|Nationality :||Great Britain (UK)|
|Date Joined||04 Aug 2008|
|Years at Club||2|
A born and bred Geordie, Goalkeeping Coach Eric Steele has worked with some of the biggest names in British football in a long and distinguished career that has taken him all over the world.
One of the first exports from Wallsend Boys Club, a hotbed of North-East talent which has produced the likes of Alan Shearer, Peter Beardsley and Michael Carrick, Eric joined Newcastle at the age of 18, having already been capped by England at youth level.
Steele left St James’ Park in search of regular first team football, which he played at Peterborough under former United captain Noel Cantwell. After two promotions with
the Posh, Eric joined Alan Mullery’s Brighton in 1976. Two promotions later, he went to Watford under Graham Taylor, and again sampled promotion to the old First Division as well as UEFA Cup football.
He left Vicarage Road in 1984 to join Derby County, before retiring five years later. Shortly after retirement he began coaching goalkeepers part-time, and took on a role at the Baseball Ground. Steele then joined Leeds United, and was part of the coaching staff when they pipped United to the 1991/92 First Division title.
Two years later, Eric started the first of two spells at Manchester City. At this point he began working with the FA, developing young goalkeepers, and shortly afterwards worked with with Danny Wilson at Barnsley and subsequently Huddersfield. Still a part-time coach, Steele would spend his summers coaching abroad, taking his expertise to America, Germany, Holland, Belgium and, latterly, Australia.
He became Derby’s full-time Goalkeeping Coach in 1996, shortly after Steve McClaren joined the Rams’ coaching staff. After five years he followed manager John Gregory to Aston Villa, when he stayed for a further five and a half years, during which time he worked with United legend Peter Schmeichel for a season.
In February 2007, Steele began his second spell at Manchester City. Having seen Stuart Pearce and Sven Goran Eriksson sacked, Steele was the victim of wholesale backroom changes when Mark Hughes became the new manager at Eastlands. In an ironic twist, Eric followed Hughes’ path back up to Blackburn Rovers, joining up with new Ewood Park manager Paul Ince.
Just a few days into his new role, however, United enquired about Eric’s availability to fill the void left by Tony Coton, who had been forced to retire as the Reds’ Goalkeeping Coach in early 2008 through injury. Steele couldn’t resist the lure of working under Sir Alex Ferguson –
‘the great man of Manchester United’ as he terms him – and agreed to join the Reds in August 2008.
As Goalkeeping Coach, Eric’s role is to ensure that all United’s goalkeepers are at their peak and able to perform at their peak. “When you come to this football club you are asked to raise the bar,” he said, shortly after moving to Old Trafford. “That’s really what I want to do with the whole goalkeeping department, raise the bar and have goalkeepers ready at each level to fill youth cup level, reserve level and first team level.”