Silkmen Legends: The Steve Burr Interview – Part One.

Just the mere mention of the name Steve Burr conjures up a plethora of wonderful memories, which have never faded as time has passed.

Macclesfield Town’s all time record goalscorer is still adored by the Moss Rose faithful – not just for his goals, but also for his personality off the field.

Steve retains a deep affection for the club which he did so much for and we are incredibly thankful that he so willingly spoke to us to talk through his career.

So without further ado, let’s hear from the great man himself.

SLE: Did you always want to be a footballer and when did you realise that you had a natural talent for scoring goals?

Well I have always played football, from the days when I just started to walk really.

Football was in the family too – my cousin Graham Leggat played for Fulham and Scotland, and my Dad also played a bit when he was younger so I was brought up with a ball at my feet.

I started off in a Cubs side and then moved into the Under 10s and Under 11s teams – even then I used to be in amongst the goals, so even then there was the enjoyment of scoring and playing upfront.

 I signed on with Stafford Rangers when I was a bit older and it was from there that Brian Booth signed me for Macc.

Steve Burr

SLE: How did that move come about?

Well I had been at Stafford a while, but I was out with a cartilage injury at the time.

A new Manager came in and made me available due to me being out of the team, as well as the fact that he had brought a couple of new strikers into the club.

Colin Kersley who I had played with at Stafford had just signed for Macc and he told Brian Booth about me.

I met Brian at the Potters Head in Cheadle along with Roy Campbell. After that meeting I signed for Macc and the rest they say is history!

But that is how it all happened and I had some good years with Brian Booth before Wraggy took over.

Steve Burr

 

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Stafford’s loss was our gain!

SLE: Was the move subject to a fee?

No, Stafford let me go on a free transfer and that season it gave me great pleasure hitting the winner against them at Marsden Road on Easter Monday I think it was!

There were over 4000 Stafford fans there that day, so it was a great feeling for me!

The people at Macc had made me feel very welcome – the Chairman Alan Brocklehurst, Barry Lingard who was on the board, Brian Booth and of course the fans.

Obviously it helps scoring goals and that settled me down a bit to be honest.

Playing upfront with Bob Askey was great – he was always a good foil as he used to take a lot of the hammerings and the the knocks, leaving me to just tap them in after he had laid them off!

Steve Burr

SLE: Was there any regrets in leaving Stafford when they pipped us to the NPL title in your first year with us?

No not at all – we had finished as runners-up and had done the double over Stafford that year.

So no, I didn’t have any regrets – not a chance, not even when they went on to win the league and little did I know at the time that it was all about to take off at Macc with that great team we had.

It was great to be at the club in that era, as we were on the brink of a lot of success and many trophies.

Steve Burr

 

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The One and Only Mr Peter Wragg.

SLE: What was Peter Wragg like to play under?

He was fantastic – he was hard on you as well though and he probably came down on the likes of myself and John Askey a bit harder than most, because we were probably naturally gifted footballers and there were times that we maybe didn’t put the hard work in that we should have done.

Due to the fact that we could score goals for fun and win matches with good performances, then maybe we just thought it was a bit easy at times.

Wraggy was an amazing character – he loved having a laugh and a joke with the lads and we were very relaxed when we used to go out on the pitch.

He could blow up at any time and have a right go at you like, but at that time it was probably what we needed!

He was just a great character and all the lads liked been around him. This was at a time when we were all part time and trained on a Tuesday and Thursday nights around our day jobs. But we could not wait to get in and get that banter going with Wraggy cracking all the jokes!

We knew the times when it was serious and we had to really knuckle down – whether it be in training or if important games were coming up. But at those times he made us feel relaxed and like we were the best players in the league – his motivation was second to none.

Even to this day all the lads keep in touch with Wraggy and there is still a great amount of affection on both sides. He not only helped us progress as a team, but as individuals as well.

He had some strange pre-season training methods, I can tell you that though!

I remember one day he had me running around this park with a tractor tyre around my waist!

