Sheffield derby: Sheffield Wednesday legend Chris Waddle recalls THAT goal against Sheffield United

Chris Waddle.
Chris Waddle.
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He is regarded as one of the most skilful and accomplished players to ever pull on the blue and white stripes of Sheffield Wednesday.

It is fair to say Chris Waddle is a bonafide Owls legend.

Chris Waddle.

Chris Waddle.

He spent four years of his glittering playing career at Hillsborough, wowing supporters with his range of passing, vision, dribbling skills and eye for goal.

Waddle was an iconic player and will forever be remembered fondly by Wednesday supporters for his spectacular goal in the club's FA Cup semi-final triumph over Sheffield United 25 years ago.

With just over a minute on the clock at the old Wembley Stadium, Waddle stepped up to take a free-kick so far from goal, the opposition didn't bother to construct a wall.

Yet Waddle curled in a delightful effort past United goalkeeper Alan Kelly to spark wild celebrations among the Wednesday faithful.

"I wasn't going to hit it but John Sheridan told me to have a go," recalled Waddle. "I thought it was too far out to be honest but Shez said 'it is early in the game so why not have a pop?'

"He said 'it doesn't matter where it goes, let's just see what happens.'

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"I told him to get out of the way and the rest is history."

Despite an Alan Cork strike, the Owls claimed the local bragging rights after an extra-time winner by striker Mark Bright.

Waddle, who still lives in Sheffield, said: "A lot of United fans come up to me and say 'you broke my heart that day' whereas I get the Wednesday fans saying 'thank you.'

"It was great for me to have had a moment like that. To score a goal in an occasion like that is a great memory, which the fans and I love. Hopefully they won't get sick of seeing that goal.

"Sheffield Wednesday are a club that are still in my heart. I always look for their results and I go down to see the team when I can.

"I live in the city and I had a great rapport with the punters when I played for the club."

As the former England international readily admits, the Steel City derby is no ordinary fixture.

"It is up there with all the derbies I played in in my career," he conceded. "The game we played at Wembley will probably not happen again.

"To play in front of 80,000 fans was a one off. The atmosphere was great.

"When you went to Bramall Lane, you knew it would be hard. They were pumped up for it and so were we.

"Derby games are about rising to the occasion. Yes, it is going to be a bit quicker and more physical but it is about keeping a calm head and playing your football at the end of the day. If you do that, then normally you will come out on top.

"When I was at Wednesday, we won a lot of the games because we played our game and United found it hard to stop us. We had a lot of positive results."

The Championship table suggests the real balance of power currently lies in the red and white half of the city. United are thriving near the top of the division while Wednesday have fallen away from the promotion pack after an encouraging start to the campaign.

Waddle said: "It doesn't matter whether it is Liverpool v Everton, Manchester City v Manchester United or Tottenham v Arsenal, form goes out of the window in derbies. It is about who turns up on the day.

"I'm sure both United and Wednesday will be fired up. One team might have more confidence but at the end of the day it is about going toe to toe with each other.

"At the minute, a lot of people would probably edge United because of their results and where they are in the league. But I'm sure Chris Wilder and Jos Luhukay will be saying this is a one off.

"United are higher but Wednesday went there last year not in great form and got a draw and could have won it near the end so it is a hard game to call. Anything can happen in a derby.

"You hope you don't make mistakes and play to your potential as the Steel City derbies are unbelievable atmospheres. It is one of those games you want to play in.

"If you can't enjoy it and rise to the occasion, then there is something wrong with you."