7 January 2008

Alex Steele

Name: Alexander Steele
Born: 19 March 1899, Belfast
Died: 25 May 1980, Rayleigh, Essex (England)
Height: 5.08 ft
Weight: 10.07 st
Position: Inside-Forward/Left-Half

Representative Honours: Ireland: 4 Full Caps (1926-1929), 2 Amateur Caps (1920-21).
Club Honours: (with Glenavon) Irish Cup Runner-Up 1920/21; City Cup Winner 1920/21; (with Charlton) London Challenge Cup Winner 1922/23.

Club Career:
Clubs
Seasons
Signed
Fee
League
FA Cup
Other
Barnville
-
-
-
-
-
-
Dunmurry
-
-
-
-
-
-
Glenavon
-
Jun-20
-
-
-
-
Charlton Athletic
21/22-25/26
Sep-21
-
12/36
14/0
-
Swansea Town
26/27
Jul-26
-
2/ 0
-
-
Fulham
27/28-29/30
Jun-27
£450
49/ 0
4/0
-
Distillery
-
Apr-31
-
-
-
-
TOTALS
£450
183/36
18/0
-

Biography:

Alex Steele was a member of the Glenavon team that looked like emerging from the shadows of the Belfast and Dublin giants in the early 1920s. The Lurgan-club battled Glentoran closely in the race for the 1920/21 Irish League title, eventually finishing two points short. In the Irish Cup, aided by the withdrawal of Shelbourne due to their unwillingness to play their semi-final in Belfast, Glenavon were again pushed into runners-up spot by Glentoran who won the Final 2-0 at Windsor Park. The City Cup did arrive at Mourneview with the Belfast-Glens beaten into second by a single point.

Steele’s contribution to Glenavon’s first “major” trophy success was recognised with selection for Amateur Ireland for a 4-0 defeat by England at Solitude in November 1920 and for their first foreign trip, a visit to the Parc de Princes in Paris, the following February where France were defeated 2-1. A useful goalscorer from inside-right or left, Steel had began his career in Junior football with Belfast club Barnville followed by a spell with Dunmurry.

Transferred to Charlton Athletic in 1921, Steele was an occasional firstteamer through their first season as a Football League club, playing thirteen times and scoring three goals. The 1922/23 season saw him make a much bigger impact, finishing as his club’s topscorer with thirteen goals and featuring in the Athletic side that defeated Crystal Palace in the London Challenge Cup Final at the Den. Over the following few seasons Steele would begin to play at left-half as well as in his favoured inside-forward role, and become an occasional captain of Athletic.

In February 1926 Steele became the first Charlton player to win Full international honours when he appeared for Ireland in a 3-0 defeat of Wales. He added a second cap later that same month against Scotland at Ibrox, but it was to be a generally disappointing season on the domestic front as Charlton were forced to apply for re-election to the Football League.

Charlton’s successful application for re-election mattered little to Steele as he was transferred to Swansea Town in July 1926. The move to the Swans was not to prove a successful one. Steele had to wait until January 1927 for his Division Two debut, and made just one further appearance for the Welsh side before an end-of-season transfer to Fulham, where he teamed up again with Joe Bradshaw, the man who had signed him for Swansea just eleven months earlier.

Steele established himself as Fulham’s regular left-half for a little over two seasons, suffering relegation to Division Three (South) in 1928. He did make a further two appearances for Ireland while at Craven Cottage, the last in a 7-3 defeat by “easy winners” Scotland, 7-3 at Windsor Park as the Irish half-back line “could not cope with the strong methodical attacks of Scotland”. That was the highest scoring match between the Celtic cousins since 1901.

After retiring in May 1930 Steele returned to Ireland, opening a newsagent in the seaside village of Whitehead on the shores of Belfast Lough. He briefly returned to the field of play with Distillery in April 1931 and also scouted for Blackpool. In the 1950s Steele returned to England, where he worked as an audit clerk in the City of London. He lived out his days in Rayleigh, Essex, where he passed away in May 1980 at the age of 81.

Cap Details:
13-02-1926 Wales... H W 3-0 BC
27-02-1926 Scotland A L 0-4 BC
02-02-1929 Wales... A D 2-2 BC
23-02-1929 Scotland H L 3-7 BC


Summary: 4/0. Won 1, Drew 1, Lost 2.

1 comment:

Juidith Eve said...

Alex Steele was the older brother of my father Edward Steele. His earnings in the 1930s maintained the rest of the family in Belfast through the Depression. He gave my father - his youngest brother Eddie - some of his mementoes - international jerseys and caps.

He is survived by his only child - a daughter Nanette (now aged 80) in Rayleigh, Essex , by two grandchildren (Nigel and Katrina) and a great grand-son Daniel.

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