Steve Daley (born 15 April 1953 in Barnsley) is a former English footballer, who played as a midfielder. The most notorious incident in his career was his English record transfer to Manchester City in 1979, later described in a 2001 Observer article as “the biggest waste of money in football history”. The Manchester City manager Malcolm Allison and chairman Peter Swales subsequently accused each other of inflating the fee. Daley began his football career as an apprentice at Wolverhampton Wanderers, after arriving at the club via their feeder team Wath Wanderers based in Yorkshire. He signed professionally in 1971, and made his first-team debut later that year on 18 September, coming on as substitute in a 2-0 defeat at Newcastle United.
He won a League Cup winners medal with the club in 1974 and played in their run through to the 1972 UEFA Cup Final, scoring a vital goal in the semi final against Ferencvárosinside the first minute. He was an ever-present in the 1976–77 season, scoring 13 goals, and a further eight the following season saw him receive an England ‘B’ call up. He played six times for the ‘B’ side during 1978, scoring twice (against Singapore and Czechoslovakia ‘B’).
In September 1979, he was transferred to Manchester City for a fee of £1,437,500 — an English record. Daley struggled at Maine Road, and gained a reputation as a big-money misfit. Twenty months later he was transferred to the Seattle Sounders of the North American Soccer League for £300,000 — little more than a fifth of his original transfer cost. He made the NASL All-Star second team in 1982 and 1983 before moving back to Britain.
Daley joined Burnley, but soon returned to North America to play for the San Diego Sockers. His professional playing career ended at Walsall in 1986, although he continued to turn out for non-league sides such as Lye Town and Kettering Town.
After hanging up his boots, Daley briefly managed non-league Telford United and Bromsgrove Rovers, before quitting football to join the pub trade. He has since been working as a brewery sales manager, supplying catering equipment to the industry. Also an established after-dinner speaker, Daley recalls his career in football with honesty and humour.
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|1981–1982||Seattle Sounders (indoor)||18||(13)|
|1984||San Diego Sockers||19||(3)|
|1984-1985||San Diego Sockers (indoor)||38||(4)|