Tag Archives: Sheffield Wednesday

The Clubs: Sheffield Wednesday

All-Time Premier League Record

Played Won Drew Lost Scored Conceded Goal Difference Points No of Seasons
316 101 89 126 409 453 -44 392 8


Most Premier League Appearances

Player Appearances Total
Des Walker 264
Peter Atherton 214
Kevin Pressman 207
Ian Nolan 165
Graham Hyde 159
Mark Bright 133
Andy Booth 115
Guy Whittingham 114
Chris Bart-Williams 109
Chris Waddle 108


Most Premier League Goals

Player Goals Total
Mark Bright 49
David Hirst 33
Andy Booth 25
Benito Carbone 25
Guy Whittingham 22
Chris Bart-Williams 16
Paolo Di Canio 15
Gordon Watson 15
Mark Pembridge 12
Graham Hyde 11


Biggest Premier League Victories

Match Date Season
Sheffield Wednesday 5-0 West Ham United 18th December 1993 1993-1994
Sheffield Wednesday 5-0 Ipswich Town 23rd April 1994 1993-1994
Sheffield Wednesday 5-0 Bolton Wanderers 8th November 1997 1997-1998
Sheffield Wednesday 6-2 Leeds United 16th December 1995 1995-1996
Sheffield Wednesday 5-1 Everton 2nd April 1994 1993-1994
Sheffield Wednesday 5-1 Coventry City 28th December 1994 1994-1995
Sheffield Wednesday 5-1 Wimbledon 2nd October 1999 1999-2000
West Ham United 0-4 Sheffield Wednesday 16th January 1999 1998-1999
Sheffield Wednesday 4-0 Leicester City 14th May 2000 1999-2000
Sheffield Wednesday 5-2 Southampton 12th April 1993 1992-1993


Worst Premier League Defeats

Match Date Season
Newcastle United 8-0 Sheffield Wednesday 19th September 1999 1999-2000
Sheffield Wednesday 1-7 Nottingham Forest 1st April 1995 1994-1995
Blackburn Rovers 7-2 Sheffield Wednesday 25th August 1997 1997-1998
Manchester United 6-1 Sheffield Wednesday 1st November 1997 1997-1998
Manchester United 5-0 Sheffield Wednesday 16th March 1994 1993-1994
West Ham United 5-1 Sheffield Wednesday 3rd May 1997 1996-1997
Middlesbrough 4-0 Sheffield Wednesday 3rd October 1998 1998-1999
Manchester United 4-0 Sheffield Wednesday 11th August 1999 1999-2000
Sheffield Wednesday 2-5 Everton 27th April 1996 1995-1996
Sheffield Wednesday 2-5 Derby County 24th September 1997 1997-1998



Manager No of Seasons managed Left the Club
Trevor Francis 3 20th May 1995
David Pleat 3 3rd November 1997
Ron Atkinson 1 30th June 1998
Danny Wilson 2 21st March 2000
Peter Shreeves 1 21st June 2000


Highest Home Attendances

Match Date Attendance Figure Season
Sheffield Wednesday 0-1 Manchester United 2nd February 2000 39,640 1999-2000
Sheffield Wednesday 3-1 Manchester United 21st November 1998 39,475 1998-1999
Sheffield Wednesday 2-0 Manchester United 7th March 1998 39,427 1997-1998
Sheffield Wednesday 1-1 Liverpool FC 11th May 1997 38,943 1996-1997
Sheffield Wednesday 1-1 Sheffield United 21st April 1993 38,688 1992-1993
Sheffield Wednesday 3-3 Manchester United 26th December 1992 37,708 1992-1993
Sheffield Wednesday 1-1 Manchester United 18th December 1996 37,671 1996-1997
Sheffield Wednesday 3-3 Liverpool FC 14th February 1998 35,405 1997-1998
Sheffield Wednesday 3-1 Sheffield United 22nd January 1994 34,959 1993-1994
Sheffield Wednesday 1-2 Liverpool FC 7th August 1999 34,853 1999-2000



Sheffield Wednesday have been absent from the Premier League for almost two decades. In their heyday, the Owls were considered as one of the biggest clubs in England and under the guidance of Trevor Francis, they played some enterprising football, resulting in back-to-back seventh place finishes in the first two Premier League seasons. Another seventh place finish was recorded by David Pleat in 1997 but after a few years of struggle, the club were relegated in 2000 after a difficult season at Hillsborough.



Sheffield Wednesday had finished the last campaign of the old First Division in third place so hopes and expectations were high going into the first Premier League season. Manager Trevor Francis had brought Chris Waddle back to England after his spell in French football with Marseille and Waddle’s response was to put in some spellbinding individual performances on his way to landing the Football Writers’ award. Mark Bright was another new arrival, joining a few weeks into the campaign from Crystal Palace, whilst the talented David Hirst saw a move to Manchester United blocked by the manager.

