Dean Windass (1991-1995 & 2007-2009 – 270 appearances, 89 goals)
Forward Dean Windass scored the most famous goal in the club’s history back in 2008 when firing the Tigers to a historic first promotion to the top-flight.
Released by the Tigers as a youngster, Windass worked hard for a second chance and, when it came, he grabbed it with both hands, going on to become a firm favourite during two spells with the club. The first came during the early 1990s when his skill and big personality brightened up some difficult times at Boothferry Park. He made his debut in October 1991 and scored his first senior goal in a 5-2 win against Darlington at the end of that month.
Equally as capable of producing the simple and the spectacular finishes, he was the club’s most reliable provider of goals for four seasons before the 1995/96 campaign saw Windass depart his hometown team. With his side bottom of Division Two, the club in a financial mess and his performances drawing admiring glances, something had to give and Windass found himself heading to Aberdeen having played 205 times and scored 64 goals in black and amber. He had played his part in helping his club survive, too, as the transfer fee received helped to balance the books.
After a productive spell in Scotland, Windass went on to play for Oxford United, spent time in the Premier League with Bradford City and Middlesbrough, turned out for Sheffield United and then had a second spell back at Bradford, where he found himself well among the goals.
All the time Windass was at Bradford, rumours about a potential return to his roots emerged. Those rumours persisted for a good few years before the Tigers, who were now competing, but struggling, in the Championship, gave in to temptation and brought Windass home, initially on loan, in January 2007. Now a far more experienced and mature character, but still with that cheeky on-field persona, the forward promised to score the goals that would steer Phil Brown’s team away from relegation and he did just that, with eight goals in 18 appearances helping to keep City up.
There was a clamour for Windass to be brought home permanently and a deal was struck ahead of 2007/08, a season that would go down in history thanks to the efforts of Windass and co. He formed a great strike partnership with youngster Fraizer Campbell that fired the Tigers towards automatic promotion to the Premier League, although in the end they had to ‘make do’ with a place in the play-offs. That offered the opportunity for Windass to play out the fairy-tale ending, as his stunning volley against Bristol City proved to be a Wembley winner.
The story continued the following season as Windass netted a last-minute equaliser against Portsmouth to become the club’s oldest ever goalscorer. His final competitive run-out for the Tigers came against Manchester City in December 2008, although he would get one final appearance for the club in his benefit game against Aberdeen at the MKM Stadium the following summer, providing fans with a chance to say ‘thank you’.