|Full name||Stephen Nicol|
|Date of birth||11 December 1961|
|Place of birth||Troon, Scotland|
|Height||5 ft 10 in (1.78 m)|
|1998||→ West Bromwich Albion (loan)||9||(0)|
|1999||New England Revolution (interim)|
|2002–2011||New England Revolution|
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
Stephen "Steve" Nicol (born 11 December 1961 in Troon, North Ayrshire, Scotland) is a Scottish former professional footballer. A schoolboy at Marr College, Troon he developed into a utility player who played in the successful Liverpool team of the 1980s. He was also a regular member of the Scotland national football team, and represented his country at the 1986 FIFA World Cup.
As a player, Nicol won five Football League First Division titles, three FA Cup winners medals, and the 1984 European Cup during 14 years with Liverpool. Nicol also played with several other English teams, including Notts County, Sheffield Wednesday and Doncaster Rovers, before emigrating to the United States in 1999. He was most recently coach of New England Revolution, and was the longest-tenured head coach in MLS to coach a single club.
Nicol began his career with Ayr United in 1979 and spent just over two seasons with the Scottish side, racking up 70 league appearances, before Liverpool manager Bob Paisley decided to pay, what turned out to be a bargain price, £300,000 to bring Nicol to Anfield on 26 October 1981.
Nicol, who was signed by Bob Paisley, had to wait almost an entire year to make his senior debut for Liverpool and two years for a regular first team place, arriving at the club halfway through a 20-year period of dominance.
He made his Reds debut on 31 August 1982 in a 0–0 league draw with Birmingham City at St Andrews, and made a further three league appearances that season. The Reds finished it as league champions for the 14th time, but Nicol did not make enough appearances to collect a title winner's medal.
Nicol became a regular in the 1983–84 season under new boss Joe Fagan, he also scored his first goal for the club on 22 October 1983, in a 1–0 league victory over Queens Park Rangers at Loftus Road. He went on to win a League championship medal by the end of his first full season having not appeared enough times the previous season to qualify for a medal, however, he was not picked for the League Cup final victory over fierce Merseyside derby rivals Everton, the first ever all Merseyside final. He was selected for the European Cup final in Rome, Nicol played well and earned a winner's medal after a penalty shoot-out in which he missed his own spot-kick. Fortunately for Nicol A.S. Roma, playing in their home stadium, subsequently failed to score two of their penalty kicks and Liverpool won.
Nicol became a first-team regular for many subsequent seasons, winning the League championship and FA Cup "double" in 1986 under the guidance of Kenny Dalglish, pipping Everton to the title by just two points and then beating them 3–1 in the first ever all Merseyside FA Cup final. He was also settling into an international career with Scotland which would ultimately yield 27 caps and a place in the 1986 FIFA World Cup in Mexico. Jock Stein gave Nicol his international debut on 12 September 1984 in a friendly with Yugoslavia, The Scots turned on the style for the 18, 512 Hampden Park crowd thumping the Eastern Europeans 6–1, helping Nicol to settle in somewhat were club mates Graeme Souness, who also captained the side, and Kenny Dalglish, both scoring.
A versatile player, he played most often at right back following the departure of Phil Neal in 1985, though he also featured at left back, in the centre of defence and as a midfield player, he even played up front on a couple of occasions. He earned the nickname 'Chopsy' because of how he pronounced the word 'chips'.
In the 1987–88 season in goalscoring form, despite playing in a position not naturally conducive to attacking. This included a memorable hat-trick at Newcastle United and a phenomenal long-range header at Arsenal.
Nicol's defensive qualities were also much admired as Liverpool coasted to the League title but missed out on another "double" when Wimbledon surprisingly beat them 1–0 in the FA Cup final at Wembley. Nicol was the last Liverpool player to have a chance to equalise and force extra-time, his diving header in injury time flying narrowly over the crossbar.
A year later, Nicol accompanied his team-mates to many of the funerals and memorial services of the 96 fans who died at the Hillsborough disaster and played his part as Liverpool won the FA Cup against Everton, winning 3–2 after extra time, but lost the League title in a decider against Arsenal with virtually the last kick of the season. The campaign ended on a personal high for Nicol as he was named Footballer of the Year by football writers. Like many others in the Liverpool squad, Hillsborough was the second tragedy Nicol had witnessed, four years earlier just before the 1985 European Cup final at the Heysel Stadium, Brussels football hooligans had charged a section of, mainly, Juventus supporters causing a retaining wall to collapse killing 39 people.
