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Wednesday Legends



As Wednesdayites, we've been lucky enough to watch some great players play on the Hillsborough turf. In this section of the site we look at a select few of the Wednesday legends...

David Hirst


David Hirst is one, if not THE, most popular players ever to don the famous blue and white shirt.

Hirsty moved to Hillsborough in 1986 from neighbours Barnsley and was quick to make an impression on the Hillsborough faithful.

A true English centre forward, Hirsty had pace, strength, and a letahl finished. His attributes even earned him a call-up to the England team, where he made three starts scoring one goal.

He peaked during the 1990-91 season where he made 55 appearances, scoring 32 goals. He helped Wednesday get promotion back to the top-flight and also got a winners medal in the Rumbelows Cup that season.

Unfortunately Hirsty was plagued by injuries which hindered his progress both at domestic and international level.

In total, he made 358 appearances for Wednesday, scoring 149 goals in that time.

He left Hillsborough in October 1997 for a south-coast move to Southampton, but he never regained the form which saw him called up for England.

Hirsty is still an ever present at Hillsborough on match-days, and is often seen chatting away to his adoring public in the South Stand.

A true Wednesday Legend.

Chris Waddle


Chris spent an eventful four year stay at Hillsborough after moving to South Yorkshire in July 1992 in a 1 million move from French club Marseille.

His first season as an owl was truly remarkable. The tricks and skills he had helped Wednesday to obtain a respectful finish in the top flight, and to reach two cup finals (don't talk about the results).

He will be remembered for scoring THAT free-kick against Sheffield United in the FA Cup semi-final. Along with John Sheridans in 1991 it will be remembered as one of the greatest ever Wednesday goals. Chris also picked up the Sports Writers Player of the Year award that season.

Chris will also be remembered for his breathtaking performance against West Ham in the following season, which the Owls won 5-0. His creativity and dribbling skills ran West Ham ragged and was a performance which will be remembered for a long time.

Much like David Hirst, Chris suffered a bad injury during his third season with the club, which restricted him to just one game. He also missed the beginning of the next season through injury.

Chris also played for Newcastle United, Tottenham Hotspur, Falkirk, Torquay United, Bradford City, and Sunderland. He tried his managerial hand at Burnley but it never quite worked out for the geordie.

As with Hirsty, Waddle still takes great pride in returning to Hillsborough and watching the blue and white wizards, albeit to a lower standard that the Waddler himself would play.

Des Walker


Des was Mr Reliable, one of the greatest defenders the club has ever seen.

He made 362 appearances for the Owls, and despite some efforts late on in his career, he never managed a goal for the club.

Des moved to Hillsborough for a fee of 2.7 million from Sampdoria, where he moved after starting his career with Nottingham Forest. Trevor Francis brought him over for his seven year stay with the club.

'You'll never beat Des Walker' was often the chant from the Kop, and Des always lived up to his reputation with his pace, determination, and hard tackling. Des had what some call a 'footballing brain', always reading the game a lot quicker than others.

His consistant fine form led him to 59 caps for England, where he made his final appearance against San Marino in 1994.

Des was one of the few players to come to Hillsborough who was just about injury-free. On the rare occassions when Des was absent from the team, he soon made a return, and often played through injury and illness. In March 1997 his determination was summed up when he recorded a magnificent 92 consecutive league and cup games without absence.

After leaving Wednesday with a tremendous 362 games under his belt, he returned to the team where it all started for him - Nottingham Forest. He made it to the play-offs with Forest before retiring from football. He now coaches with former team mate Carlton Palmer at Mansfield.

Paolo Di Canio


From the outside it may seem like Paolo was as much trouble to the club as he was a legend, but anyone who watched Paolo will undrstand why he has legendary status with the club, despite making a relatively low 48 appearances for the club.

He joined Wednesday from Celtic in a deal worth 4.5 million in 1997. The deal saw Regi Blinker move to Celtic as part funding. He also had Lazio, Juventus, and AC Milan on his CV.

Unfortunately Di Canio is always going to be remembered for his 'push' on referee Paul Alcock against Arsenal in 1998. After the Italian was shown the red card his fristrations got the better of him and his pushed Alcock to th floor. As a result he recieved an 11 match ban by the FA, and Wednesday fans were sadly never to see him again. He went AWOL, and was transferred to West Ham United in February 1999.

Paulo formed one half of the Italian partnership in attack for the club, along side Benito Carbone. He scored 17 league and cup goals for Wenesday in under 50 appearances.

