With prolific striker Kevin Phillips in their ranks, the Wearside club ran Middlesbrough close for automated promo – but it was Boro, who went down with Sunderland the previous season, who eventually took second location by a point.
That meant the Black Felines were required to settle for the play-offs and, to date, remain the only club to achieve 90 points or more in the second tier’s current format without going up.
Michael Gray is consoled by Niall Quinn after his penalty shootout failure versus Charlton at Wembley
After beating Sheffield United in the semi-finals, they were associated with among the most remarkable play-off finals. Facing Charlton at the old Wembley Arena, the 2 groups shared a spectacular 4-4 draw and charges were needed.
An impressive shootout went to abrupt death and Charlton won it 7-6 to get promotion, with Michael Gray missing out on the crucial spot-kick.
Despite the agonising defeat, Sunderland’s willpower was never brought into question as, the following season, they cantered to the second-tier title with a then-record 105 points.
Wolves 1994-95 & 2001-02
In 1994, after a decade outside the top flight, Wolves spent big in their quest to increase and charged former England supervisor Graham Taylor with achieving what he described as “the holy grail” of promotion from Department One.
” When you get a supervisor of his calibre stating things like that, you know they suggest to do it,” Wolves all-time leading scorer Steve Bull told BBC Sport.
” Graham was unbelievable. He was a top chap. He knew what players he wanted in his side and he was a great tactician.”
Molineux had been redeveloped and Wolves owner Sir Jack Hayward offered significant funds for players, however injuries to new finalizings Tony Daley, Steve Froggatt and John de Wolf prevented their season.
Ex-England striker Bull included: “We invested ₤ 5m, which these days is not even a leg of a gamer, however in those days it was a great deal of cash.
” We generated the ideal players and we in fact thought we were going to do it that year, however Bolton came from behind us and took it out of our hands.”
Ah, Bolton in the play-offs. A sentence to send shivers down Wolves fans’ spinal columns.
League restructuring implied there was simply one automatic promo spot that season. Wolves completed fourth, 6 points behind champs Middlesbrough, and they went into the play-offs having actually won just among their final 9 matches.
Bull scored in the first leg at Molineux, as Wolves took a 2-1 lead into a significant 2nd leg at Burnden Park.
Bolton striker John McGinlay took it to additional time, prior to appearing to punch Bull’s strike partner David Kelly in the face. He just received a yellow card, then scored again to send out Bolton to Wembley, where they beat Checking out to win promotion.
Moved into repeated promo pushes by the goals of strike duo David Johnson and James Scowcroft, and with Matt Holland pulling the strings in midfield, the Suffolk club looked predestined to finally clinch promotion in 1999 in particular, but missed out on out on an automated area by a point.
Then, in the play-off semi-final, they went out on the away goals guideline after a 4-4 aggregate draw with Bolton, in spite of winning a remarkable 2nd leg 4-3 after additional time at Portman Road.
Away goals had likewise knocked out Burley’s males after extra time two years previously against Sheffield United, but it was his teams of 1997-98 and 1998-99 who will feel most regrettable not to have actually gone up, attaining 83 and 86 points respectively.