The Owls made a slow start domestically, winning just one of their first seven matches and were mid-table at Christmas before the best winning sequence of the inaugural Premier League campaign saw them chalk up seven successive victories and move into fourth by the end of February. They eventually finished seventh and reached both domestic cup finals too. There would be heartache though for their supporters as the club were beaten 2-1 in both finals by Arsenal through last minute goals from defenders Steve Morrow and Andy Linighan.



Sheffield Wednesday had a habit of making slow starts to campaigns and this continued in 1993-1994. Despite adding England international Andy Sinton to their ranks in August, they were winless in their opening seven fixtures. That included throwing away a three-goal lead to draw 3-3 at home with Norwich City. Francis’ side were exhilarating to watch and their tally of 76 goals was one of the best in the division. Too many draws though meant they wound up seventh for the second successive campaign. Mark Bright was top scorer with 19 goals and youngster Gordon Watson made an impressive breakthrough with 12 goals, largely thanks to injuries which were starting to affect the career of David Hirst.



1994-1995 turned out to be an underwhelming campaign for Sheffield Wednesday and their supporters. After their typical sluggish start with just one win in their opening eight fixtures, David Hirst made a brief return from injury to score the only goal to beat reigning champions Manchester United in October. An eight-game unbeaten sequence in winter took the team upto eighth position but a 7-1 home humbling by Nottingham Forest was part of a worrying trend of results that saw the club tumble to 13th by the season’s end. The Owls board decided a change was required in the management and Trevor Francis left after the season concluded. He was replaced by Luton Town manager David Pleat.



Belgian Marc Degryse was the biggest capture in the summer by new boss David Pleat but there wasn’t a significant upturn in fortunes. In fact, Sheffield Wednesday could still have been mathematically relegated on the final day of the season before winding up 15th. December was the peak month of the campaign, with a thrilling 4-3 home victory over fellow strugglers Coventry City and a 6-2 destruction of Yorkshire rivals Leeds United. Degryse turned out to be a major disappointment but David Hirst returned to his best form after two rotten seasons struggling with injuries. Hirst ended as the club’s top scorer with 13 goals.



David Pleat forked out a sizeable £2.5 million fee on Huddersfield Town young striker Andy Booth and together with the unheralded Ritchie Humphreys; the pair helped the club make an untypical start. Four successive victories at the season’s start had Sheffield Wednesday sitting top of the table at the start of September. Among their early victims were Newcastle United at St James’ Park and Liverpool FC were also beaten on their own patch by the Owls in early December.

Form did level out after the searing start but they lost just nine games all campaign and finished an excellent seventh, just four points shy of UEFA Cup qualification. Booth top scored with 10 goals in his debut Premier League campaign whilst the early season arrival of playmaker Benito Carbone excited the supporters.



Italian forward Paolo Di Canio was tempted by Pleat to join fellow countryman Carbone at Hillsborough but a shocking start to the 1997-1998 season saw the club in the bottom three by the end of October. A 7-2 loss away at Blackburn Rovers was a sign of things to come, especially as Carbone scored twice and then got himself sent off. Losing 6-1 at Old Trafford to a rampant Manchester United in early November was the final straw for owner Dave Richards, who sacked Pleat and managed to tempt Ron Atkinson back to Hillsborough, six years after his acrimonious departure for Aston Villa.

Big Ron gave the side an immediate boost with three successive victories including a 2-0 home win over eventual champions Arsenal. Safety was secured in 16th spot but Atkinson’s contract was not renewed and former player Danny Wilson left Barnsley at the end of the season to take up the vacancy.



Sheffield Wednesday finished in 12th position in Danny Wilson’s first full season at the helm. It was a dramatic campaign for the club. In September, Paolo Di Canio was sent off against Arsenal and shoved referee Paul Alcock to the ground. He was fined £10,000, banned for 11 matches and never played for the club again. They were the only side to enjoy victory over both Manchester United and Arsenal but 18 defeats left them in mid-table and nowhere near the European qualifying positions.



One point from nine matches at the start of the season mounted the pressure onto Danny Wilson as it was the worst-ever beginning to a Premier League campaign. This included an 8-0 battering away at Newcastle United in mid-September. Carbone quit the club for Aston Villa and with only two victories in their first 19 fixtures, Sheffield Wednesday sat bottom going into the year 2000.

There was a minor improvement in form in the New Year despite local MPs calling for Wilson to go. Eventually, the board agreed in March, terminating his contract after a desperate away defeat to bottom club Watford. Peter Shreeves became caretaker and although there were victories over Wimbledon and Chelsea in April, the club had too much to do and relegation was confirmed in the final week of the season after a 3-3 draw at Highbury with Arsenal.

Sheffield Wednesday have missed out on promotion a couple of times via the Championship play-offs since and will be hoping to end their drought in the near future without top-flight football under the guidance of former Birmingham City and Hull City boss Steve Bruce.


Great Goals: Stan Collymore – LIVERPOOL FC vs. Sheffield Wednesday (August 1995)

In the summer of 1995, Liverpool FC broke the British transfer record to sign Stan Collymore from Nottingham Forest for £7.5 million. Collymore was seen as one of the most exciting talents in English football and his debut for his new club at home to Sheffield Wednesday saw him produce the kind of magic everyone knew he had the capability to do.

