We start the second part of our interview with Macclesfield Town’s all time leading goalscorer by asking Steve about our inaugural season in the Vauxhall Conference and whether or not it was just a matter of consolidation?
Well I don’t think that we thought anything at the time to be honest.
Peter didn’t really add to the squad too much over the summer, so there were very few changes because we were all good players and also young players at the time.
So making the step up, it was down to us to show how good we really were.
I remember the first game against Maidstone – we won the game 1 – 0, but when we came off at the end all of our shirts were soaking wet because of the effort we had put in!
Every one of us.
We just thought blimey, this is a right step up from what we had been used to!
But I think getting a good start sort of cemented us a little bit. Obviously the lads who were there at the time grasped at the chance to play at a higher level of football and we soon settled into the Conference and made a good account ourselves.
SLE: A memorable part of that first season in the Vauxhall Conference was our FA Cup run where we beat Carlisle and Rotherham.
What are your memories of those games?
Well again, them games are like yesterday to me.
The Carlisle game ended up 4 – 2 I think and I managed to bang one in – I also remember John Askey scoring as well that day.
The cup games at Macc at that time were amazing – they were sold out virtually and the place was just rammed.
We were getting good gates for the Conference games, but the pull of playing a League club like Carlisle and Rotherham meant that they were extra special.
You would always get a few idiots travelling down from League sides to try and cause trouble, just like you got one or two Macc lads who had sunk a few too many and came down for a bit of a ruck as well. But all in all the cup games were absolutely amazing to be part of.
The Rotherham game was played on the Sunday and with Norman Hunter being their Manager at the time everyone was buzzing.
I actually bumped into Norman a couple of years ago at a Sportsman’s Dinner and he looked over at me and said “I know you don’t I?”.
So I replied back to him “Yeah you probably do remember me, I am Steve Burr from Macclesfield Town”.
He looked straight at me and said “Yeah, you are the bugger who got me the sack!”
I remember the Macc and Alty games too, where there were three or four thousand people watching the games.
I will never forget scoring a hat-trick against them in the Boxing Day match at their place one year when Tommy Doherty was Manager. Unbelievable times.
The cup games were something special at Macc though. They just had something different about them.
SLE: Following on from the Carlisle and Rotherham games, we then went to Port Vale in the Third Round where we were narrowly beaten.
What do you remember about that day and the agonising chance that went begging just before the interval?
Yeah I remember that chance vividly. John Askey crossed one in and I was trying to get on the end of the ball but it just flew past and missed everyone.
I don’t know if anyone will remember, but at the time Vale were having a bit of a bad patch under their Manager John Rudge.
They scored late on, very late on and then went on to play Spurs!
But even going down to Vale I think we took over 5000 fans. That one end where we came out was just full of Macc fans covered in blue and white – it was brilliant, absolutely brilliant.
SLE: The Trophy run of 1989 was an incredible journey. The first leg of the semi- final against Dartford was a chaotic affair. We’re you aware that the Macc fans got bricked that day and chased all the way back to the station?!
The second leg we won easily and played some outstanding football – what do you remember about those ties?
Well I didn’t know that about the first leg, no! The first leg was a draw, 0 – 0 I think.
In the second leg at our place they took the lead and I remember saying to John Askey “John this ain’t happening. This ain’t gonna happen to us and we have got to do something about it!”
I will never forget they scored and I was just like “This ain’t happening. Not today. They are not going to beat us today!”.
SLE: What do you think went wrong at Wembley in the Final against Telford United?
Well over all the years I had at Macc, that was probably my biggest disappointment because we never lot to Telford in the league, ever.
We just never really rose to the occasion.
I don’t really know what it was – I remember it being quite a warm day, but we never seemed to get going.
Then the goal which they scored in extra time was a bit lucky, with how the ball bounced over Zelem.
I don’t think that we let ourselves down necessarily, but we never hit the heights of how we knew we could play and that was the disappointing thing.
We knew that we hadn’t performed like we knew we could perform.
We didn’t go down there thinking that it would be easy, despite the fact we never lost to Telford and used to wipe the floor with them every time we played them in the league.
We just couldn’t do it on the day and the type of goal they got was what was going to win the game, because in truth it wasn’t the best of spectacles.
I think we lost John early in the game as well – which was a massive blow, but we never got out of the traps really.
That is probably the one and only time I look back on and wonder why we didn’t perform a bit better at an occasion like that.
But the reception at the Town Hall when we got back to Macc was amazing, it really was.
I was thinking “God knows what it would be like if we had won!”.
Looking back I don’t think it would have been any better if we had won – the fans were unbelievable, absolutely unbelievable.
SLE: The following season saw Macc finish in fourth place, behind eventual Champions Darlington.
For a time we were top of the Conference – were there any thoughts that it might be us who would go up?
