Saturday, 2 October 2010
151 Steve Elliott
Played : 1989-90 to 1990-91
Appearances : 52
Goals : 9
Now we come to a couple of players concerning whom I seemed to be in the minority opinion. Steve was signed from Bury for £10,000 in October 1989 to boost our firepower. He began his career at Nottingham Forest just as they were winning the League title in 1978. The following season Steve got his first team chance when Peter Withe was sold to Newcastle but after four games he was edged out by Garry Birtles. He was sold to Preston later in the season. He spent the next five seasons there as a first choice striker managing 70 goals in 208 appearances. In 1984 he returned to the top flight when Luton signed him as a replacement for Paul Walsh. The move didn't work out and after 12 games and 3 goals he was included in a deal which took him to Walsall in exchange for David Preece. He found his form again and scored 21 goals in 69 appearances before moving to Bolton in 1986. He found goals harder to come by in a side destined for relegation and gradually fell out of favour. He signed for Bury in 1988 and scored 11 in 31 appearances.
I was told by some Preston fans I knew that Steve was a competent player who "used his arse well" (I think they meant for backing in to defenders) but "never seemed to get his shirt dirty". I could see what they meant , the ball would be played up to him, he'd lay it off or flick it on then amble into the box waiting for the cross. He wasn't a chaser after lost causes and didn't score often enough to silence critics who said he was lazy. I didn't think he was the greatest player we've had but he did the job he was bought for and it wasn't his fault if the ball wasn't delivered effectively. I remember when he scored in the League Cup at Scarborough to put us 5-0 up on aggregate , inastead of celebrating , my friend Mr P was shouting "That's all he does ! " and it struck me that scoring goals was a pretty useful attribute for a player.
My favourite moment from Steve was in a Freight Rover tie at Preston. His marker had obviously got fed up with being backed into and when a goal kick was taken just took a step back and Steve fell on his behind. It was hilarious and to make it even funnier the ref gave us a free kick !
Steve was troubled by injuries in his second season , one of them caused by slipping on the ice in the club car park and when Dave Sutton took over he started alternating Steve with Dave Cole giving them a half each so it was obvious he was going to be on his way. He had also started giving the dick (as mentioned in previous posts) free tickets which made me less sorry to see him go.
He went to Guiseley for 1991-2 and started banging in the goals for them but retired due to work commitments before the season was out. He is currently a leisure centre manager for South Ribble Council and still turns out for Preston in charity matches.
I should add that in 2005 Four Four Two magazine invited readers to nominate the worst ever player for their team. Steve topped the poll for both Luton and Bolton.