The sequel to the Heysel disaster was a five-year ban on English clubs in European competitions, with Liverpool being banned for six years. Nicol would be one of the few players still with Liverpool when their ban from European competitions was finally lifted.
When Liverpool beat Crystal Palace 9–0 the following season to accumulate the club's biggest-ever League victory, Nicol was the only player to score twice, getting the first and last goals of the game in the seventh and 90th minutes. Liverpool regained the League title that season – their last to date – and, two years later, Nicol was in the team which, under Graeme Souness, won the FA Cup again in 1992 this time beating Sunderland 2–0.
In 13 years at Anfield, he had played a total of 343 league games and scored 36 goals. He was the club's longest serving player in terms of unbroken service, although Ian Rush had joined the club more than a year before him his service had been disrupted by a year-long spell at Juventus.
Nicol stayed at Liverpool until 20 January 1995 when he took on the a player-coach role at Notts County, being recruited by County's former Everton manager Howard Kendall. He stayed in the role for just 10 months playing 22 times, although he did receive his first taste of management at Meadow Lane when he took charge of the club with two other players for the final months of the Magpies' disastrous 1994–95 campaign. Unfortunately his efforts were not enough to save Notts County from relegation to Division Two.
Following the end of the season, Nicol next moved to Sheffield Wednesday in the November of '95, where he made his debut against former derby rivals Everton at Goodison Park on 25 November a game which ended in a 2–2 draw. However, probably Nicol's best memory of his time at Hillsborough happened on 7 December 1996 when his Wednesday side travelled to his old stomping ground of Anfield, the Sheffield side completely nullified the Liverpool attack, which contained the likes of Robbie Fowler, Steve McManaman and John Barnes, and came away with a surprise 1–0 victory with Nicol playing a major part in the Wednesday defence.
English lower-divisions, move to America
Nicol went on to make 49 league appearances before spending a spell on loan at West Bromwich Albion during the 1997–98 season where he played nine games. He then had a short spell with Doncaster Rovers before heading to the U.S. to take a player-coach position with Boston Bulldogs of the A-League in 1999.
In September of that year, he took over as interim player-coach with the New England Revolution of Major League Soccer for the final two games of the season, winning both. He returned to Boston Bulldogs as player-coach for the 2000 and 2001 seasons before re-joining the Revs in 2002 as an assistant coach.
Nicol was first capped at senior level for Scotland on 12 September 1984, soon after becoming a first team regular for Liverpool. His debut was a memorable one, as he helped Scotland beat Yugoslavia 6-1 in a friendly at Hampden Park. The last of his 27 full caps for Scotland came on 11 September 1991 in a 2-2 draw in Switzerland during the Euro 92 qualifiers. He was in Scotland's squad for the 1986 World Cup.
Nicol took over as head coach of New England Revolution on an interim basis initially, then permanently after 21 games, leading the team to the MLS Cup final that season, and was named MLS Coach of the Year in his first year. The team advanced to the MLS Eastern Conference Finals every year during his tenure until 2008, and returned to the MLS Cup final in 2005, 2006 and 2007. Nicol's Revolution had the unique distinction of not scoring a goal in regulation time in the first three of their four final appearances (losing all four). On 24 October 2011, Nicol and the Revolution mutually decided to part ways, ending his 10 season tenure.
- Football League First Division (5): 1982–83, 1983–84, 1985–86, 1987–88, 1989–90
- FA Cup (3): 1985–86, 1988–89, 1991–92
- Super Cup (1): 1985-86
- FA Charity Shield (4): 1986, 1989, 1989, 1990
- European Cup (1): 1983–84
- New England Revolution
- MLS Coach of the Year Award (1): 2002
- Football Writers' Association Footballer of the Year (1): 1989
- "Revolution parts ways with head coach Steve Nicol". New England Revolution. Retrieved 24 October 2011.
- LFCHistory.net profile
- Steve Nicol career statistics at Soccerbase
- Liverpool seasonal record (part 1) 1981/82-1985/86 at sporting-heroes.net
- Liverpool seasonal record (part 2) 1986/87-1989/90 at sporting-heroes.net
- Liverpool seasonal record (part 3) 1990/91-1994/95 at sporting-heroes.net
- Sheffield Wednesday seasonal record 1995/96-1997/98 at sporting-heroes.net
- Scottish caps 1984–91 at sporting-heroes.net
- Profile of Nicol from Soccer New England
- Steve Nicol at National-Football-Teams.com
Served alongside: Ronnie Whelan