Paulo was certainly a fans favourite during his time at S6. He bared his backside after scoring his first goal for the Owls which led to him being punished by the FA. His collection of fine goals and tricks wowed the Hillsborough crowds.

After leaving Hillsborough, Paolo gave fans at West Ham United a taste of his footballing ability, which included one of the goals of the season against Wimbledon. He also had a brief spell at Charlton Athletic before getting his dream move back to his boyhood club Lazio, where he is still getting in trouble!

John Sheridan


John Sheridan, or 'Shezza' as he was know to the Wednesday faithful, came from the 'golden era' of Sheffield Wednesday FC along with the likes of David Hirst, Chris Waddle, and Roland Nillson.

Hirst was the goalscorer of the team, Waddle the skillful magician on the wing, and Nillson the ever-present defensive rock. Shezza fitted nicely in to that team as the midfield maestro. He could be seen as Wednesdays Frank Lampard back in the day, and it's hard to think of anyone who's filled his shoes since his departure from the club.

Of course, Shezza will always be remembered for one thing - his magnificent goal in the Rumbelows Cup final of 1991 against the mighty Manchester United. He was much more than that though, he was a brilliant passer of the ball and could do so much by doing very little. He contributed goals from midfield, and was a free-kick specialist.

He was signed in 1989 from Nottingham Forest and made a total of 244 appearances for the Owls, scoring 33 goals along the way. His form for Wednesday earned him a respectable 34 call-ups for the Republic of Ireland, netting 5 times for his home country.

Since leaving the Owls Shezza played for Bolton Wanderers, Doncaster Rovers, and Oldham Athletic - where he is currently employed. He also played for Leeds United before his time at Hillsborough.

Roland Nilsson


Roland was so popular at Hillsborough that a song dedicated to the Swede is still sung at Hillsborough to this day. To the tune of 'Yellow Submarine': 'Number 1...Is Roland Nilsson, Number 2... Is Roland Nilsson, Number 3...Is Roland Nilsson...', and so it continues throughout the squad, with the exception of number 9 - David Hirst!

The song also included the lyrics 'we're all going on a european tour' - which commemorates the good times of being a wednesdayite - when we were in Europe - and Nilsson was a major factor in getting there.

Roland was an intelligent player, and always timed his tackles to perfection. Add to that his speed, composure, and confidence on the ball and you have a brilliant right-back on your hands. Oh for a player of Nilsson's ability in today's team!

Ex-Wednesday boss Ron Atkinson described him as the best professional he had ever worked with. It proved as he made 183 appearances for the Owls, scoring 3 goals along the way. He was signed by Big Ron in December 1989 from IFK Gothenburg for a fee of 375,000, and stayed at Hillsborough for four and a half years.

The money proved to be the best spent in Wednesday's recent history as Nilsson rarely missed a game. Despite having a serious knee injury in 1990, he battled back to full fitness and was a vital part of Wednesdays team.

After leaving Hillsborough he moved to Helsingborg before returning to England to have a stint with Coventry City.

Carlton Palmer


Carlton was another part of the early 90's team that will be remembered by Wednesday fans as one of the greatest to grace the Hillsborough turf. His midfield dynamo displays helped Wednesday achieve Europe, and also helped Carlton recieve a call-up to the England squad on many occassions.

He was brought to Hillsborough by Ron Atkinson in 1989 from his former club West Bromich Albion, and despite suffering relegation in his first season with the club, he helped the Owls bounce back at the first attempt, and everyone knows what happened from there.

Carlton was a passionate midfield player, but his passion got the better of him during the league cup match against Portsmouth, where he got sent off and missed the final victory over Manchester United.

That was the only sour note in an illustrious career at S6 though. Carlton scored only 18 goals in his 286 appearances for the Owls, but one will live long in the memory - a hat-trick against Queens Park Rangers.

Carlton did have two loan stints with the Owls after he moved to rivals Leeds United. When at Coventry City, Palmer returned to help the Owls in a relegation dog fight in the 2000-01 season during a three-month loan spell. He also returned the following season for a 10 game stint.

He moved to Leeds United from Wednesday along with Nigel Worthington, and then went on to play at Southampton, Nottingham Forest, Coventry City, and Stockport County - where he later began his managerial career. Carlton is currently managing at Mansfield Town.

The Journalist

Writer: Nick Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Tuesday December 20 2005

Time: 11:20AM

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