Yeah, I think that we all thought that is was possible because on our day we could beat any of the teams in that league.
Darlington were quite strong because they had come down out of the Football League and retained quite a lot of their players.
Don’t forget as well that there were not many full time sides in that division at the time.
I think that we all thought that there was no reason why we couldn’t go up that year though. So yeah, we could well have gone on to gain another promotion under Wraggy.
Probably the reason why we didn’t is that the teams who were full time, like Darlington and Barnet for example just had that bit of an edge over us.
We were not a club who could go out and spend a massive amount of money on a player of course, although the club always tried to do their best on that side of things.
I think it was just one of them, that the players and the fans thought maybe we could go into the Football League, but trying to overcome a club like Darlington was always going to be difficult.
SLE: You were then granted a Testimonial year at Macc – what are you recollections of that?
Yeah there was a lot going on at that time really. There was a little committee set up – Rod Price who was the Commercial Manager got a few people together to come up with a few ideas and they were brilliant.
Phil Gibbons was a big part of that and really did do a fantastic job. I remember the night we had up at the Cock and Pheasant in Bollington as one of the stand out events – what a great night that was!
There was so many things going on in different pubs around the town – so we would go and have a darts match one evening for example, as well as things like the Sportsman’s Dinner which was another memorable event for me.
Then of course, there was the match against Manchester United.
It was at the time that they played Crystal Palace at Wembley in the 1990 FA Cup Final and I was hoping that they would win the Cup on the Saturday, so that they could bring it down to the game on the Monday.
But the Final finished as a three all draw, so Alex Ferguson couldn’t really send the full First Team down as they had the replay to think about a few days later.
I thought that the Testimonial Match was going to get cancelled at one point to be honest, as a draw was the worst result that I could have hoped for!
But Alex Ferguson stuck to his word and came down to the Moss alongside Archie Knox which was great. They brought a side down which Gary Williams skippered, as well as one or two of their lads so there was still a good crowd for it.
It was a good night, despite the weather not being the best but yeah I will never forget it and I remain so thankful for everyone who helped out.
SLE: Shortly after you left the Moss Rose for Hednesford Town. How hard was the decision to move?
Yeah, it was a really hard decision at the time because I had been at Macc for so long.
But I sat down with Wraggy and said “Look Peter, I have got to the point here where I don’t seem to be able to lift anybody anymore. If I score, then people just expect me to score and if I don’t then people say that I am past my best”.
I had just settled down with a family at that time as well, so the travelling started to affect me a bit.
If I am being really honest as well, I think that I probably needed a new challenge too. It was just that I felt that I couldn’t lift anybody up there anymore.
I didn’t want to drop down the leagues really, I wanted to stay in the Conference but Peter and the board were adamant that they would not sell me to anyone in the same league as Macc.
So Wraggy pulled me over one day and told me that a club called Hednesford Town have come in for me. I remember saying that there was no way that I was going to Hednesford, but Wraggy just said “Well you had better talk to them as they have just offered fifteen grand for you!”.
So I said that I would go and talk with them and met up with their Manager, John Baldwin.
He was so ambitious to take Hednesford to where Macc were and he really did sell the club to me.
I thought that it sounded great, the money side of it was good too as they were going to turn full time.
So his vision for taking Hednesford all the way through the leagues was something I thought that I could get my teeth into.
Ultimately I did end up signing for them, but I remember being in tears in front of the Macc board when I went to thank them for everything that they had done for me.
It was a real wrench to leave, it really was but I think that I did it at the right time as I just needed a change and thankfully going to Hednesford was similar to being at Macc due to the fact that we won the leagues and came up to the Conference.
SLE: After you had left, you took the time to write a very humble letter to the Macc fans thanking them for all their support. Most players would not do that, why did you?
I just felt that it was right to do it because the fans had been very supportive when I had my Testimonial and during the time I had at Macc the affinity I had with them was just massive.
I think what the liked about me more than anything was the fact that I was always pretty down to earth and approachable. I wasn’t aloof in any shape or form like you see with some of the players knocking around the leagues today.
I was just a down to earth guy, who liked a pint in the pub and a chat about football.
That is how I have always been and I haven’t changed that much since becoming a Manager.
But without the lads who were in that squad and in those teams, it probably would not have been possible because without a good team around me I wouldn’t have scored the goals I did.
It was just a great place to be.
We weren’t the biggest club by any means, but I think the fans just appreciated us giving everything.
Even when we lost, if we had given our all then the fans would always know that we really had given it a real go.
Part Three of this exclusive interview with Steve Burr will be published on Friday and you really don’t want to miss it as Steve talks to us about his greatest goals, the team who offered £25k for his services and the truth behind why he was not made Silkmen Manager back in 2012.