The night Sheffield Wednesday beat mighty Barcelona

John Fantham
John Fantham
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Back in 1962, Barcelona were held in almost the same regard as the side which will, tonight, take on Juventus in the final of the Uefa Champions League - a cultured, feared, attacking force.

So when they hitched up at Hillsborough at the end of February that year in the quarter-finals of the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup, even taking into account the freezing conditions that gripped Britain, few expected anything else than a victory for the Catalan giants.

Alan Finney

Alan Finney

What Barcelona weren’t banking on as they frolicked in the novelty of snow the day before, was a superb display of grit and determination, in front of an ice-cold crowd of just under 29,000.

Wednesday twice came from behind; Fantham equalising Ramón Villaverde’s opener before Alan Finney cancelled out Barcelona’s second from Evaristo de Macedo. Five minutes after the break, Fantham grabbed what turned out to be the winner.

As reporter Ralph Hawkins stated in The Star the following day: “Koscis, Evaristo, Villaverda, Verges, Garay...half a million pounds worth of soccer talent brushed aside by a hurricane called Sheffield Wednesday.”

Alas, a month later, amid less wintry weather, Barcelona turned the tie around with a 2-0 win at the Nou Camp; Evaristo and Hungarian Sándor Kocsis scoring.

Wednesday had made plenty sit up and take notice though.

Under the guidance of Vic Buckingham, who had been manager of Ajax, and who would go back to Amsterdam before ending up in Spain as manager of Sevilla and eventually Barcelona, the Owls had an incredible home record throughout the competition.

Having lost 4-2 to Lyon in France in the first round, they won 5-2 themselves at Hillsborough to go through 7–6 on aggregate - Colin Dobson’s 78th minute goal proving crucial.

Then in the second round they lost 1-0 away to Roma before a convincing 4-0 home success.

Barcelona proved just too much on their own turf though, however, the Catalans did lose the final 7-3 on aggregate, after a humbling 6-2 defeat away to Valencia.

Sheffield Wednesday: Springett, Young, Swan, Megson, Johnson, Kay, Hardy, Wilkinson, Finney, Fantham, Dobson.

Barcelona: Celdrán, Rodri, Joan Segarra, Gracia, Julio Benítez, Vergés, Pereda, Garay, Ramón Villaverde, Sándor Kocsis, Evaristo

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