It's a day that will live long in the memory of everybody who was there!
After 104 years, the Tigers finally made it into the top-flight of English football. And to put the icing on the cake, their finest hour came at the most famous football stadium in the world – and on their first ever visit too!
Recall all the drama of the day in the Capital in our minute-by-minute guide to the 2007/08 Championship Play-Off Final.
The players emerge from the tunnel – walking past flames and the sound of fireworks – to an incredible reception from both sets of fans in a packed Wembley Stadium. The atmosphere is red-hot. Dean Windass – bleached hair and all – looks like he’s already on his holidays!
Following all the pre-match handshakes (which seem to go on forever), Fraizer Campbell and Bryan Hughes get the game underway…
A positive start for Wayne Brown who wins his first aerial battle against Dele Adebola – a giant of a striker who has caused the Tigers more than a few problems over the years.
The first shot of the game and Richard Garcia skies an effort high and wide. If the new Wembley had an enclosed roof – the ball would have hit it! Garcia smiles, Bristol City fans chant: “Premier League, you’re having a laugh!”
The first scare for the Tigers! Adebola turns Brown, but the centre-half recovers well to put the striker under pressure as he gets his shot away from six yards – which is thankfully gathered by Boaz Myhill.
There’s a brief hold up in play as referee Alan Wiley orders Sam Ricketts to stamp on a few balloons that have blown onto the pitch. Good strength on show from the Welshman to dispose of them all!
Ian Ashbee’s ball over the top looks to release Campbell. The striker is free from his marker, but Adriano Basso comes to his side’s rescue as he’s quickly off his line to clear the danger.
Brown’s free-kick from inside his own half causes slight confusion and panic inside the Bristol City box, but no-one in black and amber can capitalise and Basso claims the ball.
Ricketts enjoys a balloon-free sprint down the right flank but the presence of Jamie McAllister prevents the full-back from getting enough power in his cross to pick out either Windass or Campbell in the middle.
Bristol City’s Aussie midfielder Nick Carle looks at home in the Bondi-Beach-like temperature as he ghosts his way into the Tigers’ box only to poke his shot narrowly wide of Myhill’s goal. Robins boss Gary Johnson has his head in his hands on the touchline although credit must be given to Andy Dawson and Bryan Hughes for closing the midfielder down as he got his effort away.
The Tigers’ best moment of the game so far sees Windass, Campbell and Garcia link-up. The Australian goes down under McAllister’s challenge inside the box – loud penalty appeals from the black and amber fans – but referee Wiley says no. Play continues and Windass sends a high cross to the back post – which is headed behind by Bradley Orr under pressure from Nick Barmby. It was a brave header from the full-back, who picks up an injury and needs treatment. Hughes takes the corner with the Robins down to ten men which is headed just wide by Michael Turner.
Ricketts’ deep cross is nodded back into the danger zone by Windass. Barmby tries his luck with an ambitious overhead kick but can’t get his effort on target. Campbell looks to to get on the end of it but misses the ball completely allowing the Bristol City backline to hack the ball away.
Another right-wing cross from Ricketts is met by Garcia, whose header lands agonisingly on the roof of the net. Some Tigers’ fans at the other end of the ground think it’s in but the cheers quickly turn to groans.
Basso is a little casual when coming off his line but just manages to reach the ball a split second before Barmby, who gets a nudge in the back from Orr as he looked to nod the ball past the Robins keeper.
Dawson makes a superb challenge inside his own box to dispossess Adebola as he looked to find a way past Turner.
Plenty of pressure from the Robins – but Turner is the coolest man inside Wembley Stadium as he sends a back-header towards Myhill.
Ashbee looks anything but pleased with Alan Wiley’s decision to award a free-kick against him for a foul on Michael McIndoe – McAllister sends the set-piece into the box which is headed away in commanding fashion by Turner.
The Tigers counter from inside their own half. Barmby releases Campbell, who breaks into the box only to be driven wide by Louis Carey. However, he checks his run and spots Windass unmarked on the edge of the box and picks out his strike partner with a lovely pass. With the perfect technique, the veteran striker buries an unstoppable volley into the back of the net. As Windass sprints to the other end of the pitch to celebrate in front of the Tigers’ fans where he’s mobbed by his team-mates as Phil Brown and Steve Parkin punch the air in delight on the touchline.
The Robins are forced into a change as Orr is stretchered off and replaced by Lee Johnson.
