Where Are They Now? #3 – 2003 Championship Play-Off Final (Sheffield United)

Before Watford and Crystal Palace battle it out at Wembley, “Where Are They Now?” wonders what happened to the squads of the finalists of a decade ago. Here we learn about the defeated team, Sheffield United…

STARTING XI

Paddy Kenny (Goalkeeper)

SPT IHN 181106-30

Signed from Bury by Neil Warnock in 2002, United would be the second club at which the manager and Kenny would link up. Despite the defeat in this play-off final, Kenny would get promoted with United via the play-offs in 2006. Stayed with the club after relegation in 2007 and suffered more play-off final heartache in 2009. Banned for 9 months in September 2009 for failing a drugs test but still received a new contract from United. Controversially left in 2010 to rejoin Warnock at QPR where he won promotion to the Premiership in his first season. Was first choice keeper for QPR in the Premiership but was allowed to join Warnock at Leeds in 2012, where he currently plays. Won 7 Republic of Ireland caps between 2004 and 2006.

John Curtis (Defender)

John Curtis

See “Where Are They Now? #1

Robert Page (Defender/Captain)

Page

Joined from Watford (where he had been named their Player of the Season in their maiden season in the Premiership) in 2001 and captained the side in the final. Made over 100 appearances for the Blades before joining Cardiff in 2004. Left in February 2005 due to lack of first team chances and joined Coventry.  Made captain of Coventry in 2006 before he and vice-captain Michael Doyle hit the headlines in January 2007 for brawling during training. Joined Huddersfield in January 2008 before moving on to Chesterfield in June 2008. Ended his career when he was released in March 2011. Earned 41 caps for Wales, captaining the side once. Appointed to a youth coach position at Port Vale in July 2011 before being promoted to first team coach in May 2012, a position he still holds.

Phil Jagielka (Defender)

Jagielka

A product of the youth system at United, Jagielka stayed with the club until after their relegation from the Premiership in 2007. Joined Everton at that time for £4 million and still plays for the Toffees, having played over 200 games for them. Called up to the England squad in 2008 and has, to date, made 16 appearances for his country scoring once in a friendly against Italy in 2012.

Robert Kozluk (Defender)

Soccer - FA Cup - Third Round - Sheffield United v Aston Villa - Bramall Lane

Signed from Derby County in 1999, Kozluk went on to play over 200 times for the Blades before his departure in 2007 for Barnsley. Hailed as a “massive coup” by the club, he played over 80 games in three years before returning to Sheffield United in July 2010. Only made 10 more appearenaces for United before joining Port Vale in 2011.  Left Vale at Christmas 2011 and signed with Bradford in January 2012 before leaving at the end of the season. Joined Northern Premier side Ilkeston in 2013 as player-coach where he still is.

Peter Ndlovu (Midfielder)

Soccer - Peter Ndlovu Filer

Signed from Birmingham City in 2001, Zimbabwe international Ndlovu was replaced after 64 minutes by Paul Peschisolido against Wolves. Left United in 2004 and moved to South Africa with Mamelodi Sundowns where he won two South African Premier League titles. He left Sundowns in 2008 for Thanda Royal Zulu before spells with Highfield United and Black Mambas before his retirement in 2011. He finished his international career in 2006 with 100 caps and 38 goals for Zimbabwe. Currently assistant manager of the Zimbabwe national team, a position he has had since 2011.

Michael Brown (Midfielder)

Brown

Joined the Blades from Manchester City in 1999 and earned a reputation as a goal scoring midfielder at Bramall Lane. Had a penalty saved and got booked against Wolves. Joined Tottenham in 2004 before spells with Fulham, Wigan and Portsmouth. Currently plays for Championship side Leeds United and has done since 2011.

Mark Rankine (Midfielder)

Rankine

A loan signing from Preston at the time, Rankine was subsituted at half time for Stuart McCall. Rankine’s move was made permanent after the game. Rarely played before heading to Tranmere in 2004 where he played up until his retirement in 2006. Currently working as a football agent which he has been doing since 2008.

