Silkmen Legends: The Steve Burr Interview – Part Three

We ended the second part of Steve Burr’s exclusive interview as he bid a tearful farewell to the Moss Rose back in 1991.

Little did we know that he would return four years later, first as Commercial Manager and then as a player as Sammy McIlroy’s side went on to lift the FA Trophy at Wembley in 1996.

We asked Steve how his return came about?

Well yeah, I came back as Commercial Manager at first, but at the time Sammy had a load of injuries and I still wanted to play. In fact I still was playing, as I was getting a few games at Winsford I think it was.

I just said to Sammy that I was fit and if he wanted me to be involved in a few games to help him out, then I would do.

I played a couple of games for him and I did alright to be honest – I never thought that I embarrassed myself and it was the year that we went to the Trophy Final in 1996.

I really tried to push myself to be on the bench for the Final, but Sammy had got his squad together and they had been together all season, so I understood that.

There was no problem with that from my side, but I thought that the way I had played in one or two games I might have had a small chance of making the bench for the Final.

But I loved it with Sammy, even for the short time that I was there because he was like Wraggy, in that he had that charisma about him.

He was great, even in training when we used to have five a side games Sammy used to join in – the same with Gil Prescott. They were just great guys to be around.

I think with Sammy, he just had that awe about him. When he walked into the dressing room everyone would listen to him and take on board what he had to say.

For somebody who is maybe not the biggest Manchester United fan but used to like watching the likes of Sammy, Best, Law and Charlton, it was just great being around him. It really was just something very special.

It was similar to when Wraggy brought Derek Parlane into the club.

I walked in one pre-season and out of the corner of my eye I could see this lad sat there ready to train and I’m thinking “That’s Derek Parlane! What is Derek Parlane doing in the same dressing room as me?”

What a smashing guy he was too – he had played for Rangers in front of about 130,000 people in the Scottish Cup Final against Celtic, as well as turning out for the likes of Leeds and Scotland.

Smashing guy, he really was.

He was like Sammy, in that you just wanted to do well for them.

Steve Burr

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Steve at the civic reception in 1996 to mark our FA Trophy win.

SLE: You then hung up your boots for good, but one question which I have often wondered is whether any teams came in for you during your time at Macc?

It is well documented that you had a trial at Everton, but were there any others who wanted you to make the step up?

 Yeah there was actually – Macc turned down an offer of £25,000 from Bolton the season that I had been on trial with Everton.

They came in with the offer, Wraggy told me about it and said “If they think that they are getting you for £25,000 then they have got another thing coming!”

At the time we were going well and I just said that it was fair enough, I had a contract at Macc so there were no problems.

But when I look back now, then possibly if I had kicked up a stink about it then things may have been different – you just never know.

I don’t regret it in any way though because I was under contract at Macc and also at the time Wraggy was quite sure that others would be in for me sooner or later.

There was a lot of interest in me from other sides, but Bolton were the only ones who said there you are, there is some money on the table.

I think that if Everton had offered the same sort of money then it would have been different, because I am sure that Macc would have let me go there.

But I have always been in and around the Conference and to be honest, I have enjoyed every minute of it.

Thinking about it, most players have agents now and maybe if I had got myself one at the time then they could have got me a move into the League – they probably would have done.

What you have got to think about is when we were playing, we were scoring thirty odd goals a season. If a player scores fifteen goals now he thinks that he has swum the Channel doesn’t he?

If I didn’t have fifteen by Christmas, I was thinking that it was a bad season!

So, maybe if I had got myself an agent then I could possibly have got a move into the League – but I was very happy at Macc.

Steve Burr

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Steve could have signed for Bolton, but Wraggy sent them on their way!

 

SLE: Steve, you scored 182 competitive goals for Macc, I know it will be difficult but do you have any personal favourites?

I do actually yeah, a goal against Newport County at the Moss Rose back in 1988.

John Askey has got the ball on the right wing and crossed it over and I’ve volleyed it from the edge of the box into the top corner.

It was the season that Newport actually folded – they got relegated and then they went into administration which meant that they couldn’t finish the season.

Do you remember Darren Peacock who went on to play for Newcastle? Well he was marking me that day for Newport which made the goal extra special.

Yeah, John crossed one in and I have just took off with a bicycle kick and it’s gone into the top corner!

The other one would possibly be the goal I scored away at Barnet when we beat them 4 – 1.

I was sort of wrestling with a couple of their lads, before cutting inside and hitting one past their ‘keeper.

I managed to bang in a couple that day, but that one will always be one of my favourites.

Steve Burr

 

 

SLE: After you ended your playing career, was Management the logical progression for you?

I think so yeah, as I didn’t want to just stop playing and then not be involved anywhere.

So the next step for me was Player / Coach and I managed to get that opportunity at Nuneaton.

When their Manager got the sack, I was next in line and they asked me to take the team over for the short term to see how it went.

