Stephen Baxter (footballer)

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Stephen Baxter
Personal information
Date of birth (1965-10-01) 1 October 1965 (age 48)
Place of birth Belfast, Northern Ireland
Height 6 ft 2 in (1.88 m)
Playing position Striker
Club information
Current team
Crusaders (manager)
Youth career
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1985–1987 Ards 43 (21)
1987–1993 Linfield 114 (51)
1993–1994 Distillery 25 (6)
1994–1998 Crusaders 108 (40)
1998–2000 Glenavon 48 (19)
2000–2002 Crusaders 58 (23)
2002–2003 Bangor 0 (0)
Total 396 (160)
National team
1981 Northern Ireland U18 3 (0)
1987 Irish League XI 2 (0)
Teams managed
2005– Crusaders
* 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.

Playing career[edit]

'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.[1] He then moved to Glenavon for a successful period before returning to Seaview for a second two-year spell in 2000.[citation needed]

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.

Managerial career[edit]

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.[citation needed]

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.[2][3]

Managerial statistics[edit]

Team Nation From To Record
G W D L F A Gd Win %
Crusaders  Northern Ireland 14 February 2005 Present 397 216 68 113 741 524 +217 54.41
Total 397 216 68 113 741 524 +217 54.41
As of 4 May 2013


As a player[edit]


Lisburn Distillery




  • 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[edit]



  1. ^ M. Brodie (ed.), Northern Ireland Soccer Yearbook 2009-2010, p. 102. Belfast: Ulster Tatler Publications.
  2. ^ 2012 Setanta Sports Cup; accessed 7 May 2014.
  3. ^ Profile,; accessed 7 May 2014.