Date: 4th August 2007 at 12:25am
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Last week’s forum poll is done and dusted and the Vital SWFC members have voted for Ron Atkinson as the Greatest Ever Owls Manager.

An ex-player and captain with over 500 games for Oxford United, Ron started as manager with non-League Kettering Town and Cambridge. Following a successful spell with WBA, he moved to the mighty Manchester United: despite producing attractive football and Cup success, he failed to deliver the League Championship to Old Trafford. Their loss was to be our gain. Big Ron’s first spell as Owls manager was from February 1989 to June 1991.

Forum member brightowl: ‘Ron’s the man that gave Wednesday spirit, purpose, exciting attractive football, promotion and the League Cup to put in the trophy cabinet.’

Ron’s first act was to preside over a team in danger of relegation, and the shadow of the Hillsborough disaster was to loom large over the ground and the players. He kept the Owls up.. for that season. Although relegated in 1990 to the Second Division, a year later he guided Wednesday back to the top flight, and secured that oh-so-valuable trophy by beating former charges Manchester United 1-0 at Wembley. Under Big Ron, the team both entertained and believed in itself, qualities which were passed on in truth to Ron’s successor, Trevor Francis.

His departure was coloured with controversy in the eyes of the Wednesday faithful: he said on 31 May that he would be staying as manager, but a week later he left for Aston Villa. His subsequent career has of course not been without further controversy, but as arguably the most successful of the modern day Wednesday managers, he’s held in high regard.

His second spell at Hillsborough was a short one, but the Owls managed to stay in the top flight in the 1997/1998 season.

A larger than life character (the game these days is perhaps crying out for more of those), Ron’s overall record in completing two spells at the club is P 145, W 58, D 45, L 42 – a win ratio of 40%.

He ‘takes charge’ of our Greatest Ever Owls Team: Kevin Pressman, Roland Nilsson, Des Walker, Peter Swan, Don Megson, Chris Waddle, John Sheridan, Carlton Palmer, John Harkes, David Hirst, Derek Dooley.

Note: Looking back through our polls, Big Ron would have also had an impressive array of substitutes to call upon, if we select those who had a good number of votes (but not enough to win a starting spot). Ron Springett, Mel Sterland, Nigel Worthington, Nigel Pearson, Alan Finney and Paolo Di Canio were the players who almost, but not quite, made our team.