And no-one will be surprised to learn that ‘Deano’ hardly stopped talking the night before the end-of-season showpiece at Wembley Stadium.
“Obviously ‘Deano’ is a Hull lad and let’s just say I knew how much winning the play-offs meant to him,” explained Hughes. “He’d been talking about all week but you couldn’t blame him. That’s what it was fantastic to see him scoring the winning goal. You couldn’t have written it better if you’d tried! It was a great finish and I’m so pleased for him.”
Born and bred in Liverpool, Hughes was well aware of just how much the Tigers’ victory meant to everyone in Hull. And, as he proudly showed off his medal, it was all too easy to forget that his first season at the Club wasn’t an easy one with the majority of his appearances coming on the left-hand side of midfield – no exactly his favoured role.
Skipper Ian Ashbee and Dean Marney established themselves as first choice centre pairing throughout the cam. Hughes, though replaced the former Spurs man for the first leg of the semi-final away at Watford and kept his place for the second leg at the home of the Tigers.
And with Phil Brown happy to stick with the same starting line-up at Wembley, Hughes didn’t let anyone down as his efforts did so much to stifle the threat of Bristol City’s highly-rated midfield in the 1-0 win.
“The last 15 minutes were very tense,” he told CITY Magazine after the game. “Bristol probably started better than us. In the first 15 minutes, they passed the ball a bit better and we were a bit tight.
“But, we defended really well and started putting a few passes together, which saw us create a few chances. Then, they came into the game again but we managed to score on the break. We knew they’d come back at us and, although we rode our luck at times, we deserved it.
“It was an incredible feeling at the final whistle. The celebrations in front of the fans were something that I’ll never forget. We were all drained – emotionally and physically – but it’s one of those days that you just don’t want to end.”