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Blast From The Past - Big Kev

Blast From The Past - Big Kev

Blast From The Past this time around isn't about a match, it's about a man.

Kevin Pressman is (in these media-generated hype driven days when the term 'legend' is merrily bandied about for any old lag with a tough attitude and a couple of seasons under his belt) a giant of a footballer. He's the Owls second highest post-war appearance maker, turning out in SWFC colours 478 times over 17 (count 'em) seasons, from his debut on September 5th 1987 to May 8th 2004.

On his day, he was one of the best. He never quite made the full England squad, the international B team his highest achievement, but he'll be remembered and rightly revered for his unstinting efforts between the Wednesday sticks. Owls keepers (including such stalwarts as Chris Turner, Chris Woods and Pavel Srnicek) came and went, but Pressman, as he always did, soldiered on.

I'd long wanted to write a piece on Big Kev, but the spark came recently when I read a sentence on the official site. It says this: 'Over the course of some tempestuous latter campaigns, Pressman remained a steadying influence in the team and his experience was vital to the Owls' cause.'

Of course it was, I thought, no question.. so I decided to find out just how much. I read some match reports from a time when Owls fans far and wide were feeling a now familiar sinking sensation.. the way down, the slide. And KP was there, front and centre, simply doing what he did best, getting on with his job in the only way he knew how, a stand up guy resisting the enemy on the pitch, not distracted by off-field shenanigans and woes. Case in point? Let's look at one particular season, 2001/2.

Not one of our best. Our second season in the Championship since the fall from Premiership grace. Two managers: Peter Shreeves in his second stint, and subsequently Terry Yorath. Surviving the drop by a single point. Not a time I remember with any great longing, but one of the few cherishable memories is the attitude of the big man between the sticks. You want some proof?

17th September 2001 - the then Bradford manager, Jim Jefferies, and Peter Shreeves, join forces to sing the praises of.. guess who. Pressman was in sensational form, producing three stunning saves to deny Bradford victory in the Yorkshire derby at Hillsborough, a couple of days after doing pretty much the same against Wimbledon.

A couple of weeks later, there he is again, defying the Blades: saving one-handed from Curle, making a double stop from Asaba and Ndlovu and getting his body in the way of a Suffo effort. 'It was a one-man show but we couldn't beat him, despite creating numerous chances.' said United manager Neil Warnock. 'I went on to the pitch afterwards and presented him with an imaginary bottle of champagne.'

In the following match, Big Kev saves three penalties to send the Owls through to Round 4 of the League Cup at the expense of Crystal Palace.. he had an affinity for penalty competitions, as we shall see.

I read on. Coming up to Christmas, Pressman defiant once more, seeing off the Baggies, saving twice from Jason Roberts and excelling in a sterling second half display for the ten-man Owls, following Trond Soltvedt's dismissal in the first half. Towards the season end, when things were definitely getting very squeaky, fending off Bradford again - three saves from Cadermarteri, Sharpe and Ward, and a 2-0 Wednesday victory. Boy, they must have been sick of the sight of him.

And it went on.. vital points gained, survival eventually ensured. Awesome.

Of course all Owls fans will remember those penalty competitions and Kevin's part in them. 1995 immediately sprang to the mind of many on our forum, the FA Cup fourth round replay vs. Wolves. OK, we lost the match, but Pressman's penalty kick was a rocket. If his opposite number had got behind it, he'd have been in the net with the ball.

1998, the FA Cup third round vs. Watford: there he is again, saving one and scoring one to help the Owls through. The aforementioned Palace match in 2001.. saving one and scoring one (again) vs. Grimsby in the LDV Vans in 2003.

He was there during Wednesday's most recent purple patch at the start of the 90s, of course, but generally on the sidelines (an injury early doors kept him out for eight months), and we can only speculate what would have happened in 1993 if he'd have been our #1. Chris Woods was a fine keeper, but Pressman's form, determination and professionalism made him the man for the job in many Owls fans hearts and minds, and he was pretty much an ever-present from 1993/4 onwards, racking up ten more years with the Owls.

He was our Greatest Ever Owls Keeper. Thanks for the memories, big man.

Read more about classic Wednesday matches and memories in our Archive here.

Writer:Auckland Owl
Date:Friday June 6 2008
Time: 12:00PM


great keeper, great servant for the club. Also has the record for most crowd chants with the recurring theme of the word pie? ....just kidding
06/06/2008 14:07:00
Love the guy!!!
06/06/2008 15:02:00
did he ever get a testomonial cos he deserved one
06/06/2008 15:46:00
A tremendous servant of the club. Maybe Big Kev was not world class, maybe he was not a Banks or a Shilton but in a time when Ian Walker managed to pick up 4 England caps he was worthy of a place in the England (tournament) squads and the odd friendly …who knows … they could have brought him on as a late extra time sub and changed the careers of the likes of Waddle, Pierce, Southgate, Ince, Batty, Beckham and Vassell !!! Mind you … in 1986 England chose to take Gary Bailey to the Mexico World Cup rather than pick the ultra reliable, ultra fit and most deserving Martin Hodge. Bailey was not fit and would not have been able to play if called upon, Hodge was cheated, he was also devastated !!! … but then again Bailey played for Manchester United and not Sheffield Wednesday !!!
06/06/2008 17:04:00
Never had a testimonial which is a disgrace. Think he asked to come and train with us once too, nothing more, and we turned him down on that one too.
06/06/2008 18:03:00
king how he never got a testimonial beggarsd belief
06/06/2008 18:40:00
I am pretty sure the Club awarded him a testimonial (2004 when he was released) I believe that in such cases the player does not have to do the testimonial immediately - so it may be KVs own choice to organise the Testimonial for a later date.
06/06/2008 19:18:00
A great article, He never looked the fittest of keepers (polite explanation) but still managed to pull of some tremendous acrobatic saves. I agree with your points about testimonial, In an age when players show little loyalty he deserved one.
07/06/2008 07:18:00
One of my hero's as a kid, should have got capped for England without a shadow of a doubt, he was a lot better than some of the other keepers England capped.
07/06/2008 21:49:00
He was entitled to a testimonial in1997but turned it down because he wasn't very popular at that time .......
07/06/2008 22:05:00
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