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Ex-Man Utd keeper signs for eighth tier club

You read the headline right, an ex-Man Utd keeper signs for an eighth tier club in Stamford AFC after playing the Championship last season.

Northern Premier League Division One South East side Stamford AFC say they are delighted to announce the signing of experienced goalkeeper Luke Steele.

He is based locally and more recently been playing outfield for Peterborough Northern Star Reserves to keep fitness up.

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A post shared by Luke Steele (@lukesteeleydp)

It was on the 12th December 2020 that Steele featured for the Peterborough Northern Star Reserves side in a Peterborough District Division 1 league match and scored a hat trick whilst playing as a striker.

Then days later he made the move for Stamford after being convinced by good friend Jonny Hansen, a former Norwegian footballer.

Manager Graham Drury said: ‘I am delighted that Luke has agreed to join the Daniels while he looks at trying to get back into the professional game. He is based locally and it is great to help out his local club. His experience will help our other keepers, in particular Max Peverell who made his competitive debut against Kidsgrove on Saturday.’

Luke is available to play immediately and will be available for the trophy game against Kidderminster Harriers.

Steele has made over 200 appearances in the Championship in his career, as well as memorably helping Barnsley reach the FA Cup semi-final during the 2007/08 campaign, with wins over Liverpool and Chelsea along the way.

He started his career with the Posh in 1993 but then spent a week’s trial at Manchester United in December 2001, playing in two matches with the club’s under-17s side.

He appeared for three more under-17s games and two for the reserves on a month-long loan spell in March 2002.

After returning to Peterborough in April 2002, he made his senior debut in a 2–2 draw away to Reading on 13 April and after another appearance in a 2–1 home win over Bury a week later, Manchester United paid Peterborough £500,000 on to sign Steele on a four-year contract, with the fee potentially rising to £2.25 million after a certain number of first-team appearances.

Steele began the 2002–03 season as the starting goalkeeper for the Manchester United reserve team, before being ousted by the likes of Ricardo and Roy Carroll, and becoming a regular in the under-19s. That season, Steele made 27 appearances for the under-19s, including eight in the FA Youth Cup, in which Manchester United beat Middlesbrough 3–1 on aggregate in the final. He also made a total of three appearances for the reserves. That season, Man Utd’s first team finished top of the Premier League table.

In 2003–04, Steele competed for the starting place in the under-19s side with Tom Heaton, making four appearances between August and October before being ruled out for the rest of the season. He made his return in the build-up to the 2004–05 season, playing for the reserves in a friendly against Cobh Ramblers, before making his first appearance for the Manchester United first team in a 3–1 win over Burnley on the 17th of August 2004. He then made two league appearances for the reserves before joining Coventry City on a three-month loan on 10 September 2004.

After conceding 30 goals in 18 appearances in those initial three months, the clubs agreed to extend Steele’s loan until the end of the season. He ended the season with 62 goals conceded in 36 matches.

Steele returned to Manchester United for the 2005–06 season with Ricardo and Carroll leaving the club, and Ben Foster and Tom Heaton out on loan, so became the club’s third-choice goalkeeper behind Edwin van der Sar and Tim Howard. After coming on for Van der Sar in the 75th minute of a 3–0 pre-season friendly win over Beijing Hyundai, Steele was an unused substitute in four more first-team matches that season, including two matches in the early rounds of Manchester United’s League Cup-winning campaign and the FA Cup third round draw with Burton Albion. He also made 19 appearances for the reserves as they won the Premier Reserve League title, the North/South Play-off Shield and the Manchester Senior Cup.

In July 2006, Steele was part of the Manchester United pre-season tour of South Africa, where he shared goalkeeping duties with Ben Foster. He played in one more friendly match for the first team, a 2–1 defeat away to Preston North End, before joining Coventry City on loan for a second time on 4 August 2006.

However, the loan was cut short after just six days when Steele and defender Paul McShane were transferred to West Bromwich Albion as part of the deal that took Tomasz Kuszczak to Manchester United.

Since then he’s had loan spells with Coventry (third time), Barnsley and Millwall (last season), and has previously permanently joined Barnsley, Panathinaikos, Bristol City and Nottingham Forest.

Steele has played for England as a youth international at under-18, under-19 and under-20 level. He made his under-18 debut against Italy on the 4th of March 2002, coming on as a second-half substitute in a 3–0 defeat.

In June that year, he was selected for a four-team tournament in Lisbon against Portugal, Norway and Slovakia; playing in the games against Portugal and Slovakia.

In September 2002, Steele progressed to the England Under-19s team, making his debut in a 3–1 away win over Hungary in Budapest. He was the team’s first-choice goalkeeper throughout qualification for the 2003 UEFA European Under-19 Championship, playing the first two games of each qualification round, before Lee Camp was then picked once qualification was secure.

Steele started all three games at the finals in Liechtenstein in July 2003, but England crashed out with just one win from three group games.

Steele played just twice for the Under-20s, both friendlies, but he kept a clean sheet in both as England beat the Netherlands and Russia.


Youth career
1993–1999 – Peterborough United

Senior career
1999–2002 – Peterborough United
2002–2006 – Manchester United
2004–2005 → Coventry City (loan)
2006 → Coventry City (loan)
2006–2008 – West Bromwich Albion
2006–2007 → Coventry City (loan)
2008 → Barnsley (loan)
2008–2014 – Barnsley
2014–2017 – Panathinaikos
2017–2018 – Bristol City
2018–2020 – Nottingham Forest
2019–2020 → Millwall (loan)
2020 → Millwall (loan)
2020 – Peterborough Northern Star Reserves
2020– Stamford

Now he’s playing for Stamford AFC and fans were left surprised an seeing the ex-Man Utd keeper signs for an eighth tier club…

@dfogg78: Great signing in goal or upfront!

@UVFLoyal: Fuckin’ ell what

@mulldog352: My local signing Luke Steele. Unreal scenes

@thatlaneboy: League experience in goal, non league dangerman up front. This is some signing

@ChrisCook1979: You’ll be fine with this bloke if any time wasting is ever needed. #SentThePoshDown

@NonLeagueGuys: Big signing this

@Ben_journo: Another experienced pro heads to the Northern Premier League s/e division. That’s some signing

@LiamHenton: Some signing this

@PL2NL: Hopefully playing up front

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