Wembley 25: The War of the Monster Trucks

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Imagine a big name Championship side beating a Premier League top four stalwart at Wembley to win their first major cup competition in 56 years – the celebrations would be worth watching, right?

Rewind 25 years. The second tier outfit is Sheffield Wednesday, who slumped out of the top flight a year earlier but were on their way back. Their giant opponents are Manchester United, who had just days before reached a European final.

The Owls pulled off a major Wembley shock via John Sheridan’s superb volley and an incredibly dogged performance, sending 30,000 Wednesdayites at the national stadium into raptures along with players and staff.

Not that TV viewers back home in Yorkshire got to experience the celebrations.

For some inexplicable reason, YTV – ask your parents kids – scheduled another programme to start at 5.05pm after their coverage of the Rumbelows Cup final, even though one of finalists was a team from their coverage area.

Even less explicable was the decision to go ahead with showing that programme even after Wednesday had won – particularly baffling when the rest of the country stayed with the Wembley coverage until 5.30pm.

This unmissable progamme – according to Yorkshire TV bosses – was War of the Monster Trucks, which was pretty much exactly what it said on the tin.

It was a decision which did nothing but inflame a perceived pro Leeds United bias from Leeds-based station West Yorkshire, sorry Yorkshire, TV. (For a modern day example of such white shirted leanings, see Calendar).

Bias was certainly on the mind of one Wednesdayite who rang The Star the morning after the game.

“It’s the first time a team from Yorkshire has won the cup for ages, but people from Sheffield were not able to see them celebrations,” said Alfred Milner.

“I bet if it was Leeds United who had won they would have carried on showing it.”

The Star itself made a similar suggestion. “Many will suspect that if Leeds had been the victors, those Monster Trucks would have been pushed quickly off the roads.”

The response from YTV to the anger building in South Yorkshire was rather mealy-mouthed.

“Other regions were showing cartoons which they could easily replace,” said a spokeswoman. “We were showing an hour-long programme which we could not scrap.”

The first most Wednesdayites knew about it was when they got home in the early hours and wanted to relive their brilliant afternoon through recordings on video – ask your parents kids.

So War of the Monster Trucks would go down in Wednesday folklore. An Owls fanzine was named after it, still running online today.

And no one ever really forgave YTV.

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Paul Thompson, with his Wembley Match Verdict, as reported in The Star the following day

Indisputably the better team – with a bigger heart, the greater ambition, the fiercer hunger for glory and the support of the more fanatical crowd – won the Rumbelows Cup at Wembley

DINK! It’s a wonderful sound that all Wednesdayites know and love. It’s the sound of victory. Owls fan Laura Jones looks back on why that win was so special

“We didn’t fear anybody. We felt we could get a result against anyone in that particular season.” Lawrie Madden on an incredible campaign

Skipper Nigel Pearson said: “It’s the greatest sporting moment of my life, and for the fans I’m sure.” Read more quotes from players and management in the immediate aftermath

Legendary Owl Roland Nilsson on his pride at the Class of ‘91