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The end of the 1989-90 season was one for football fans in Yorkshire to remember.

It was the time when Leeds United were promoted as Second Division champions, after an eight-year absence from the top-flight.

When Yorkshire ruled over English football in the early 1990'sSheffield Wednesday were desperately unlucky in being relegated from the First Division (their tally of 43 points being one of the highest for any relegated team, after looking secure not long before) while Sheffield United also secured a promotion spot by finishing runners-up behind Leeds. As it were, the early 1990s were to be memorable for all three Yorkshire clubs.

In 1982 Leeds found themselves relegated under Allan Clarke after some years of decline post-Revie and Armfield, though Jock Stein and then Jimmy Adamson had started well at the helm. Clarke returned to manage them, yet failed to arrest the decline.

Following relegation, the club turned to legends Eddie Gray and then Billy Bremner in a bid to get back up, which they nearly did on a few occasions and even made it to an FA Cup semi-final in 1987. Leeds had to rely on youth – which was actually quite successful, with John Sheridan, Denis Irwin, Scott Sellars, Neil Aspin, Bob Taylor and Tommy Wright coming through and then going on to either decent, or great careers elsewhere.

The appointment of Howard Wilkinson in 1988 meant a break with the past at Elland Road and paid off with the Second Division championship two years later. Leeds kept up momentum in the top-flight, and now boasted a formidable midfield quartet in Gordon Strachan, David Batty, Gary McAllister and Gary Speed.

Lee Chapman enjoyed a purple patch in scoring, while Eric Cantona would be one of the most important new arrivals in English football. But it was the midfield that saw Leeds charge toward the title in 1992, as Manchester United proceeded to throw away their chance of a first in 25-years.

It was clear that Sheffield Wednesday’s relegation in 1990 was an aberration, and a team containing John Sheridan and David Hirst bounced back the next year and won the League Cup. Others in the side included Carlton Palmer, Roland Nilsson, Danny Wilson and Nigel Worthington.

With Ron Atkinson leaving for Aston Villa in the summer of 1991, Trevor Francis took over as manager. The Owls kicked on strongly following promotion and were in fact only three points off the top with two games remaining. They may well have won the league were it not for some horrid results, such as losing 6-1 to Leeds at home and 7-1 at Arsenal.

Following promotion in 1990, Sheffield United under Dave Bassett accomplished a miracle. Failing to win their first 16 games of 1990-91, they managed one of the most remarkable turnarounds of a season in living memory to finish a respectable 13th. With players like Glyn Hodges, Dane Whitehouse, Ian Bryson and Brian Deane, the Blades were a side which had no lack of fighting spirit and after a poor start to 1991-92, managed another turnaround in form and a Steel City Derby double.

For the three Yorkshire clubs, this was as good as it was going to get. Well, almost. For Leeds United, it was to be many years of ‘living the dream’ in the Premier League during an era before foreign takeovers rewrote the rules. Leeds United would become a textbook example of imprudence and paid the heaviest price, even spending three seasons in League One. 2016-17 is the closest they have come to the playoffs since returning to the Championship.

Sheffield Wednesday, likewise, experienced their share of financial woes in the years following relegation in 2000 and had two spells in the third tier. In the last few years they have revived and have made the Championship playoffs, most recently losing to Huddersfield Town.

Meanwhile, Sheffield United enjoyed a season in the Premier League under Neil Warnock but most recently have had six seasons in League One, a spell ended emphatically with their 2016-17 title success, by accumulating 100 points.

Originally published at outside90.com

Post written by David Votoupal, Twitter: @Everton4Life, Blog: thefootballwanderer.wordpress.com
for Outside 90, Blog: outside90.com, Twitter: @Outside90

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