STEVE STAUNTON Biography - Theater, Opera and Movie personalities


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Stephen Staunton (born 19 January 1969 in Drogheda, Republic of Ireland) is a cultured defender who enjoyed a distinguished career with Liverpool F.C. and Aston Villa F.C. and became the Republic of Ireland’s most capped player. He is currently the Irish football manager.


Playing career


Staunton was spotted by Liverpool F.C. playing in Ireland for Dundalk F.C. and was signed as a 17 year old by manager Kenny Dalglish. He made his debut in September 1988, and was so impressive that he stayed in the side for the rest of the season, despite his absolute inexperience compared to the players around him, who were defending a League championship title won with ease and authority the year before.


An injury to captain Alan Hansen had meant that regular left back Gary Ablett had to be shifted across to the centre of defence. Staunton was therefore given his chance and proved an impressive and consistent performer in a team of superstars, playing his part as Liverpool challenged for the title again.


He comforted bereaved families after the Hillsborough disaster in April 1989 and put in an outstanding performance when the fateful FA Cup semifinal was rescheduled a month later, with Liverpool beating Nottingham Forest F.C. 3-1. He also made his debut for the Republic of Ireland team.


Staunton played in the FA Cup final at Wembley - he was substituted at the start of the extra-time period - as Liverpool defeated Merseyside rivals Everton F.C.


However, the season ended in huge disappointment when Liverpool lost the League title in a decider against Arsenal F.C.


The following year, Staunton was a frequent presence again as Liverpool reclaimed the League title and he then went to Italy with Jack Charlton’s squad as the Republic of Ireland competed in their first ever FIFA World Cup finals.


Staunton, the youngest member of the squad, played in every match at left back (though by now at club level he had also proved his usefulness as a central defender or midfield player) as Ireland progressed to the quarter finals, when they were beaten by the host nation.


He played one more season with Liverpool before being sold, to a lot of people’s surprise and disappointment, to Aston Villa. New manager Graeme Souness was accused of misjudging the player’s abilities, though the ruling for European ties possibly had a bearing, with Staunton being classed as a foreigner, of which no team was allowed to field more than four. (This was before the Bosman ruling, which among other things abolished quotas for EU citizens on teams in member countries.)


Staunton settled into life at Villa Park and won the League Cup in 1994, completing the domestic medal set. That summer he headed off with Ireland to another FIFA World Cup, this time in the USA. Again he played in each game as Ireland succumbed in the second round to the Netherlands.


His club career remained respected and eventful with Aston Villa over the next four years, winning another League Cup, but Ireland failed to qualify for both Euro 96 in England and the 1998 World Cup in France, though Staunton was still selected regularly for the team. Then, with his contract set to expire at Villa, he moved back to Liverpool in 1998.


His second spell at Anfield lasted two years before he was told he could leave on a free transfer and, after a brief loan spell at Crystal Palace F.C., he did another about-turn and went back to Aston Villa.


Ireland qualified for the 2002 FIFA World Cup Korea/Japan. Coach Mick McCarthy, who had been Staunton’s captain at the country’s first FIFA World Cup 12 years earlier, selected him for the squad. Following the departure of Roy Keane from the squad, due to a bust up with McCarthy, Staunton was appointed captain for the tournament.


Again, Staunton played in every Ireland game of the tournament, with the group match against Germany proving a very special occasion as it was his 100th appearance for his country. Ireland’s competition ended once more in the second round when they lost agonisingly to Spain in a penalty shoot-out after the game had finished 1-1. Staunton announced his retirement from international football immediately afterwards after a national record of 102 appearances. He is the only player to have played in every game Ireland have had in World Cup finals tournaments.


Never a prolific goalscorer from either defence or midfield, Staunton nevertheless had a penchant for scoring spectacular long-range goals with his much-feared left foot, including from set pieces.


Staunton continued to play club football, plying his trade with Coventry City until the summer of 2005. He didn’t return to Coventry after his contract expired, and joined Walsall on 2 August, 2005.


He held the post of assistant coach at Walsall until the 16 January 2006 when he was appointed manager of the Republic of Ireland senior international side. Fittingly, he was captain of the Walsall side that defeated Blackpool 2-0 on 31st December 2005, in what was his final game as a professional footballer.


Management Career


Staunton was released from his player/assistant manager role for Walsall F.C. on 12 January 2006, and was officially named as the replacement for Brian Kerr as Republic of Ireland manager the following day.


He appointed Aston Villa F.C. reserve team coach, Kevin McDonald, as his coach and will be working alongside Bobby Robson who will provide his services in a consultancy role. Staunton is quoted to have said “I know that the calibre of the team I have will bring a huge range of experience and talent to the challenges that lie ahead” on his appointment.


He started his international management career with a dream start, something Staunton called ‘a bit of a fairytale’ leading the Republic of Ireland to an impressive 3-0 victory over FIFA World Cup finalists Sweden on Wednesday, 1 March 2006. Damien Duff, Robbie Keane (captain of the Republic of Ireland for the first time) and Liam Miller getting onto the score sheet.


Playing Record
Dundalk (1985-1986)
Liverpool (1986-1991, 1998-2000)
Bradford City (loan spell, 1987-88)
Aston Villa (1991-1998, 2000-2003)
Crystal Palace (loan spell, 2000)
Coventry City (2003-2005)
Walsall (2005-06)