Steve Paterson

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For those of a similar name, see Steve Patterson (disambiguation).
Steve Paterson
Personal information
Full name Steven William Paterson
Date of birth (1958-04-08) 8 April 1958 (age 58)
Place of birth Elgin, Scotland
Playing position Defender/Striker
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
?–1975 Nairn County
1975–1980 Manchester United 6 (0)
1980 Sheffield United
Buckie Thistle
Hong Kong Rangers
Sydney Olympic
Teams managed
1988–1990 Elgin City
1990–1995 Huntly
1995–2002 Inverness Caledonian Thistle
2002–2004 Aberdeen
2004–2006 Forres Mechanics
2006–2008 Peterhead
2010–2011 Huntly
2011–2015 Formartine United
2016– Dufftown
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.

Steven William "Steve" Paterson (born 8 April 1958 in Elgin, Moray) is a Scottish association football manager and former player.

Nicknamed "Pele", his promising professional playing career at Manchester United was curtailed due to injury problems as well as a long-term gambling and alcohol addiction. Despite this he did have a part-time footballing career with spells in Hong Kong, Australia and Japan.

Paterson has had more success as a manager winning several competitions in the Highland League with several clubs and his very fruitful 7-year spell at Inverness Caledonian Thistle leading them from the Scottish Third Division to the Scottish First Division and a famous cup upset over Celtic.

He has also published an autobiography "Confessions of a Highland Hero" ghost-written by Frank Gilfeather which documents his career and battles with gambling and alcohol addictions which were brought to media attention during his ill-fated spell at Aberdeen.

In addition to his football career, Paterson is also a qualified social worker.

Playing career[edit]

During his professional playing career, Paterson played as a central defender and joined Manchester United from Highland League club Nairn County in July 1975. He made a total of six league appearances for the Red Devils over five seasons. He signed for Sheffield United in a £60,000 deal but an ankle injury sustained in pre-season training forced Paterson to retire.

Paterson made his comeback as a player in July 1981 with Highland League club Buckie Thistle. He turned down Dundee United to join Peterhead. He had a spell playing for Hong Kong Rangers before again returning to his roots with Highland League club Nairn County in August 1982. The following February, he rejoined former boss Tommy Docherty at Sydney Olympic and then moved on to become the first European to play in Japan in December 1983. He won cups and titles with Yomiuri before his playing career was again cut short by persistent injury problems.

Managerial career[edit]

Elgin City[edit]

His management career began in 1988 in the Highland League with Elgin City. Primarily a player-manager in his first season, Paterson had a successful stint at Borough Briggs winning the Highland League, the North of Scotland Cup twice and the Northern version of the Scottish Qualifying Cup. He left the club in 1990 due to a contract disagreement with regards to wages.


He immediately moved on to Highland League rivals Huntly and his managerial success continued over the next five years. He won the Highland League twice and a host of other silverware including the Aberdeenshire Cup, the Northern version of the Scottish Qualifying Cup and the Highland League Cup. He also masterminded a Scottish Cup upset at Scottish Third Division club Dumbarton.

Inverness Caledonian Thistle[edit]

In the summer of 1995 he joined Inverness Caledonian Thistle, who were playing in the Scottish Third Division at that time. Paterson spent seven and a half years at Caley Thistle, their longest-serving manager to date. During this time, he took the club from the Third Division to the First Division and presided over the team's famous victories against Celtic (resulting in the well-known newspaper headline "Super Caley Go Ballistic, Celtic Are Atrocious")[1] and Hearts in the Scottish Cup.

In November 2002, Paterson was strongly linked with the vacant manager's job at Dundee United,[2] but he stayed at Caley Thistle for another month.


He was offered the manager's position at Aberdeen and became the club's new boss on 11 December 2002.[3] This move was not without controversy, as Paterson and his assistant Duncan Shearer were each supposed to have agreed a five-year contract with Caley Thistle not long before their departure to the Dons.

Paterson's tenure with Aberdeen was marred by his abuse of alcohol. In March 2003 he failed to attend a home game against Dundee due to being too hungover, after binge drinking the night before the match. In his biography he wrote:

"I awoke at about 2.15pm and went into a blind panic as I realized immediately the enormity of the situation.

