OLDER, WISER AND NOW EVEN FIT­TER!

McNulty’s hun­grier than ever

The Non-League Football Paper - - RESULTS SERVICE - RUSS PENN

HE MAY not be your ar­che­typal foot­baller, but Steve McNulty is the man that ev­ery team would want to have bat­tling with them in the trenches. Serv­ing the likes of Fleet­wood Town, Lu­ton Town and Tran­mere Rovers, win­ning the Con­fer­ence ti­tle twice, the burly cen­tre-back is a leg­end at all three – and it’s easy to see why...

SO STEVE, AT 34 YEARS OF AGE AND WITH OVER 500 CA­REER AP­PEAR­ANCES, HOW’S THE BODY HOLD­ING UP?

My body is hold­ing up well, I’ve been very lucky I’ve never had a se­ri­ous in­jury in my ca­reer. It’s the light­est I’ve been in a long time and the fittest I’ve felt. I think when you’re younger you cut cor­ners, but the older you get you have to look af­ter your­self. I don’t really have any rou­tines, it just takes a bit longer to get over the games and we feel a few more aches and pains the older you get.

YOU’VE PLAYED FOR SOME GREAT TRA­DI­TIONAL CLUBS WIN­NING A FEW CHAM­PI­ONSHIPS ON THE WAY, BUT WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR PROUD­EST ACHIEVE­MENT TO DATE?

I think all the achieve­ments I’ve had are spe­cial in their own way. I think when I re­tire that will be the time to sit down and re­flect on what I’ve achieved. I’m just fo­cused on try­ing to get Tran­mere out of the league and if that hap­pens soon that would be up there as it’s one of my lo­cal clubs.

YOU COULD SAY YOU’RE NOT THE TYP­I­CAL SLIM ATH­LETE OF THE MOD­ERN GAME! HAS A MAN­AGER OR FIT­NESS COACH EVER TRIED TO CHANGE THE WAY YOU ARE?

I’m cer­tainly not the typ­i­cal ath­lete and get told that most Satur­days by the op­po­si­tion fans! It’s never both­ered me, but it could be the rea­son why I’ve never played at a higher level. Peo­ple take one look at you and just dis­miss you without ever see­ing you play. No man­ager has ever tried to change me but the older I’ve got the more I’ve worked with fit­ness coaches at what­ever club I’ve been at to keep my weight down and pro­long my ca­reer.

WHAT MAN­AGER HAS GOT YOU PLAY­ING YOUR BEST FOOT­BALL?

I’ve had my best times at Lu­ton. That’s where I’ve played my most con­sis­tent foot­ball for the long­est pe­riod of time. We got pro­moted, then we missed out on the league Two play-offs on the last game of the sea­son. I also made the PFA Team of the Year. John Still and Micky Mel­lon are two good man­agers and I couldn’t choose be­tween them. I’ve never needed man-man­ag­ing and as a pro­fes­sional your mo­ti­va­tion should never have to come from a man­ager, it should al­ready be in you to do well and be­come the best you can be.

YOU’VE PLAYED AGAINST ADE­BAYO AK­IN­FENWA A FEW TIMES. THAT IS SOME SE­RI­OUS HEAVY­WEIGHTS GO­ING TO WAR. DE­SCRIBE THE BAT­TLE BE­TWEEN YOU BOTH?

You’re right we had few bat­tles in our time and it was very en­joy­able. He doesn’t get the credit he de­serves; he’s la­belled as just be­ing a big strong man, but he can play foot­ball and has got a lot of abil­ity. We’ve al­ways had that re­spect for each other. There are plenty of lads at this level I’ve played against that could com­fort­ably play in the League, but they just need some­one to take a chance on them and give them a break. The Na­tional League is a tough divi­sion and doesn’t get credit it de­serves in my opin­ion.

BE­ING A LO­CAL LIVER­PUDLIAN, CAN YOU SEE YOUR­SELF FIN­ISH­ING YOUR CA­REER AT TRAN­MERE ROVERS?

I’d love to fin­ish my ca­reer here, I feel like I’ve still got a good few years in me yet be­fore I hang up my boots. Tran­mere are a mas­sive club with loads of his­tory and I was brought here for a rea­son and that was to help them back into the Foot­ball League where a club like this be­longs. Micky[Mel­lon] is a great man­ager, I’ve worked with him be­fore and have al­ways cap­tained his teams, he knows how to get the best out of me.

BEST MATE IN FOOT­BALL?

You know what us scousers are like, we al­ways stick to­gether. I’ve played with a few of the lads at var­i­ous clubs be­fore so I’m close to a few of them like Andy Man­gan and Scott Davies, who is an adopted scouser. I came through Liver­pool with a lad called John Welsh (now at Pre­ston North End), we both signed when we were six and he was still there when I left at 20. I bump into him from time to time and he re­minds me what might have been.

LIFE AF­TER FOOT­BALL?

I’m just in the process of fin­ish­ing off my UEFA B li­cense. I’d like to stay in the game and try my hand in man­age­ment. Foot­ball is all I know and I be­lieve I’ve got a lot to give back to the game. I’ve made some good con­tacts through­out my ca­reer so fin­gers crossed when it’s time I can call on a few favours.

DO YOU HAVE ANY RE­GRETS IN FOOT­BALL?

You are where you are for a rea­son and I’m a big be­liever in that ev­ery player will al­ways find their level in the game. If I had my time again I’d just ded­i­cate my­self a bit more to look­ing af­ter my­self and not cut­ting cor­ners when I was younger, it’s not un­til you get older and wiser that you re­alise what might have been.

BEST FOOT­BALL TALE?

Look­ing back it was very wrong and dis­re­spect­ful. We had al­ready won the Con­fer­ence ti­tle go­ing into the last few games of the sea­son (for Fleet­wood). We played a game through the match where we passed a 50 pence piece around be­tween us all. You couldn’t refuse the coin and who­ever had it at end of game had to get the first round in. Lee Fowler passed it to Nathan Pond in in­jury­time as we had a goal kick. It was the last kick of the game and he ran from the half­way line to pass the coin to Scott Davies in goal just as he was about to take his goal kick. Dis­re­spect­ful, but when you’ve won the league, who cares.

PIC­TURE: TGSPHOTOS

WAR­RIOR: Steve McNulty has noth­ing but praise for old foe Ade­bayo Ak­in­fenwa, be­low left, and former boss John Still, right

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