Sheffield Wednesday cast-offs leapfrog Owls back into Championship after Wembley glory
Sheffield Wednesday will face up against Lincoln City next season, not Blackpool, after the Tangerines won out in the League One playoff final on Sunday.
Neil Critchley’s side came from behind to win out 2-1 at Wembley through a Kenny Dougall brace to return to the second tier for the first time since the 2014/15 season.
It’s been a testing few seasons for Blackpool, who have been through three relegations and two promotions in their last 11 campaigns.
Among them men to have taken them back into the Championship are two ex-Sheffield Wednesday players, who in doing so effectively leapfrog their former club.
Striker Gary Madine, now 30, left the Owls in 2015 and arrived at Bloomfield Road last year via a controversial loan spell with city rivals Sheffield United. He came off the bench with 22 minutes to go at Wembley in what was his 28th appearance of the season. He has scored eight times.
More poignant, perhaps, is the success of centre-half Jordan Thorniley, who left Hillsborough in January 2020 due to a lack of first team opportunities.
Though he has suffered injury problems he has played a major part in the second half of Blackpool’s season, making 26 matches despite having to wait until the end of January for his first time out.
Thorniley played every minute of the club’s last four matches of the regular season, helping them to four clean sheets as they secured their playoff spot in third place. He played in 37 minutes of their 3-0 playoff semi-final win over Oxford and came off the bench late at Wembley.
Promotion offers the 24-year-old another crack at the Championship, in which he played only 31 times for Wednesday after a 2016 free transfer switch from Premier League Everton.
Explaining the decision to allow Thorniley to leave, then-manager Garry Monk told The Star: “He is at the stage where he needs to go and play regular first-team football. He wasn't going to get that here.
“He is a really good kid and I'm sure he is going to do very well there.
“That area is really strong in terms of numbers and that is the reason why we let it happen.”