Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Sheffield Wednesday F.C.
However, football was quickly to eclipse the cricketing side of the club. In the summer of 1882 the two teams split permanently, and by the end of 1925 the cricket team had disbanded. The football club turned professional on April 22, 1887 following a threat by key players to walk out. The initial wages were five shillings for home fixtures and seven shillings and sixpence for away games.
In 1889, when their first application to join the Football League was rejected, the club became founder members of the Football Alliance of which they were the first champions. Wednesday were eventually elected to the Football League in 1892.
Sheffield Wednesday were last Football League Champions in 1930 and have not won the F.A. Cup since 1935, though they won the Football League Cup in 1991 and were on the losing side in both domestic finals in 1993.
In 1984 Sheffield Wednesday won promotion to the First Division under Howard Wilkinson and would spend all but one of the next 16 seasons in the top division. Wilkinson stayed in charge until autumn 1988 when he became manager of Leeds United. On his departure, Wilkinson was replaced by assistant Peter Eustace but the decision proved disastrous and Ron Atkinson took charge four months later. In 1990, Sheffield Wednesday were relegated to the Second Division on goal difference but regained their top division status at the first attempt - they finished third in the Second Division but went up automatically because the division would be expanding to 22 clubs for the 1991-92 season and four clubs were being promoted. Sheffield Wednesday also won their first major trophy for 56 years by beating Manchester United 1-0 in the League Cup final.
Atkinson left the club in the summer of 1991 to take charge at Aston Villa. In his place was 36-year-old striker Trevor Francis who became player-manager. Francis guided Sheffield Wednesday to third place in the last ever old First Division and secured them a UEFA Cup place as well as being founder members of the Premier League for the 1992-93 season.
Sheffield Wednesday finished seventh in the 1992-93 Premier League and lost 2-1 to Arsenal in both domestic cup finals, so they missed out on another European campaign. Over the next two seasons the 'Owls' slipped to mid table in the Premiership and Francis was replaced by David Pleat in the summer of 1995.
1996-97 was another promising season for Sheffield Wednesday. By the end of August they were Premiership leaders and manager David Pleat was presented with the manager of the month award. But the club was unable to keep up its good form and slipped to seventh place - two places short of European qualification. Pleat was sacked the following autumn and Ron Atkinson returned to Hillsborough as interim manager and secured the club's Premiership survival.
Danny Wilson arrived from Barnsley in the summer of 1998 as Sheffield Wednesday's new manager. They finished 12th in his first season but he was sacked in the spring of 2000 as they lay near the foot of the Premiership. Their relegation was sealed in the penultimate game of the season when, needing a win to keep their survival hopes alive, they drew 3-3 with runners-up Arsenal under temporary manager Peter Shreeves.
Paul Jewell, who had just kept Bradford in the Premiership against all the odds, moved to Sheffield Wednesday and was intent on getting the club promoted at the first attempt. But he was sacked after just eight months in charge as the Owls were struggling in Division One and in real danger of a second successive relegation. Peter Shreeves stepped in again and secured the club's survival. He was then given the job on a permanent basis in the summer of 2001, but despite reaching the League Cup semi finals quit the club before Christmas because of bad league form. Terry Yorath took charge and steered the Owls to safety.
Under Turner, the Owls lost just five of their final 22 Division One games but their form during the first half of the season had been so bad that it caught up with them and a 1-1 draw against Brighton (who would also be relegated) in the penultimate game of the season meant relegation to Division Two - the club's first spell at this level for a quarter of a century. The main reason for this decline was seen as the £22million debts which had arisen from reckless spending by former chairman David Richards.
In the 2003-04 Division Two campaign, Sheffield Wednesday finished 16th in the division and scored fewer goals than any other club at this level (48). Shortly after the start of 2004-05, Turner was sacked and replaced by Paul Sturrock.
Hillsborough Stadium is infamous throughout the world for the events of 15th April 1989, when it hosted the F.A Cup semi final between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest. In the Hillsborough disaster 94 Liverpool fans were crushed to death and another 300 were injured. A 95th supporter died a few days later and a 96th died almost four years later having never regained consciousness. A report by Lord Chief Justice Taylor subsequently saw all top division grounds in England become all-seater by 1994-95.
The Wednesday Football Club was known to fans simply as The Wednesday until 1929, when many believe the club was officially renamed Sheffield Wednesday under the stewardship of manager Bob Brown. Evidence however suggests that the club was known as Sheffield Wednesday as far back as 1883, the former ground at Olive Grove had the name Sheffield Wednesday painted on the stand roof and indeed the winner's name on the FA Cup was inscribed as Sheffield Wednesday in both 1896 and 1907.
Wednesday's original nickname was "the Blades" - now the nickname of their long-term rivals, Sheffield United - until the start of the 20th century when a player presented them with an owl mascot to honour their stadium at Owlerton. Since then, the club has simply been known as "the Owls".
They are the only English League club with a day of the week in their name. The club derives its name from its predecessor, The Wednesday Cricket Club, whose meetings were held on Wednesday afternoons. Wednesday was traditionally the day that the local craftsmen who formed the club took their half-day off to play sports. Links between football and cricket were severed in 1883 and the cricket club has not been in existence since the 1920's.
Since its founding the club has played its home games in blue and white shirts, traditionally in vertical stripes. However, Richard A. Spalding's book 'Romance of the Wednesday' published in 1926 shows a monochrome photograph from 1874-75 of the Wednesday team in plain dark shirts. Percy M. Young's book 'Football in Sheffield' (1962) reprinted the 1871 'Rules of the Sheffield Football Association' with the Wednesday club colours listed as blue and white hoop.
The current home strip consists of blue and white vertical stripes with black shorts and blue socks. The change strip (used for away or cup fixtures where there is a clash of colours) is silver incorporating a design where part of the shirt changes colour depending on the temperature, silver shorts and silver socks.
For many years football teams often wore white as their alternative shirt colour. When Wednesday reached the 1966 FA Cup Final they had not only played all their ties away from home (six in total) but wore an all white strip in each game.
Sheffield Wednesday's first permanent home ground was at Olive Grove, a site on Queen's Road originally leased from the Duke of Norfolk. Extensions to the adjacent railway forced the club to move in 1899, when work began on the famous Hillsborough Stadium at Owlerton, to the northwest of the city. The first game at Olive Grove was a 4-4 draw with Blackburn Rovers, and the first game at Hillsborough was a 5-1 win for Wednesday over Chesterfield.
Originally, Wednesday played matches at various locations in Sheffield (including Bramall Lane, before Sheffield United made it their home ground). Before moving to Olive Grove in 1887 the Owls played a number of home games on a site where Highfield Library was later built.
The story goes that the Owlerton ground became known as Hillsborough because supporters found the tram taking them to Owlerton involved a longer journey. Renaming the ground Hillsborough apparently allowed them to catch the right tram!
|League Champions||1902/03, 1903/04, 1928/29, 1929/30|
|Division 2 Champions||1899/1900, 1925/26, 1951/52, 1955/56, 1958/59|
|FA Cup Winners||1896, 1907, 1935|
|League Cup Winners||1991|
Managers and Players
Famous former Sheffield Wednesday players include
- Paolo Di Canio,
- David Hirst ,
- Carlton Palmer ,
- Chris Waddle,
- Chris Woods ,
- Guy Whittingham ,
- Benito Carbone and
- Des Walker.
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