Steven Richard “Steve” Cherry (born 5 August 1960) is an English former footballer. A goalkeeper, he made 541 league appearances in a 24-year career in the Football League, playing in all four divisions of the league.
He began his career at Derby County in 1979. Loaned out to Port Vale in November 1980, he managed to win the first team jersey at Derby, and was voted Player of the Year in 1983. Sold on to Walsall for a £25,000 fee in August 1984, he was moved on to Plymouth Argyle for a £17,000 fee in October 1986. He was voted Plymouth’s Player of the Year in 1988, before he was sold on to Notts County in February 1989 for a £70,000 fee, following a short loan spell with Chesterfield. He helped Neil Warnock’s County to win successive promotions from the Third Division to the First Division via the play-offs in 1990 and 1991. He moved on to Watford in July 1995, before rejoining Plymouth Argyle in February 1996. He helped the club win the Third Division play-offs in 1996, his third such success with Neil Warnock. He then saw out his career with brief stays at Rotherham United, Rushden & Diamonds, Mansfield Town, Oldham Athletic, Lincoln City, Stalybridge Celtic,Kidsgrove Athletic, and Belper Town. He later coached at Lincoln City and Macclesfield Town.
Cherry started his career with Derby County, who lost their First Division status at the end of the 1979–80season. He joined Port Vale on loan in November 1980. Manager John McGrath had sold regular custodianTrevor Dance, and was forced to enter the loan market after Mark Harrison was struck down with injury. Cherry was in goal for four Fourth Division and four FA Cup games. In his final game for the “Valiants” he conceded ‘a comic goal’ in a devastating 3–0 defeat at non-league Enfield in a Third Round FA Cup Replay on 6 January 1981. He managed to put his experience at Vale Park behind him though, and played 77 league games for Derby. The “Rams” finished sixth and 16th in the Second Division in 1980–81 and 1981–82 under Colin Addison’s stewardship. Despite Peter Taylor’s best efforts, the almost bankrupt club finished 13th in1982–83 before suffering relegation in 20th place in 1983–84. Cherry was voted the club’s Player of the Year in 1983.
Cherry left the Baseball Ground in August 1984, after new boss Arthur Cox sold him on to Walsall for a £25,000 fee. The “Saddlers” finished 11th in the Third Division in 1984–85. Alan Buckley took the Fellows Park club up to sixth in 1985–86, before he sold Cherry on to Plymouth Argyle for a £17,000 fee in October 1986. The “Pilgrims” missed out on the Second Division play-offs by three points in 1986–87. However they dropped down to 16th in 1987–88, and manager Dave Smith left Home Park at the end of the campaign. Despite having been voted Player of the Year, new boss Ken Brown loaned Cherry out to Chesterfield mid-way through the 1988–89 campaign. He played ten Third Division games for the “Spireites”, before he was sold on to Notts County in February 1989 for a £70,000 fee.
County narrowly missed out on the Third Division play-offs at the end of the season before qualifying for the play-offs after finishing third in 1989–90. They won the play-off final with a 2–0 victory over Tranmere Rovers at Wembley. Manager Neil Warnock then took the club to a second successive promotion, as County finished fourth in the Second Division in 1990–91, before beating Brighton & Hove Albion 3–1 in the play-off final. Cherry kept goal for County in 1991–92, as the “Magpies” were relegated out of the top-flight in 21st place. They finished 17th in the second tier in 1992–93, before new boss Mick Walker took the club to three points outside the play-offs in 1993–94. Cherry’s last season at Meadow Lane, 1994–95, saw a managerial merry-go-round as Walker begat Russell Slade, who begat Howard Kendall, who begat Steve Nicol – County were relegated in last place at the end of the campaign.
He signed for Glenn Roeder’s Watford in July 1995, but featured in just four First Division matches in 1995–96 as Kevin Miller was the club’s regular custodian.Graham Taylor replaced Roeder as manager in February 1996, and Cherry left Vicarage Road to return to former club Plymouth Argyle, in a move that reunited him with former boss Neil Warnock. He kept a clean sheet for Plymouth in the Third Division play-off final at Wembley, as his team won promotion with a 1–0 victory over Darlington. Cherry then moved on to Rotherham United, after being offered a first team contract at the Don Valley Stadium by management duo Archie Gemmill and John McGovern. He played 23 league and cup games for the “Millers”, who went on to suffer relegation out of the Second Division at the end of the1996–97 season. He joined Rushden & Diamonds in March 1997, and played 18 Conference games under manager Brian Talbot in 1997–98 and 1998–99. He left Nene Park in September 1997, and had brief non-contract spells at Mansfield Town, Oldham Athletic, and Lincoln City. Cherry later played for non-league sides Stalybridge Celtic, Kidsgrove Athletic, and Belper Town. Cherry spent some time as Lincoln City’s goalkeeping coach. He was appointed as goalkeeping coach at Macclesfield Town in February 2009, but left the job in May 2010 after an illness required that he undergo heart surgery.
|1980–1981||Port Vale (loan)||4||(0)|
|1997–1998||Rushden & Diamonds||18||(0)|