So there I was moaning my head off with this massive tyre round me, asking how it would make me a better player?!

I tell you what though it certainly made me fitter that’s for sure!

But you know, he was quite ahead of his time Wraggy was in terms of some of the preparations he did and how he knew how to poach players from the lower leagues – Mike Lake is a great example of that.

It was just great being around him.

I remember some of the coach trips home after we had won at places like Enfield and it used to be bouncing all the way back to Macc with laughter and banter.

Steve Burr

 

burr hyde

Get in there!!!! Steve celebrates at Hyde (Pic courtesy of John Rooney).

SLE: In our Treble winning season, Bangor had opened up a massive lead of about 15 points at one stage. Did you ever think that the title was over?

Well that was the season we lost three really influential players in Ian Elsby, Trevor Brissett and Steve Waddington.

There was a really bad car accident which those lads were in and Nigel Shaw was the only one who got out of it reasonably ok.

Ian and Trevor in particular were never the same again really.

I think that galvanised us in a way and during the back end of the season Bangor kept slipping up.

We just carried on winning and we had that belief that we were going to do it, we really did.

I think they played their last game on a few days before us and dropped points, so we went to Hyde on the Saturday knowing that a win would see us crowned Champions.

Those games towards the end of the season were brilliant. We were going out knowing that we would beat whoever we were up against and would come away with another three points.

That just kept going on and on – you could write a book about it really.

We just became a side who knew that we were going to win, which was a fantastic feeling to have going into games.

Steve Burr

SLE: Towards the end of that season we were pretty much playing every other day. How did you manage to juggle that with your day job?

Well it was difficult I can tell you that!

But I think that anyone will tell you that if you are winning matches, then you just want to play every day of the week!

Yes it was difficult though. I was driving for Zanussi at the time and had to be up at 5am to do my deliveries. Then I had to make the journey over to Macc for either a game or training, so it was difficult at times.

All the lads had other jobs as well of course but it is like anything, when you are winning then it is brilliant to be part of it no matter how hard it might be.

People just went into work thinking that in another few hours they will be back at Macc – whether it be for a match or training. We knew that we would be amongst the lads and that was the infectious atmosphere that we had built up.

Looking back now, I sometimes wonder how the hell I did it – racing around at work, then spending another hour driving over to Macc but the success we had just kept me going.

It was incredible really – we just wanted to be there all the time.

It’s like after games, nobody used to shoot off straight away – we all used to stay and have a few beers after the game.

It was the same after training too. Some nights Wraggy used to have to come and get us from that Bonkers pub on a Thursday night!

From there we used to sneak in the Flower Pot on Congleton Road – that used to be a regular haunt after training session.

But if Wraggy caught you in the pub on a Thursday night, then you really were for it!!

Steve Burr

 

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Burry at his day job – you can tell where he would rather have been can’t you?!

SLE: How did you celebrate the victory at Hyde?

I remember the game really well, because going into the game Hyde striker Malcolm O’Connor was one goal ahead of me in the scoring charts.

So I was thinking, right I need two goals to finish top.

I got my two goals but then in the second half, I think it was Steve Hanlon gave a penalty away and Malcolm took it!

We ended up as joint top goalscorers, so although I was disappointed not to win it outright I was just delighted that we had finished the job off and won the title.

I remember the day so vividly – I think the whole of Macc was on that grass bank behind the goal!

Brocky went out and bought some astro turf boots for everybody before the game, as they played on a plastic pitch. I remember him turning up with fifteen pairs of boots all with pimples in the soles that we could wear for the game, which was a great help.

I also remember when we scored and the guys who came running on the pitch. They were cleared back and we went again.

At the end, the whole of that end just came swarming over to us – it’s always great to win a title, but the way we did it in front of all the fans was just brilliant.

Steve Burr

 

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“Mad Kev” leads the celebrations at Hyde back in 1987.

The second instalment of the interview will be published on Wednesday, where Steve talks about Wembley heartache, FA Cup giant killing and the illustrious side who bid for his services.

 

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