Sheffield Wednesday's top 30 players - Number 19

HITC Sport's run-down of the greatest ever Owls players continues with Nigel Pearson.

With the likes of Marc Chamberlain, Lawrie Madden and, of course, David Hirst all impressing for Wednesday after being signed from lower division clubs, the Owls continued their rough-diamond recruitment policy in late 1987 - acquiring Nigel Pearson from a then second-tier Shrewsbury Town.

Almost immediately, the reported £250,000 capture became a regular in English football's highest echelon, playing 19 games that season and never falling below 31 in any of his next four full campaigns.

Though Wednesday were relegated from the top flight in 1990 - ironically at the hands of Pearson's local team Nottingham Forest - the no-nonsense centre-back was a key member of the side that bounced back at the first attempt.

Pearson played in 39 league games that season, captaining Ron Atkinson's side to not only a third-placed finish, but the Rumbelows Cup in April 1991, in which Alex Ferguson's Manchester United were the Owls' victims.

John Sheridan's first-half strike ensured that Wednesday, to this day, remain the last team from outside the top flight to win either of English football's domestic cup competitions, but it was Pearson who was named man of the match having stood firm in the face of a second-half United onslaught.

Unfortunately for Pearson, he was unable to replicate his previous Wembley success when the Owls returned to the national stadium two years later, with a broken leg ruling him out of the FA Cup semi-final win against Sheffield United, the final and subsequent replay defeat to Arsenal, and the League Cup final loss to the same opponents.

Pearson only played five minutes of the following league campaign, having suffered a lengthy lay-off, and was sold to Middlesbrough shortly after.

The 52-year-old has since embarked upon a successful managerial career, twice leading Leicester City to promotion, and continues to reside in the Steel City.

His name is often the first on Wednesdayites' lips whenever they are without a manager.

Sheffield Wednesday career: 1987-1994

Appearances: 222

Goals: 20

Honours: Division Two promotion (1990-91); Rumbelows Cup winner (1990-91)


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