Steve Daley exclusive: My love for Wolves; why it went wrong at Man City; O'Neil will be targeted

Tribal Football
Steve Daley exclusive: My love for Wolves; why it went wrong at Man City; O'Neil will be targeted
Steve Daley exclusive: My love for Wolves; why it went wrong at Man City; O'Neil will be targeted
Steve Daley exclusive: My love for Wolves; why it went wrong at Man City; O'Neil will be targetedFlashscore
The Yorkshire-born midfielder began his professional career at Wolverhampton after leaving boyhood club Barnsley's academy. But it is somewhat surprising considering the success he would later achieve at Wolves, that his time in the Midlands would be the pinnacle of his career.

In 1972 Wolves would go on a remarkable run to the UEFA Cup final with Daley scoring a vital goal in the semi-final against Ferencvaros. Unfortunately for Daley and Wolves, they would lose the two-legged final against fellow English side Tottenham. However. Daley would win his first major trophy just two years later as Wolves lifted the 1974 League Cup.


After his success with Wolverhampton in the 1970s Daley would move to Manchester City for a record transfer fee of 1.5m at the time. But it was that move where his career would stagnate, failing to live up to the weight of the fee paid.

And less than two years later he moved to Seattle Sounders in the 'States and bar a brief spell at Burnley, his time in the higher divisions of English football were over.

Speaking to in a wide-ranging interview, Daley began by reflecting on the 'disappointing' stage in his career at Maine Road: "I signed a long contract with them but after 14 months I left and went to play in America. It was very disappointing for me because I wanted things to go differently.

"After all, I wanted every club to have success. I tried during all my time there, but it just didn't work, and I am very upset about this because I wanted to show my qualities there."

Can you tell us more about how you ended up leaving your boyhood club for Maine Road and for an English transfer record no less?

"To be honest with you at that time there were a lot of clubs asking for me and interested in buying me. One morning my manager at Wolves called me and asked me to meet him at his office, and when I went there, he told me that they had an offer from City which they couldn't turn it down.

"So, I went to City and had the talks with them, I asked them if they needed to sell any players to get me and they told me no we have the money in the bank. After two weeks there, the club sold four of their most important players and so the level of the team wasn't the same as before."

So, if your time at City didn't go to plan, can you tell us about your fonder memories at Wolves?

"Yeah, I came to Wolves in a trial from Barnsley. At 15 years of age a scout from Wolves came to see me in a Sunday morning game and by the afternoon I was at Wolves. I was on a 1-month trial, then a 3-month trial, and then I stayed there for 10 years!

"It was fantastic because it was my ambition to become a footballer and that was the only thing I wanted to do. I enjoyed every minute of it, and I am very happy for everything that I have done and what has happened in my career."

Fast forward to 2024 and Wolves are going strong again in the top division under new manager Gary O'Neil, how impressed have you been with O'Neil since his arrival last summer?

"For me, Gary has done a fantastic job, he has got the team together and has got them playing very attractive football. To be honest with you I was amazed when Bournemouth let him go because for me, he is a very good young coach.

"Gary has implemented a clear philosophy into the team, and he has got the fans behind the team and that is a very important aspect. And if he continues like this, I think that other teams will come for him. We as a club should hold onto him and give him all the support, he needs to get better and better."

And as for your other former club Manchester City, how good have they been once again this season?

"They are unbelievably good, just fantastic. I have seen some matches live in the stadium and every time I go there, I am amazed by their performances and what they do with the ball and without the ball.

"I think Pep has made them play in a way that nobody else can play. Despite that, opposition managers do try to copy the style of City. And for me for how long Pep will be there they will dominate every competition and win titles."

What are your thoughts on how City legend Vincent Kompany is doing at your former club Burnley after a difficult return to the Premier League this season?

"If Burnley goes down, I hope they don't sack him because Kompany has a great knowledge of football that not all people have. He has started a project with young players, and they have played very well.

"They lack experience in some moments of the game and also they don't have a proper goalscorer. I hope they stay in the Premier League next season."

And with the Euros fast approaching I can't not ask you about England. Do you think they have a genuine chance at winning the Euros this summer?

"I think we have a great chance; our manager is very lucky because he has got so many good players to pick. Gareth for me is a really good manager and I think we are one of the favourites to win it and one of the teams to be beaten.

"Hopefully, we will have all the players in good condition, and we will not have any injuries until then. I think that in the end, we will win the tournament."

- adapted by Harry Dunnett