Friday, 16 November 2012

Ten Years At The KC Stadium - #5

In this series of blogs, I'll pick the Top 10 Players, Games and Goals from the 10 years at the KC Stadium and will throw in a variety of top 10 lists and boring facts! This is number six in the series and number five in the countdown:

Top 10 Players - #5

Dean Windass

I still think the Dean Windass story would make a decent film, you know. Released by The Tiger a a youngster, he went off into the real world, grafted on and off the pitch, grew up and returned to make a big impact at Hull City. His eventual sale to Aberdeen helped the club fight off a winding up order from HRMC and possibly saved the club. His stay in Scotland is remembered only for the time he picked up three red cards in the same game but he did well up there and will always be fondly remembered by the Dons fans (as we witnessed at his testimonial game in 2009). He eventually returned to England and made it to the top level, playing for Bradford City and Middlesbrough in the Premier League. He took in spells at both Sheffield clubs on loan before his stay with United was made permanently temporary. After falling out with Neil Warnock, and hopefully chinning him, he returned to Bradford and fell down the leagues with them.

“Deano “ was constantly linked with a return to Hull but it was said that Peter Taylor wouldn’t entertain such a move. The Tigers struggled in the season after Taylor’s departure and Taylor’s replacement Phil Parkinson was fired and replaced himself with Phil Brown. With City in danger of heading back into League One, in January 2007, Brown and Adam Pearson finally brought him home. It was a masterstroke. Windass scored 8 times in his loan spell and was the match winner against Birmingham City and Southend United. Crucially and against all odds, he also scored a winning goal at Cardiff which handed the Tigers a 1-0 victory that secured Championship safety and relegated Leeds United. The fairy tale story of our unlikely hero had reached an incredible and satisfying conclusion. The End.

Of course you and I know that was far from the end. Looking back, I still can’t quite believe what happened next. Even though I lived through every minute. Even though it’s well documented. Even though I can put the DVD in and watch it anytime I wish to, I still cannot believe what happened next. If someone wrote a film about it, you’d say it was an unnecessarily sickly ending and the guy should’ve stopped after the Cardiff game. If someone wrote it, you’d think it unrealistic.

It happened though, we all know it did. Deano had a remarkable season, striking up that partnership with Fraizer Campbell and scoring 15 goals. Even more remarkable when you factor in that he played 42 games that season during which he turned 39 years of age. There’s that script writer again, adding more unrealistic sub plots. Plymouth on the opening day was the only game he scored in that we lost. He had a quite spell in the spring, putting in the hard graft and then letting Campbell and Folan take the headlines but he stepped back into the starring role for the Championship play-offs.  The 2-0 win at Watford when the goals were provided by Hull’s Nicky Barmby and Hull’s Dean Windass might’ve been the proudest day I ever had as a City fan. It was superceded a fortnight later though. Windass hit the winning goal at Wembley to defeat Bristol City and take Hull City into the top flight for the first time in our 104 year history. At the age of 39. With the most magical of volleys. It’s a bloody good job it happened because you damn sure couldn’t make it up.

The only real pity is that the story didn’t end there. No-one could ever criticise Deano for wanting another shot at the Premier League after years in the lower leagues and given that it was his goal that took us there. He wasn’t cut out for it though, it was obvious. And unfortunately it meant he left Hull City through the back door when he should’ve walked out of the front, through the cheering hoards. Hopefully when he makes our film, the director will have the sense to roll titles on Saturday May 24th 2008. Deano’s day.

Top 10 Matches - #5

Hull City 4 Oxford United 2 - 17/01/2004

This is probably the best half an hour of football we’ve seen at the KC Stadium. A duel between the two sides sitting atop Division 3 it was, as you’d expect, a tight game for an hour. A good game but a display of two teams who were as good in defence as they were in attack and two combative midfields who refused to give an inch. The game exploded on the hour mark when Stuart Elliott fed Ben Burgess who looked up and curled a delightful shot around the outstretched arm of Andy Woodman and into the far corner. Within 5 minutes, Danny Allsopp made it two, exchanging passes with Elliott on the edge of the box and hitting a shot that deflected over the ’keeper. When Allsopp took in Elliott’s header, played a 1-2 with Burgess and struck the ball through Woodman to make it 3 goals for City in less than ten minutes, pandemonium ensued. City were on their way to a 5th successive win and moving clear at the top of the division. The crowd was well over 20,000 and 1,200 or so from Oxford sat glumly behind the net City were now hitting at regular intervals.

Steve Basham pulled one back with a tap in from a corner before Ben Burgess presence at our own corner forced Andy Crosby to head through his own goal. City were in such generous mood they allowed ex-Tiger loanee Matthew Bound to smash in a free-kick consolation at the death. It didn’t take the gloss off a terrific victory. A genuine promotion contender vanquished. Three goals of the very highest quality with Burgess, Allsopp and Elliott linking tremendously. The only thing the night was missing was an Elliott goal. He won’t have had many better games in black and amber without scoring. We all fancied promotion all season. From the opening day victory over Darlington we looked like a side capable of winning promotion but this was the night I knew we’d do it. We were superb.

I went to Oxford in August 2003. It was the game Marc Joseph was useless in. What do you mean “which one”? The one were Steve Basham played in a little bubble that stopped Joseph getting within three feet of him. It was all Justin Whittle’s fault if I remember correctly. Even though he wasn’t playing. As we skulked back to the car that day we got a lot of stick from Oxford fans but one guy’s comment always stuck with me. After telling us how we were **** and ******* ******* and ******** *******, he shouted “we’re going up, you’re going nowhere because you’re ****”. This night in January was sweet revenge. I remembered that guys comments when we were in the Premier League. I’m not sure where Oxford were at the time, I didn’t buy a non-league handbook that year.

Top 10 Goals - #5

Ben Burgess (Hull City 2 Scunthorpe United 1 - 13/03/2004)

The cliche "good touch for a big man" was made for Ben Burgess. Despite appearing to be a big, lumbering target man (and perhaps even growing into one) he was a good footballer and preferred the ball to be at his feet rather than on his head. He scored some terrific goals, including the one described above, but none better than this beauty. With the goalkeeper expecting an eyes-closed-teetch-clenched-fingers-crossed-hit-and-hope from the big man,m he produced a deft chip that left the 'keeper looking skywards, the away fans flabbergasted and the KC Stadium alight. Marvelous.

Top 10 Away Days

1. Arsenal 1 Hull City 2 - 2008/09
2. Watford 0 Hull City 2 - 2007/08
3. Sheffield Wednesday 2 Hull City 4 - 2004/05
4. Tottenham Hotspur 0 Hull City 1 - 2008/09
5. Manchester United 4 Hull City 3 - 2008/09
6. West Bromwich Albion 1 Hull City 2 - 2007/08
7. Newcastle United 1 Hull City 2 - 2008/09
8. Northampton Town 1 Hull City 5 - 2003/04
9. Liverpool 2 Hull City 2 - 2008/09
10. Sheffield United 2 Hull City 3 - 2010/11

(Wembley wasn't away, it was neutral!)

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