City’s longest serving player and captain Ian Ashbee has left the club. He is expected to link up with former Tigers manager Phil Brown at Preston North End before the January transfer window closes.
Ashbee is believed to have requested a transfer yesterday, ending a near 9 year stay that began with City in Division Three, the basement division. He skippered the Tigers in three promotion campaigns, two of them consecutive, and holds the unique distinction of captaining a side in all four professional divisions. Last week at Reading Ashbee made his 500th, and seemingly his last appearance for Hull City, noting “I can definitely feel all 500 games in my legs and body though – that’s for sure.”
The 34 year old missed the entire 2009/2010 Premier League campaign through knee injury but battled his way back to fitness, scoring the first goal of this season in a 2-0 win over Swansea. Ashbee admitted he was advised to retire by medical professionals during the absence, and with boss Nigel Pearson unencumbered by the sentiments fans hold for our longest serving player, was no longer guaranteed a first team place.
Sky Sports reported Preston’s interest yesterday, and with Ashbee’s contract with City due to expire in the summer, he appears willing to leave the KC Stadium to extend his career.