Choose the right men for the job

TERRY CURRAN
TERRY CURRAN
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ONLY one Sheffield Wednesday player has won the Footballer of the Year award: Chris Waddle.

That alone is enough to put him among the Owls’ all-time greats.

Colin Morris, Sheffield United Player

Colin Morris, Sheffield United Player

His boss, Trevor Francis, said when Waddle picked up the trophy in 1993: “Since before Christmas he has been without doubt the outstanding player in the country. In my opinion the football writers have got it absolutely right.

“Chris can do things that no-one else in the country can do. Single-handed, he can change the course of a game.”

As a left-footer playing on the right wing, Waddle was a genius on his day, with his vision, passing and dribbling, and ability to produce the unexpected.

His £1 million arrival from Marseille in 1992 proved to be a brilliant bit of business by Francis.

Alan Woodward (Sheffield United)

Alan Woodward (Sheffield United)

Waddle was a key man in the team that prospered in the top flight in the early 1990s and reached the final of both cups in 1993.

In four years at Hillsborough, he made 130 starts and 17 appearances as a sub, and scored 15 goals - none more memorable that his 30-yard free kick in the FA Cup semi-final against Sheffield United at Wembley.

Many found it strange that he was not awarded more England caps to add to the 52 tally that he had achieved before joining Wednesday.

In one of the best individual displays seen at Hillsborough in the last 30 years, he orchestrated a 5-0 win against West Ham in December 1993, and gave Hammers left-back David Burrows a roasting that he never forgot.

Alf Ringstead

Alf Ringstead

Waddle is not the only one of our Owls dream team right-wing contenders to have hit an outstanding goal against the Blades.

Terry Curran made a memorable mark with his run and long-range shot at Bramall Lane in 1980.

It could be argued that Curran’s goalscoring should make him a contender for a striker spot in our team.

He was devastating after being switched up front to play alongside target man Andy McCulloch in Jack Charlton’s 1979-80 team, in the old Third Division.

Chris Waddle.

Chris Waddle.

Curran’s pace and finishing brought him 24 goals in that promotion season.

In addition, his exciting runs as a striker or winger and extrovert personality made him a huge favourite among fans during his three years at Hillsborough.

As in the case of Waddle, there were calls for him to be picked for the England squad.

Like Waddle, whose 52 caps came before he joined Wednesday, Curran was a superb signing. He cost £85,000 from Southampton, and his record with the Owls was 135 starts, three appearances as a sub, and 39 goals - before he made a shock move to Brmall Lane at the end of his contract

Another of our contenders, Derek Wilkinson, played in an earlier era and is perhaps less well known than his unrelated namesake, Howard Wilkinson.

But Derek played 231 games for the club and scored 57 goals, between 1954 and 1964, and made two appearances for the Football League representative side.

Derek Wilkinson'Sheffield Wednesday FC 1961

Derek Wilkinson'Sheffield Wednesday FC 1961

He was in the Wednesday side that finished runners-up to Double-winning Spurs in 1961.

Wilkinson was a quick, hard-working winger who could also play up front or on the left and was a popular among supporters.

He chose the Owls when he was a youngster at Stalybridge Celtic and when the clubs chasing him included Manchester United.

Wilkinson put the club into the FA Cup semi-finals in 1960 with both goals in a 2-0 win against Sheffield United at Bramall Lane, and he helped the team to win the old Second Division title in 1959 and reach the quarter-finals of the European Fairs Cup in the early 60s.

He had to retire in 1965 at the age of 29 because of a groin injury.

Brian Marwood makes up our quartet. He may not have had Curran’s flamboyance or Waddle’s extravagant skills but he had the knack of making space for himself to deliver accurate balls into the box with either foot and was a major architect of goals during Howard Wilkinson’s reign as manager.

Marwood also netted 35 times himself in 157 games plus four matches as a sub.

Although Curran joined the Blades directly from the Owls, Marwood chose Wednesday when United, too, wanted him as his contract at Hull came to end in 1984, just after Wilkinson’s side had won promotion. A tribunal fixed a fee of £115,000.

It was a sign of his effectiveness when Arsenal signed him in 1988, for £600,000, which was then a record sale for the Owls.

During his time at Hillsborough he went close to earning an England call-up; after his Highbury move he did gain a cap, in a side that also included Mel Sterland, against Saudi Arabia, and he won a medal when Arsenal took the title in 1989. He eventually did join United - in a £350,000 deal in 1990.

Marwood, Wilkinson, Curran or Waddle, Which is it to be?

Sheffield Wednesday1986.

Sheffield Wednesday1986.

Paul Devlin.

Paul Devlin.