Monday, 28 March 2011
317 Steve MacAuley
Position : Centre half
Played : 2002-03
Appearances : 6
Goals : 0
So now to the 2002-03 season and an unwelcome new era for me. My mum had died unexpectedly in the close season. The full implications of that are outside the scope of this blog but it affected my relationship with the Dale. Before then I used to go round to my old house in Littleborough with a bag of spuds and any other heavy item and still went to games fortified by shepherd's pie and apple crumble as when I first started supporting Dale twenty years earlier. That was now at an end. It also made me take stock a bit; having just completed my second 100% season was it really worth travelling all day to watch a run of the mill fixture ? The answer now was no ; if the game wasn't important and couldn't be slotted into a broader weekend with Julie and/or friends I would let it go by. My two-year run came to an end when I missed Swansea away in October and essentially that's how things stand today.
As it happened I also missed a few games in January and April when I had a couple of hospital operations to remove surplus body parts. Paul Simpson made things easier for me by producing a largely dreadful season in which a record-equalling Cup run (with bigger scalps than the previous one) hardly compensated for atrocious League form which saw us tumble from 5th to 19th , the largest drop between seasons "achieved" by any Dale boss in my time.
I think Simpson got it wrong from the start. It was a no-brainer that the first priority was to sign at least one good centre half to replace the creaky Richard Jobson yet his first two signings were attacking players ( covered in the next two posts) and we went into the Isle of Man tournament with a dodgy German guy, Eddie something-or-other at the back. Fortunately his failings were thoroughly exposed over there and so Steve was hurriedly signed on the eve of the season having been released by Crewe after ten years' service.
Steve had originally been a trainee at Manchester City but ended up at Fleetwood Town from where Crewe signed him for £25,000 in 1992. It was an inspired signing with Steve staying at Gresty Road for the following decade , becoming club captain and enjoying two promotions. Steve came back from serious injury, missing an entire season in 1998-99 before regaining his place. In his last season there he lost his place and had a loan spell at Macclesfield.
Steve started the season in the side but it didn't go well. He looked a decent footballer with time on the ball but his pace had gone completely and he and Griffiths looked a very brittle partnership. After a bad mistake cost us three points at home to Southend he was dropped and went on loan to Macclesfield. Simpson said it wasn't intended to be permanent but he never played for us again and signed for the Silkmen in March 2003.
He was released at the end of the following season having made 36 appearances since leaving us and joined Bamber Bridge FC. He is now a qualified physiotherapist and assistant-manager at Fleetwood Town.