An hour had been played and David Pleat’s Owls were frustrating Liverpool with Collymore and new strike partner Ian Rush having limited chances to make an impact. Then, Collymore delivered in the grand manner. Receiving the ball slightly fortunately from John Barnes, he twisted and span past Julian Watts. Chris Waddle had a brief tug at his shirt but nothing was going to stop Liverpool’s new forward.

He curled a memorable shot into Kevin Pressman’s net and won the game for Roy Evans’ side. Collymore did come up with other vital goals and worked well with hotshot Robbie Fowler but he did generally frustrate supporters during his two seasons on Merseyside.

Memorable Matches: Sheffield Wednesday 4-3 Coventry City (December 1995)

Goalscorers: Dion Dublin 18, 37, 55, Guy Whittingham 25, David Hirst 39, Marc Degryse 60, Mark Bright 73


Sheffield Wednesday: Kevin Pressman, Peter Atherton, Steve Nicol, Ian Nolan, Des Walker, Lee Briscoe, Marc Degryse, Chris Waddle (Graham Hyde 85), Mark Bright, David Hirst, Guy Whittingham

Coventry City: Steve Ogrizovic, Marcus Hall, Ally Pickering, David Rennie (Gordon Strachan 74), Richard Shaw, Paul Williams, Kevin Richardson, Paul Telfer, John Salako, Dion Dublin, Peter Ndlovu

Referee: Mike Reed, Attendance: 16,229

Both Sheffield Wednesday and Coventry City were struggling in the Premier League table when the sides clashed at Hillsborough on a Monday Night Football in December 1995. The Sky Blues had won just one game all season, whilst David Pleat’s Owls were in the bottom six and looking to find some consistency. Both sides produced thrilling attacking displays which meant the neutral was in for an early December treat.

Coventry took the lead on 18 minutes. Their top goalscorer, Dion Dublin headed home from a corner which looked to have been cleared off the goal-line. However, referee Mike Reed correctly spotted the whole of the ball had crossed the line before it was hooked clear. The visitors’ lead lasted just seven minutes. Lee Briscoe got the better of Ally Pickering on the right-hand side and his cross into the box eventually fell to the feet of Guy Whittingham. Whittingham made no mistake to score his fourth goal in his last three matches against the Midlands club. Whittingham was enjoying this match and so too was Dublin. Eight minutes before the interval, he scored his second of the evening to put Ron Atkinson’s side back infront. Kevin Pressman failed to hold onto John Salako’s ambitious attempt and his spill gave Dublin the simplest of finishes.

Wednesday’s response was even quicker than their first equaliser. Mark Bright ghosted into plenty of space and his shot was saved brilliantly by Steve Ogrizovic. Unfortunately for the Coventry shot-stopper, it fell straight to David Hirst to restore parity. It was his sixth goal of the season as he was on the comeback trail from his most recent injury setback which had been a neck problem.

2-2 at the break, more goals were promised in the second half and sure enough, the entertainment continued on this wet Yorkshire evening. Coventry’s Achilles heel was dealing with crosses and it nearly led to embarrassment for defender Richard Shaw. A Hirst header back across the face of goal was diverted onto his own crossbar by Shaw. Maybe it was a sign that Coventry were going to win and Dublin was in peak form. From Kevin Richardson’s corner, Dublin flicked the ball into the net on 55 minutes to complete his hat-trick. However, Coventry’s defensive ineptitude would ensure the skipper’s goalscoring contribution would be on a losing cause.

Yet again, Atkinson’s side were caught out by a cross. Bright pulled off the back of Shaw from Hirst’s cross and Belgian international Marc Degryse followed up after another save from the unfortunate Ogrizovic. Hirst then went on to hit the post as the Owls definitely finished as the stronger side. The winner came 17 minutes from full-time. Ian Nolan escaped the attentions of Salako and drilled in a cross to the near post that was stabbed home by the excellent Bright. This was the start of Sheffield Wednesday’s most productive month of 1995-1996. They scored 14 goals in four matches and both clubs would avoid relegation but only in the closing weeks of the campaign.

The Managers: Trevor Francis

Premier League Clubs Managed: Sheffield Wednesday (1992-1995)

The name of Trevor Francis will always go down in British football folklore. He became Britain’s first-ever £1 million footballer when he signed for Brian Clough’s Nottingham Forest in the 1970s and won the European Cup in 1979 when his header beat Swedish outfit Malmo in the final.

For 15 years, Francis experienced the highs and lows of football management, winning the League Cup with Sheffield Wednesday in 1991 and taking Birmingham City to the final of the same competition a decade later.

The million pound man

A skilful forward at an early age, Trevor joined Birmingham City as a schoolboy and was in their first-team by the age of just 16 in 1970. In one of the early matches of his career, he scored four times against Bolton Wanderers, showing everyone how good he really could be.

At this point, Birmingham were a regular side in the top-flight during the 1970s but never had the budget or the playing squad to launch a serious challenge to the main sides in the decade – Liverpool FC, Leeds United and Derby County.

