VIDEO: No ‘Big-time Charlies’ in Owls’ Class of ‘91

John Sheridan
John Sheridan
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Ex-Owls defender Phil King has revealed the secret behind the iconic 1991 double-winning team.

King played his part in Wednesday lifting the Rumbelows Cup and securing an instant return to the First Division.

Ron Atkinson’s side beat Manchester United in the League Cup final at Wembley courtesy of a stunning strike by John Sheridan. It was the club’s first major trophy in 56 years.

Buoyed by that triumph, the Owls went on to finish third in the old Second Division with 82 points, winning 22 matches, drawing 16 and losing eight with 80 goals for and 51 against.

Speaking at The Magna Science and Adventure Centre to mark the 25-year anniversary last night, King said: “There were no big time Charlies in our dressing room. It was a team that gelled on and off the pitch.

“We had quality players. Every team needs special talents. John Sheridan was one of them. So was Roland Nilsson.

“Nigel Pearson, our captain, scored 12 goals that season from centre-back.”

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A number of players who were in that side attended the evening, including Chris Turner, who produced a crucial save to deny Brian McClair in the final.

“It is a save that you practiced in training,” said the lifelong Owls fan. “You made those saves quite regularly. For it to happen in a major final was unbelievable.”

John Sheridan and David Hirst

John Sheridan and David Hirst

On the side, Turner, who is now Chesterfield’s chief executive, said: “We had an unbelievable team spirit. It is very difficult to emulate that in the modern day. It was a joy to be involved in.

“Players loved Ron’s training sessions. They found his team talks exciting before we went out on to the pitch.

“Richie Barker (assistant manager) put the cement in the bricks in terms of making us strong and well organised.

“Nigel Pearson was our captain and he was absolutely magnificent.

“It was a great and exiting time at the club. The football that we played was great.”

Atkinson admits they were not always the easiest team to control.

“You could not get John Sheridan or David Hirst to adhere to the rules,” he said. “They had an amateurish approach to the game but they all loved playing football.

“I would give them a team talk and try to be positive and they would not know what you are on about.”

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