April the 3rd. A special day.
Owls physio Alan Smith: ‘An unforgettable occasion. Of all the times we went to Wembley, that was the finest atmosphere. The balloons, blue and white, red and yellow. That game will go down in history. Both Sheffield teams. In an FA Cup semi final. At Wembley. Definitely a one-off.’
Sky Sports Martin Tyler: ‘Who will be the stars in the stripes?’
Danny Wilson: ‘Look at my face on the video as the two teams walked out. I was experienced at semi finals and big games but my hair stood on end. That match is without doubt the best atmosphere I have played in. Even better than the Bernabeu.’
Alan Smith again: ‘Before the game, Chris Waddle asked me for a drink. When I passed him the water bottle, I noticed his hand was shaking. Once the game started he settled down to play one of the games of his life.’
The first minute: Pemberton fouls Bright, John Sheridan stands over the free kick.
Chris Waddle (pictured above, vs. Arsenal): ‘I just told Shez to get out of the way. I’ve been waiting to do that all season. Best place to do it today.’
Waddle curls in the goal from 30 yards, its power and accuracy reminiscent of Gascoigne’s goal for Spurs in 1991.
Blades stopper Alan Kelly: ‘I’ve watched the video, and I’ve realised nobody could stop that.. I’m sure now that I didn’t have an earthly of getting to it.’
Heaven only knows why a place in the England team could not be found for Chris Waddle at that time. He mesmerises the Blades in the first half, releasing Harkes down the left, a 60 yard run and pass to Sheridan, a slide rule pass to Warhurst who shoots against the bar.
Owls manager Trevor Francis: ‘I was amazed he (Waddle) was not among the nominations for PFA Player of the year and even more surprised he wasn’t in the select team. He’s now one of the best players in the country, if not the best.’
As half time approaches, Wednesday are in command. Against the run of play, Franz Carr releases Alan Cork and his giant beard for a one-on-one with Woods and United are level.
Joe Lovejoy (The Independent): ‘There is never a bad moment to score, but a minute before half time was not ideal. The interval prevented United from working up a momentum, and in the second half it was much as before.’
Wednesday’s dominance continues. Warhurst blasts over, Nilsson shoots straight at Kelly, who stops two more. Bright finds the side netting, before the final frantic ten minutes of the half. It’s all Wednesday, but the match goes to extra time.
Kelly continues to defy the Owls, until two minutes into the second period. Bright nods in unmarked from a Harkes corner, the 13th of the game. When the Owls have the ball, they have the class and experience to hold out. The final whistle blows, half the stadium erupts in a volcano of noise.
Alan Kelly: ‘I feel as though the heart has been ripped out of me.. I had a few saves to make and I made them and that’s what they pay me for. People have been kind enough to say I did well but I would give up all of that if we’d made it through to the final.’
Vital SWFC forum member ozzietheowl: ‘One of the best games of my life.. still got my ticket stub from that, it was the day before my 9th birthday. The only tickets we could get were in the Blades end so being 9 years old I wasn’t afraid to cheer when Wednesday scored!’
Vital SWFC forum member Compost Bin: ‘After the day was over, I got home and watched the replay on Sky – ‘..and WHAT a welcome from both sets of supporters’ or something similar as the teams came out of the tunnel. Balloons, flares and huge flags all over the place, immense atmosphere. I was a very proud Sheffielder that day..’
Vital SWFC forum member sterland02: ‘I remember the elation of the winner, and the amazing scenes at the end of the game, with the crowd going ballistic…. walking down Wembley Way, feeling about 10 feet tall, and then the long journey home, and the sadness of hearing of the Blades fan who died: something like that should not have happened. Lastly, hearing from my mother when we got back that Fargate was deserted, cos all of Sheffield was in Wembley!’
Carlton Palmer: ‘The manner in which we won was frightening. I remember very little of the game itself, except for that phenomenal noise.’
Brian Deane: ‘Wembley was an overrated experience for me. We got hammered, in all honesty. I’d like to say I enjoyed the day, but I didn’t. We didn’t get a look-in.’
Viv Anderson: ‘It was a hard, physical game. But on the day we had too many big names. They couldn’t raise their game. And they couldn’t catch Chris Waddle.’
Sheffield United: Kelly, Gage, Whitehouse, Gannon, Gayle, Pemberton, Carr, Ward, Cork, Deane, Hodges. Subs: Hoyland, Littlejohn
Sheffield Wednesday: Woods, Nilsson, Worthington, Palmer, Harkes, Anderson, Wilson, Waddle, Warhurst, Bright, Sheridan. Subs: Hirst, Hyde
Read more about classic Wednesday matches and memories in our Archive here.
Blast From The Past – 1993
April the 3rd. A special day.