In 1978, he went to experience another country as he joined Detroit Express on-loan in the United States and played alongside the great German, Franz Beckenbauer. He scored an incredible 36 goals in 33 matches in two separate off-season spells in the States. After his first period in Detroit, he returned to the Midlands to make the move that would define the history of the football transfer.

Reigning First Division champions Nottingham Forest put in a £1 million transfer bid which was accepted by Birmingham. Francis was famously introduced to the media next to Clough who was keen to wrap the press conference up quickly so he could play a game of squash!

Forest retained the League Cup shortly after his arrival but Francis was ineligible to take part. He could play though in the European Cup from the semi-final stage and he repaid all of the money spent on him just before half-time in the showpiece event in Munich.

Winger John Robertson curled a cross towards the far post. Francis managed to sprint into the perfect position and his low header ended up in the roof of the Malmo net. Forest won the match 1-0 to become Champions of Europe and an iconic photograph of his header is still present on the main entrance to The City Ground today.

Attempting to crack Serie A

An injury to his Achilles tendon meant Trevor missed out on the 1980 European Cup final which Forest defended successfully and in truth, he struggled to show the consistency that Clough really wanted from a player he’d paid plenty of money for (in those days).

In September 1981, he was sold to Manchester City for £1.2 million and although he scored 12 goals in 26 games, his transfer did cause some friction between manager John Bond and the board. Finances were a problem for City and with injuries still a bugbear, Francis moved to Serie A in 1982 for a four-year stint with Sampdoria.

On the international scene, he played 52 times for England across a nine-year period, scoring 12 goals and was part of Ron Greenwood’s squad at the 1982 World Cup finals in Spain, scoring in group stage games against Kuwait and Czechoslovakia.

He was part of the Sampdoria side that won the Coppa Italia for the first time in their history in 1985; playing alongside former Liverpool FC captain and future Premier League boss Graeme Souness. They’d link-up again in September 1987 when he returned to British shores to play for Rangers via an unsuccessful season with Atalanta. He won the Scottish League Cup in 1988 but management was about to take more of a prime focus in his career.

His first crack at management was as a player-manager at Queens Park Rangers, taking over when Jim Smith departed to fill the vacancy at Newcastle United. He spent a year in the position at Loftus Road but it proved to be a tough baptism in this form of the game. He was replaced by Don Howe in November 1989 and would eventually move away from the capital for what turned out to be a much better experience in Yorkshire with Sheffield Wednesday.

The Sheffield experience

He joined Sheffield Wednesday initially as just a player in February 1990 but couldn’t stop them dropping out of the First Division. Promotion was achieved a year later and Trevor won the League Cup in the same year as the Second Division side conquered Manchester United at Wembley Stadium.

He got his opportunity to manage the club when Ron Atkinson left acrimoniously to take the role at Aston Villa. He made a brilliant start, helping an exciting and ambitious Wednesday side finish in third place in 1992 behind Leeds United and Manchester United. He even had the chance to sign Eric Cantona after a trial period but elected against this and Cantona ultimately spearheaded Leeds to win the championship.

The 1992-1993 season turned into a near-miss for Sheffield Wednesday. They experienced one of the best runs of the league campaign and finished in seventh position. The club reached both domestic cup finals, playing Arsenal on both occasions. In the League Cup final, John Harkes put the Owls ahead after just eight minutes before Paul Merson equalised. In the 68th minute, Merson set-up Steve Morrow who scored the winner and ensured Arsenal won the first of three Wembley finals between the teams.

A month later, it was FA Cup final time and this time, a replay was required. The first match finished 1-1 with goals from Ian Wright and David Hirst. Five days later, over 60,000 fans returned to Wembley in driving rain for the third instalment of this gripping rivalry. Again, Wright opened the scoring but the Owls responded again when Football Writers’ winner, Chris Waddle saw his shot deflect off Lee Dixon to beat David Seaman and level the match up. The match went to extra-time and just when it looked like penalties would be needed, Andy Linighan outjumped Mark Bright at a corner and the Gunners had the domestic cup double.

It was desolation for the players, fans and manager of Sheffield Wednesday and it would be as good as it got for Trevor. Another seventh-place finish was achieved in 1993-1994 but 1994-1995 didn’t go well. The club weren’t officially safe until a final day victory over Ipswich Town but finished 13th in the final standings. Francis was sacked shortly after the season concluded.

Trevor moved into the media and was a regular co-commentator for Sky Sports Premier League coverage over the next five years, dovetailing this commitment with a spell in the second-tier as manager of Birmingham City. He took over in 1996 and stayed with them for five years. Birmingham regularly finished in the play-offs but failed to win promotion and lost the League Cup final in 2001 on penalties to Liverpool FC.

His last managerial spell came with Crystal Palace before stepping down in April 2003. He has since worked in media on a regular basis for the Premier League’s world feed service.

Premier League Files: Peter Atherton

Premier League Career: Coventry City (1992-1994), Sheffield Wednesday (1994-2000), Bradford City (2000-2001)

Peter Atherton made 318 appearances during a Premier League career that lasted nine seasons. He scored nine goals during this time and is now part of the coaching staff at Wigan Athletic that is hoping to make a return to the Championship under the guidance of Paul Cook.

