Having won the old English Division 1 5 times, 3 FA Cups, 1 European Cup, played at a World Cup with his native Scotland, been named MLS Coach of the year, and guided his team to 4 MLS finals Steve Nicol is one of the most experienced people you can talk to about soccer. He is a legend at Liverpool FC and now has a pretty hard core following in New England. Having had the opportunity to play for the “Gaffer” I can tell you that he is a players manager, one who commands respect through the relaxed atmosphere he instills within the team. While chatting last week, I had a chance to quiz him on the topic of soccer cleats and his experiences with footwear through his career.
During your playing days what boots did you wear?
I wore Puma Kings for most of my career and loved them. I had a contract with Puma while I was at Liverpool, but there was no money involved, it was only for gear and boots. Money contracts only started in the early 90’s, my first was with a company called High-Tec. Not the greatest boots at the time, but they did the job.
How many pairs would you go through in a season?
About 3-4 pairs during the season. Now a days players have more options and more pairs available to wear so you will see them change more frequently.
What are your ideal pair of boots?
Something simple with old school metal studs! Nowadays the fields are a lot harder so players are less likely to be able to wear them.
Anything you are not a fan of?
As I said, I am a big fan of studs rather than blades, which I think don’t give players enough grip on surfaces. I don’t like the flashy boots released nowadays but I guess that’s what sells, I prefer the old school boots – keep it simple.
Have you ever wanted to tell a player to change the boots he was wearing?
No not really. It is up to the player and whatever they feel best wearing. As long as they are comfortable that’s the main thing.
What about Shalrie Joseph?
Yeah, Shalrie likes to wear those turf shoes on all surfaces. I understand on turf but he ends up wearing them on grass. I don’t agree but its what he likes best and he always performs in them.
Any advice for players?
Go for comfort first, its the most important thing. Once you have a pair you feel comfortable about it is one thing less to have to worry about on the field.
Finally, you are the king of “soccer horse shoe” (stopping the ball beside a water bottle). Whats your secret?
Haha, practice through the years and a little bit of psychology. All you need to do is get in their heads!
Thanks to the Steve for taking the time to chat and share some information. If you want to learn a little more about the Gaffer, check out the video below where other players describe what he was like on and off the field. It also illustrates his goalscoring prowess – 36 Liverpool career goals as a right back (including a memorable hat-trick against Newcastle) is not a bad return!