Sheffield Wednesday: Owls great saddened by Yorkshire woes

John Sheridan
John Sheridan
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It has been a long time since either Sheffield Wednesday or Leeds United dined at the top table of English football.

Fifteen years to be precise for the Owls. Eleven in Leeds’ case.

Indeed, they are not the only Yorkshire clubs who have under-achieved this century.

With Hull City suffering relegation on the final day of last season, there are currently no Premier League representatives from the White Rose county and few signs of a big upturn in their fortunes.

John Sheridan, the former Wednesday and Leeds midfielder, told The Star: “Yorkshire has not had a lot to shout about in the last few years. It is vital for the area that Wednesday and Leeds get back up there because they are two massive clubs. They have got big fan-bases and couldn’t ask for better sets of supporters.

“Obviously, Wednesday have been out of the top flight a bit longer but I just hope both clubs can get back to the Premier League where they both belong.”

Wednesday and Leeds will always have a special place in Sheridan’s heart.

“I was at each club for eight years so I’ve got a lot of good memories,” said the ex-Republic of Ireland international. “Leeds were my first club and Eddie Gray was my manager and he was probably the biggest influence on my career. He gave young players a chance.

“The best football I played and biggest achievements of my career were at Sheffield Wednesday.”

Sheridan is widely regarded as one of the greatest players to have ever donned an Owls shirt, having wowed fans with his vision, passing range and penchant for scoring spectacular goals.

He admitted: “We had a brilliant team.

“I was very lucky to play with some really good, world class players. We probably should have won more than what we did.

“During that period, Leeds also had an unbelievable team. I have got great memories from both teams and I was fortunate to play for two big clubs.”

Nicknamed ‘Shezza’, Sheridan is relishing the prospect of two of his former clubs going head-to-head at Elland Road tomorrow lunch-time, kick-off 12:30pm.

Sheridan, who will be on summarising duty for BBC Radio Sheffield, said: “I think it will be an exciting game. They have both made solid starts. I was impressed with Wednesday on the opening day against Bristol City and their new signings. They looked a good team and very solid at the back.

“The foreign lads looked after the ball well and the wide players have got goals in them.”

His scoreline prediction?

“Derby games are usually tight; I can’t see anything else other than a draw,” he said.

Local bragging rights will be up for grabs and Sheridan is expecting it to be a feisty contest.

Sheridan said: “It’s a big game for the club and the supporters.

“As a player, these are type of games you want to be involved in. These are the games you remember for a long, long time if you score the winning goal or are on the winning side.

“You know the atmosphere is going to be there from the start and the tackles are going to be flying in. You’ve got to be ready to roll your sleeves up.

“It’s about making sure as a player you don’t get caught up in the occasion and try to affect the game in a positive way.”

Several members of Carlos Carvalhal’s multi-cultural outfit, including Vincent Sasso, Alex Lopez Marco Matias, Modou Sougou and Lucas Joao have never experienced a Yorkshire derby before.

“They (the foreign players) will have played derbies in their respective countries but a Yorkshire derby will be a bit more fierce and quicker I would imagine,” said Sheridan, who famously scored the winner in Wednesday’s 1991 League Cup final win over Manchester United. “They won’t understand it and it will be a bit different.

“It will be a tight game and the players will be trying to wind each other up so it is important you don’t get caught up in the emotions of the occasion.”

After narrowly failing to get Plymouth Argyle promoted out of League Two, Sheridan left the Devon club last May despite having one year remaining on his contract at Home Park. The former Chesterfield and Oldham Athletic boss concedes he found it difficult living away from his family in Yorkshire.

Now, following a break from the sport, the 50-year-old is looking to get back into management.

“Plymouth are a brilliant club and very good with me but I just wanted to come back north,” he said. “The travelling was too much for me.

“I just felt the right move for me was to comeback north and, hopefully, an opportunity will come up in the next month or two. I have had a little bit of a break and feel ready to get back into management.

“Unfortunately, the season has started so I have got to wait for someone to lose a job to have a chance of getting back in.

“If something comes up and appeals to me, I will be trying to get back involved.”

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