For those of us who knew Steve well enough, one could best describe his character as a mixture of good humoured irascibility and astute leadership both on and off the pitch. A shrewd administrator stood him well during his career originally in the Civil Service in Customs and Excise then latterly as a businessman and semi-professional bridge player. This he combined with taking on some of the more time consuming offices at the club without complaint.
His club playing career spanned from the late 70’s turning out for the “Wanderers” a team formed under the captaincy of Chas Miller, through to the 90’s playing for the Exiles under the tutelage of Barry Cousins.
After Chas retired, Steve took over the Chaplaincy of the Wanderers overseeing many happy tours to distant shores such as Blackpool, Dover and Lincoln and even more memorable Easter weekend trips to the West Country including Teignmouth, Bude and Plymouth.
Non playing trips to Paris, Rome and Dublin with Steve were never a quiet affair, but fostered relationships and bonds that lasted a lifetime.
Fuelled by the local brew in Dublin one year and the exhaustion that beating the Irish on home soil brings, rendered Steve so tired one evening he fell asleep standing waiting for his food in a Chinese Restaurant managing to wipe out a table of four diners behind him whilst attempting to regain both balance and consciousness.
Never one to bear a grudge ( even when an eyebrow carelessly went missing in Blackpool) he gave as much as he took and was always willing to give the less talented athlete a fair crack of the whip in proving themselves in the playing side.
One could guarantee if Steve was involved post match a quiet pint never existed, whereas nine
noisy ones were more than encouraged and as long as he could have a fag and a scotch at the end of the evening he was never happier.
His playing style was reminiscent of days long gone by even in the 80’s, scrum cap flapping in the breeze covering his greying locks whilst plying his trade as a conversion kicking no.8, exhorting the poor sods scrummaging in front of him to supply number one ball for him to convert his trademark touchdown from the back row.
Even when in a leg cast as a result of a Ski injury, he was prominent on the sidelines providing support and sustenance with his home made medical bag containing his own brand of “thirst aid”.
I’m sure hangovers were more prevalent than any rugby injuries when Steve was involved and he always had the support of his players.
Steve is survived by his three sons Alex, Stuart and Michael and his parents Val and John and sister Tracey.
Simon Mitchell.Simon Mitchell
- A P (Pat) Egan
- Bob Cordiner
- Clive Benjamin
- Damian Bugeja
- David Inwood
- G J (Willie) Williams
- George Priechenfried
- Gordon Griffiths
- Haseen Hashim
- Jack Snell
- Joe Lecky
- Marek (Mark) Kostka
- Mike Hill
- Peter Green
- Richard (Bully) Bull
- Steve Keen
- Steve Lee
- Stuart Laird
- Warwick Tilton
Could you please pass on our best wishes to Carol and the kids?
Greg & I knew him from the early minis days on Horsenden Hill, where Steve was a Sunday morning fixture having collapsed there overnight from the Saturday excitement with the seniors. We both have fond memories of those times.
Thanks so much
Shelley (Blake) & Greg (Li)Shelley Blake
Didn’t expect this at all. I was with Steve at school – same year/next to him on the class register for a couple of years: Even at age 12 he displayed many of the characteristics that we got to know and love from him later in life at Ealing. He not only did all the organising in the Wanderers, but increasingly, as others have commented, did a lot of work for the club as a whole, as well. There are many possible anecdotes, but one highlight: Whilst spectating (due to injury) a Wanderers tour game, being sent off by the referee from the touchline to the car park, due to excessive heckling – to the merriment of all present (including Steve). His presence very much added to the richness of the clubhouse experience, and assuredly he will be greatly missed by family, friends and all that knew him.
Rest in Peace, Steve.
Jerry LowenJerry Lowen
Steve was such an important part of the club for so many years – as others have already said his efforts were not always sufficiently appreciated. Utterly committed to the club on and off the pitch he was Teams Secretary when we put out 9 sides each weekend and that alone took some doing. He was the Wanderers team – pure and simple, and if you just wanted great craic with some rugby and drink mixed in that was the team to play for. I was fortunate enough to do so on a number of occasions as a Colt and I learned a lot about front row play and expanded my drinks repertoire.
Thank you Steve for all you did for the Club – rest in peace.Les O’Gorman
This is very upsetting news, this is much too young to lose Steve. Steve was a real character and brought a huge amount of enthusiasm to the playing and admin side of the club. Back in those days when I used to spend (too much) time at the bar I got to know him very well. I have great memories of chats and laughs and schemes and what have you. Sadly this is not the first time news of a loss from the old days has stopped me in my tracks, but I just would not have expected this.
RIP Steve and condolences to his family.
Such sad news of the passing of Steve
He was the heart and soul and Captain of the Wanderers for so many years.
A character a legend and always optimistic and above all enthusiastic and deeply entertaining,
Thoughts are with family and friends at this sad time Simon Wells (Sumo)=Simon (Sumo) Wells
Very sad to hear the news of Steve’s passing. I followed him as skipper of the Wanderers and he was a difficult act to follow. His belief that rugby was basically an eight man game, with the backs only allowed to touch the ball when he felt there was no other option available (when there was absolutely no chance of him scoring) and that scrum halves hands were only there for him to stamp on was were his specialities. Add to that his unique toe punting of place kicks and it became clear why he always considered himself the team’s highest scorer. And with his total recall of every point he had ever scored it was very hard not to give him a good listening to. When we organised the end of season Wanderers past v present matches Steve would endeavour to fill his side with as many 1st XV players as he could, he just hated losing.
My favourite memory of playing against him was when I sold him a dummy and to hear his expletive filled comment as I went past him was an absolute joy.
Rest in peace Steve.Malcolm Bentley
I am very sad to hear that.He must have been in his 60s. No age these days. He was probably the best team sec we had and an excellent match sec and of course he did a hell of a lot when we were trying to buy GWR from the British Railway Property Board. When he was team sec we had 9 sides, and you needed a good team sec.He was also captain of the Wanderers for years.He did like a pint or two.
Not everyone appreciated what he did.
A terrible loss.