On 6th February 1999 Hull City were at the bottom of the football league, with little to shout about – the club was going nowhere, the owner wasn’t contributing and it looked like Hull City didn’t have much of a future. We were living in Ealing at the time, and when I spotted the Brentford v Hull match I decided that we should go and offer my team some of the support it needed. That started my adult attendance of Hull City games and we won 2 – 0 starting what became known as the Great Escape led by Warren Joyce. Over the next few seasons we attended quite a few of the Southern games including trips to Southend, Cheltenham, Leyton Orient (including for the play offs in 2001), Barnet, Hayes (for an FA cup match), Brighton (at Gillingham) and at the Withdean, as well as some games at Boothferry Park (vs Barnet Feb 2001) and later in the KC Stadium (vs Bournemouth Easter 2003).
I hadn’t managed any games this season – when we were in Hull, the Tigers weren’t, and when they were down here, we weren’t – but both Richard and I had been carefully checking the scores, and were keeping a very close eye on the end of the season.
When Hull made it through the playoff semi-finals and into the final at Wembley I knew that I had to do whatever I could to go (along with every other Hull fan). I was up checking the website at 8am last Monday morning, when the remaining 3800 tickets went on sale (to non-season ticket holders) but failed to get any – I kept selecting them and getting to an error on the website. Aagghh!!
I found some (very expensive) tickets via 1st4FootballTickets and decided that I really wanted to be at the match – the first trip to Wembley for Hull City after 104 years, I couldn’t afford to wait another 104 for an opportunity to see my team on what might be the biggest stage in Europe. I bought the tickets, they turned up without problem and got me access to the ground. Hurrah!
On Saturday we arrived at Wembley at around midday, leaving ourselves plenty of time to soak up the atmosphere and enjoy the experience. I have been to Wembley for a football match only once before, a rather poor 0 – 0 friendly between England and Norway in 1994, and so was keen to experience the “new Wembley”. The walk down Wembley Way towards the stadium was impressive, looking towards the stadium and the arc and seeing the familiar colours of black and amber lining the street along with the red and white of Bristol City.
We made our way into the ground, found our seats and then took a wander around to find a beer. I’ve never seen a Champagne and Seafood bar at a football ground before, but we were in the Club Wembley section which I guess explains it.
The atmosphere was great, and the noise was fantastic – the sounds of the supporters singing just echoed around the ground. We watched some of the warm up, the pre-match fireworks and presentation of the teams before the match started.
I’ve nothing to add about the quality of the football that hasn’t been said elsewhere – Dean Windass’s wonder goal – lots and lots and lots of attempts by Bristol City, but nothing really of power. Boaz Myhill and the defence did a great job and kept another clean sheet.
The final whistle blew, and the Hull supporters (and team) celebrated for all we were worth (I know I had little voice left yesterday). And so, Hull City are in the Premiership and Plymouth get the title of “Biggest town in Britain never to have seen top flight football” – Hull City still holds the title of “Only football club in Britain that has no letters you can colour in” though 🙂
Richard is keen to point out that we’re still on track to meet his prediction of being winners of the Premiership in 2017.