Premier League Career: Sheffield Wednesday (1992-1996), Bolton Wanderers (1997-1998)
Irishman John Sheridan spent the majority of his playing career in Yorkshire. In the Premier League, his career was largely spent at Sheffield Wednesday, featuring for the Owls’ in the first four seasons of the new generation. For the past 11 years, he has been a regular manager in the Football League. He has just finished his fifth spell managing Oldham Athletic, counting caretaker spells.
Born in Stretford and not far away from Old Trafford, many thought Sheridan would become a boyhood Manchester United fan. In fact, he followed Manchester City at a young age and he would start his career with the Citizens. He never quite made the grade with City and ended up making his professional league debut for Leeds United in 1982. Sheridan was very popular with the fans at Elland Road and stayed with the club for seven years, showing great loyalty even in difficult days for the Yorkshire side.
Howard Wilkinson wasn’t his biggest fan though and moved him onto Nottingham Forest in 1989. However, he was sporadically used by Brian Clough. In fact, he turned out just once for Forest in the League Cup and ultimately joined Sheffield Wednesday exactly three months after arriving at the City Ground. It was the fans at Hillsborough who would see the best of Sheridan’s playing career. He would make nearly 200 league appearances for the club. This included scoring the winning goal against Manchester United in the 1991 League Cup final.
He was an integral part of the exciting Owls’ sides in the early 1990s under Ron Atkinson and then, Trevor Francis. Traditionally, Sheffield Wednesday were slow starters but would always come good. They finished third in 1992, reached both domestic cup finals in 1993 and in 1994, were semi-finalists in the League Cup. Individually, Sheridan’s most memorable moment of his Premier League career came at Old Trafford in April 1993. He scored a penalty to give Sheffield Wednesday the lead but victory would be denied by two dramatic Steve Bruce headers in injury-time.
Trevor Francis’ departure at the end of the 1994-1995 season would ultimately spell the beginning of the end for Sheridan’s Sheffield Wednesday career. David Pleat would only pick him occasionally and he was loaned to Birmingham City in the autumn of 1996. He was snapped up by Bolton Wanderers in November of the same year and won promotion to the Premier League as Division One champions. He would play another 12 times in the top-flight but couldn’t prevent the Trotters being relegated back to the second-tier on the final day of the 1997-1998 season.
He would finish his playing career at Oldham, featuring 114 times for them before retiring in 2004, a few months short of his 40th birthday. Internationally, he won 34 caps for the Republic of Ireland and was part of the Irish squads at the 1990 and 1994 World Cup finals. He began his management career with the club he finished his playing days with in 2006 and has also had spells managing Chesterfield, Plymouth Argyle, Notts County and Newport County AFC. He returned to the dugout at Oldham in January 2017 but lost his job with them just eight months later.