Former Sheffield Wednesday striker Gilles De Bilde has admitted he is bewildered at the club’s current position.
De Bilde, aged 40, who scored 13 goals in 59 appearances for the Owls, said he was amazed that neither Wednesday or Sheffield United were challenging in the Premier League
“It’s a big city. I don’t know what happened after I left but there must have been some mismanagement because a city the size of Sheffield should have at least one club in the Premier League,” he said.
The low countries strike pairing of De Bilde (Belgium) and Gerald Sibon (Holland) was given a warm welcome back to the city by Owls legend Kevin Pressman at Sunday’s Masters tournament at the Arena.
It is the first time the trio have been together on a pitch since De Bilde returned to Belgium club Anderlecht in 2001.
De Bilde said he had mixed memories of his time with the Owls: “I have some good and bad ones of Sheffield.
“It’s nice to see some of the players back from when I was there like Pressie (Kevin Pressman) and Boothie (Andy Booth). We were relegated that first year, which obviously wasn’t a good thing, but in general it was okay.”
Pressman was warm in his praise of the two players, who were often used as the poster boys for the Owls decline.
He said: “They were great. They were talented players like the di Canios and Carbones of this world – very skilful.
“Coming into the English game they were never fully understood and appreciated. Everyone wants the hard work and the running but they’re not that type of player. If you tried to put them in that bracket their flaws are clear. But they were very technical and talented players and they did well for us in the short time they were here.”
Sibon, aged 37, had a more successful time at Hillsborough. He was named as the club’s Player of the Year twice and led the scoring charts on three occasions.
He said: “I have good memories; it was good fun.
“The first year was nice to play in the Premier League. Uunfortunately we were relegated that year, which wasn’t too good for the club. It was nice to play football there.”