"I was shocked and horrified and had an almighty hangover. Not only had I overslept, I was in no condition to attend the game.

"I didn't know what to do. This, I believed, was the end of my fledgling career as manager of Aberdeen.

"Meanwhile, down at Pittodrie, Duncan Shearer had hatched a cover-up story to protect me claiming I had been laid low with stomach pains.

"But the word was out on the street among the many punters who had seen me legless the previous night and there were stories that CCTV cameras had picked me up coming out of a variety of pubs and clubs.

"It was one of the most shameful incidents of my life. I was distraught and in pieces. The magnitude of the story could not be understated."[4]

Paterson and Shearer left Aberdeen in the summer of 2004, after a campaign in which the club came dangerously close to being relegated.

He did however win a couple of Aberdeenshire Cup titles during his tenure.

Forres Mechanics[edit]

In the same year he returned to the Highland League with Forres Mechanics where returned to successful ways winning both the North of Scotland Cup and Inverness Cup.


On 30 October 2006, he returned to the Scottish Football League when he was announced as the new manager of Peterhead,[5] a position from which he was eventually dismissed on 10 January 2008.[6]

Return to Huntly[edit]

In 2010 he returned to the Highland League with a second spell at Christie Park but his return was brief and not as successful as his first.

Formartine United[edit]

In March 2011, Paterson left his post at Huntly to take up the managers post at Formartine United. He added to his trophy haul with success in the Aberdeenshire Cup in 2014.

Paterson left Formartine United in summer 2015.


On 9 December 2015, it was announced that Paterson had agreed to become manager of North Region junior side Dufftown.

On 9 November 2016, The Sun newspaper revealed WhatsApp messages that a reportedly inebriated Paterson had sent in which he threatened to bomb their houses.[7] The message reportedly read

"Fifty fans shouted it’s went doonhill since Paterson took over?!? Each one o that c***s houses r getting fire bombed.”[8]

Paterson later admitted sending the messages while heavily under the influence of alcohol. He told The Sun

"I can’t remember writing the messages. It was about 5am when I was p****d. It was just banter — I like a few beers."[9]

Personal life[edit]

In March 2003, Paterson revealed he had an alcohol problem, after famously missing Aberdeen's 3–3 home draw with Dundee due to being too hungover to attend.[10] In October 2008 it was reported that Paterson had lost £1 million from betting.[11] Paterson's biography "Confessions of a Highland Hero" co-written with former Grampian Television presenter Frank Gilfeather was published in November 2009, and was serialised in the Daily Record.

Managerial statistics[edit]

As of 10 May 2015
Team Nat From To Record
G W D L Win %
Inverness Caledonian Thistle Scotland August 1995 December 2002 329 147 92 90 44.68
Aberdeen Scotland December 2002 May 2004 68 23 13 32 33.82
Peterhead Scotland October 2006 January 2008 51 17 10 24 33.33
  • Scottish Football League statistics only.


  1. ^ "Super Caley dream realistic?". BBC Sport. British Broadcasting Corporation. 22 March 2003. Retrieved 13 January 2010. 
  2. ^ "Paterson confirms United offer" BBC Sport website (6 November 2002)
  3. ^ "Paterson named new Aberdeen boss" BBC Sport website (11 December 2002)
  4. ^
  5. ^ "Paterson is new boss at Peterhead" BBC Sport website (30 October 2006)
  6. ^ "Blue Toon boss Paterson departs" BBC Sport website (10 January 2008)
  7. ^ " Boozed-up football boss Steve Paterson: I'll firebomb our fans' houses " The Scottish Sun website (8 November 2016)
  8. ^ " Boozed-up football boss Steve Paterson: I'll firebomb our fans' houses " The Scottish Sun website (8 November 2016)
  9. ^ " Boozed-up football boss Steve Paterson: I'll firebomb our fans' houses " The Scottish Sun website (8 November 2016)
  10. ^ "Paterson reveals drink problem" BBC Sport website (17 March 2003)
  11. ^ "£1m bets shame of former football boss Steve Paterson as he checks into rehab" Daily Record (1 October 2008)

External links[edit]