Name: Steve Walsh
Job: Assistant Manager at Leicester City.
Previous clubs: Bury, Chester, Chelsea, Newcastle United, Hull City.
Did you know: Steve worked as Chelsea’s European scout under Jose Mourinho.
What do you know about the man who is credited with signing Didier Drogba, Gianfranco Zola and Michael Essien for Chelsea? Probably very little, but this man is closer to home than you might think.
Steve Walsh, who is now assistant manager to Nigel Pearson at high flying Leicester City, is the man credited with these signings, and he hails from, and has strong family connections with, Castlebar.
Walsh spent 16 years as a scout at Chelsea, as well as working with Newcastle United, Hull City and Leicester. His father Stephen is from Castlebar, whilst his first cousin Michael Walsh is a well respected referee and former player, who once scored four goals for Mayo in an Oscar Traynor Cup match.
Steve is also the brother of former Republic of Ireland and Porto player, Mickey Walsh.
Steve’s father Stephen was born and raised in Cornanool, just outside Castlebar. He moved to Blackburn, and married Kathleen Mitchell, from Williamstown in County Galway, before moving to Chorley in Lancashire.
Their cousin Michael Walsh has fond memories of when Steve and Mickey used to come to Castlebar to spend their summers.
“Steve and Mickey used to spend their summers with us in St. Patrick’s Avenue. They were great. Every summer from 1958 to 1970 they came over. We always played football on the green, and both Steve and Mickey used to play in the town seven a side league at the time,” said Michael.
Whilst Mickey went on to play for Blackpool, Everton, QPR and Porto, Steve undertook his coaching badges in the early 70s.
Before he joined Chelsea in 1990, he worked as a physical education teacher, and combined the two roles for some time.
“I was still teaching but I was paid decently for part-time work. Towards the end I was getting on a plane on a Friday after school, getting back on a Sunday and then going straight back to school again on the Monday. I think at that point it was decided I would finally make the plunge,” declared Walsh.
He also had the privilege of working alongside Jose Mourinho and Andre Villas-Boas at the club, learning that Mourinho’s attention detail was second to none.
“He (Mourinho) is very methodical, doesn’t leave anything to chance. What is their preferred method of attack? If that doesn’t work, what’s the second method and the third? How many times do they give it to the left centre-back or do they always give it to the right centre-back?” added Walsh.
Walsh currently works for Leicester City, he is assistant manager of the first team, as well as being their head of recruitment.
The club are currently flying in the Premier League, coming off the back of a famous 5-3 victory over Manchester United recently.
Leonardo Ulloa scored two that day, another player which Walsh recommended signing.
He is currently at his second spell with Leicester City, originally joining in 2008. Before that, he left Chelsea to join Newcastle United as chief scout in 2006, where he met Nigel Pearson. When Pearson was offered the manager’s job at Leicester City, Walsh went with him.
A further spell at Hull City was sandwiched in between his two spells at Leicester, where he now sits alongside Pearson in the stands during matches.
“Nigel makes the decisions,” Walsh said, “but I would say he makes informed decisions based on a lot of knowledge from a lot of people, so it’s a real collegiate approach.”
It is obviously a ploy which is working, Pearson and Walsh have masterminded a home win over United as well as draws with fellow Premier League heavyweights Arsenal and Everton, at Leicester’s home ground, the King Power Stadium.
Nigel Naughton, Pundit Arena.
Reference: The Guardian