Sheffield Wednesday's top 30 players - Number 9

Sheffield Wednesday

HITC Sport's countdown of the Owls' greatest ever players continues with Ron Springett.

So good was Ron Springett, the goalkeeper signed by Sheffield Wednesday for a substantial £10,000 fee in 1958, that he was allowed to live in London, train at Queens Park Rangers and travel to the North (or elsewhere) in time for the weekend's match.

It was one hell of a commute, given there was no two-hour-seven-minute service to St. Pancras in those days.

Springett, who sadly died last year, aged 80, was relegated in his first season at Hillsborough, but helped the Owls to promotion as Second Division champions the following year.

From there, he barely looked back. Wednesday finished fifth in the top flight upon their return, then second the season after that - behind Bill Nicholson's double-winning Spurs side - allowing them to compete with (and beat) the likes of Barcelona in Uefa's Fairs Cup.

Despite standing at a mere 5ft 10, Springett was, as the Guardian's obituary describes, "one of the best keepers in the top division" and earned his first England call-up in 1959.

He quickly established himself as the Three Lions' number 1 and played in every single one of his country's matches at the 1962 World Cup, from which they were eliminated, familiarly, at the quarter-final stage.

Though Springett lost his international place to Sheffielder Gordon Banks the following year, he made it into Alf Ramsey's 1966 squad as the Leicester City man's understudy.

In those days, only those who'd appeared at the finals were awarded medals. However, this was finally put right in 2009, at a ceremony attended by Springett and co at 10 Downing Street. He is the only Wednesday player ever to have owned one.

After leading the Owls to top half finishes in six of his eight First Division campaigns at Hillsborough, as well as the 1966 FA Cup final, Springett departed the club in a manner which, it is thought, was unprecedented - and has never again been repeated.

The recipients were his former employers QPR - who sent Springett's younger brother Peter in part-exchange.

Sheffield Wednesday career: 1958-1967

Appearances: 384

Honours: Second Divison, winner (1958-59)

International career: 1959-1966

Caps: 33

The countdown so far: Number 30, Number 29, Number 28, Number 27, Number 26, Number 25, Number 24,Number 23, Number 22, Number 21, Number 20, Number, 19, Number 18, Number 17, Number 16,Number 15, Number 14, Number 13, Number 12, Number 11, Number 10

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