Steve Walters (footballer)
|Date of birth||9 January 1972|
|Place of birth||Plymouth, England|
|Height||5 ft 10 in (1.78 m)|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only|
Steve Walters (born 9 January 1972) is an English former footballer who played in the Football League for Crewe Alexandra and the Football Conference for Northwich Victoria, Morecambe and Stevenage Borough. He was a midfielder.
Born in Plymouth, Devon, Walters first came to attention in 1984 when he won a competition at Butlin's Minehead for which the prize was the opportunity to train with Manchester United, and was then spotted by the renowned coach Barry Bennell. He was a member of The Football Association's centre of excellence at Lilleshall Hall in the same class as future England internationals Andy Cole and Ian Walker, and chose to start his career at Crewe Alexandra due to their reputation for developing young talent. He made his first team debut at 16 years and 119 days on 7 May 1988 against Peterborough United. His first Crewe goal was scored against Hartlepool United at Gresty Road on 4 March 1989. Through the early part of the 1990s he built up 173 appearances for the club over all competitions, scoring eleven goals, and appeared in the 1993 Football League Third Division play-off Final, which Crewe lost on penalties to York City, though they gained automatic promotion a year later.
He dropped out of league football in 1995 to join Football Conference side Northwich Victoria. After five years with Victoria he signed with Morecambe, where he spent one season. In 2001, Walters moved to Stevenage Borough, and then on to Kidsgrove Athletic.
In 2002, Walters joined Rhyl of the Welsh Premier League. In 2003–04, the club won the league, the Welsh Cup, the Welsh League Cup and reached the final of the FAW Premier Cup. He was named in the league's Team of the Year.
He then managed Rhos Aelwyd, where he was appointed manager in 2007. In 2007–08, the team won the FAW Trophy, and a year later the Welsh National League Premier Division Cup; in 2009–10 the club won the Welsh National League and promotion into the Cymru Alliance. He was named manager of the season for their first campaign back in the second tier. In August 2011 he moved into the coaching staff at Buckley Town. He was appointed under-19 coach at Airbus UK Broughton in October 2012.
Child sexual abuse victim
On 16 November 2016, former Crewe defender Andy Woodward revealed that he had been a victim of child sexual abuse by former football coach Barry Bennell (convicted as a paedophile in 1998) at the club in the 1980s. Subsequently, other victims contacted the police, and on 22 November, The Guardian reported that Walters had been another of Bennell's victims. In Manchester on 5 December 2016, Walters was one of five abuse victims at the launch of an organisation, the Offside Trust, to support player victims of abuse and their families. With Woodward (until he resigned on 27 January 2017) and Chris Unsworth, Walters was one of the Trust's directors.
In early 2017, Walters (who now runs a cleaning company) repeatedly bemoaned the lack of support expressed by current professional players to abuse victims, describing it as a "deafening silence" and "shocking and hurtful". It was also reported he had been on a course of counselling at the Priory provided by the Professional Footballers' Association.
Walters had been interviewed several times by police in 1994 after Bennell's initial conviction for child sexual abuse in the United States, but denied that he had been abused, fearing that he would lose his career as a result.
- Welsh Premier League: 2003–04
- Welsh Cup: 2003–04
- Welsh League Cup: 2003–04
- FAW Premier Cup: runner-up 2003–04
- FAW Trophy: 2007–08
- Welsh National League Premier Division Cup: 2008–09
- Welsh National League: 2009–10
- Taylor, Daniel (22 November 2016). "Second footballer reveals abuse by serial paedophile Barry Bennell". The Guardian. Retrieved 22 November 2016.
- "Crewe Alexandra". Post War English & Scottish Football League A–Z Player's Database. Neil Brown. Retrieved 8 June 2013.
- Crisp, Marco (1998). Crewe Alexandra Match by Match. Nottingham: Tony Brown. p. 119. ISBN 1 899468 81 1.
- Crisp, Marco (1998). Crewe Alexandra Match by Match. Nottingham: Tony Brown. p. 120. ISBN 1 899468 81 1.
- "Wales 2003/04". RSSSF. Retrieved 12 July 2018.
- "Rhyl FC's 2003/04 squad - where are they now?". Daily Post. 1 May 2009. Retrieved 12 July 2018.
- "Dream team 2003/04". welsh-premier.com. Retrieved 6 June 2018.
- "Our Man in the North: Dave Jones (Daily Post)". Wales Online. 17 April 2011. Retrieved 12 July 2018.
- "Manager of the Month". Cymru Alliance. Retrieved 12 July 2018.
- "Walters joins the Bucks' coaching staff". Welsh Premier. 2 August 2011. Retrieved 12 July 2018.
- "Steve Walters appointed to manage Under-19s". Airbus UK Broughton F.C. 31 October 2012. Retrieved 12 July 2018.
- Taylor, Daniel (16 November 2016). "Andy Woodward: 'It was the softer, weaker boys he targeted'". The Guardian. Retrieved 19 November 2016.
- Taylor, Daniel (21 November 2016). "Six come forward after Andy Woodward's story of abuse at Crewe". The Guardian. Retrieved 21 November 2016.
- "Second footballer comes forward over abuse at Crewe Alexandra". BBC News. BBC. Retrieved 22 November 2016.
- "Southampton 'abuser' still working in football". BBC News. BBC. 3 December 2016. Retrieved 3 December 2016.
- "Sex abuse footballers 'want to be free of pain'". BBC News. BBC. 5 December 2016. Retrieved 5 December 2016.
- "Andy Woodward leaves Offside Trust but campaign gains momentum". Eurosport. 3 February 2017. Retrieved 3 February 2017.
- Wheelock, Paul (10 January 2017). "The Offside Trust's fight to eradicate child abuse in sport". Chester Chronicle. Retrieved 10 January 2017.
- Lawrence, Amy (9 February 2017). "Offside Trust: 'We need more modern-day footballers to support us'". The Guardian. Retrieved 16 February 2017.
- Wallace, Sam (4 January 2017). "Silence from current players over child sex abuse claims has been deafening, says Steve Walters who hopes they can follow lead of Wolves captain Dave Edwards". Telegraph. Retrieved 5 January 2017.
- Steve Walters at Soccerbase