Michael Tonge (Midfielder)

Sheffield United v Fulham

Signed as a youth in 1999 after being released by Manchester United, Tonge was booked in the game against Wolves. Stayed with United until 2008 when he left for Stoke having made over 300 appearances for the Blades. Barely played at Stoke and had loan spells at Preston, Derby and Barnsley. Loaned to Leeds in 2012 which became permanent in January 2013 and where he still currently plays.

Carl Asaba (Striker)

Asaba

Signed from Gillingham in 2001, Asaba left the Blades following the final, joining Stoke City. Played for Stoke until 2005 when he joined Millwall. After being released, he failed to agree terms with a number of clubs and retired in 2006.

Steve Kabba (Striker)

Kabba

Signed in 2002 from Crystal Palace, Kabba was replaced after 77 minutes by Wayne Allison. Joined Watford in January 2007 where he never really fired and consequently had spells at clubs such as Blackpool, Burton, Brentford and Oldham. Joined Barnet in 2010 where he showed some form before a serious knee injury in November 2011. Recently released by Barnet to give him an opportunity for a full pre-season elsewhere.

SUBSTITUTES 

Gary Kelly (Goalkeeper)

Kelly

Veteran keeper Kelly was signed in 2003 and only made one appearance for the Blades in his short stint at the club. An unused sub in the play-off final, he left afterwards fir Leigh RMI where he spent a season before his retirement in 2004. More recently played Masters football for first club Newcastle United and has his coaching badges.

Stuart McCall (Midfielder)

McCall

Signed from Bradford in 2002, McCall was brought on at half time for Rankine. He was an integral part of the side despite being 38 and also coaching the reserves. Kept playing until 2005 when he retired aged 41. Became Neil Warnock’s assistant after retirement and remained with the Blades until 2007 when he left. Appointed Bradford manager in June 2007 but failed to gain promotion from League Two and left by mutual consent in 2010. Took time off from football before joining Motherwell as manager near the end of 2010. Still manager at Fir Park and also recently became a member of the Gordon Strachan’s backroom staff for the Scottish national team.

Nick Montgomery (Midfielder)

Montgomery

A product of the United youth system, Montgomery was an unused sub against Wolves. Stayed with the Blades until 2012, leaving after over 350 appearances. He joined Australian side Central Coast Mariners (sister side of Sheffield United) where he still currently plays.

Paul Peschisolido (Striker)

Peschisolido

Canadian Peschisolido joined United from Fulham, first on loan in 2001 and then permanently later in the year. Brought on for Ndlovu in Cardiff, Peschisolido left United in 2004 for Derby County before a short spell with Luton Town in 2007 before his retirement. Was assistant to Jeff Kenna at Irish side St Patrick’s Athletic in 2009 before becoming Burton Albion boss in May 2009. Sacked in March 2012 for a run of poor results. Currently unemployed.

Wayne Allison (Striker)

Allison

Signed from Tranmere in 2002, Allison was brought on after 74 minutes in Cardiff. He only had one more season after the play off final after which he joined Chesterfield. After 4 seasons, Allison left in 2008 and retired. He immediately began a career in coaching at Chester where he was caretaker manager for a short spell in 2008. He left the club following this and after short spells at Bury and Tranmere, he joined the staff at Bristol City in 2011 where he still works. Also, earned a PhD at Sheffield Hallam University so his official title is actually Dr Wayne Allison

MANAGER

Neil Warnock

Warnock

Joined United from Bury in 1999, Warnock developed a reputation for being very outspoken and volatile with regards to refereeing decisions. This was clear in Cardiff as he was sent off at half time for arguing with the referee. Left United in 2007 following their relegation from the Premiership. Joined Crystal Palace in October 2007 and was reasonably successful before he left in 2010 after Palace went into administration. Became QPR boss in March 2010 and got the club promoted to the Premiership in 2011. Sacked in January 2012 before joining Leeds. Left the club in April 2013.

The Wolves part will be along soon. As always, don’t forget to suggest any squads you want to see down in the comments or on Twitter (@LongBallFoot).

Thanks for reading!

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