25 yearsÂ agoÂ today this Sheffield WednesdayÂ game changed the course of football history
April 10, 1993 marks a number of beginnings.
Manchester United’s dominance of English football began in earnest in the Premier League's inaugural season, as they would go on to win 13 titles in the league’s modern incarnation.
And it was their 2-1 home win over Sheffield Wednesday that galvanised the team to go on a perfect run-in to the title, that might have been derailed had Wednesday managed to keep their one-goal lead.
The Wednesday, as they were officially known for three of their four First Division title wins, were still a prominent force in the league.
Wednesday had finished third in the season prior, when Manchester United were pipped by Leeds to the top spot, and had only lost twice in their previous 25 games.
Alex Ferguson himself called the game ‘win or bust’ before kick-off.
And it looked like his team would again be runners-up.
Wednesday were 1-0 up until the 86th minute, after John Sheridan slotted home a penalty earlier in the half.
It was then that Steve Bruce was first to a United corner sent near the edge of the box, scoring a looping header over a statue of Nigel Worthington on the far post.
The date is also famous as the beginning of 'Fergie time,' that by-product of the Scot's fierce manner as he tapped his watch with his index finger, mixed with the natural sense of drama and tradition of the Old Trafford setting – and the referee's reluctance to go against all this.
The following ten minutes are well-documented, as United pushed for a second and Wednesday, short of two key forwards in Paul Warhurst and David Hirst, held them back.
Wednesday 'made them work hard' said commentator Barry Davies, but their match earlier in the week at Oldham meant they did not have the legs to go the entire 96-plus minutes against United.
Worthington deflected a cross from Pallister, which found Bruce for the second of his famous double in what Trevor Francis called the ‘second leg’ of the game, deep into Fergie time.
Wednesday ended their season with mixed fortunes – they only garnered eight points from their next seven games but headed to Wembley twice, for a memorable FA Cup final and replay against Arsenal.
The biggest crowd at Old Trafford all season, beaten only by the attendances at United's next two games, witnessed Sheffield Wednesday at the height of their powers give their team a game that would define them for the next 25 years.