Here at Talking Bull we continue to build up our career archive detailing former Hereford characters, and in this article we take a look back at one of the most popular players to have donned the Bulls shirt over the last 20 years.
One of my favourite players over the past decade has to be Steve Guinan. An intelligent striker with a terrific first touch, here was a forward fully capable of maintaining a free-flowing style, and yet with that steely determination to succeed. Steve caught the eye at virtually every club he played – from the Premiership to the Conference.
He began his career at Nottingham Forest under Brian Clough, signing his first professional contract in January 1993 when they were a Premiership team. Although he remained a Forest player for six years he only made nine appearances, with his only goal coming in a League Cup game in 1997.
To gain experience ‘Cloughie’ sent Steve out on loan on seven seperate occasions. The first club he went to was Greensboro Dynamo who played in the United States Premier Development League. Next came Darlington for a month in 1995 where he made four appearances scoring one goal, followed quickly by a spells at Burnley, Crewe, Halifax and then Plymouth.
In March 1999 the then 23 year old made his Argyle debut in a 3-2 defeat at Chester with another future Hereford player Chris Hargreaves, scoring for Argyle. This was followed by a Guinan hat-trick against Scunthorpe the following Tuesday. Goals came easily – two against Swansea. Seven in eight games made him an instant Home Park favourite.
The Plymouth move appeared to rejuvenate his career and he returned to Forest apparently on the fringe of the first team. But early in the following term he was off again – this time to Scunthorpe. He scored on his debut and impressed, but refused the option of a further month loan. He made two appearances for Forest that season before being transferred to Cambridge on 27th December. However, after only three months had his contract terminated for disciplinary reasons.
Despite developing a bit of a reputation Argyle took him back to Home Park, and he went on to make 35 appearances in his second spell there, scoring three times. But Steve was released, and he linked up with Shrewsbury in March 2002 before agreeing terms at Hereford – then in the Conference. Steve had two highly successful spells at Hereford finishing top scorer in each of them.
In his first term he scored fourteen goals including a hat-trick against Barnet in a 4-0 win – thus becoming the first player to score a hat trick at Edgar Street in six years.
In his second season he scored another hat-trick this time in the FA Cup in a 6-1 win over Harrow Borough, and as a result was invited to make the draw for the fourth round of the cup alongside Ian Rush!
While at Hereford Steve was selected four times to play for the England National Game XI (England C) in the Four Nations Tournament in Scotland. He played against Republic of Ireland, Wales and Scotland, although England finished third of the four teams he scored three goals. He also played in a friendly against USA.
Steve’s 29 goals helped Hereford finish in second place, one point behind Chester. Unfortunately the Bulls were beaten in the play-offs and Steve along with several other players were snapped up by league teams. After 84 appearances scoring 43 goals he left to join League Two side Cheltenham.
During the 2004-05 season Steve rarely missed a game scoring seven goals as Cheltenham finished in mid-table. The following season he bagged another ten goals as the Robins reached a play-off final against Grimsby. Guinan scored the winner securing promotion to League One. The 2006-07 was not as successful and after scoring only one goal in a League Cup game against Bristol City, Steve was put on the transfer list and returned on loan to Hereford.
The Bulls were now back in the Football League after gaining promotion after Steve had left.
In his first game he scored twice against Notts County, and later in the season scored his third hat trick for Hereford in a 4-1 win at Lincoln.
At the end of the season he signed a two year contract on his release from Cheltenham, and became almost an ever present at Edgar Street until he received a calf injury which kept him out of the Hereford team for three months. He returned for the last few games of the season as United were promoted to League One. The following season was another good one, as although Hereford were relegated, Guinan grabbed fifteen goals. When his contract was up at the end of the campaign, after making 94 appearances and scoring 25 goals, he joined Northampton, prior to a loan move to Forest Green Rovers in the Conference.
Forest Green used Hartpury College for their training and it was there he started his first full time coaching role. In his first season he won the English Colleges Premier League and also the English Colleges National Cup Final. As a result he moved on to the senior team and won the British Universities Premier League in 2012 and 2013 – in both seasons his team remained undefeated. Steve combined playing football with coaching and during the 2010-11 season played eighteen times for Forest Green and scored five goals.
Ahead of the 2011/12 season Guinan joined Conference side Kidderminster, and with the Harriers bottom of the league, Steve was offered the role of player/coach. There was an immediate improvement in their performances and by the end of the season they finished in second place, unfortunately being beaten by Wrexham in the play-offs. With Steve’s coaching obviously working he was offered the position of the club’s Academy Manager while retaining his role of first team coach.
Steve, who by now was a Class ‘A’ licenced coach, had an Honours Degree in Sports Science and held the League Managers Associations Certificate of Applied Management, and was also an FA Level 1 and 2 coach educator.
In March 2012 he was selected to lead the England Universities team in the Home Nations tournament taking place in April. He was also appointed Assistant Coach of the Great Britain Universities football team at the World University Games held in Russia in 2013. After beating Malaysia, Ukraine and Russia on the way to the final they were finally beaten in extra time by France to finish as runners-up.
Steve is a gifted coach and is now a Regional Coach Educator at the Professional Footballers’ Association & Talent Reporter for the Football Association. Who knows he could become a future Hereford manager?
By Keith Hall