Working for his hometown club must be a joy for Peter and it was at Wigan where he started his playing career at. Signing as a trainee, he made his Latics debut in 1988 and spent three seasons with them before attracting the interest of First Division side, Coventry City. Atherton moved to the Midlands in 1991 for £330,000.

He featured regularly for the Sky Blues in the first two Premier League campaigns and even earned a single England Under-21 cap before Sheffield Wednesday paid Coventry £800,000 for his services in the summer of 1994. A capable player, who enjoyed his time at Hillsborough, he was an adaptable component of the Owls squad for several seasons. Whilst right-back was his most familiar position, Atherton could do a solid job as both a centre-back and central midfielder.

In November 1994, he scored one of the greatest goals of his career infront of the Sky Sports cameras at Villa Park against Aston Villa. Making the most of a dubious clearance by Villa goalkeeper Mark Bosnich, Atherton took one touch to get the ball out of his feet before launching a dipping shot that flew into the back of the net beyond Bosnich’s desperate attempt to scramble back into his goal. It earned the visitors a fighting point.

He made over 200 league appearances for Sheffield Wednesday before moving in the summer of 2000 to Yorkshire rivals Bradford City on the Bosman ruling following Wednesday’s relegation from the Premier League. He started out as a regular fixture in the Bantams line-up too but Jim Jefferies sent him out on-loan to Birmingham City on his arrival as manager in November 2000. As he had already played in the League Cup that season for Bradford, he couldn’t play for Birmingham in their 2001 League Cup final defeat to Liverpool FC because he was cup-tied.

Released by Bradford in 2005, he finished his playing career at Halifax Town but played just 14 times for them over three seasons and retired from playing in 2008. By the time of his retirement, he was already getting a taste for coaching at Halifax, serving as assistant manager in 2007 and occasionally would put his boots on again to play in Masters Football tournaments for both Sheffield Wednesday and Wigan Athletic.

Atherton returned to Wigan as an Under-18 coach in 2014 before becoming Development Squad coach in 2015. He also had a brief role as interim assistant manager at the backend of last season when Graham Barrow had a spell as first-team boss.

Premier League Files: Guy Whittingham

Premier League Career: Aston Villa (1993-1994), Sheffield Wednesday (1994-1998)

Guy Whittingham played as a forward in his career for 17 seasons. He played for no fewer than 11 different clubs and this included an unproductive spell in the Premier League with Aston Villa and a slightly more rewarding spell with Sheffield Wednesday. Throughout his career, Whittingham appeared no fewer than 450 times.

Born in Evesham, Whittingham spent time in the army before making his mark as a footballer. His initial breakthrough came with non-league outfit Waterlooville, finishing as the club’s top goalscorer during the 1987-1988 season. After a season at Yeovil Town, he was signed by Portsmouth in the summer of 1989 which turned out to be the best period of his career. He scored 99 times in just 173 appearances including a staggering 42 league strikes in 1992-1993. Portsmouth only narrowly missed out on promotion to the top-flight on goals scored. His knack of finding the net earned him the nickname “Corporal Punishment” on the south coast.

In 1993, he signed for Aston Villa, joining intense competition already on the books at Villa Park. Up against Dean Saunders, Dalian Atkinson and Dwight Yorke, Guy struggled to recapture his Pompey form in the Midlands. Nevertheless, he did score two winning goals to defeat Everton and Sheffield United and also struck in a fantastic 2-1 away win at Highbury against Arsenal. In February 1994, Ron Atkinson allowed him to move on-loan to Wolverhampton Wanderers, which meant he missed out on Villa’s League Cup final triumph over Manchester United.

After scoring twice in eight appearances for Villa in 1994-1995, he was moved on by Brian Little, joining Sheffield Wednesday in December 1994 with Ian Taylor going in the opposite direction. Whittingham hit the ground running, scoring four goals in two matches against Everton and Coventry City during the 1994 Christmas period. Wednesday won 9-2 on aggregate in these games. In fact, December seemed to be his favourite time of the year. A year later, Guy scored in three successive league matches for the only time in his Premier League career. He netted in a 4-3 win over Coventry, a creditable 2-2 draw at Old Trafford and a 6-2 thumping of Yorkshire rivals Leeds United.

He was very popular at Hillsborough but despite being a fans’ favourite, he was never a guaranteed starter. He has some loan time back at Wolves, as well as at Watford and Portsmouth. Whittingham’s final Premier League appearance came as a late substitute in defeat to Coventry City in October 1998. He finished his Premier League career with 138 appearances, scoring 27 times before rejoining Portsmouth permanently in 1999.

Guy’s last season as a professional was in 2000-2001 and he actually scored goals for three different clubs in the Football League, notching for Peterborough United, Oxford United and Wycombe Wanderers. He also featured in Wycombe’s fairytale run to the FA Cup semi-finals before they were edged out at Villa Park by Liverpool FC.

