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Wednesday A-Z: 1/26 - Anderson, Viv



A is for Anderson, Viv. We kick-off our summer Wednesday A-Z feature with Owls legend Viv Anderson.

A player who was only brought to Hillsborough as a bit of a 'short-term' signing, but who turned in to a bit of a legend down at S6 following 70 starts in the famous blue and white stripes.

We have to share that legendary status of the man with Nottingham Forest, and Arsenal too, as Viv arrived at Wednesday very much after his prime days in English football, but still with lots to offer.

The defender is well known for becoming the first black footballer to represent England in a full international match.

It was deserved - he got the seal of approval from a certain Brian Clough at the City Ground and was a key player in Forest clinching the European Cup in 1979 and a number of other honours.

A career spanning 120 starts for Arsenal and 54 starts for Manchester United then followed before Anderson made the move to Hillsborough in 1991.

His impact on Wednesday was almost imminent - arriving in January of '91 on a free transfer and helping the Owls to promotion to the then Division One in the same year.

He missed the famous League Cup triumph over Manchester United in the same year but showed that he still had plenty of offer when he helped Wednesday achieve a third-placed finish behind Leeds United and Manchester United the following year.

He also featured in the Premier League with Wednesday in its first ever year as the Owls finished the season in a respectable seventh.

Vital Wednesday forum member 'spiro theocropolis' got the chance to watch Anderson in action and remembers him with great fondness.

'I saw him play a lot, and would actually put Viv Anderson in my all time Weds XI - (been watching since 1984) alongside Des Walker at centre back,' he said.

'I think he was a superior player to Pearson, Shirtliff, Lyons, Thome, Bougherra, and all the other decent centre halves we've had in S6 - and one of the most underrated players we've ever had

'He only came to Wednesday at the back end of his career - which had been spent exclusively at right back - and looked pretty dodgy in his first few games for us in that position (Nilsson must have been injured at the time).

'But after being switched to centre-half he was superb - and played a key role in our double cup run in 1993 - when Pearson and Shirtliff had injury problems - and Warhurst was being used as a striker.

'I sometimes wonder what sort of international career he might have had if he'd switched to centre half when he was at his peak in the mid 80s - Anderson was always second choice England right back behind Phil Neal then Gary Stevens - and England always struggled to find a regular centre half partner for Terry Butcher.'

His thoughts and opinions on Anderson are shared by countless Wednedayites who had the chance to see him play for the Owls over the years.

Anderson remained in South Yorkshire after he left Wednesday in '93, moving on to Barnsley where he became player-manager and then finishing his playing career with Middlesbrough where he made just two appearances.

A legend in many Wednesdayites' eyes and a real contender for inclusion in any all-time Wednesday XI.
The Journalist

Writer: Nick Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Monday June 14 2010

Time: 10:17PM

 

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