Sheffield Wednesday's top 30 players - Number 17

HITC Sport's run-down of Sheffield Wednesday's greatest ever players continues with Roland Nilsson

If this list was based purely on cult-hero status, few would rank higher than Roland Nilsson. But the man who, as the song suggests, was all the numbers Sheffield Wednesday (bar 9), is at 17 for us.

Nilsson was a relative unknown upon arriving at Hillsborough for £375,000 from IFK Goteborg in December 1989 and in truth, he still is outside of Scandinavia, Sheffield and Coventry - where he spent two spells as a player and one as a manager.

But 22 years on from his Owls departure, there isn't a Wednesdayite alive who's unaware of the swashbuckling Swedish right-back.

Despite his status as a three-time Allsvenskan and once UEFA Cup winner - ironically in 1986-87, when Wednesday were prevented from entering as per the ban on English clubs - Nilsson was unable to keep Ron Atkinson's team in the top division.

However, as it transpired, the Owls' promotion to the second tier would kickstart their ascent towards the very top of English football - a rise in which Nilsson played an integral role.

The following season - 1990-91 - Nilsson helped Wednesday to promotion, on top of a League Cup final victory over Manchester United at Wembley, and a year later, he was playing for the third best team in the country, with further appearances at the national stadium on the horizon.

Nilsson and the Owls, then under the tutelage of former winger Trevor Francis, played under the old twin towers on four occasions throughout 1992-93, beating Sheffield United 2-1 in the FA Cup semi-finals, before losing by the same scoreline to Arsenal in the final of both cup competitions, after the original FA Cup fixture had ended all-square.

But a mere six months later, Nilsson asked to leave the club due to homesickness and his request was granted by Francis - albeit only after he'd seen out the rest of the campaign, in which the team finished seventh.

He returned to England for brief spells at Coventry in 1997, under Atkinson, and 2001, when he replaced Gordon Strachan as manager.

In 2007, the website Vital Football ran a poll which named Nilsson as Wednesday's greatest ever right-back, and without giving too much away, we've no complaints about that.

Sheffield Wednesday career: 1989-1994

Appearances: 186

Goals: 3

International career: 1986-2000

Caps: 116

Goals: 1

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