Steve Wignall Biography

Playing Career

© Stuart Govier

© Stuart Govier

Steve had a relatively successful playing career as a central defender, spanning over 600 appearances over 19 years in the Football League.

Having started out playing in the Liverpool youth side, his first senior contract was with Doncaster Rovers in 1972, where Steve made 130 appearances (3 as a substitute) over 5 seasons, netting once.

In 1977, Steve moved South, joining Essex side Colchester United.  Over 7 years, Steve made 281 league appearances for the U’s (2 as substitute), netting 22 goals, before moving to Brentford FC in 1984 – where he stayed 2 seasons, making 67 full league appearances and scoring twice.

Steve’s last club in his playing career was Aldershot, where he signed in 1986 and remained until his retirement from playing in 1991 – after 161 league appearances and four goals.

Aldershot were struck by financial difficulties in early 1992, and the club folded and dropped out of the Football league.  It was as a part of the phoenix club Aldershot Town that Steve would start his new career as a football manager.

 

Managerial Career:

Team Position Year
Aldershot Town Manager 1992
Colchester United Manager 1995
Stevenage Borough Manager 2000
Doncaster Rovers Manager 2000
Southend United Manager 2003

 

Managerial Honours:

Aldershot Town – Isthmian League Division Three Winner : 1992–93

Colchester United – Football League Division Three Playoff Winner : 1997–98

 

Pre Boro:

Before joining Boro, Steve had established himself as a capable manager, having spent 3 seasons in the lower non-league divisions with Aldershot Town and then showing his credentials over 4 seasons at Layer Road, helping Colchester United win promotion through the play-offs to the old ‘Division 2’.

After a slow start to life in Division 2, Steve left Colchester and was briefly touted as manager for a number of league clubs, including Southend United – none of which came to fruition.

In April 2000, Steve accepted the manager’s position at Stevenage Borough.

 

Boro:

1999/2000 Season

© Stuart Govier

© Stuart Govier

Steve took over the Boro side from the outgoing Richard Hill, as the 1999/2000 season was drawing to a close.  The team was mathematically safe from relegation, but had no real prospects of promotion from the Conference either – so the remaining 9 games were relatively indifferent.

Steve’s first game in charge was at home to Hayes – a great start to his Boro career with the winning 3-0 on April Fool’s day.

That result was followed by 3 consecutive draws against Yeovil Town (a), Forest Green Rovers (h) and Yeovil Town (h) and some  sporadic results coming from the following  4 games – wins over Sutton United and Nuneaton Borough contrasted with losses to Telford United and Kettering Town.

Crucially, upon joining Stevenage, Steve had not physically put pen to paper and signed a contract – although there was of course a verbal agreement with the Boro chairman Phil Wallace.

Just prior to the season close, Steve was approached by his former club Doncaster Rovers about taking up the manager’s position at Belle Vue.  Not tied to a contract with Boro, as quick as ‘The Wignall Had Landed’, he was gone, after just 8 games in charge of the Hertfordshire club.  Steve left the club just prior to their final game of the season – a home match against Southport, which ended 1-1.  Boro finished in 10th position that year.

In a newspaper interview shortly afterwards, Steve said that “Doncaster’s offer came out of the blue, but it was just too good to turn down. I hadn’t planned anything like that, but I had to do what was best for my family.”

The two sides agreed an undisclosed compensation figure, and Steve’s short tenure at Stevenage Borough was duly concluded.

 

Steve’s Boro Record in Numbers

  1999/2000 Total
Conference Games 8 8
Win 3 3
Draw 3 3
Loss 2 2
Total Points 12 12
Points per game avg 1.5 1.5
Percentage Win 37.50% 37.50%

 

Post Boro:

BookAfter leaving Boro, Steve took over the reins at Doncaster Rovers, replacing the management team of Ian and Glynn Snodin.  One of Steve’s first acts was to sign Boro striker Carl Alford for a reported £50k.

Sadly, Steve’s stint as manager at the Yorkshire club was not as successful as his playing days there, and after just 1 season, he was released.

After leaving Doncaster, Steve spent a short period away from management, before returning to Southend United in 2003, replacing the outgoing Rob Newman.  Sadly, his return to the game was short lived, as he was unable to revive Southend’s fortunes and was released just 7 months into the job, with the club lying 3rd from bottom.

After leaving Southend, Steve spent some time coaching at Wivenhoe Town between 2005-8, and in 2009 he published his autobiography entitled ‘You Can Have Chips’.