He went into coaching after his playing retirement, becoming player-manager of Newport but left them in May 2005 when the club ran into financial trouble. He then took up a coaching role at Eastleigh in 2006 before joining the Portsmouth coaching staff in January 2009. He then guided the club through a couple of caretaker spells when financial peril hit Pompey and even enjoyed a seven-month stint as permanent boss in 2013. He is now a coach educator for the FA, a role he has held for the past four years.

Memorable Matches: Newcastle United 4-2 Sheffield Wednesday (September 1993)

Goalscorers: Andy Cole 21, 76, Andy Sinton 26, 47, Alex Mathie 81, Malcolm Allen 88


Newcastle United: Tommy Wright, John Beresford, Kevin Scott, Steve Watson, Barry Venison, Paul Bracewell, Lee Clark, Rob Lee, Nicos Papavasiliou (Alex Mathie 62), Malcolm Allen, Andy Cole

Sheffield Wednesday: Chris Woods, Roland Nilsson, Nigel Pearson, Des Walker, Graham Hyde, Nigel Worthington, Chris Bart-Williams (Gordon Watson 85), John Sheridan, Andy Sinton, Chris Waddle, Mark Bright

Referee: Roger Dilkes, Attendance: 33,519

Newcastle United were back in the top-flight of English football and Kevin Keegan’s side were determined to have a real attacking purpose to their game. However, it was an underwhelming start to their Premier League life. In their first six games, Newcastle had just one win against Everton and six points on the scoreboard. They took on Sheffield Wednesday in a Monday night game, who like Newcastle, had made a slow start to the 1993-1994 season.

The first incident of note happened before kick-off even occurred on Tyneside. Wednesday arrived with an away kit of white which clearly clashed with Newcastle’s traditional home strip. That meant Keegan’s side were forced to make a late switch into a blue away strip for the first time. It was a distraction but didn’t detract from what would turn out to be an entertaining contest.

It was the visitors who had the first opportunity of the night with John Sheridan clipping the post in the ninth minute. 12 minutes later, Newcastle took the lead with a fourth goal of the season for Andy Cole. Malcolm Allen’s shot was spilled by England goalkeeper Chris Woods and it left the 21-year-old rising star with a simple tap-in to open the scoring. Sheffield Wednesday were never going to be bystanders though and levelled the contest up just five minutes later. Andy Sinton scored his second goal for the club since arriving from Queens Park Rangers; picking his spot and finding the bottom corner.

It was 1-1 at half-time and more goals looked likely in the second half. It was Sheffield Wednesday who struck the first blow. Sinton, a Newcastle United supporter as a boy, scored his second goal of the evening with a simple header after ex-Newcastle player Chris Waddle produced a wonderful cross to the back post. The chances kept coming for both sides. Graham Hyde spared Des Walker’s blushes when he cleared his clearance off the goal-line whilst the usually prolific Mark Bright spurned a glorious opportunity in a one-on-one situation to increase the lead for Trevor Francis’ side. Hyde then hit the crossbar and Francis must have started to wonder if the missed chances were going to cost his side. His worries were to be proven right.

Substitute Alex Mathie delivered a neat cross into the danger area which Rob Lee reached. The midfielder teed up Cole, who spun past Roland Nilsson and scored his second of the evening. Newcastle had the momentum and they took the contest away from Sheffield Wednesday in the last 10 minutes. On his debut for the club, Mathie produced a magnificent finish to put Newcastle ahead before Allen wrapped the game up with a close-range header in the 88th minute.

Newcastle would finish a brilliant third in their first Premier League season and scored the most goals of any side in the top-flight. This was a night where their swashbuckling style was first made fully evident to the wider public.

Iconic Moments: A Brucey bonus (April 1993)

The first Premier League season was drawing towards its conclusion and a real head-to-head scrap was developing for the championship between Ron Atkinson’s Aston Villa and Manchester United. Alex Ferguson’s team were doing the chasing going into the Easter weekend. It was at this stage a year earlier where they’d folded in the run-in and handed the title to their rivals from the Pennines in Leeds United.

United were playing Sheffield Wednesday at Old Trafford and the game was finely poised at 0-0 when the referee in the match, Mike Peck picked up an Achilles injury and had to be replaced. Beginning the match as linesman, John Hilditch was suddenly thrust into the limelight as substitute referee. His first decision was a simple one. Paul Ince’s poorly-timed tackle on Chris Waddle saw a penalty given. It was converted by John Sheridan and Sheffield Wednesday led 1-0. Some Manchester United fans looked despondent. Were their title dreams and the 26-year wait for a championship set to continue?

The home side pushed forward and in the 88th minute, Steve Bruce headed home from a corner to level the scores. Time was surely nearly up? Not for Hilditch. He had timed the length of the stoppage for the referee change, plus numerous time-wasting tactics from the Owls’ players, including substitutions. It meant seven minutes of injury-time were to be played and this was before electronic scoreboards on the touchline.

