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John Sheridan: The Player

Posted: Sun 06 Jan 2013
Author: Rick Cowdery

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JOHN Sheridan played more than 700 senior games as a combative creative midfielder in a 22-year career that reached the very top.

Internationally, he represented Ireland in the 1990 and 1994 World Cup finals, while the highlight of a domestic career was scoring the Wembley winner for Sheffield Wednesday when the Owls beat Manchester United 1-0 in the 1991 League Cup final.

Sheridan was born in Stretford, Manchester, in October 1964, but crossed to the other side of the tracks and became a junior with Manchester City.

He did not graduate to the City first team but subsequently enjoyed notable spells at Leeds United and Oldham Athletic, where he finished his career in 2004, as well as Wednesday.

It was for Leeds that he made his senior bow in 1982 and he went on to play more than 250 times for the Yorkshire side over the next seven years before a bizarre sojourn at Nottingham Forest.

After opting to sign for Brian Clough ahead of Chelsea, John was left out in the cold after playing in just one League Cup tie for Forest.

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Forest’s loss was Wednesday’s gain and he reached the peak of his career over the next seven years, scoring 33 goals in 247 appearances.

As well as lambasting the winner in the 1991 Rumbelows Cup final, he helped Wednesday finish third in the top flight in 1992 and reach both domestic cup finals the following season – they were beaten by Arsenal in each.

He won the bulk of his 34 international caps for the Republic of Ireland during this period.

The fifth successive Argyle manager to have played at full international level, he was part of the Irish squad that travelled to the Euro 1988 finals but did not play, and made one appearance in the Italia ’90 World Cup finals.

Four years later, in the USA, he started all four of Ireland’s games, including the famous 1-0 win over Italy in which he hit the bar.

Back at club level, after a loan spell at Birmingham, John helped Bolton Wanderers to the Premier League as Division 1 champions in 1997.

He was released at the end of the following season and, following an eight-game spell in the Conference with Doncaster, signed for his final club, Oldham Athletic.

After more than 160 appearances over six seasons, during which the Latics remained a solid Second Division side, he hung up his boots a few months short of his 40th birthday.