Sheffield Wednesday to play in League One Play-Off Final
The Owls have the chance to make their return to the EFL Championship after two seasons in League One
Darren Moore’s Sheffield Wednesday take on Barnsley at Wembley on Monday 29th May 2023, as the two clubs look to claim the prize of promotion to the EFL Championship in what is set to be a competitive match.
The Owls had an incredible season, but they were just as unlucky as they were brilliant. Moore’s side finished 3rd in League One with 96 points, just two behind Ipswich Town who took the final automatic promotion spot in 2nd place.
If this was not unlucky enough, there is the matter of their points total. The 96 points that they earned over the course of 46 games would be enough to win the League One title in 4 of the last 5 seasons
Going back a few years and Sheffield Wednesday were a founder member of the Premier League in 1992, finishing third in the final season of the old first division, securing them qualification for the UEFA Cup.
They achieved this with the legendary Trevor Francis as their manager. Francis had taken the post following the departure of Ron Atkinson to Aston Villa following the Owls’ promotion to the first division in 1991.
However, this achievement was quite understandably overshadowed by victory for Atkinson’s Owls in the League Cup Final against Manchester United, winning 1-0, with John Sheridan scoring the only goal of the game in the latter stages of the first half. This was Wednesday’s first major trophy since they won the FA Cup in 1935.
Wednesday were in the Premier League for 8 seasons, starting from the league’s inaugural season in 1992. Their highest finish over the course of their time in the Premier League was 7th, which they did 3 times in total (1992/93, 1993/94 & 1996/97).
Unfortunately for the Owls, they suffered relegation to the second tier in the 1999/00 season after finishing 19th with 31 points, just 5 from safety. Watford and Wimbledon got relegated with Wednesday with Bradford City avoiding relegation by the skin of their teeth in 17th place.
It was a 20th place finish in the second tier in 2001/02 under then Head Coach Terry Yorath. It got worse the following season (2002/03) when the club suffered relegation to the third tier of English Football after a 22nd place finish.
They spent two seasons in the third tier before finally securing promotion back to the second tier, now known as the Championship. Their route to the Championship was through the 2004/05 play-off final when they beat Hartlepool United 4-2 in the final, led by then manager Paul Sturrock.
Sheffield Wednesday remained in the second tier until 2010, when they were relegated again. They did get promoted after two seasons, finishing 2nd in 2011/12. The Owls remained in the Championship until their relegation in 2021.
In this time, Wednesday did get close to promotion to the Premier League, finishing in the play-offs twice in two successive seasons (2015/16 & 2016/17), both with Carlos Carvalhal at the helm. They came closest to a top flight return in 2015/16 when they unfortunately lost 1-0 against Steve Bruce’s Hull City in the final at Wembley.
Following their relegation to League One in 2021, Sheffield Wednesday finished 4th, qualifying for the promotion play-offs. Unfortunately for the Owls, they lost 2-1 on aggregate in the semi-finals to Sunderland, with the Black Cats going on to win promotion back to the Championship.
This season (2022/23), they have managed to make it to the final in extraordinary fashion. Their semi-final tie with Peterborough United looked to be all but over going into the second leg after a 4-0 defeat at the London Road Stadium.
At Hillsborough, Darren Moore’s team turned it around, winning 5-1 after extra time before going on to win 5-3 on penalties.
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