Hull City

How It Felt To Win At Wembley: Ian Ashbee

24 May 2020
Ian Ashbee’s first game as a Hull City player didn’t exactly go to plan.

Southend United were the visitors to Boothferry Park for a Division Three clash in August 2002. It finished 2-2 and Ashbee was sent-off.

Fortunately, he and City fared rather better in his 210th appearance for the Club against Bristol City on this day in 2008. Phil Brown’s men won 1-0 and – instead of seeing red – Ashbee became the first man to captain the Tigers to promotion to the top-flight of English football.

That victory completed a remarkable journey for Ashbee – one that had taken him from the depths of lower league football to the dizzy heights of Premier League football and – speaking after lifting the trophy – the all-action midfielder admitted the unforgettable occasion at Wembley Stadium was the highlight of his time as a Tiger.

“I’ve been lucky enough to enjoy a lot of good times here, but this is by far and away the biggest,” he said.

“When I first came to Hull, we were fourth bottom of the league. People questioned why I’d signed but I always thought that this club could go all the way. I knew it would, but I didn’t realise it would happen as quickly as it has.

“But no-one can take it away from us now. We didn’t finish third by luck and now winning at Wembley – this was no fluke either. We deserve to go up and it can’t get much better than this.”

Ashbee was a key figure in the promotion success. An outstanding leader and an inspirational figure in midfield, he epitomised the Tigers’ spirit under the Brown-led regime and, reflecting on the honour of captaining the Tigers to a historic promotion, he added: “I feel very emotional. To cement my name in Hull City’s history was something I wanted to achieve.

“But I also live among the fans and I know how much it (promotion) means to them. I am privileged to be captain of their club.

“Without all the fans, we couldn’t have done this. It’s just brilliant. As I said, it was always going to happen at some point, but to happen in the space of just six years, well it’s what dreams are made of.”