Steve Nicol Profile
|Born||Dec 11, 1961|
During his time with Liverpool, the Scotsman won almost every title on offer. The former First Division and European Cup winner then became a manager in the US before becoming a pundit for ESPN.
Steve Nicol was a professional footballer who most famously played as a right-back for Liverpool between 1981 and 1994. During this time he won four Premiership medals, a European Cup, three FA Cups, a Football League Super Cup and an FA Charity Shield. In 1989, he was the Football Writers' Association Player of the Year.
As a player, Nicol also had stints at Ayr United, Notts County, Sheffield Wednesday, West Bromwich Albion, Doncaster Rovers and Boston Bulldogs. Healso played for the Scottish national team and went on to enjoy success as a manager.
Nicol had stints presiding over Notts County and Boston Bulldogs, but most of his coaching success came with New England Revolution. The Scot won the MLS Coach of the Year award in 2002, the 2007 US Open Cup and the 2008 North American SuperLiga.
He now works as a pundit for ESPN FC.
Career at Liverpool
Steve Nicol began his club career with Scotland's Ayr United in 1979 before moving to Liverpool in 1981. Legendary manager Bob Paisley signed him as the Reds forked out a reported £300,000 to bring him to Anfield.
Nicol had to wait some time before making his debut, which eventually came on August 31, 1982 in a 0-0 league draw with Birmingham City at St. Andrew's.
Liverpool finished as league champions in 1982/83, but Nicol did not make enough appearances to collect a winner's medal - only featuring three more times throughout the course of the campaign.
Breaking through at Liverpool
In 1983/84, Nicol became a regular as Joe Fagan replaced Paisley. On October 22 1983, Nicol scored his first goal for Liverpool in a 1-0 league win over Queens Park Rangers at Loftus Road.
Nicol won a league winner's medal at the end of the season but did not appear in Liverpool's League Cup final win over Merseyside rivals Everton.
In the European Cup final against AS Roma, Nicol came on as a substitute for Craig Johnston. After a 0-0 draw, the match went to a penalty shootout at the Stadio Olimpico. Nicol failed to convert his penalty but Liverpool won the game nonetheless.
The 1985 Heysel Stadium Disaster in the European Cup final between Liverpool and Juventus meant that English clubs were banned from the competition for five years.
The Reds were initially banned for 10 years but that was later reduced to six. Nevertheless, Nicol continued to enjoy success with Liverpool.
More silverware and a second tragedy
In 1986, under the guidance of Kenny Dalglish, Liverpool won the league championship and FA Cup double - edging out Everton in the title race and beating them 3-1 in the cup final.
Although he predominantly played at right back following the departure of Phil Neal, Nicol was utilised at left back, centre back, midfield and also played up front.
In 1987/88, Nicol had a productive goalscoring season even as a defender, scoring a hat-trick against Newcastle United and a famous long-range header against Arsenal. Liverpool breezed to another league title that season.
In the following campaign, Liverpool beat Everton to win the FA Cup but lost their league crown to Arsenal in a close race.
Nicol witnessed his second stadium disaster at Hillsborough and accompanied his teammates to the funerals of many of the 96 victims.
The Scot scored twice in Liverpool's record top flight win during the 1989/90 season, a 9-0 drubbing of Crystal Palace. The Reds went on to win the title however, few would have predicted that they wouldn't win another one for 30 years.
In 1992, Nicol and Liverpool won the FA Cup, beating Sunderland 2-0 in the final.
At the start of the 1994/95 season, Nicol fell down the Liverpool pecking order after the arrival of fellow defenders Phil Babb and John Scales. He made his last appearance for the Reds in a League Cup clash with Burnley in October 1994.
The Scot left Liverpool to take on a player-assistant coach role under Howard Kendall at Notts County in January 1995. He took joint managerial charge of the club after Kendall's sacking but could not prevent them from being relegated from Division Two.
Nicol enjoyed some success in his subsequent stint at Sheffield Wednesday, including starring in a 1-0 win over Liverpool at Anfield in December 1996.
Nicol enjoyed a loan spell at West Bromwich Albion and a brief stint at Doncaster Rovers before moving to the USA, where he took over as a player-coach at Boston Bulldogs.
After serving as interim player-coach at New England Revolution, he returned to the Bulldogs where he winded down his playing career. Then in 2002, he became New England Revolution's assistant coach.
International career with Scotland
Nicol made his debut for Scotland in a friendly against Yugoslavia on September 12, 1984. Jock Stein's Scotland won the match 6-1, handing Nicol a memorable start to his international career.
Nicol was part of the Scotland side which travelled to the 1986 World Cup in Mexico, where they lost 1-0 to Denmark and 2-1 to West Germany before picking up a point in their last match, a 0-0 draw with Uruguay.
Altogether, Nicol amassed 27 caps for Scotland, the last of which came in a 2-2 draw with Switzerland on September 11, 1991 during UEFA Euro 92 qualifiers.
Managing at New England Revolution
Nicol initially took over as head coach of New England Revolution on an interim basis in 2002. After 21 games, he was appointed permanently. In his first year in charge, he led New England Revolution to the final of the MLS Cup and won the MLS Coach of the Year award.
The team made the MLS Eastern Conference finals during every year of his spell in charge until 2008. In 2005, 2006 and 2007, the New England Revolution returned to the MLS Cup finals. However, on each occasion, they lost.
On 24 October 2011, the club parted ways with Nicol, ending a decade-long partnership between the two.
"Robert [Kraft] and I met with Stevie today and we had a productive discussion about this past season and the direction the club needs to go in the future," said Jonathan Kraft, as per the New England Revolution's website.
"We all agreed a change of direction was needed to reverse the trend of the past couple of years. Stevie was a successful head coach and a tremendous ambassador for the Revolution for the past decade and set a high standard for success, leading us to four conference titles in six years. We thank him for all of his contributions."
As of August 2016, Nicol had two children with wife Eleanor - named Michael and Katy. He reportedly set fire to teammate Gary Ablett's wife after an FA Cup semi-final defeat to Crystal Palace in 1990.
"I ended up sitting beside Gary Ablett's wife at the time and after the meal (washed down by several bottles of beer) I was lighting up a cigarette at the table while, at the same time, staring at Debbie Ablett and her huge lion's mane of hair," he wrote in his autobiography.
"Like a child, I was fascinated by it.
"Then, for some inexplicable reason, I decided to see what would happen when I put my lighter next to her rather large mopâ€¦
"It went up like a ball of flames.
"I started bashing her on the head with my hands, to try and put the fire out.
"'What the hell are you doing?' enquired Gary, understandably, with more than a hint of anger in his voice.
"Thankfully, I was able to stop the flames before they caused too much damage.
"At least that broke the ice after the disappointing result earlier in the day."
It is unknown how much Nicol is worth, but his transfer to Liverpool from Ayr United was worth what proved to be a bargain reported price of £300,000.