How Dean Windass almost pranked his way to the 2002 World Cup

Dean Windass is known for his goalscoring exploits on the pitch and colourful character off it.

The former Hull City striker plundered just shy of 200 goals in a career that spanned 18 years.

He enjoyed a fine goal record in the EFL, with arguably his career high coming in the 2008 Championship play-off final for his beloved Tigers.

Windass’ volley, which sealed a 1-0 Wembley win over Bristol City, guaranteed the Yorkshire side their first-ever tilt at the Premier League and is etched into Hull folklore.

Whilst he never got international recognition for England, Windass has revealed how a prank almost got him a World Cup call-up for the Republic of Ireland.

Windass was approached by then Republic boss Mick McCarthy prior to the 2002 showpiece in Japan and South Korea.

Mick McCarthy probably wasn’t too impressed by Windass’ prank

Despite being born and bred in Hull, McCarthy posed the question to Windass regarding any Irish grandparents – something that would have made him eligible to compete for the national side.

A similar scenario had happened earlier in his career when Scotland posed the same question – but Windass describes how he had a bit of fun with McCarthy’s enquiry.

Speaking to the EFL’s website regarding his short-lived international aspirations, Windass said: “I rang my Dad up and said ‘do I have any Scottish grandparents?’

“He said ‘why?’ and I said ‘because I’ve been asked to play for Scotland under Craig Brown’.

“He said ‘Son, you’re from Hessle Road in Hull – no!’

“Alright, no problem. So I rang my agent at the time and I told him to tell Craig Brown I’ve got no Scottish grandparents.

“Then when I was at the PFA awards on year I can remember speaking to big Mick McCarthy and he asked me if I’ve got any Irish grandparents.

“So I said yes, for a bit of banter and thinking nothing of it.

“So I rang my Dad up again and asked if I’ve got any Irish grandparents and he said: ‘Son, you’re from Hessle Road in Hull – no!’

“I remember then getting a phone call from Mick McCarthy’s PA saying ‘could you send your information of your grandparents in Ireland?’

“And I said ‘no, I was only winding Mick up!’ But probably if I’d have had that Irish grandparent I could’ve been playing in the World Cup that year.”

As it was, Ireland put in a decent showing in the tournament that year.

They went unbeaten in the group stage, the highlight of which was a 1-1 draw with Germany.

They then exited at the last-16 stage after losing to Spain on penalties, with the tie 1-1 after extra-time.

Ireland have not qualified for a World Cup since then.

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