Steve Cherry was born on August 5th, 1960 in the Nottingham village of Claverton. He soon discovered that he wanted to be a goalie in his formative years. As a schoolboy he applied for a trial at Notts County and at 15 was playing for Claverton United with and against men twice his age that toughened him up ready for what was to come later. Ernie Roberts, a Derby County coach, saw him which in a chain of an events got him fixed up with a trial at Derby County Schoolboys.
"A number of us were there and we spent 5 nights at a hotel in Derby and each day were taken to Derby County's training ground." A coupe of weeks latter a letter arrived informing him he'd been accepted. Bert Johnston over saw the signing at the Baseball Ground. He eventually made his debut coming on as substitute at Millwall in 1977. He went on to make 90 total appearances for the rams and had a 4 game loan spell at Port Vale.
Then came the move to Walsall in 1984. "I was at the end of my contract with Derby and I began thinking of looking for a move. I hadn't been happy with the terms they offered nor the signing on fee. I had been there 9 years in total. I confided in Steve Buckley, Alan's brother, who was apparently looking for a goalkeeper. I was offered slightly more than what I'd been on at Derby but what impressed me was the offer of a £17,500 signing on fee. Talks went well with Alan and I signed that day."
"I had known Alan for many years. He and Garry Pendrey made me feel very welcome as did the players and there was a great team spirit. I also remember some rather boozy times with the likes of Kenny Mower, Mark Rees, Willie Naughton and Brian Caswell etc."
"I had also considered signing for Wolverhampton Wanderers but with all their on going troubles and talk of going into liquidation I thought it would have been unwise. Alan Buckley was a bit old fashioned in some ways. He was always chirpy though, especially in the 5 a sides that he and Garry would take part in. One team mate in particular who I got on very well with was Steve Daley." He joined Walsall in the close season just before the start of 1985-6. " I was on a golf course recently at the first tee and I was aware of someone coming up to me and this voice said, 'Do you remember me?' I replied I should do, you were my best mate at Walsall."
"There were some good games in my first season in the Milk Cup like the 3-0 win at Coventry and the 2-2 draw at home to Chelsea. We should have won that both their goals were fortunate. Colin Lee did me for their late equaliser at the far post when the ball skidded off Peter Hart." Steve's consistently good performances between the posts in 1984-5 earned him the clubs Player Of The Season award which was fully justified. " I was Player Of The Season at the four main clubs I played for - Derby County, Walsall, Plymouth Argyle and Notts County. I'm proud of that and it may be unique for a keeper."
Steve and his fellow team mates as well as the Walsall fans were shocked when Terry Ramsden sacked the Buckley/ Pendrey management team in 1986 and new manager Tommy Coakley wanted to bring in his own choice of goalkeeper Mark Prudhoe. "I knew Mark and got on well with him and Mick Kearns at Walsall." Steve understandably didn't want to be content with reserve team football and asked Coakley if he could speak to other clubs and his wish was granted. Steve played 94 times for Saddlers.
He moved on to Plymouth in November 1987 and stayed there till 1989 playing in 73 games before a sequence of events that eventually led to signing for the club he always wanted to play for.- Notts County. Notts missed out on the play offs that particular season but the following two seasons were brilliant at Meadow Lane as promotion was obtained as they went from Division 3 to Division 1 under Neil Warnock.
They may have only lasted one season in the top flight but Steve was again voted Player Of The Season. He stayed at Meadow Lane until July 1995 when he joined Watford. He made 266 appearances for Notts in his time there. There was a second spell at Plymouth before spells at the likes of Rotherham United, Rushden and Diamonds , Mansfield. Lincoln and Oldham.
He did coaching stints at Lincoln and Macclesfield and it was whilst there that Steve became ill' "I ended up having a 6 hour heart operation after being diagnosed with atrial fibrillation. There was a bit of a waiting list but I managed to get in via a cancellation. I was off work for a year after that whilst recovering." Thankfully it was a success.
In 2018 his autobiography came out ' Cherry Picking' - Life Between The Sticks. Its an excellent read with great detail on his life as well as his long playing career and well worth a read.
Steve indicated he would like to connect with the fans in the future and would be most welcome to join us pre-match next season at the Railway Club for one of games.
Steve pictured at Highgate Brewery with Buck, Mini and Shakey.