Dean Windass says Hull City manager Grant McCann needs backing whoever is in charge

FOREVER associated with one of the golden episodes in the history of Hull City, Dean Windass’s famous Wembley moment in the amber and black in 2008 is a permanent reminder of glorious times for the Tigers.

Glory days: Hull City's Dean Windass lifts the Championship play-off trophy after the 2008 final at Wembley Stadium. He later battled alcohol and depression. Picure: PA

His majestic strike in the Championship play-off final against Bristol City was iconic. A proud Hullensian had scored the goal to take his home-town club to the Promised Land of the Premier League and a fanbase and club were together as one.

These days, the opposite unfortunately applies. Hull may head into the 2021-22 campaign on the back of a highly successful promotion season and a first divisional title in 55 years, but the connection between supporters and City is nothing like what it was.

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Fissures remain between many fans and the Allam family, with many followers hankering for regime change.

Jon Parkin: Helping raise mental health issues.

Speculation about the ownership of the club has been persistent for several years. Already this summer, media mogul and Turkish TV personality Acun Ilicali has been strongly linked with buying City.

But as it stands, no concrete developments have taken place and it is ‘business as usual’ in the words of vice-chairman Ehab Allam. It is as you were.

Offering his take, club legend Windass told The Yorkshire Post: “My experience is that there will be more fans there if the Allams leave. That’s just fact – it is not me saying that, but the supporters.

“I was ambassador for the football club for four years and they were very good to me and I will never disrespect the Allams because they were brilliant towards me.

“But supporters have different views and everyone all over the country knows what they have chanted and they wanted them out. It is not good for the city or the players. It needs resolving.

“My opinion is that if they do stay: ‘back your manager to stay in the Championship’ and push on to get into the play-offs’.

“Grant (McCann) has been relegated from the Championship and is renowned to be a very good League One manager and he will want to prove he is a good Championship manager. But he can only do that with better players and more funding.

“It is a situation where there is massive speculation about the owners selling the club.

“That will determine what is going to happen. If the Allams do stay, are they going to give Grant plenty of money?

“No disrespect to Hull City’s players, but there are a lot of League One players in that team. They did extremely well to win the league and get out of it.

“From the Conference to League Two is a massive jump and it is from League Two to League One and League One to the Championship – and the Championship to the Premier League. They are different levels in terms of quality”

Off the pitch, Windass is doing well. His videos on his Twitter account raising the profile of mental health awareness have provided much encouragement to many people struggling with their own personal issues. A host of other former professionals, including Mark Crossley, Chris Kirkland and Jon Parkin are also active on social media in that regard.

The 52-year-old has been through plenty. In 2012, Windass revealed that he attempted suicide after battling against alcohol and depression following his retirement and he spent time in the Sporting Chance Clinic he credits with saving his life.

He commented: “It is very difficult when you are a man. Ladies do suffer, but it is more men.

“If you are in a bad place, don’t be afraid. I think we are getting there slowly but surely. There are little fairy-steps.

“When I go on Twitter and do my videos, the response you get is that: ‘If you are in the public eye and can speak out, then do it.’ That is all the message is. Don’t be afraid and if you have problems, speak to somebody because it is good to talk.

“That is our message and if we save one person’s life, then we have done our job.

“There is a lot of negativity in the world, especially with the last year or so we have had with Covid. I have found on my Twitter feed with 80,000 followers that we are all in it together and there is a lot more positive energy around. I have had private messages saying: ‘Dean, I have eventually told my mum, dad or wife/husband (about my problems).’ It is a message to say don’t be afraid to cry and speak out. Everyone is good, although I love to cry too.”

Windass was speaking as he helps football fans around Britain take control of their energy spending while also encouraging everyone to do their bit to help upgrade outdated systems by getting a smart meter – paving the way for smarter homes and more integration of renewables like wind and solar.