The county that (almost) couldn’t lose: Highs and lows of Yorkshire’s Wembley weekend

Barnsley's Conor Hourihane lifts the trophy and celebrates promotion with his team-mates after the Sky Bet League One Play-Off Final at Wembley

Barnsley's Conor Hourihane lifts the trophy and celebrates promotion with his team-mates after the Sky Bet League One Play-Off Final at Wembley

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YOU WAIT years for a Yorkshire club to get to Wembley, then suddenly three are there over the same weekend.

Hull City and Barnsley enjoyed their day out in the capital; Sheffield Wednesday less so.

Hull City players inside the dressing room after winning the Championship Play-Off Final against Sheffield Wednesday at Wembley

Hull City players inside the dressing room after winning the Championship Play-Off Final against Sheffield Wednesday at Wembley

First up were Hull City and Sheffield Wednesday who played in the Championship play-off with a place in the Premiership at stake.

With £170m reputedly at stake, it was always going to be a tense encounter, but Mohammed Diame’s 25-yard shot split the teams and helped City regain a place in the Premiership at the first attempt.

Coverage of both matches in full

Wednesday might have taken more supporters (40,000 to Hull’s 25,000) but it was the Tiger fans who celebrated at the whistle. Wednesday’s 16 years out of the top flight continues for at least another season.

Barnsley's Conor Hourihane (centre) celebrates with the trophy and team-mates after the Sky Bet League One Play-Off Final

Barnsley's Conor Hourihane (centre) celebrates with the trophy and team-mates after the Sky Bet League One Play-Off Final

Hull might have been expected to stage a victory parade but none was planned. Wednesday, it is understood, would have staged such a celebration had they won.

Barnsley had to wait until Sunday for their day in the sun when they took on Londoners Millwall.

The Oakwell fans - dubbed the Flat Cap Army - might have taken their usual seats at Wembley, such is their familiarity with the ground. It was only 57 days since they were there for the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy when they beat Oxford United.

The Flat Cap Army relished that victory but today’s was more important, lifting the club back to the second tier of English football.

Barnsley fans celebrate in the stands

Barnsley fans celebrate in the stands

There were congratulations from a perhaps unexpected quarter.

Bradford City could have been at Wembley to play Barnsley had they not been beaten by Millwall.

But Bradford City officials were quick to tweet their congratulations across the county.

“Congratulations to (Barnsley) on securing promotion to the (SkyBet Championship) with victory in the Play-Off Final this afternoon,” they said last night.

It was ‘liked’ 239 times last night and retweeted 77 times.

One supporter, Ian Jones, 29, of Barnsley, said: “It was a great day out. To come to Wembley once and win is fantastic. To do it for a second time is unbelieavable.

“It is a shame there was some trouble. That might overshadow the success a little but it shouldn’t. The Barnsley fans weren’t the problem. It was just a few idiots from Millwall. It was a shame that their club’s name gets dragged through the mud.”

Another fan, Mark Wallace, 45, of Cudworth, said: “Wembley is our lucky ground. We can’t help but win here. It’s been a long wait to get here but it has been worth it.”

Across the county, Sheffield Wednesday fans were wounded but proud. “They did so well, I’m emotional just thinking about it,” said life-long fan Sarah Lapworth, whose great grandfather George Beech played for Sheffield Wednesday between 1897 and 1904.

The 43-year-old added: “I’m incredibly proud. I really don’t think they could have done anymore than they did.

“I think playing in this final is going to give them such confidence that they’ll make it straight into the Premiership next season.”

Jez Clegg, of Stocksbridge, said he was disappointed, but thought the Owls would be able to learn from Saturday’s game. They’ve got nothing to be ashamed of.”

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