I think that I had been in charge for about four or five games and we were undefeated, before we managed to knock Stoke out of the FA Cup live on Sky.

After that, they just gave me the job outright!

So you do need a bit of luck, but that is where it all started.

To be honest, I don’t really know much else other than football – I did all my coaching badges and then it is like everything, you either move on because you are doing well or you get sacked because you are losing matches.

Steve Burr

Nuneaton Town

Steve’s managerial career began at Nuneaton Town.

SLE: You had a great chance to take Kidderminster up into the Football League as well didn’t you?

Yes we did, and had we not had a bad start to the season then we would have won the league comfortably the year Mansfield went up.

But everywhere I have been I have enjoyed it – Chester, Southport for a short time, Kidderminster obviously, Northwich, Nuneaton, Hucknall and now back at Stalybridge.

Steve Burr

Kidderminster

Steve could well have taken Kidderminster into the Football League if it hadn’t been for a slow start. (Pic courtesy of Harriers Online).

SLE: How is it going at Stalybridge at the minute?

Yeah, it is going ok – we had a poor start with a few lads missing who we signed as big hitters for us in the summer, but slowly they are coming back and we have been playing some really good football.

We are seeing signs of a really good side now but hey, the be all and end all in management is winning and I have always liked to win with a bit of style as well as scoring a few goals.

They are good people at Stalybridge as well – they are the same people who were there before I left to go to Kiddy. I really do like working for them, and hopefully I can bring them some success.

Steve Burr

steve-Burr tameside reporter

Steve is back at Stalybridge, looking to bring success back to Bower Fold (Pic courtesy of Tameside Reporter).

SLE: Going back to the summer of 2012, it was fairly well documented that you were in for the Macc job following our relegation from the Football League.

The Macc fans were pretty disappointed when Steve King was given the job, but what did you make of it all?

Well I am not surprised, but I will tell you this – I met with Amar in a London hotel, I forget which one now but I was down there with Mike Rance and Andy Scott also.

Anyway, I met the guy and we were talking in general terms about the possibility of coming back to Macc.

I just said that in my opinion the Conference is a very tough league to get out of, which Amar said that he realised also.

So I went on to say that there are some big teams in the league, the likes of Luton for example.

His reply was “Luton? What Luton are in that league?”

At that point I just thought I don’t know whether I am talking to someone who knows what he is on about here in footballing terms.

I came out and I just said to Mike and Andy “Look at this particular time I don’t really think that this is for me”.

I’ll leave it at that, because I would have loved the opportunity to have come back at that point.

The thing which disappointed me at the time was that Mike Rance and Andy Scott knew all about me, so I didn’t really have to sell myself to them.

But I was sat in front of somebody who for me, hadn’t gone out of their way to find much out about me.

I just thought, you know I don’t have to sit here and justify what I have done – I had been part of the England C Team and had won three titles up until that point.

I must say though that I was quite amazed that they appointed Steve King.

He sold the club the bull that they wanted to hear and to be honest, I wasn’t prepared to sit there in front of anyone and give them the same bull – because that is not what I do.

But hey, I wasn’t bitter or anything. Like I say, I just came out and said to Mike and Andy “I appreciate the fact that you have invited me to this meeting, but it is not for me at this particular time so you can rule me out.”

Steve Burr

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Steve is still a Silkman as his early season tweet showed! 

SLE: It is clear that you still retain a deep affection for the club though – we have seen tweets of you driving past the Moss for example?

Yeah of course, I always look out for the results and I am delighted that John is still there doing a good job.

I am amazed that nobody has given him the chance to manage in the Football League yet – but it will come if he keeps doing the business with Macc.

In fact he has got a great opportunity this season to take Macc up and that is definitely one of they ways he could end up in the League.

But yeah, I am delighted for John – I always keep in touch with him and we speak on a regular basis.

You know he works wonders with the club, absolute wonders.

Steve Burr

Gibbo Wraggy night

Steve with Phil Gibbons and former teammates in a recent reunion at the Moss (Pic courtesy of Matt Eagles).

SLE And finally. What does the future hold for Steve Burr?

Well I still think that there is a lot of life in me yet that’s for sure!

I am enjoying it as much as I did when I first started to be honest.

When I left Southport, people were asking me why I dropped down the leagues. Well the reason was that I wasn’t working and I wanted to work.

I have never been out of football for a long period and Stalybridge offered me the job there, so I was more than happy to go back and try and do something for them.

I was happy to try and get them up to a respectable position in non league football.

So what does the future hold? Well you never know do you?

I just keep enjoying it day after day. Football is like a drug to me – it keeps me going.

The more I win the happier I am, the more I lose the more miserable I become – so I try not to lose too many!

Steve Burr

We would like to thank Steve not only for his time, but also for a wonderful interview which has made us both laugh and cry.

Steve will always remain a true Macc Town hero and the memories which he helped create will last a lifetime.

There is only one Stevie Burr……

(Video courtesy of MTFC and Gary Jackson).

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