Irish Footballers that Played for Liverpool – Steve Staunton
Steve Staunton – Introduction
Steve Staunton was born in Drogheda, County Louth on 19 January 1969. He began his senior football career playing with League of Ireland Club Dundalk. Staunton had two separate periods with Liverpool, the first of which began when the Anfield manager Kenny Dalglish signed the 17 year old defender in 1986 for a transfer fee of £20,000.
Steve Staunton & Liverpool
Steve Staunton made his Liverpool FC debut as a substitute on 17 September 1988 against Tottenham Hotspur. Irish internationals Ronnie Whelan, Ray Houghton and John Aldridge were in the team that day at Anfield as the teams drew. Staunton made his first start for the Reds in the next match against Arsenal at Highbury on 20 September 1988. Steve Staunton scored his first goal for Liverpool in 80th minute in that Centenary Trophy semi final.
He went on to make 29 appearances in all competitions in the 1988/89 season including the the FA Cup final against Everton which delivered Staunton’s first winners medal as a professional footballer. He came very close to also collecting a First Division winners medal however he and Liverpool were deprived by a last minute goal in the last match of the season. At Anfield Arsenal’s Michael Thomas scored at the death to beat Liverpool 0-2 and deliver the League title to Highbury by the narrowest of margins, goals scored.
Although he was signed as a fullback Staunton’s versatility was such that throughout his career he has been deployed right across the defence, in midfield, on the wing, and even as an attacker. Indeed in the next season, 1989/90, he came on as a substitute for the Welsh goal machine Ian Rush against Wigan Athletic in a League Cup match and scored a hat trick. Up until 4 November 2010, when Steven Gerrard emulated the feat, Staunton was the only Liverpool substitute to come on and score three goals.
Despite this versatility he was mostly used at left back where he vied with another young defender, David Burrows, for the position. During the 1989/90 season Staunton made 28 appearances as Liverpool reclaimed the First Division title but surrendered their hold on the FA Cup when they lost in the semi final to unfancied Crystal Palace.
The next season was not as successful as Liverpool finished as runners-up to Arsenal and lost out to Manchester United and Everton in early rounds of the League Cup and FA Cup respectively. To add to this, manager Kenny Dalglish dropped a bomb shell by resigning. Under new manager Graeme Souness, and due to the rule restricting the number of non-English players, Staunton found himself out in the cold. Steve Staunton was transferred to Aston Villa for a fee of £1.1 million. During his first period at Anfield he made 90 appearances and scored six goals.
Steve Staunton Returns to Anfield
Following a successful seven seasons with Villa Steve Staunton returned to play for Liverpool for a second spell in the 1998/99 season. He made his greatest number of appearances for Liverpool in one season as he racked up 40 in all competitions. He had returned to Anfield under manager Roy Evans and once again a change in manger led to his ultimate final departure from Liverpool. New manager, Frenchman, Gerard Houllier brought in his own players and the opportunities for Staunton reduced. He spent most of the 1999/2000 in the reserves or warming the bench, and only started on 11 occasions. Staunton scored the only goal of his second period at Anfield against Hull City on 14 September 1999 in the second round of the League Cup at Boothferry Park. Liverpool won 1-5 and Staunton scored the fifth goal.
In the 2000/01 season he made just two appearances as a substitute getting 55 minutes of playing time. Steve Staunton played his last match for Liverpool on 23 November 2000 against Olympiacos in the UEFA Cup. The match ended in a 2-2 draw. In early December Staunton transferred to Aston Villa on a free transfer
Steve Staunton – Ireland Career
Steve Staunton made his debut for Ireland on 19 October 1988 against Tunisia in a friendly match at Lansdowne Road (now Aviva Stadium). Ireland won 4-0 and the match was also notable for the fact that John Aldridge finally scored his first international goal in 20 matches. Staunton made his first competitive start in Ireland’s next match away to Spain on 16 November 1988. An under strength Irish team, with defender Kevin Moran playing in midfield, succumbed 2-0 in Seville in this 1990 World Cup qualifier. Despite the poor start Ireland went on to qualify for the finals and Staunton’s performances in the qualifiers made him a certainty for the Irish 1990 World Cup squad. Steve Staunton played in every match that Ireland played at the 1990 World Cup finals in Italy, including the memorable quarter final against the hosts in Rome.
Staunton was also an important part of the Irish 1994 World Cup squad in the USA as Republic of Ireland manager Jack Charlton guided the team to a second consecutive World Cup finals. The Aston Villa player struggled with the heat particularly in the matches played in Orlando. In both of the matches played there Staunton was substituted midway through the second half with Jason McAteer coming on for him on both occasions.
Uniquely amongst Irish players Steve Staunton played in three World Cup finals. It was no great surprise that Mick McCarthy included Staunton in the Irish 2002 World Cup squad. His consistent performances for his country merited inclusion and indeed he played in all four matches at the finals, against Cameroon, Germany, Saudi Arabia, and Spain. As one of the senior members of the squad Staunton was called upon to steady the ship when the infamous Saipan Incident occurred. The row between Roy Keane and McCarthy blighted the tournament for many but Staunton and Ireland put in creditable performances. Having qualified from the group stages Ireland lost out in a penalty shoot-out against Spain. Steve Staunton’s last match for Ireland was that match against Spain on 16 June 2002 in Suwon, South Korea. He retired from International football as Ireland’s record caps holder with 102 appearances for the Republic of Ireland.
Staunton scored eight goals for Ireland – the first coming on 25 April 1990 in a home friendly match against Russia. Amazingly he scored two goals direct from a corner kick, once against Portugal in June 1992, and the second time nine months later against Northern Ireland in a 1994 World Cup qualifier. Staunton scored his last goal for Ireland against Finland on 15 November 2000 in a friendly match at Lansdowne Road.
The FAI appointed Stephen Staunton as Republic of Ireland manager in January 2006. While no-one could doubt the passion that this great servant to Irish football brought to the job he was hopelessly inexperienced and ill-equipped to do the job. After some notably poor performances from his Irish team his contract was terminated by the FAI in October 2007.
Steve Staunton – Liverpool & Republic of Ireland Statistics
|Liverpool FC History – Liverpool Irish Players – Liverpool Supporters Clubs
|John Aldridge – Phil Babb – Jim Beglin – Willie Donnelly – Sam English – Steve Finnan – David Hannah
Steve Heighway – William Hood – Ray Houghton – Robbie Keane – Mark Kennedy – Billy Lacey
Mark Lawrenson – Jason McAteer – Ernest McCappin – Billy McDevitt – David McMullan – Billy Millar
Brian Mooney – Richie Partridge – Darren Potter – Michael Robinson – Elisha Scott – Kevin Sheedy
Sammy Smyth – Steve Staunton – Ronnie Whelan
|Manchester United History – Manchester United Irish Players – Man Utd Irish Supporters Clubs
Glasgow Celtic History – Celtic’s Irish Players
|Liam Brady – Damien Duff – Eamon Dunphy – Niall Quinn