Wednesday players kept badgering the referee on how long was left but the final whistle still wasn’t blown. There was just enough time for Gary Pallister’s cross to be deflected off Nigel Worthington’s head and into the path of Bruce, who diverted another terrific header past Chris Woods’ despairing dive. Old Trafford exploded in joy and exultation. On the touchline, Alex Ferguson and Brian Kidd couldn’t contain themselves. Kidd jumped onto the pitch and looking up to the heavens. This was an iconic image in the first 25 years of Premier League football.

The 2-1 win was the catalyst for a faultless run-in from Manchester United. They would eventually win the title by 10 points, provided by efficient time-keeping and a real Brucey bonus.

Iconic Moments: Di Canio shoves Alcock (September 1998)

There’s no doubt that Italian Paolo di Canio was a character on the football field. He was fabulously gifted at times but also frustratingly infuriating at other occasions. He represented Sheffield Wednesday, West Ham United and Charlton Athletic during his Premier League playing days and had an explosive reign in charge of Sunderland during 2013. The lowest point of his career came in September 1998.

Sheffield Wednesday were playing the reigning champions Arsenal at Hillsborough and the game was goalless when the match blew up spectacularly. Patrick Vieira and Wim Jonk had a scrap in the middle of the pitch. Vieira didn’t like the challenge and over-reacted, pushing over the Dutch player. Other players started piling in, with di Canio and Martin Keown getting into a heated confrontation, whilst others were trying to play peacemaker.

Referee Paul Alcock took his time before brandishing the red card in di Canio’s direction. What happened next was inexcusable on di Canio’s part. He shoved Alcock to the ground. Whilst the referee made the absolute most of the contact, di Canio had no right to behave like he did. The FA took a dim view to the incident and handed him an 11-match ban. Sheffield Wednesday suspended him immediately after the incident and he would never play for the club again. He moved to West Ham in January 1999.

For the record, Keown was also sent off in the incident and Sheffield Wednesday ended up winning the game 1-0 with a late winner from Lee Briscoe.

It was a sour incident and whilst some do feel Paul Alcock definitely over-exaggerated his fall, showing physical contact to a referee was simply unacceptable. For all the brilliance of di Canio’s career, including that brilliant goal against Wimbledon in March 2000, these incidents are just as fondly remembered for the wrong reasons.

The Managers: David Pleat

Premier League Clubs Managed: Sheffield Wednesday (1995-1997), Tottenham Hotspur (2003-2004)

In January, David Pleat turns 73 years old. He is fondly remembered by Luton Town fans for his time as manager of the Hatters and also had spells as Premier League manager to both Sheffield Wednesday and Tottenham Hotspur. Since stepping aside as Tottenham boss at the end of the 2003-2004 campaign, he has become a regular commentator on both TV and radio.

Making his mark at Luton

Like many of his contemporaries, David Pleat did experience a playing career but it wasn’t with many highlights. He made 185 appearances in the Football League between 1962 and 1971, often figuring as a winger. His most notable spells were with Luton Town and Exeter City. It was with the former where he would make his initial mark in management.

Appointed manager of the club in January 1978, he spent nine years at Kenilworth Road and promoted a side that were easy on the eye to watch for the neutral. His final year in charge saw the club finish ninth in the First Division and reached the FA Cup semi-finals in 1985. His most iconic scenes though were earlier than these highs.

In 1983, Luton had to win on the final day at Manchester City to survive in the First Division and send their opponents down. For long spells in the game, it looked like it would be Luton going down but a last-minute goal from Raddy Antic ensured they survived. At the full-time whistle, Pleat is seen running onto the Maine Road pitch, doing a dance shuffle on his way to congratulating his players. It is still considered one of the most powerful images of football in the 1980s.

He left Luton in 1986 to become Tottenham Hotspur manager, guiding them to a third-place finish in the First Division table behind the two Merseyside clubs and the FA Cup final, although they surprisingly lost this 3-2 to Coventry City. He got the absolute maximum out of Clive Allen, who enjoyed his best goalscoring season under Pleat, netting 49 times in all competitions.

In October 1987, he was dismissed by the club after allegations about his private life came out in the press. He moved to Leicester City and spent three years at Filbert Street before being sacked in 1991 for a lack of progress in the Midlands. He returned to Luton for a second spell but couldn’t prevent them from being relegated in the final Football League season before the formation of the Premier League.

An excellent FA Cup run in 1994 saw Luton claim the scalps of Premier League teams Newcastle United and West Ham United before being beaten in the Wembley semi-finals by Chelsea. However, his Premier League chance would arrive a year later and it would be in the form of a Yorkshire side who were keen for a bit of a revival.

Struggles in Sheffield

Sheffield Wednesday struggled in 1994-1995 and finished in 13th spot under the guidance of Trevor Francis. Francis left at the end of that season and Pleat arrived at Hillsborough, keen to show his qualities at the highest level of the English game. He brought Mark Pembridge with him from Luton and added Belgian Marc Degryse to the ranks. However, his first season in Sheffield was a struggle. The Owls finished a lowly 15th and still mathematically could have been relegated on the final day if a freak set of results had occurred. A 6-2 derby win over Leeds United was the only significant highlight of his debut season in Yorkshire.

