Stephen Baxter (footballer)
|Date of birth||1 October 1965|
|Place of birth||Belfast, Northern Ireland|
|Height||6 ft 2 in (1.88 m)|
|1981||Northern Ireland U18||3||(0)|
|1987||Irish League XI||2||(0)|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
† Appearances (Goals).
Stephen Baxter (born 1 October 1965, Belfast) is a football manager and ex-player from Northern Ireland; accessed 7 May 2014. He is the current manager of Crusaders, where he previously played.
'Stanley' (as he would later be nicknamed after the Scottish comedian) started out as a player with Glentoran before signing for Ards in 1985. His goalscoring exploits caught the notice of giants Linfield and he signed for them in 1987, winning two Irish League championships, three Gold Cups and a League Cup. He scored 102 goals in 219 games for the Blues, of which 169 were starts.
Unable to hold down a regular starting place, however, he signed for Crusaders in 1994. Baxter became one of the key players of Crusaders' golden team of the 90's, again winning two Irish League championships, a Gold Cup and League Cup. In 1995/96, he was named in the Football Writers' Premier League Team of the Year, and in 1996/97 he was named as the Ulster Footballer of the Year. He then moved to Glenavon for a successful period before returning to Seaview for a second two-year spell in 2000.
Baxter was memorable for his hat-trick in a relegation play-off against Lisburn Distillery, ensuring the Crues' survival. Baxter left Seaview a firm fan-favourite and legend status for a short spell at Bangor, where he coached briefly and played two cup games, before retiring from football completely and opening a sports shop in Newtownards. He played a total of 650 games in his career, and scored 303 goals.
Following the sacking of Alan Dornan, Baxter was installed as manager at Seaview, yet was unable to keep the Hatchetmen in the top division. After winning virtually every intermediate trophy in sight the following season, under Baxter's leadership the Crues returned to the Irish League and lead the table briefly, before finishing in 6th position in 2006-07.
After, he led the club to their first top 3 finish for a decade in 2008-09, and also the team's first Irish Cup victory in 41 years. He led the club to County Antrim Shield success the following season. Baxter is so far the club's second most successful manager, behind Roy Walker for whom he played under during Walker's reigns at the club.
In 2011–12, Baxter led the Crues to triumph in the Irish League Cup, winning the competition for the first time since 1996. That same season, he delivered success at the 2012 Setanta Sports Cup.
|Crusaders||Northern Ireland||14 February 2005||Present||397||216||68||113||741||524||+217||54.41|
- As of 4 May 2013
As a player
- Irish League (2): 1988–89, 1992–93
- Gold Cup (3): 1987–88, 1988–89, 1989–90
- Irish League Cup (1): 1991–92
- Gold Cup (1): 1993–94
- Mid-Ulster Cup (1): 1998–99
- NI Football Writers' Premier League Team of the Year: 1995–96
- Ulster Footballer of the Year: 1996–97
- NI Football Writers’ Player of the Year: 1996–97
As a manager
- Irish Cup (1): 2008–09
- Setanta Cup (1): 2012
- Irish League Cup (1): 2011–12
- County Antrim Shield (1): 2009–10
- IFA Intermediate League (1): 2005–06
- IFA Intermediate League Cup (1): 2005–06
- Steel & Sons Cup (1): 2005–06