Player profile

Steve McMahon

Birthdate: 20 August 1961
Birthplace: Liverpool, England
Other clubs: Everton (1977-83), Aston Villa (1983-85), Manchester City (1991-94), Swindon Town (1994-98)
Bought from: Aston Villa
Signed for LFC: £350,000, 12.09.1985
International debut: 17.02.1988 vs. Israel
International caps: 17/0 - 14.11.1990
Liverpool debut: 14.09.1985
Last appearance: 21.12.1991
Debut goal: 21.09.1985
Last goal: 14.12.1991
Contract expiry: 24.12.1991
Win ratio: 60.65% W: 168 D: 73 L: 36
Games/goals ratio: 5.54
Honours: League Championship 1985/86, 1987/88, 1989/90; FA Cup 1986, 1989
Total games/goals opposite LFC: 14 / 0
LFC league games/goals: 204 / 29
Total LFC games/goals: 277 / 50

Player profile

"When Steve McMahon plays well, I always think that Liverpool will play well." This ultimate compliment from Bob Paisley's bear testament to McMahon's capabilities. McMahon started out as a ball boy at Goodison Park and eventually joined his boyhood heroes Everton. He was a regular for the Blues for three seasons and voted the supporters' player of the year in his debut campaign. When he felt it was time was to move on he chose Aston Villa in a £300,000 deal over Liverpool. He confessed that he didn't dare to do the virtually impossible to move straight from the blue half of Liverpool to the red. His transfer turned out to be a step down as Everton were a club on the rise, winning the League Championship two years after his move while Aston Villa struggled to follow their 1980/81 league triumph. Before McMahon eventually joined Liverpool he had certainly had his tussles with their players. "They set me up. Kenny got me booked and Souey got me sent off," says McMahon of their Anfield battle on 17 September 1983. "They certainly set out to wind me up and they succeeded. They were crafty. I was wound up anyway going back to Merseyside and they did me a treat." Since Souness left Liverpool for Rome in 1984, a playmaker of some force was needed as the Reds lost the title to Everton. When Liverpool came in for McMahon again in September 1985 he wasn't going to reject them again.

Kenny Dalglish took over before the 1985/86 season and McMahon was his first signing. In only his third game McMahon faced Everton at Goodison Park and scored Liverpool's third with a thumping shot that proved to be the winning goal. McMahon was ruthless in the middle of the park putting in strong tackles to say the least. He contributed to the goalscoring as well and displayed sorely-missed leadership qualities in the engine room. McMahon got injured at a crucial stage of the season and the only Englishman in Liverpool's troops at Wembley had to settle for the bench when the Reds beat the Blues in the FA Cup final. He played 50 games in his second season in comparison with 36 in his first and scored no less than 14 goals, but Everton recaptured their crown. McMahon's game prospered in 1987/88 and he came third in the vote for Footballer of the Year as Liverpool shattered their opposition. He was a perfect workhorse for the more glitzy talents of Barnes and Beardsley, though he could conjure up magic on his own. On 16 January 1988 with the score at 0-0 late in the first half a promising Liverpool move appeared to have finished when a pass from Ray Houghton was misdirected and seemed to be heading for the paddock. McMahon was having none of it and chased a seemingly lost cause. At full speed he put his foot on the ball to prevent it from going out of play before careering towards the paddock supporters. Somehow he contrived to stop himself from toppling into the crowd, regained his balance and control of the ball which he then took down the right wing before sliding a brilliant pass across to the onrushing Aldridge who scored the first in a 2-0 victory over Arsenal. 

McMahon picked up his third League Championship in the 1989/90 season. Despite his tough demeanour on the field McMahon escaped a sending-off at Liverpool until he received two reds in a seven month period in 1991. The first one came when he put in a late tackle on Liverpool old boy Howard Gayle receiving a second yellow in an ill-tempered FA Cup clash against Blackburn Rovers in January. The following month McMahon injured his knee after a clash with John Ebbrell in the fifth round of the FA Cup which meant an early end to his season just a few days before Dalglish's resignation. McMahon's second dismissal came in only his third game of the 1991/92 season when he elbowed Luton Town's Philip Gray when preventing him from taking an early free-kick. Later Vinnie Jones claimed McMahon was his "only real rival" in modern day football for the accolade of "hardest man in football". McMahon was never the most popular teammate in the dressing room, but once on the field he had your back.

