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Dave Lucas talks 2005 playoff win


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https://www.examinerlive.co.uk/sport/football/news/david-lucas-lifts-lid-sheffield-24089291

David Lucas never gets tired of watching Drew Talbot's goal in the 2005 League One play-off final. Talbot was coolness personified in front of goal deep into added on time at the Millennium Stadium. The substitute raced in behind Pool's defence and coolly rounded Dimitrios Konstantopoulos before slotting in the Owls' fourth goal to seal promotion.

Talbot's strike reminds Lucas of the greatest moment in his playing career. Today is the 17th anniversary since Wednesday triumphed in the Welsh capital.

Roared on by around 40,000 Wednesdayites, Paul Sturrock's team came-from-behind to win 4-2 after extra time. It was an unforgettable day in the Owls' recent history.

Lucas, Wednesday's No 1 in their successful promotion charge, told Yorkshire Live: "The final ranks high up in my career. It is probably number one.

"I had been at Preston as a kid and had got promotion with them but to go to Wednesday off my own back and do a job was a different sort of satisfaction." 

The Class of 2005 are still the only Owls side to have been successful in the play-offs. "We didn't change anything in the build up to the game," said Lucas. 

"We didn't go in suits. We were in our tracksuits. We went down the day before and we treated it like a normal game. It is what Paul Sturrock (the manager) was all about. We had no prima donna's. We went out there and did our jobs.\

"I didn't have a lot to do in the final. We were on top in the first half. They [Hartlepool] hit us with a double whammy in the second half and then it was all us.

"They then had a man sent off and I hardly touched the ball in extra time. Every now and again I do watch Drew's goal. It was fantastic. It was just our year."

The players partied hard back at Sheffield. "We had a few beers at one of the chairman's casino's and then scattered," said Lucas, who had two successful loan spells at Hillsborough before joining the club on a permanent basis. 

"We knew we had to be back in pre-season training four weeks later. Looking back, it was a shame we didn't stay down (in Cardiff) and have a proper celebration but that's what it was like."

So what was the secret to the team's success? Lucas said: "The club brought in a lot of new players in the summer. It was a clean slate. We gelled on and off the pitch. We were proper mates.

"We ran the dressing room ourselves. We didn't need to take too much from the gaffer and the coaching staff. We policed it ourselves and knew what the standards were. 

"There were non negotiables. When you came into training, you had to work your balls off every day. But we had some really good players. We had some young lads who had potential and grew as the season went on and we had people like myself who needed to kickstart their career."

Ex-Wednesday goalkeeper Chris Turner had assembled a large proportion of the squad on a limited budget before his sacking earlier in September 2004. Sturrock took over from Turner with the Owls languishing in the bottom half of the table.

But Sturrock, famed for his likeable persona and clever man management skills, transformed Wednesday's fortunes. Lucas said: "His bark was worse than his bite.

"He was a good guy. He was old school but he knew how to get the best out of people. We were a tight group anyway so we didn't need too much rallying. What the gaffer was great at was sensing what we needed at the right time."

 

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These two sentences:

“We went down the day before and we treated it like a normal game. It is what Paul Sturrock (the manager) was all about”.

“But we had some really good players. We had some young lads who had potential and grew as the season went on and we had people like myself who needed to kickstart their career."

That should be our blueprint for next season! No continual worrying about the opposition and changing tactics, and a team/squad with a blend of youth and experience. 

And maybe having a squad of players to pick from who are fit more often than they’re injured would be a nice bonus as well!  
 

 

 

 

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