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Mike Williams - Ex Owl 91-97 (The Forgotten Man)


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Guest HuddsOwl87

Hi There, 

 

I'm not sure who will find this interesting but here goes... And apologies it's very long winded.  

 

I was lucky enough to have had a fair few pints with Mike Williams this week (a few quiet drinks turned into a pub lock-in and leaving at 3am), my friend works with Mike and set up a pub meeting  with myself and another Wednesday fan so we could ask him some questions of Wednesday around that 90s golden era.

 

I've seen a few posts over years gone by on Owls Talk asking about an ex-Wednesday and Burnley player in the 90s called Mike Williams. Mike played as a midfielder and make shift defender between 92-97 and was offered a contract by Big Ron after impressing during a trial game during 91 (just before Ron left the club). He was offered a contract whilst sneaking into the first team dressing room for a wee wee when Big Ron walked in... Ron used the urinal next to him and then looked at him and asked him "what the f*ck are you doing in here",  in what sounded like an awkward encounter. Mike apologised as he wasn't allowed in the dressing room and then quickly went to leave when Ron then said "oh by the way you've got a contract". 

 

I must admit that although I had heard Mike's name I hadn't seen him play during that period. I started following Wednesday in 94/95 and looking at Mike's Sheffield Wednesday appearance record it is very adhoc,  it's scattered with appearances which would include a run of games in the first team, then on the bench and then out of the squad which followed suit over the years.

 

However during the 94/95 season under Trevor Francis, this was his most productive, he played 10 games in the Premier League that season. He was Man of the Match against Ipswich in the final game of the 94/95 league where Wednesday were in slight danger of going down on goal difference if they'd lost. Wednesday ended up winning 4-1 with Williams having a goal and an assist during the game. Other personal highlights for him that season was playing at Old Trafford for the full 90 minutes... He kept Waddle out of the first 11 that game and played against a strong Leeds side too. He said Dennis Irwin was the best he's played against, his reading of the game was on another level. 

 

Mike had 25 games in total over a 5/6 year period and was loaned out a few times. He talked about having a good relationship with Trevor Francis over the first couple of years who he said was a wonderful player and manager,  he also said that Francis had promised to play him in atleast 20 games the following season based on how he'd performed at that back end of the 94/95 season. Mike signed a 3 year contract extension with Francis at the end of that season. Bad fortune however meant that although Wednesday survived relegation in 94/95 Trevor Francis was sacked.

 

Mike's promising Wednesday career faulted when David Pleat took over, he told us many stories of his struggles during this time where he was promised games and then frozen out of squads and berated infront of his fellow players. Suffice to say without going into detail and I've also read Waddles biography... Pleat did alot of damage to players who didn't conform or who were headstrong. Having met Williams he said he could have conformed which may have made things easier for himself in the first team but he couldn't change who he was as a person.

 

He was placed on the transfer list in 96/97 and Norwich were wanting to buy him, he was due to complete a £400,000 move to them but David Pleat vetoed the deal just before completion which he was fuming about and told Pleat so. He played his last Wednesday game against Everton where his ACL went, Pleat stormed into the dressing room after the game and then directed some expletives his way as Mike was laid on a physio table in pieces with his injury. He was told by a doctor that he would be out for atleast a year and didn't play for Wednesday again but was on the books for another year. David Pleat had put other managers off signing him during this period, however after recovering from injury Chris Waddle signed his old colleague and took him to Burnley. 

 

He said it didn't work out for him at Burnely and he still feels he let Waddle down. 

 

Some other good stories to hear as a fan was how John Sheridan would stick up for him in the dressing room. The usual Hirst was a good drinker stories and as good if not better than Alan Shearer if it wasn't for injuries. He said Hirst was the best striker he's seen at his peak and he'd had many squad nights out arond sheffield drinking with him. 

 

He said that Mark Bright was always giving him advice and looking out for him. 

 

He said the most professional player he played with was Rolan Nilson, the most talented/potential Chris Bart-Williams, Waddle who was incredibly deceptive in terms of fitness and unbelievable skill on the wing... Leroy Chambers I think he said was brilliant and held the reserves goal scoring record which he still think stands to this day. 

 

He also picked up Cantona and took him to his hotel to check in when he arrived in Sheffield. They then went out round Sheffield where Cantona left with 5 women. He said Cantona's game behind closed doors was sensational and he was a level above most. He said had he signed for Wednesday then they would have won the league with the team they had. 

 

Mike played 25 times during a great period in Wednesdays history. He played all his games for Sheff Wed at Premier League level against the likes of Arsenal, Leeds, Chelsea, Man Utd,  Man City. He was in and around the first team for many years and he was kept out of the first team in his early years by John Sheridan and Carlton Palmer. He has no qualms about not making more appearances during the early 90s but feels that Pleat played much lesser players over him when he took over and he deserved alot more. He still says Wednesday are in his heart,  he loves and follows there scores still. He has only been back once (last year) to watch them play. I think he has to be one of the forgotten players who was a good player during this period but he was keot out of the team by great players and a poor manager at the end who stopped him from getting more games for us. It was really insightful and the beer session meant a few of us were in the doghouses the next day as we had work. He was a top guy though and as a Wednesday fan it was unbelievable to hear some of the stories. 

 

Mike still does great things now, he works with underprivileged kids with behavioural difficulties and tries to assist them and help them learn. He said he'd love to go back to Wednesday and visit. 

 

Michael Williams. - Sheff wed career game and stats http://www.transfermarkt.co.uk/michael-williams/leistungsdatendetails/spieler/223291/plus/0?saison=&verein=1035&liga=&wettbewerb=GB1&pos=&trainer_id=

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Guest HuddsOwl87

Apologies for the spelling mistakes above, I typed it on my mobile and tried to edit it and it won't allow me... it also substituted the work p!ss for wee ww :/ . any ideas how I edit a post?

 

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5 minutes ago, HuddsOwl87 said:

Apologies for the spelling mistakes above, I typed it on my mobile and tried to edit it and it won't allow me... it also substituted the work p!ss for wee ww :/ . any ideas how I edit a post?

 

No problems, mate, good read

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Cheers for posting - really enjoyed reading that!

 

I remember him as being an okay player, but I don't have a detailed memory of his performances as such, overshadowed as he was by the more likely starters.

 

His comments on Pleat don't surprise me. I do think Pleat had a difficult task to replace the ageing legends, but in any case, he failed. The only good signing he made for us was Degryse, and Blinker had his moments. A potentially good signing in Kovacevic - who he claimed was 'one for the future' - only to give up on him after less than a season.

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Loved it.

 

Pleat was the ruination of Wednesday. Some of the players he brought in were quality (some weren't) but we weren't a team. This story gives an indication why.

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On 9/10/2016 at 13:38, edwardjameswells said:

Cheers for posting - really enjoyed reading that!

 

I remember him as being an okay player, but I don't have a detailed memory of his performances as such, overshadowed as he was by the more likely starters.

 

His comments on Pleat don't surprise me. I do think Pleat had a difficult task to replace the ageing legends, but in any case, he failed. The only good signing he made for us was Degryse, and Blinker had his moments. A potentially good signing in Kovacevic - who he claimed was 'one for the future' - only to give up on him after less than a season.

stefanovic and pembridge were good signings .........di canio and carbone could play a bit as well

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Good stuff man, Michael Williams was a wholehearted trier, who always gave his all. He was versatile and could fill in anywhere down the right. Was actually quite a popular player for someone who wasn't always a regular

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