Stephen Hunt (footballer born 1956)
|Full name||Stephen Kenneth Hunt|
|Date of birth||4 August 1956|
|Place of birth||Birmingham, England|
|1977–1978||New York Cosmos||48||(20)|
|1982||→ New York Cosmos (loan)||22||(9)|
|1984–1986||West Bromwich Albion||68||(15)|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
† Appearances (Goals).
He began his career in 1975 as he ended it in 1988, winning promotion out of the Second Division with Aston Villa. In between these spells with Villa he spent most of his career in the First Division, attempting to keep Coventry City and West Bromwich Albion in the top-flight. He spent six years with Coventry, playing 185 league games as they successfully evaded the drop. He also spent three summers in the United States with the New York Cosmos, winning three Soccer Bowl titles (1977, 1978 and 1982), and was the MVP in Pelé's last game as a professional. In total, he scored 78 goals in 392 games in the Football League and North American Soccer League.
Born in the Witton area of Birmingham, Hunt began his professional career with hometown club Aston Villa in 1973. Vic Crowe's "Villans" finished 14th in the Second Division in 1973–74, before securing promotion with a second place finish in 1974–75 under the stewardship of Ron Saunders. Villa finished 16th in the First Division in 1975–76 and then fourth in 1976–77. Hunt scored one goal in seven league games at Villa Park.
Hunt enjoyed a spell in the North American Soccer League with the New York Cosmos in 1977 and 1978. The Cosmos won Soccer Bowl '77 with a 2–1 win over the Seattle Sounders at the Civic Stadium. Hunt scored the opener and also provided an assist to Giorgio Chinaglia, and was named the game's MVP in what was Pelé's last game as a professional. Hunt also played for the Cosmos in their 3–1 Soccer Bowl '78 victory over the Tampa Bay Rowdies at the Giants Stadium, providing an assist for Dennis Tueart for the opening goal.
He then returned to the Football League with Gordon Milne's Coventry City, who finished tenth in the First Division in 1978–79. The "Sky Blues" then posted 15th and 16th place finishes in 1979–80 and 1980–81. New boss Dave Sexton then took them to 14th place in 1981–82. Hunt returned to the New York Cosmos in 1982, and went on to win a third Soccer Bowl title with a 1–0 win over the Seattle Sounders in Soccer Bowl '82 at the San Diego Stadium. Back with Coventry, he helped the club to finish one place and one point above the relegation zone in 1982–83. Bobby Gould then took the club to one place and two points above the drop zone in 1983–84. Hunt scored 27 goals in 185 league games in his six years at Highfield Road.
Hunt moved on to league rivals West Bromwich Albion, who finished 12th in 1984–85 under Johnny Giles's stewardship, before suffering relegation with a last place finish in 1985–86 after Ron Saunders failed to turn around the bad start made by new boss Nobby Stiles. He scored 15 goals in 68 league games during his spell at The Hawthorns. He then returned to the Villa, who were themselves relegated in 1986–87 under the stewardship of first Graham Turner and then Billy McNeill. New manager Graham Taylor led Villa to bounce back with promotion in second place in 1987–88.
Hunt made two international appearances for England: playing in a 1–1 draw with Scotland at Hampden Park on 26 May 1984 and then playing in a 2–0 defeat to the Soviet Union at Wembley seven days later.
After retirement he became player-manager of Southern League side Willenhall Town, and in July 1989 became the youth team coach at Port Vale. He later took up the same post at Leicester City in June 1991.
- with Aston Villa
- with New York Cosmos
- "Player profile". Post War English & Scottish Football League A – Z Player's Database. Retrieved 22 October 2010.
- "Football Heroes". sporting-heroes.net. Retrieved 20 December 2011.
- "Player profile". NASL Jerseys. Retrieved 22 October 2010.
- "Cosmos give Pele a championship sendoff". bigapplesoccer.com. Retrieved 22 January 2013.
- "Player profile". England Stats. Retrieved 22 October 2010.
- Jeff Kent (1996). Port Vale Personalities. Witan Books. p. 147. ISBN 0-9529152-0-0.