Phil Brown’s side take their narrow lead into the break and the realisation dawns that the Prmeier League is just 45 minutes away!
A lively start to the second half from Bristol City sees Carle fire an effort towards goal from outside the box – thankfully, it flies well wide of the target.
Garcia sends a header into the box from Brown’s free-kick. Both Barmby and Campbell look to pounce but are beaten to the ball by Basso.
Hughes is harshly adjudged to have handled the ball just outside his own box after it’s blasted at him from all of two yards! Thankfully, Noble’s free-kick fails to seriously test Myhill.
Another 50-50 decision goes against the Tigers as Turner is adjudged to have fouled Adebola. McIndoe’s free-kick strikes Brown and goes behind for a corner – Bristol City’s players claim a penalty but Alan Wiley thinks otherwise. Trundle’s header from the resulting corner fails to find the target.
Campbell races clear but is brought back for an off-side decision. TV replays show he was level with the last man when the ball was played. Bristol City are enjoying more of the ball but the Tigers are looking dangerous on the ball.
Campbell fires a low shot towards goal from 20 yards but it lacks the venom to seriously test Basso.
McAllister sends a deep cross into the Tigers’ box, which is met by Noble near the back post, but his ball back into the danger zone is straight into the hands of Myhill.
The Tigers are awarded a free-kick 30 yards from goal. Windass takes charge of the set-piece, but slips as he gets his effort away allowing Basso to make an easy save.
Phil Brown makes his first change of the afternoon as Craig Fagan is introduced into the action in place of Nick Barmby.
The Robins crank up the pressure on the Tigers’ goal, but Myhill gets a important finger-tip to Ivan Sproule’s cross to divert the ball away from danger.
Fagan is adjudged to have fouled Carle – giving Bristol City a free-kick in a central position 25 yards from the Tigers’ goal. McIndoe rolls the ball to Johnson – who sees his low strike blocked by Ian Ashbee in the wall.
Dean Windass leaves the field to a standing ovation from the black and amber faithful as he is replaced by Caleb Folan.
Hughes’ free-kick looks to pick out Campbell in the middle, but the on-loan striker just fails to make contact with the ball on the six-yard line and it goes behind for a goal kick.
Trundle has another half chance but, under pressure from Brown, his effort is straight at Myhill who makes the save.
Myhill is called into action once again as he gets down well low to his right to save McIndoe’s swerving effort from outside the box.
Gary Johnson makes his first change in an attempt to find an equaliser as Darren Byfield replaces Nick Carle’.
Sproule picks up the first yellow card of the game for a foul on Fagan.
A record attendance for a play-off final is announced with confirmation that 86,703 fans are inside Wembley Stadium. The Tiger Nation try to lift their heroes with a rendition of ‘We are going up’, whilst the Bristol City fans look nervously at their watches.
Garcia shows great tenacity to beat his man down the left and pulls the ball back to Folan. The substitute plays it into the path of Fagan, who sees his drive blocked by Campbell.
Folan crashes to the turf after a challenge from Carey. The striker is okay to continue after lengthy treatment, although Bristol City’s fans – and players – are not overly-convinced about the extent of the knock.
Turner somehow produces an astonishing block to divert Trundle’s shot from eight yards over the bar. There looked to be a foul on Myhill in the build-up, but the centre-back wasn’t to know as he flung himself in the way of the effort, prompting Gary Johnson to hold his head in his hands.
The Tigers are hanging on in the latter stages, but manage to counter at pace as Folan releases Campbell, who works his way to the edge of the box before seeing his low strike gathered by Basso.
Another chance goes begging for the Robins! Adebola’s knockdown falls to Byfield, who fires high over from the edge of the box.
Another heroic block – this time from Ricketts! Sproule sends a low ball across the face of goal which looks as though it will be tapped in by Byfield until the Welsh full-back makes a fantastic goal-saving challenge.
The final whistle can’t come quick enough – but the fourth official indicates there will be at least four minutes of added time to be played at the end of the game.
Hughes comes close to making it 2-0 – curling a free-kick narrowly over the bar from 19 yards.
Campbell is shown a yellow card for a rugby-tackle on Carey and is then replaced by Dean Marney as Phil Brown makes his third and final change.
One last scare for the Tigers as a high cross is sent into the box but Myhill claims it in commanding fashion – prompting Brown to jump on his back and tap his head in delight! Seconds later – the final whistle blows! It’s all over and the Tigers are in the top-flight of English football for the first time in the Club’s history. What. A. Day!