Sheffield Wednesday: Promotion squad to reunite

Mike Lyons celebrates a Wednesday goal
Mike Lyons celebrates a Wednesday goal

It will be time for nostalgia at Hillsborough on April 10 when the boys of 1984 gather for a reunion.

Howard Wilkinson, Peter Eustace and their former players will be looking back on one of the most exhilarating periods of the last 30 years.

Wilkinson tranformed the Owls and took them back to the top flight after a 14-year absence.

John Pearson, who played a part in that 1983-84 campaign, has organised the do after a bit of prompting from his former skipper Mike Lyons, who has been coaching in Australia for years.

“Last year Mike said ‘it’s 29 years, why don’t we have a reunion?’ I said I’d sort something out for this year but he had to make sure he’d come over, like he has done a couple of times before,” said Pearson, who these days works for the Owls community programme.

“I’ve got around 14 or 15 names so far,” added John. “There are a couple I haven’t been able to get hold of - Gary Shelton is one - but it should be a really good night.”

So far, yesses have come from players such as Gary Bannister, Mel Sterland, Imre Varadi, Tony Cunningham, Martin Hodge, Charlie Williamson, Peter Shirtliff and Lawrie Madden.

“It was a great squad, from a camaraderie point of view, as a group that went about getting promotion” says Pearson.

“That was the target from day one. It was like a juggernaut that wasn’t going to be stopped.”

The team were unbeaten in the first 18 league and cup games and virtualy clinched promotion with six to spare, though a Sterland penalty against Crystal Palace in the fifth=from-last match made it mathematically certain.

Wednesday needed five points from the last three games to take the title; they took four and were pipped by Chelsea on goal difference.

“It was a slight disappointment not finishing top, but that would have just been the cherry on the top,” said Pearson. “So much effort had gone into the season that I think a bit of mental exhaustion set in.”

The reunion, to include dinner, a comedian and a question-and-answer session, takes place in Hillsborough’s 1867 Lounge on April 10 and will be hosted by David Hirst. Tickets can be bought from the club’s community office.