Sheffield Wednesday: Don Megson regrets not taking Owls job

Wednesday great Don Megson.
Wednesday great Don Megson.
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One of the greatest full-backs in Sheffield Wednesday’s history has spoken of his regret at never managing the club.

In an extract revealed exclusively to The Star in his new autobiography, Don Megson describes how Wednesday inquired about his services in 1974 while he was in charge of high flying Bristol Rovers.

Megson, who spent 17 years of his playing career at Hillsborough, reveals that the Owls “tapped” him up before they appointed Steve Burtenshaw as Derek Dooley’s successor.

“I started to get linked with other clubs,” said the former left-back, who skippered Wednesday in their 3-2 defeat to Everton in the 1966 FA Cup final.

“In January 1974, we [Bristol Rovers] played Nottingham Forest in the FA Cup third round. We’d drawn the game and played well. Afterwards, I found myself in the Forest tea room. Wednesday used to have a scout for the Midlands and he happened to be there. We got talking about Derek Dooley, who’d been sacked as manager on the previous Christmas Eve. As we said our farewells, he said, ‘So, are you coming home son?’

“I didn’t realise it at the time, but I was being tapped up by Wednesday. I’d not applied for the job, but I’m sure now that they’d sent someone to test the water to see if I wanted to go.

“The next day, the phone rang and it was Lawrie McMenemy. ‘Don, you’ve got medals in your eyes haven’t you. You’re not staying at Rovers to get a Championship medal are you?’ I was confused, and asked him what he meant. He replied, ‘Well, what’s happening with Wednesday. That’s twice you’ve done that.’

“Lawrie also knew that Norwich had been interested in me, and apparently I’d turned that one down as well, though actually I hadn’t, I just thought that people had been pulling my leg when they’d mentioned it. I think I could have taken the Wednesday job and I’ve kicked myself ever since.

“I’d gone back to Hillsborough earlier that season with Rovers, the only time I went back as a manager. I looked at the ground from the dugout thinking what I had at Bristol Rovers, and what I could have at a club like Wednesday. I should have gone for that job.”

Megson, the father of ex-Owls player and manager Gary, made his professional debut at the age of 23, leading Wednesday to five consecutive top six finishes.

His final Owls appearance came in their shock FA Cup home defeat to Scunthorpe United in January 1970.

After leaving Wednesday, Megson plied his trade at Bristol Rovers for two years before calling it a day.

He went on to manage them for five years before becoming the first Englishman to manage in the North American Soccer League with the Portland Timbers.

*Don Megson: A Life in Football is set to be released on Saturday October 18. Copies of the book can be pre-ordered on Amazon. The retail price is £11.99.