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Happy birthday to Steve O’Shaughnessy – a true football journeyman

Steve O’Shaughnessy (right)

With more than 200 Football League appearances and 150 Welsh Premier outings as a player, plus six managerial appointments on his CV, it is fair to say Stephen O’Shaughnessy knows the game pretty well.

Today sees the current Airbus UK Broughton manager celebrate his 53rd birthday, but as he still frustratingly awaits his team’s first competitive match of 2020-21 due to Covid-19 restrictions, it is possible the occasion will not be as joyous as normal.

Wrexham-born O’Shaughnessy began his career as a youth with the Red Dragons before becoming an apprentice at Leeds United.

He then moved onto Bradford City, where he made one league appearance.

In 1988, O’Shaughnessy was signed by former Leeds winger and manager Eddie Gray for Rochdale.

In three seasons at Spotland, Steve enjoyed arguably the most successful spell in his career scoring 16 goals in 109 league appearances and reaching the fifth round of the 1990 FA Cup before going out 1-0 at eventual beaten finalists Crystal Palace.

July 1991 saw O’Shaughnessy join Exeter City for £10,000.

After a disappointing three-game spell at St James Park under 1966 FIFA World Cup winner Alan Ball, which saw him sent off at Huddersfield, Steve joined Darlington in January 1992.

This proved a good move for as well as making 88 league appearances for the Quakers, he became team captain before being released at the end of 1993-94. His final Football League appearance came on May 7, 1994 against Bury, aged 26.

After this, Steve had stints at Stalybridge Celtic and Buler Rangers in Hong Kong, where he won their equivalent of the FA Cup.

In 1995, he returned home to play in the League of Wales.

In 156 (140 + 16) LoW outings, O’Shaughnessy wore the colours of 10 different clubs – Inter Cardiff, Barry Town, Holywell Town, Rhyl, Caernarfon Town, The New Saints, Llansantfraid, Bangor City, Oswestry Town and NEWI Cefn Druids.

He also made a couple of appearances for Gresford Athletic before retiring in 2004.

In 2000, O’Shaughnessy was appointed player-manager of Oswestry Town but, after an excellent start which saw the club rise to second in the league, their form faded and they just stayed-up after an 11-game losing streak.

Despite this, it came as a surprise to many observers when O’Shaughnessy was sacked, joining Druids as manager in June 2001.

He guided the club to their first Welsh Cup semi-final in 98 years before losing to Bangor City at Belle Vue.

In April 2004, O’Shaughnessy left the Ancients and coached at Wrexham’s Centre of Excellence, before joining Caernarfon Town as manager in September 2006.
He took over at Connah’s Quay in June 2008, leaving after one season in charge.

Steve later had a short spell as Bala Town manager before becoming assistant to Colin Caton, who had taken a break to work for his UEFA Pro Licence.

Steve with daughter Alice, who plays for Airbus UK Broughton Women

After assisting manager Andy Thomas, O’Shaughnessy was appointed Airbus boss in November 2017.

In 2018-19 came one of Steve’s finest achievements when he led the Wingmakers to the Cymru Alliance title by an 18-point margin.

Sadly, Airbus were relegated from the Cymru Premier in a 2019-20 season curtailed due to Covid-19.

The perfect birthday present for Steve today would be news on when the Cymru North season will start.

It is a gift we would all like, but sadly seem destined to have to keep waiting for.

Steve was one of my first contacts when I began working exclusively in sport in 2007 and he was always one of the best to deal with.

Happy birthday mate, have a good one with the family.

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