For those that don’t remember Steve Clarke’s playing days let me fill you in. He started his playing career with St. Mirren and in 1987 he was signed by Chelsea. Steve Clarke is the seventh highest appearance in Chelsea’s history and one of the most reliable and consistent defenders ever to appear for the club. Clarke went on to spend the rest of his playing career at Chelsea, spending eleven years and making over 400 appearances for the club. Through those years he went from an attacking minded winger back into a more defensive right back and when Chelsea started to play a 3-5-2 he would be on the right side of the three man defence. During his career with Chelsea he won the FA Cup (1997), League Cup (1998) and the now obsolete UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup – A tournament I would happily have re-established.
It wasn’t just cup that he won with Chelsea but also personal accolades. In 1994 he was voted the fans player of the year after they reached the FA Cup final, which unfortunately they lost 4-0 to Manchester United. That side featured the likes of Eddie Newton, Dennis Wise, Craig Burley, Mark Stein, Gavin Peacock and Glenn Hoddle.
Steve Clarke was a real fan favourite so much so that when Chelsea did their Centenary XI in 2005 Steve Clarke was voted in at Right Back along with fellow legends Peter Osgood, Gianfranco Zola and Frank Lampard
When Clarke retired from playing football he never retired from the game and took up an assistant manager job at Newcastle working alongside his old Chelsea teammate and boss Ruud Gullit. Clarke charge of Newcastle as caretaker manager for one game after Gullit hand left the club.
Clarke was soon on his way back to Chelsea where he became a youth coach at the club but when Jose Mourinho took charge it wasn’t long before Clarke was promoted to Assistant Manager. During Mourinho’s reign at the club he, Clarke and the rest of the coaching staff and players won two Premiership titles, one FA cup and two League Cup titles. When Mourinho left the club Clarke stayed on as Assistant Manager to Avram Grant but when Gianfranco Zola had taken charge of West Ham Clarke wanted to join his fellow teammate as Assistant Manager. At first Chelsea didn’t want him to go but after a compensation package was handled he was free to go. Clarke spent two years with Zola at West Ham but when Zola was fired Clarke left his role as assistant manager. When Kenny Dalglish took charge of Liverpool Steve Clarke was appointed as a first team coach and later as Assistant Manager. During this time he saw more glory when Liverpool won the league cup last season.
The is no doubting that Steve Clarke has a huge wealth of experience but the only thing that he is really lacking on is managerial experience with only one game under his belt while caretaker at Newcastle. It will be interesting to see how he manages the buying and selling of players and how he will approach the games. No doubt the likes of Dalglish, Zola, Gullit and maybe even Mourinho will be getting a friendly call from Clarke. It wouldn’t surprise me if a few loan moves came in from Liverpool and Chelsea thanks to his connections with the club as well as trying to acquire a few free signings, who knows, maybe?
Clarke has been a fan favourite at every club he has been at so when West Brom meets Liverpool, Newcastle and Chelsea I am more than sure that he will be very well received.