The Belgian international failed to make a big impact in English football.
Speaking ahead of his nation Belgium’s meeting with the Republic of Ireland he had this to say about his time in England – which was a struggle:
“England was very hard because it was a completely different way of football.
“In Holland, I was playing forward and was always pressurising the defensive team.
“In England, it was completely different. I played in a decent team but not that good obviously, because we got relegated in the first year, but it was a big change for me.
“English football was very hard. After, when I went to Aston Villa, it was much better, because Aston Villa were a much better team. At Sheffield, it was really difficult.”
De Bilde arrived in England and at Sheffield Wednesday with a fantastic record at club’s like Eendracht Aalst, Anderlecht and PSV Eindhoven. He also had a reputation for being a hothead.
He played 59 league games for the Owls and scored 13 goals – which is not a bad return. However, the club were relegated in his first season at the club and he spent a less than impressive spell out on loan at Aston Villa.
Eventually he left England after two seasons – heading back to former club Anderlecht before finishing his career with stints at Lierse and Willebroek-Meerhof.
De Bilde is no doubt a cult figure at Wednesday, for his larger than life personality and for personifying their final era of top-flight football.
The Yorkshire club came close to returning in 2015-16 but just about failed at the last hurdle. Next season Wednesday and Villa, both of his former clubs, will face off in the battle for Championship promotion.
De Bilde will surely not begrudge either a return to the top-flight.