In November 1991 thirty-year-old McMahon left for Manchester City. McMahon was used to higher standards than were on offer at City at the time yet remained at Maine Road for three years before he was tempted away to become the player-manager of Swindon Town. Although unable to save Town from a second successive relegation, he did steer them to the semi-final stage of the League Cup, where they were defeated by Bolton Wanderers. Swindon won the Division Two title in 1996 but the manager left after a dreadful start to the 1998/99 season, losing five of the opening nine matches. In January 2000 McMahon signed an 18-month contract to manage Blackpool and that contract was later extended. Halfway through the 2003/04 season he tendered his resignation but then bizarrely interrupted the press conference that had been arranged to announce his departure and claimed that he had withdrawn his resignation having talked to his Chairman. He did eventually resign for real just before the end of the 2003/04 season. McMahon became the manager of Perth Glory in Australia early in January 2005 but that job lasted less than a year. Since then like so many other former Liverpool players, he has got involved in what can be called 'media and punditry work' including working for the ESPN Star Sports channel. In September 2011 McMahon was hired to expand Liverpool's brand and scouting into India. The former midfielder is head coach at the facility as a part of the club's ambition to leave its footprint in every continent in the next three years.

Appearances per season

1985-1986 23450436
1986-1987 37190350
1987-1988 40720049
1988-1989 29630240
1989-1990 38820149
1990-1991 22420129
1991-1992 15045024

A more detailed look at the player's appearances

15Manchester United
14Norwich City
12Coventry City
12Nottingham Forest
11Sheffield Wednesday
11Luton Town
10Manchester City
8Aston Villa
8Charlton Athletic
7West Ham United
5Crystal Palace
5Oxford United
5Newcastle United
4Stoke City
4Leicester City
3Blackburn Rovers
3Oldham Athletic
2Swansea City
2Brighton & Hove Albion
2Sheffield United
2Port Vale
2Kuusysi Lahti
1Swarowski Tirol
1Wigan Athletic
1Carlisle United
1Hull City
1Birmingham City
1Leeds United
Total Started/substitutions
275 Started
5 On the bench
2 Substitute
42 Substituted

Wartime Appearances / Goals

No records to display.

Stats note

Milestone Appearances

114.09.1985Oxford UnitedManor GroundLeague
5007.10.1986FulhamCraven CottageLeague Cup
10004.11.1987WimbledonPlough LaneLeague
15026.12.1988Derby Baseball GroundLeague
20001.01.1990Nottingham ForestCity GroundLeague

Milestone Goals

14221.09.1985EvertonGoodison ParkLeague
501614.12.1991Nottingham ForestAnfieldLeague

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Related Quotes

"I suppose it's inevitable to wonder what might have happened if I had gone to Liverpool. They won three trophies last season while Villa had a difficult time. But you have to make the decision at the time, and I felt that going across Merseyside was the hardest move in football. In the same circumstances I would have made the same decision."

Aston Villa player Steve McMahon reflecting on his decision to snub Liverpool in favour of Villa in May 1983

"I'd kick my own brother if necessary... it's what being a professional footballer is all about."

Hard man Steve McMahon

"Ince should keep his mouth shut and get on with his new job of playing for Boro. Criticising Gerard Houllier was a bad thing for him to go and do. Someone of his experience should know better. It is players like Ince who have got Liverpool into trouble in the first place. Gerard has had a hard job to do at Anfield taking over a poor team and trying to rebuild it. He was right to get rid of Ince and get in Dietmar Hamann."

Steve McMahon jumped to the defence of Houllier and Phil Thompson after Paul Ince's outspoken attack

They set me up. Kenny got me booked and Souey got me sent off. They certainly set out to wind me up and they succeeded. They were crafty. I was wound up anyway going back to Merseyside and they did me a treat.

Steve McMahon was sent off playing for Aston Villa vs Liverpool on 17th September 1983

"I'd kick my own brother if necessary... it's what being a professional footballer is all about." And that determination was reflected in his play. One goal, scored by John Aldridge against Arsenal in 1988, sums up McMahon. The ball was cleared and ran towards the Main Stand touchline, seemingly destined to roll out of play for a Liverpool throw which would allow the Arsenal defence to regroup. But McMahon refused to let that happen, chasing down the ball, backheeling it right on the line to keep it in play and making a scrambling turn pitchside to get back on the ball. Then he drove past two defenders to play the ball into Aldridge's path for a magnificent goal. Why Everton, who McMahon supported and where he came through the youth system, ever let him go - to Aston Villa - defies logic. As for kicking your brother, you would if he was an Evertonian, wouldn't you?

Tony Evans from Times online on Steve McMahon

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