops and players do feed off that energy. “
Former England international Rob Green and legendary striker Dean Windass are helping football fans around Great Britain take control of their energy spending while also encouraging everyone to do their bit to help upgrade our outdated energy system by getting a smart meter – paving the way for smarter homes and more integration of renewables like wind and solar.