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Former Reggae Boy completes Wednesday’s journey back to Championship

Published:Tuesday | May 30, 2023 | 12:54 AMDaniel Wheeler/Staff Reporter
Darren Moore
Darren Moore

Former Reggae Boy Darren Moore is basking in the glow of the biggest achievement in his managerial career so far as he completed Sheffield Wednesday’s assent back to the English Football League (EFL) Championship.

Wednesday defeated Barnsley 1-0 in their English League One play-off final yesterday, thanks to a Josh Windass header with the last play of extra time to bring the club back to the English second tier, two years after they were relegated.

The achievement completes a turnaround for Moore, whose team were on the brink of elimination after being down 4-0 to Peterborough United in their play-off semi-final tie and the resulting online racial abuse that he suffered afterwards. Wednesday would turn that tie around to win it on penalties and send them to Wembley

In a season of twists and turns, Moore reflected on the journey that he and the team have taken and is pleased that the club is in a position to battle for the Premier League once more

“It was a special moment. Just a delightful moment for everybody at the football club. It means so much to help this club get back to the Championship,” Moore said. “I’m really pleased, but it’s important everybody shares in it. It has been a joint effort, and it just goes to show when a club comes together what can be achieved. It’s been a long journey, but a worthwhile journey.”

It was a journey that started in March 2021, when he was named manager with six games to go and Wednesday’s relegation to League One all but confirmed. Last season they would finish in fourth place with 85 points, but failed in the play-offs at the first time of asking. This year, they would amass a club record of 96 points to finish in third place.

In the midst of the challenges of the season, Moore said that he leaned on his faith, as well as the support from his staff to navigate the tough stretches.

“I lean on my faith, and it is about having great belief in what I’m trying to do for the football club, giving everything but also trying to energise my staff, because I can’t do it alone,” Moore said.

Wednesday played with a man advantage from the 49th minute, when Barnsley’s Adam Phillips was given a straight red. Even when it seemed that it would be destined for penalties, Moore hailed his team’s resolve

“We knew it would be tight, but it was about staying together. The derby aspect, the magnitude of the game, the arena. I thought it was one moment that fell to us, and credit to the boys for going all the way to the end,” Moore said.