The 2004/05 season was an unusual one for Sheffield Wednesday. Beginning the season under the stewardship of Chris Turner, expectations were high, especially after he had been given relatively substantial resources over the summer for the third tier at that time. However, after a slow start, he was dismissed in September and replaced by former Scotland international Paul Sturrock.
The Owls continued to struggle up until November, when they hit a fine purple patch, and looked set to mount an automatic promotion push up until March, when they began a dreadful end of season run which saw Luton Town and Hull City comfortably secure the top two promotion slots, with Wednesday ending the season in 5th place.
They picked themselves up after a run of just 1 win in 9 for the play-offs though, winning all three ties, beating Brentford in both legs of the semi-final and seeing off Hartlepool in the final in front of almost 60,000 at the Millennium Stadium. It was by no means an easy victory for the Owls, although they eventually ran out 4-2 victors, it took extra time for them to beat the Pools. More than a decade on, we take a looks at where Wednesday's 2005 play-off final heroes are now:
Sheffield Wednesday players celebrate promotion to the Championship
Former Preston North End stalwart and England youth international David Lucas spent 3 seasons at Hillsborough, one on loan and two as a permanent Sheffield Wednesday player. He suffered a couple of injuries during the 2004/05 campaign but still made 41 starts and kept 15 clean sheets. Lucas is now the first team goalkeeping coach at Fleetwood Town.
Once named Sheffield Wednesday's greatest ever captain, perhaps a little generously and influenced heavily by younger voters, Lee Bullen was certainly a great captain for the Owls. Bullen made just shy of 150 appearances in 4 seasons at Hillsborough, and the 45-year-old now works as a first team coach under Carlos Carvalhal at Wednesday.
Barnsley manager Paul Heckingbottom celebrates winning the League One Play-Off Final
Paul Heckingbottom played for a handful of northern clubs from the Premier League down to what is now known as the National League. He won promotion with Wednesday in his first season and spent another at the club in the Championship before leaving for Barnsley, the club where he now works as head coach.
Richard Wood came through the youth setup at Wednesday and went on to make almost 200 appearances for the Owls. After 7 years with the club, Wood departed for Coventry City in 2010 and now plays for Championship and Yorkshire rivals Rotherham United.
Former Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland international Alex Bruce played just 9 games on-loan at Sheffield Wednesday, but one of those was the 2005 League One play-off final. The son of Aston Villa boss and Manchester United legend Steve Bruce, son Alex now plays his club football for Wednesday's recent play-off final spoilers Hull City.
Manchester City's David Silva in action with Stoke's Glenn Whelan
Another Ireland international, although a rather more experienced one, Glenn Whelan has won 78 caps for the Boys in Green and is still going strong at 32. A very good servant for Wednesday, he was sold to Stoke City in 2008, where he's currently in his tenth season and is still a Premier League regular.
Glasgow-born midfielder Jon-Paul McGovern came through the ranks at Celtic, but never made a first team appearance for the Bhoys. The 36-year-old spent 2 years at Wednesday and scored the opening goal of the 2005 final. He now plays his club football for Clyde in Scotland's fourth tier.
Much like Glenn Whelan, Chris Brunt left Sheffield Wednesday a couple of years after the play-off final win and went on to become a first team regular in the Premier League and he remains one today. Now aged 31, Wednesday sold Brunt for £3 million, but having made almost 250 top flight appearances for West Brom, he has proved good value for money by the Baggies.
Craig Rocastle shoots for Sheffield Wednesday vs Queens Park Rangers
London-born Grenadian international Craig Rocastle joined Sheffield Wednesday from Chelsea in 2005, and spent a single season in the Steel City. After leaving Hillsborough, Rocastle played in the USA, Greece and the English lower leagues. Aged 35, he is now retired, and began working as the head soccer coach at Seaman High School in 2015.
Never prolific for Sheffield Wednesday, Lee Peacock spent 2 seasons with the club, scoring 6 goals in 51 league outings. He arrived in Sheffield on a free transfer having had a better than 1:3 goals-to-game ratio at Bristol City. Now aged 40, the retired Scot works as Head of Youth Development at National League side Eastleigh.
With half a century of caps for Northern Ireland, James Quinn had a long and successful career in the Football League with the likes of Blackpool and West Brom, as well as a 3 year stint in Holland with Willem II. It was his time in the Netherlands which immediately preceded his single season at Wednesday, in which he scored twice in 15 league games. A 41-year-old Quinn now works as a coach at Tranmere Rovers.
Paul Sturrock was the Sheffield Wednesday manager for the 2005 final