Feature by Tony Scholes
Updated Tuesday, 28th June 2011
Date and Place of Birth
15th April 1953 - Barnsley
Transfers to and from Burnley
from Golden Bay Earthquakes - November 1983 (£20,000)
to San Diego - May 1984
First and Last Burnley Games
Bristol Rovers (a) - 12th November 1983
sub: replaced Martin Dobson
Hull City (h) - 15th May 1984
Seattle Sounders, Golden Bay Earthquakes
San Diego, Walsall
Burnley Career Stats
|Season||League||FA Cup||League Cup||Others||Total|
Profile by Tony Scholes
When Burnley announced they were set to sign midfielder Steve Daley it was big news, particularly when manager John Bond, accompanied by chairman John Jackson, flew out to the United States to secure the transfer of the player.
In truth, we paid a transfer fee for the player when he had no club and he was with us for just a short time before hopping back over the pond to return to American football. There again, any reference to Burnley is only a very small part of the career of a player who was catapulted into the news by the nonsensical running of Manchester City Football Club by Peter Swales and Malcolm Allison.
Barnsley born Daley joined Wolves as a youngster and from that day until the day he left the club he was having a normal football career. Having served his apprenticeship at Molineux he signed professional terms and was soon making his first team debut.
That debut came in September 1971 and although he was used very sparingly during that first season he did score twice in his five starts. His first goal came in a 4-2 win against Southampton and later in the season he scored the only goal as Wolves beat Huddersfield.
That was in the old first division and Daley soon established himself in the side and for the next few years was a regular. They did suffer a relegation in 1976, going down with Burnley, but went straight back up the following season.
He represented his country at both youth and B level and by 1979 had played 244 games for Wolves in which he'd scored 43 goals. He was considered to be a good midfielder at the top level in English football, but probably no more than a good midfielder. In truth he was having a good career.
Then his world, and his career, went crazy because of the buffoonery at Maine Road. Malcolm Allison was back in charge and was making some rather bizarre signings to his side, a policy that backfired and eventually led to them being marooned at the bottom of the division.
The story of Daley is not quite clear but folklore will have you believe Allison offered £400,000 for him which Wolves turned down. That sort of fee was probably about right for him in September 1979 and had it gone through no one would have batted an eye lid.
But having turned it down Wolves were soon faced with a bigger offer as Manchester City's comedian of a chairman stepped in. Allison wanted Daley and so Swales set out to get him. Wolves couldn't believe their luck as the fee went up, and up, and up, and up. Eventually they agreed to the deal, he'd cost Manchester City £1,437,500 - yes that figure is correct.
It was outrageous, but Swales didn't want to miss out on the player and there is strong belief that he was willing to pay it to top the fee Manchester United had just paid for Bryan Robson. That fee for Daley was a British record. Had he really paid it for a decent midfielder just to get one over on their rivals?
Needless to say Daley never lived up to it and his time at Maine Road was not the best. Not only that he had to suffer being named first in the Observer's ten biggest wastes of money in football.
Wolves used the money to buy Andy Gray from Aston Villa (he probably took a bow son) whilst City counted the cost of a big money flop. Daley struggled to deal with it all and after just 20 months when he was in and out of the side he was sold to Seattle Sounders for £300,000.
By then Allison's destruction of City was over and they were doing considerably better under the management of John Bond. It was Bond who sold him, and it was Bond who brought him back to England.
The deal looked on but then the Sounders went out of business leaving Burnley believing they were getting him on a free. But his contract had been shifted to Golden Bay Earthquakes and we had to pay £20,000 for him.
He was Bond's second signing of a former million pound plus footballer. I thought he did OK for us but, unlike Reeves, you could never see in him anything to suggest you would pay that sort of fee.
He made his debut for us in a 2-1 defeat at Bristol Rovers in November 1983, coming on as a substitute for Martin Dobson, and he went on to play 23 league games for us that season. He looked a very decent player at our level and in one game at Port Vale he scored a hat trick in a 3-2 win.
However, come the end of the season he left us and returned to America to play for San Diego before returning to England where he ended his professional career with Walsall.
He managed Telford and Bromsgrove Rovers albeit with little success before leaving the game altogether and moving into the pub trade. He is now employed as a beer distributor and also excels as an after dinner speaker, billing himself as the biggest waste of money in football.