How the last FA Cup clash between Sheffield Wednesday and QPR played its part in one of the most unique transfers of all-time
For nearly 18 years only one surname filled the space between the posts at Sheffield Wednesday. But it was a role shared by two men.
Ron and Peter Springett, London-born brothers born nine years apart, were the central figures in a unique 1967 swap deal with Queens Park Rangers that saw Peter replace Ron – a member of England’s triumphant 1966 World Cup squad – as the Owls number one.
Last night Wednesday were drawn against QPR in the fourth round of the FA Cup and it was the last FA Cup meeting between the two teams – way back in January 1967 – that proved to be the transfer’s catalyst.
The Owls’ 3-0 third round win at Hillsborough was largely unremarkable aside from the fact that it opened the club’s eyes to the possibility of bringing Peter, then 21, to the club as a long-term replacement for 32-year-old Ron.
Initial discussions took place and months later the deal was done, with Ron returning to his former club for £16,000 and England youth international Peter costing Wednesday £40,000. Peter won a historic League Cup and a third division title with QPR in the intervening time.
Between then they played 525 matches for Wednesday; Ron played 345, Peter 180.
After leaving S6 the former would play on for two more years, making 45 appearances for the Hoops. He received 33 England caps and remains the Owls’ most capped international. He died in 2015 aged 80.
Peter left Wednesday in 1975 for south Yorkshire rivals Barnsley, making 191 appearances, followed by short stints at Scarborough and Frickley. He died in Sheffield tragically young, aged 51, after a battle with cancer. Both are considered club icons.
Speaking at the time of his death, then-Wednesday manager Carlos Carvalhal said of Ron: “It is something emotional to the club.
“He gave a lot to Wednesday. He is not with us anymore but he is someone that will be forever part of the club. This tribute can have a positive affect.
“This tribute, when you have this kind of emotion, usually the fans stay together so I believe that our family; the fans, staff and players will be together trying to do our best.”