Defining Moments | Paul Wilkinson
AVOIDING RELEGATION IN 1990/91
Obviously the season as a whole wasn’t one of the best for the club, but it was still a great achievement to stay up after the start we made. We went through a few managers, which didn’t help, and we really struggled to get any momentum. We went eight or nine games at home without a win and around Christmas time it looked like we’d be going down.
But, we managed to turn it around and I remember we went to Oxford on the second last game of the season knowing a win would keep us up. We secured the win and I managed to score that day too, and it felt like we’d won promotion!
It was probably more relief than anything else after what had been a long, hard season. In hindsight it was a probably a bigger moment for the club than we gave it credit for at the time, as another relegation could have been disastrous.
SECOND DIVISION PLAY-OFFS IN 1988/89
Although we ended up losing in the semi-finals against Blackburn, it was still a great season for me personally and for the club. We had a good attacking team and I managed to score a fair few goals. We travelled up to Blackburn in the first leg and managed to secure a 0-0 draw which we thought was a good result, and maybe we relaxed a little bit ahead of the second leg.
Away goals counted double and they scored first at Vicarage Road, which put them in the driving seat. We equalised but couldn’t quite find the extra goal we needed. At the time it was a huge disappointment for all of us and it’s only in hindsight that you’re able to appreciate what a good season it was. There was an excellent team spirit too and it was one of the most enjoyable periods of my career.
BEATING BRADFORD CITY 7-2
There’s not many games you remember from your playing career, but this is certainly one. It wasn’t the biggest game I played in whilst at the club but it was just one of those afternoons where everything went right for us. We played some fantastic football and were 5-0 up at half-time.
Very rarely do things go exactly the way you want on a football pitch, but everything we touched that afternoon turned to gold. I scored a hat-trick and probably could have had a few more. We all walked away from the stadium that afternoon with a smile on our faces and feeling like we’d done a good day’s work. If there’s one game which shows exactly how football should be played, it was that one.