More encouraging signs emerged in 1996-1997, with Wednesday enjoying a wonderful start, winning their first four matches and setting the very early pace. This included a brilliant 2-1 away victory over Newcastle United. Naturally, they fell off their early tempo but still finished seventh in the table, matching their best-ever Premier League finish. However, this was as good as it got for David. His team became very leaky in the opening weeks of the following campaign, losing 7-2 at Ewood Park to Blackburn Rovers and 6-1 at Manchester United.

In November 1997, Sheffield Wednesday chairman Dave Richards had enough. With the club bottom of the table, he sacked Pleat, who became the first managerial casualty of the 1997-1998 campaign.

A final dalliance at Tottenham

Pleat returned to Tottenham in 1998 as the club’s Director of Football. He would hold the role for six years, which included three spells as caretaker manager following the sackings of Christian Gross, George Graham and Glenn Hoddle respectively.

When Hoddle left in September 2003, Pleat took over as manager for the remainder of the season and won 16 of his 39 matches in all competitions; making Spurs an attractive, if totally open team to witness. Scorelines including a 5-2 home triumph over Wolves, a 4-4 draw with Leicester City and a 4-3 victory against Portsmouth.

In August 2006, he took up a football consultant role with Nottingham Forest which included scouting potential new signings for the club. He left the post in September 2011.

David has since become a familiar voice in the media, writing newspaper columns for The Guardian newspaper, commentating on BBC Radio 5 Live and featuring regularly as a co-commentator for ITV until 2009. He now works for Al Jazeera Sport.

Premier League Files: John Sheridan

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.

Premier League Rewind: 7th-9th December 1996

Results: Arsenal 2-2 Derby County, Chelsea 2-2 Everton, Coventry City 1-2 Tottenham Hotspur, Leicester City 1-1 Blackburn Rovers, Liverpool FC 0-1 Sheffield Wednesday, Middlesbrough 0-0 Leeds United, Southampton 0-1 Aston Villa, Sunderland 1-3 Wimbledon, West Ham United 2-2 Manchester United, Nottingham Forest 0-0 Newcastle United

The first full weekend of December’s programme in the 1996-1997 season threw up some interesting results in a season when none of the elite sides seemed happy to take complete control of the title race.

Going into the weekend, it was Arsenal who were top of the table and all this less than two months since Arsene Wenger had been installed as the new manager at Highbury. They nearly came up a cropper at home to newly-promoted Derby County. Dean Sturridge scored a stunning goal for the Rams’ and going into stoppage time; they were 2-1 infront. Patrick Vieira rescued a point for the leaders and they stayed top of the table thanks to other results.

Liverpool FC could have gone top with that result but they missed the opportunity with a first home defeat of the season. Sheffield Wednesday went to Anfield and recorded an impressive 1-0 victory in a fine campaign for David Pleat’s side that saw them finish in the top seven. Guy Whittingham’s 22nd minute goal was the winning effort on Merseyside.

Newcastle United’s winless run stretched to four matches following a goalless draw with bottom-placed Nottingham Forest on Monday Night Football. Kevin Keegan’s side had failed to cash in on their fabulous 5-0 victory over Manchester United. It was just one win in six matches in the league since.

Manchester United’s form and confidence had taken a significant knock since the Newcastle result. They had returned from a successful trip to Vienna in midweek which had seen the club just about progress to the quarter-finals of the UEFA Champions League. Perhaps the travelling caught up with them in the Super Sunday clash at Upton Park with West Ham United. David Beckham and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer put them 2-0 up with 15 minutes to go but the Hammers’ rallied to take a spirited point. Florian Raducioiu had a miserable time in east London but his goal in this match was a rare highlight.

All this meant that Wimbledon moved into second spot in the table. Having lost their first three matches, Joe Kinnear’s side were on a club-record unbeaten run which had included a seven-game winning sequence in early autumn. Dean Holdsworth scored the pick of the goals in their latest win; a 3-1 triumph at Roker Park over Sunderland.

There was a landmark reached at The Dell where Southampton played Aston Villa. In the 34th minute, Andy Townsend scored the only goal of the game to earn all three points for Villa. That might not sound remarkable but it was the Premier League’s 5000th goal. Chris Sutton has tried to claim that mark as he scored at almost the same time of Blackburn’s 1-1 draw at Leicester City but records show his goal was registered in the 33rd minute, one minute earlier than Townsend’s winner on the south coast.

Lastly, Gianfranco Zola scored his first Premier League goal in Chelsea’s 2-2 draw with Everton. The Italian had arrived from Serie A and a trademark free-kick was the first of many magical moments in a Chelsea shirt.

What else happened in December 1996?

  • Kofi Annan is elected as Secretary-General of the United Nations.
  • Apple Computers buys out Steve Jobs’ company, NeXT. Apple was of course co-founded by Mr Jobs.
  • The largest strike in South Korean history begins.
  • Unemployment in the UK falls below two million for the first time since John Major became Prime Minister.
  • Damon Hill becomes only the third person to win BBC Sports Personality of the Year twice.