Paul Stewart had the world at his feet in his Tottenham days – an FA Cup
winner’s medal, three England caps and a place in midfield alongside the then
phenomenal Paul Gascoigne. When he was transferred to Liverpool, it was
expected he would hit new heights but it wasn’t to be. Here Paul Stewart
reveals the true highs and lows of a chequered career.
You represented Man City in the Masters tournament at the Manchester Arena
recently – are you a Man City fan?
No, I’m a United fan actually – I was born in Wythenshawe. I used to go with my
brother to watch them play every week. The likes of Martin Buchan, Arthur
Albiston, Gordon McQueen and Joe Jordan were my heroes.
What would you say was the highlight of your career?
Playing for England and scoring at Wembley in the Cup final when we beat Forest
2-1. I’ve had some lows as well, but the highs outweigh the lows.
What about the low points?
Injuries mainly and then when I went to Liverpool it didn’t really work out, so
it was a bit of a lonely time. I would liked to have succeeded there, but I
didn’t. You always get remembered for those sort of things.
You played up front for Man City and scored a lot of goals and you were signed
by Spurs as a striker. Whose decision was it to move you into midfield?
It was just pure coincidence. What happened was that we were playing against
Man United of all people and Gazza and Pat van den Hauwe both got sent off. It
was either me or Gary Lineker who had to move back and I couldn’t see Gary
going back into midfield and working his b****cks off! I went back there and it
worked out for me. I didn’t play up front again until I went to Sunderland.
I was an up and downer – I was never blessed with the greatest of skill like
some players, but I made sure that throughout my career I kept myself in trim
and worked hard to get the best out of myself. When you get older, things like
pace catch you out so it becomes difficult for players like myself to play as
long as some of the others.
How would you sum up your professional career?
I’ve enjoyed it – I don’t complain. A lot of people tend to get bitter about
the high wages and that sort of thing, but for me I was just happy to get the
chance I got and play.
What are you up to these days?
I’ve got my own business and I’m doing a degree in Spanish at University. It
was always a goal of mine to get a degree – I never really did very well in my
education at school. I decided to take up a language and it’s going alright for
me. Hopefully I might be able to get into the press side of the game.
You mentioned Gazza before – you’ve obviously played alongside some great
players in your time. Who would you say was the most gifted footballer you’ve
Gazza without a doubt. I mean, I’ve played alongside Ian Rush, Gary Lineker,
John Barnes and Chris Waddle. They were absolutely fabulous players, but for me
none of them really touched Gazza when he was at Spurs before his injury. He
was probably the greatest player in the world at the time.
Unfortunately things didn’t quite work out with his knee injury and I just hope
that he does really well at Everton. I hope and pray that he keeps himself fit
and doesn’t let the knocks that sometimes waylay him interfere with his career.
I hope everybody gets behind him because I tell you what, before the European
Championships people were screaming that he was finished, that he was no good
and that he lets everybody down. In the European Championships we couldn’t keep
the ball. If Paul was fit, we could have done with him. The country could do
with someone like Paul.
I think he’ll do well at Everton if he keeps himself fit and steers clear of
injuries. It’s a big stage for him again and it’s where he’s at his best.
By Zoo Football.