Barmby eyes Premier prize
Nick Barmby believes promotion would bring Hull a massive boost both off and on the pitch.
Last Updated: 22/05/08 6:44pm
Nick Barmby believes helping Hull into the Premier League would prove a massive boost to his hometown club both on and off the pitch.
The veteran is speaking from experience - he was at Middlesbrough in the mid-1990s to witness the impact playing in the Premier League had on the Teesside town.
His comments come ahead of the crucial Championship play-off final against Bristol City at Wembley on Saturday, with promotion to the Premier League thought to be worth an estimated £60million to the winner.
The former Tottenham, Middlesbrough, Everton and Liverpool midfielder said: "For my hometown club, if we manage to get through and get into the Premier League it would mean everything, it really would.
"It would mean everything to the people of Hull and, especially, to the kids of the city, who aspire to make it in the game.
"If we win the game on Saturday the kids are going to see the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo coming to the KC Stadium and we'll be going to Anfield and Old Trafford and it would have a massive, massive positive effect on the city in general.
"Look at Middlesbrough. When I first signed for them [in August 1995], they had just got in the Premier League and got a new stadium and it changed the town.
"It was the same at Blackburn and at Wigan and it can change everything, but I'm sure Bristol City are thinking the same.
"To get in the Premier League would mean everything. It lifts everything in a city. It lifts the standards, whether it's Hull or Bristol."
Barmby, who joined Hull from Leeds in June 2004, scored in both ties of the Tigers' 6-1 demolition of Watford in the semis to earn the trip to Wembley.
He added: "We're really looking forward to it and it will be something special.
"But we're not just going down there just for the occasion, we're going down there full of confidence.
"These are the games you want to be involved in. A lot of people from Hull won't have been to Wembley so I'm sure they'll enjoy it.
"That's the good thing about football, you can realise your dreams.
"Wembley is a special place and it generates such an atmosphere, so it'll be a special day for everyone.
"For me, if we did get promoted domestically it would rank up with anything I've won with some of the great clubs I've been fortunate enough to play for."
Looking to the future, the 34-year-old has no plans to retire as yet.
He added: "My desire to play football still burns inside me. I still love coming to training, so no matter what league, I've always enjoyed my football. I'll only stop when that stops. I would like to play on but it depends on the body."