Full Name: Steve Aizlewood
Born: 09 October 1952, Newport (Wales)
Transferred from: Swindon Town, 26 July 1979, £45,000
Previous Clubs: Newport County
Pompey Debut: 11 August 1979 v Swindon Town, League Cup (D 1-1) First Pompey Goal: 29 September 1979 v York City (W 5-2)
Games: 204 (175 League, 29 Cup)
Goals: 15 (13 League, 2 Cup)
Final Game: 24 March 1984 v Crystal Palace (L 0-1)
Transferred to: Released
Subsequent Clubs: Waterlooville
Born in Newport South Wales, Steve Aizlewood began his career by signing a youth contract with his local team Newport County in 1968.
The following year at the age of just sixteen he made his League debut and quickly established himself as a member of County’s Division 4 starting XI.
Gaining Welsh schoolboy and U23 honours along the way, Aizlewood soon reached the milestone of becoming the youngest player in County’s history to make 100 League appearances.
On March deadline day 1976, after six years and a few games shy of 200 league appearances Aizlewood left the comfort of his home town club and transferred to Swindon as a replacement for their long-serving centre-half Frank Burrows. In return for his services Newport collected a club record fee of £13,500
Aizlewood spent the next three full seasons with the Wiltshire club and never finished outside of the top half of the table, but the player he had replaced was now manager of Portsmouth and they had just accepted an offer of £150,000 from First Division new boys Brighton for local favourite Steve Foster and needed a replacement.
On 26 July 1979 in one of the first transfers to require the new Football League arbitration service, Swindon received half of their £90,000 valuation for the big centre-half. Frank Burrows’ 4th Division Pompey had themselves a bargain.
Ironically, Aizlewood’s first two games for Portsmouth were against Swindon. A two-legged League Cup 1st Round tie which Pompey lost 3-1, but ultimately it was the league and not the cups that brought success during the 1979/80 season.
Pompey started at a cracking pace. Two 3-0 wins against Hartlepool and Torquay were followed by the 6-1 drubbing of Scunthorpe as Pompey went on to win nine of their first ten games. Five against York (one of which being Aizlewood’s first for Pompey) four against Darlington and Bradford all followed and it seemed that Burrows’ new team (he had also added Brisley, Styles, Laidlaw, and McLaughlin) was complimenting the strike partnership of Colin Garwood and Jeff Hemmerman very nicely.
Pompey went on to win promotion to the Third Division on the final day of the season with victory at Northampton, finishing 4th on goal difference. Aizlewood however missed the final nine games through injury and was therefore unable to fully experience the achievement of ‘going-up’.
The big centre-half was back for the start of the following campaign however and was a virtual ever present in a Pompey team that faired well in the higher league, finishing in a more than respectable 6th place.
Aizlewood again played in excess of 40 games during the 1981/82 campaign but 22 league and cup draws saw Pompey finish a disappointing 13th. Bobby Campbell’s appointment following the sacking of Frank Burrows in the spring however brought reason for optimism.
Campbell kept faith with Aizlewood during his first full season in charge and as Pompey romped to a record breaking 91point haul, promoting the club, as Champions, to the second division for the first time in eight years he missed just 4 of all games played.
Although they never looked in any serious danger of relegation Pompey had a troubled first season back in Division Two and the acquisition of Malcolm Waldron in March 1984, to firm up a defence that eventually shipped 64 goals during the campaign, spelt the end of Aizlewood’s tenure as Pompey’s No.6. At the end of the season, with Campbell replaced by Alan Ball, Aizlewood moved on spending the next season with non-league Waterlooville.
?….1969 – Makes debut for Newport County
March 76 – Transfers to Swindon Town for £13,500
26/07/79 – Transfers to Portsmouth for £45,000
11/08/79 – Makes Pompey debut in 1st Round 1st Leg League Cup tie
29/09/79 – Scores first Pompey goal in 5-2 victory over York City
03/05/80 – Gains promotion to Division 3
14/05/83 – Wins Division 3 Championship Medal
Other Interesting Facts:
As well as Swindon in the League Cup, Aizlewood also faced his other former club, Newport Country in the FA Cup 1st Round during his first season at Fratton Park
On Tuesday 27th April 1982 Aizlewood scored the only goal of the game in the 1-0 victory over Aldershot in the Final of The Hampshire Professional Cup
Pompey were awarded 16 penalties during the 1982/83 title winning season but missed half of them. Aizlewood squandered the last before Kevin ‘Dead-Eye’ Dillon assumed responsibility and restored order
The Aizlewood family produced two league players in the same generation. Steve’s brother Mark followed him into the Newport team before joining six other clubs. Their Grandfather had played a few games for Rotherham
Having left Waterlooville, Steve went on to later work as a Chartered Surveyor for Gwent Council
Season by season games played via PompeyRama
Vital Pompey Author: Chix
Statistics provided by: PompeyRama.com
Date: March 2009