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Linnets Legends - Steve Joel

In November 1981 Runcorn played at Turf Moor against Burnley in the FA Cup with about 2,000 Runcorn fans in glorious voice. Brian Parker had had an outstanding game in goal, keeping out everything Burnley could throw at him. Suddenly, with about 25 minutes to go, Steve Joel burst away down the middle and with his tremendous pace outstripped the Burnley defence. Was this to be our moment? I remember to this day sinking to my knees as Joel put the ball wide of the post and although the game ended up as a 0 – 0 draw we were to lose the replay, unluckily, 2 – 1.

That moment perhaps summed up Steve Joel. He was born in October 1955 and was 5 feet 7 inches of pure pace. Sometimes he was almost too quick for himself! Not only did he possess outstanding pace but he also had one of the longest throws you could see in football. It was often better than a corner!

I found a lovely article in the first Runcorn Fanzine called “Jolly Green Giants” produced in 1990 by Mark from Weston Point and John from Beechwood and I hope they won’t mind me reproducing it here for you!

“Stevie Joel; 4′2″ winger with elasticated arms. No Canal Street regular will ever forget his amazing throw ins from one side of the ground to the other, or his ability to fall from the halfway line to just inside the penalty box. Only one word can sum him up – Absolute Genius!!!” ( © thanks for that lads!)

Steve started as a 16 year old in Liverpool’s Lancashire League team but after a season moved to Marine who were then in the Cheshire League, Again he only stayed for a season before teaming up with John Williams at Porthmadoc. He had trials for Wrexham and also played for Bethesda before once again returning to Porthmadoc. He followed Williams to Winsford but when John became manager at Runcorn he soon brought Steve along too at the start of the 1980/81 season. Success was instant with the NPL title quickly followed by the winning of the Gola League, which is, of course, now the Conference. Perhaps looking back it is no surprise that a team that included Ossie Smith, Bobby Fraser and Steve Joel did so well. They were all at the top of their game when they arrived with Williams at Runcorn.

In September 1984 Steve suffered a very serious leg injury at Leek Town in the FA Cup which kept him out of the game for months and all but finished his career. Steve Joel was on the fringes of the England Non – League team but was never selected. In many ways he probably never truly reached his full potential but there was no better sight in football than Joel when he was in full flight and because he was part of such a successful team he deserves to be included as a Linnets Legend.

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