CHRIS Morgan finished the 1999/2000 with Barnsley’s Player of the Year trophy but was devastated not to have a play-off winners’ medal instead.
The defender from Penistone was 22 when he finished his first full season as a regular at his hometown club with the 4-2 defeat to Ipswich Town.
Morgan said: “It’s a cliche that Wembley is an awful place for losers, but it is definitely true.
“When Ipswich were going up to get the trophy, I just sat on the turf and I didn’t want to watch them because I was absolutely gutted.
“In some areas of the press, I think I took some criticism for that.
“But I just couldn’t watch the opposition team and supporters enjoying what we had gone down to enjoy.
“I just wanted to get out of there.
“I desperately wanted the club to win at Wembley and to get to the Premiership.
“I had a long career in the game but there are only a few moments that really stand out and that’s one of them.”
Morgan had played in the top flight two years previously under Danny Wilson then was in and out under John Hendrie before Dave ‘Harry’ Bassett made him a regular.
He said: “When Harry came in, he gave me a lift. I made my debut under Danny in the Premiership but, under John, I struggled to get in the team. Harry stuck me back in.
“He was a fantastic manager and he had brought in a lot of players with good experience at the top level.
“When you think of what he had achieved in the 1980s and 1990s, for Barnsley to get a manager of his calibre was a massive coup.
“The club is often thought of ‘little Barnsley’ but, at that point, they had some brilliant teams and brilliant players.
“People say now that the Championship is stronger than ever but I contest that when you start reeling off some of the names we had like Steve Chettle, Geoff Thomas, Craig Hignett, Neil Shipperley.
“But Harry also kept the heart of the club with players like Nicky Eaden.
“It was an incredible squad really.”