Steve McNulty: An inspiration to all who love football
When Cambridge United lost 2-0 to Kidderminster Harriers on Tuesday, Steve McNulty knew he had finally reached the promised land. Steve McNulty is not a name you would have heard of unless you follow the lower stanzas of English football. Getting to the point, Luton Town’s Steve McNulty is as big as they come. The ex-Liverpool academy trainee is seriously big with a capital B. The centre-back in size, stature as well heart.
He however is an inspiration, an answer to all those who thought playing professional football in the football league while weighing somewhere near 20 stones is impossible. The Englishman has answered his critics time and again and now he has finally arrived on the big scene of the football league in England.
After starting his career with Liverpool and captaining their U-19 side, the big Englishman was released in 2003 by the Merseyside club. McNulty became a wanderer in the lower conference leagues after his days at Liverpool; going on to have stints with Burscough, Vauxhall Motors, Borough and Fleetwood Town. He was always a great influence in the dressing room and found success at Barrow and Fleetwood Town, captaining both of them to promotions into the Conference Premier. If you have never seen him play, he is no slouch on the ball either:
McNulty however found his niche as well stardom when he joined Luton in December last year. The defender joined the Hatters upon ending his time at Fleetwood with mutual consent, as he found time on the field hard to get. As it so often happens, one man’s poison became another man’s food as Luton took him on a free for a period of six with an option for Luton to continue with his service if the Hatters could achieve promotion that season.
The rest as they say is history. Though the Hatters didn’t achieve their goal of promotion that season, McNulty became an instant cult hero at Kenilworth Road with his stellar performances at the back. As a result, the big Englishman was handed a new two-year extension at the beginning of the 2013-14 season. McNulty fully repaid the Hatter faith in him, guiding the Hatters back into the Football league after an absence of five long years.
The centre-back was recently awarded for his role in the successful campaign by being awarded the club’s Player of the Year award, Internet Player of the Year, as voted for by readers of the Hatters’ official club website and also the Goal of the Season award for his remarkable volley at home to Southport back in November.
McNulty may never set the Premier League alight with his defensive presence or become an international, but he is an shining example that weight and size alone can’t force you out of playing the game you love and getting paid for it. Whether one of Liverpool’s greatest academy products Steven Gerrard lifts the Premier League trophy or not remains to be seen, another ex-Liverpool academy lad will however be fulfilling his dream of playing in the Football League next season.