Goalkeeper Steve signed for Watford from Notts County as cover for Kevin Miller in 1995. He played only four games for the club before rejoining his former club, Plymouth Argyle and helped them gain promotion.
Now retired, Steve spoke to Watford Legends in 2011.
Hi Steve, thanks for talking to Watford Legends. How did you become a Hornet?
I was at Notts County and had fallen down the pecking order. At the time I was keen to get in some games so I had an opportunity from Glenn Roeder to have a spell at Watford. I knew of Watford from through the years and knew it would be the sort of club where I could go and enjoy myself.
Did you enjoy your time at the club?
Yes, even though it was one of the shortest spells of my career, and not that many games, I can honestly say it was one of the best clubs I have played for. To have the likes of Andy Hessenthaler around the place made it a nice place to be. My only disappointment was that I just missed out on playing for Graham Taylor.
Do you still keep in touch with any of the old Watford lads?
Not so much, but when you are in the league with different clubs you come across everyone here and there. I’ve seen the likes of Hessy around for years now as we’ve always been in the same league.
Is there any particular highlight from your time at the club?
Well it was unfortunate for Kevin (Miller) but fortunate for me – in the right way – that he dislocated his finger in the warm up. It wasn’t under the circumstances but I was given ten minutes to warm up, and then we were 2-0 down after ten minutes of the game thanks to two break away goals. So it wasn’t the best of starts to my Watford career!
I enjoyed the training sessions with Glenn Roeder also.
You’ve been around the league for a long time, and worked under different managers. How did Glenn Roeder compare for you?
I thought he was a great coach and I thought he was a good one to one manager. He was a very respectful man. I was actually very grateful to him when I got the opportunity to leave Watford and go on loan to Plymouth Argyle. He could have said no and made me see out my contract. I hadn’t missed a game in five or six years and so wasn’t used to being a sub. I wanted to play as many games in my career as I could. Also, because of the new rules at the time Glenn liked to have three outfield players as his subs to give him more options.
So it was getting some playing time that took you to Plymouth?
Yes I knew Neil (Warnock) from our time together at Notts County. He allowed me to train at Nottingham Forest two or three days a week before heading down at the weekend for the game. Neil knew how I trained, and he knew I loved training.
It was a successful arrangement though as he had a good season, getting in to the play-offs and beating Darlington 1-0 in the final at Wembley.
How did you find Neil Warnock to work for?
He comes out with some strange things sometimes but when you see him on TV these days you can tell he’s thinking about what he is saying! I had some of the best times of my career playing for Neil and he showed me so much respect it was unbelievable.
If you could turn back the clock would you have stayed at Watford sooner?
When I look back now it was a good part of my career, and I would have like to have played more, but I had Kevin Miller in front of me who was a very good keeper and at his prime. But I’ve got nothing but admiration for the club. I was made most welcome when I was there.
Bringing things up to date, your most recently were at Macclesfield, but left about a year ago.
Yes I left Macclesfield last May as I developed a heart problem. I was stressed as I was going through divorce, and my job in Nottingham was under threat. Everything got on top of me and I developed this problem with my heart. My heart was healthy, but there is a small problem that needed rectifying. It kept me off work for a year, and last year I was quite unwell, but I’m getting better, and I’m tons better than I was this time last year.
Well we are glad to hear you’ve on the up.
Yes I am pleased. I was making myself ill by warming up the keepers before the game, due to the blood pumping through my body. It was a bad time at Macclesfield, as we lost Keith Alexander and Butch (Richard Butcher), and I just wanted to make sure I didn’t become the third person. It was awful.
So what is the day job?
Since I have packed up full-time football I have been working for Imperial Tobacco in Nottingham. I have been here for 12 years. It is a good company to work for – good pay tier scheme, good pension, the only drawback is that you have to get used to working indoors!
Thanks for talking with us Steve. We are glad your health is improving, and it’s good to hear from you.
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