Spurs proved to be a very different club to the one Steve had joined as a schoolboy. The club was in turmoil and problems off the field hampered Ardiles time as manager. Chairman Alan Sugar was involved in legal battles with former manager Terry Venables and the day to day running of the club was being questioned by many involved. The season started promisingly and Ossie's attacking style was very much in Tottenham's tradition. It was to be an unlucky season with injuries to influential players like Mabbutt & Sheringham. Even when Sheringham returned late in the season, it was too late to salvage anything and Spurs eventually finished in the bottom half.
The start of the 94' season brought much promise with the signing of Jurgen Klinsmann. The German international arrived after the 94 World Cup along with Romanian midfielder Ilie Dumitrescu. The new arrivals formed what was branded the 'famous five', in midfield & attack. Spurs started with a victory at Sheffield Wednesday, with Klinsmann scoring on his debut. Spurs continued their early good form but eventually results began to go against the team & good performances were often not rewarded with points. Ossie was dismissed midway through the season & Steve acted as caretaker for the game at Blackburn Rovers . After one game in charge Steve was also released, it was a disappointing end to Steve's connection with the club. It left a sour taste for Steve who felt that problems off the field were too prominent during Ossie's time as manager. Steve said "The managers job is hard enough. You have problems coping with the players and supporters, so you don't need the inner squabbles we had to cope with, we had to spend more of our time behind the scenes solving extra troubles."
After Spurs, Steve had a brief spell in Norway managing Start, before teaming up with Ossie Ardiles in Japan. Steve joined Shimizu S-Pulse in 1996 as assistant manager to Ardiles. They arrived just after the initial honeymoon period of the J.League was over. S-Pulse won the Nabisco Cup (the Japanese equivalent of the League Cup) in September, beating Verdy Kawasaki. It was the clubs first honors and a great triumph for the new management team.
In 1998 Ossie & Steve were chosen to manage the 'International' Jomo Cup team, a game played between the foreign stars of the J.League & the Japanese. Steve became manager of S-Pulse in 1999 after Ossie left to join Croatia Zagreb. S-Pulse lost out in the final of the Emperors Cup but the new 1999 league season saw S-Pulse finish 3rd in the 1st stage of the championship. In the cup competitions S-Pulse reached the quarter finals of both the Emperors and the Nabisco Cup. A great performance in the 2nd stage of the championship saw S-Pulse win their 1st ever league championship, a truly great achievement for Steve, his 1st championship as player or manager.
Because in Japan the league season is split in 2 stages, a championship-deciding game between the winners of both stages is played over 2 legs. S-Pulse met rivals Jubilo Iwata in the Championship Final Play-off. S-Pulse had proven that they were the best team in Japan in 1999, finishing 3rd and 1st in the respective league stages. Jubilo had won the 1st stage, but played badly in the 2nd, ending 4th from bottom. When the 2 stages were put together, S-Pulse finished top, 8 points ahead of Kashiwa Reysol and over the whole season, Jubilo were 16 points behind in 6th place. In the J.League no game finishes in a draw, if the teams are level after 90 min's, golden goal extra time is played, followed by penalties if required. This provides excellent entertainment & high drama. The decision to include a championship deciding play-off game, was very much in that spirit and produces an excellent climax to the season.
S-Pulse lost the first leg away in Iwata 2 -1 but the overtime win meant that if S-Pulse beat Jubilo in 90 minutes in the 2nd leg, S-Pulse would win the championship. The 2nd leg, played at S-Pulse's Nihondaira stadium, provided the home fans with a dramatic end of season game. After 90 minutes it was level at 1-1 although S-Pulse were reduced to ten men. The drama continued in extra time with S-Pulse's substitute Fabinho scoring and winning the match. S-Pulse had won, but like Jubilo in extra time, which meant that the 2 stage championship was now tied. The season now rested on a penalty shoot out which Jubilo won. Although S-Pulse had lost, they came through the regular season as moral victors. After the game Steve described being beaten on penalties after a 9 month long season as "a tragedy". He said after the dramatic game "I don't think I've ever experienced so many emotions before, as during that ninety-nine minutes and the penalty shoot-out". He said of the league campaign "Overall we played with more heart, more spirit, more fight, more organization and more goals. Over a series of games we're almost unbeatable. It was an historic season in which S-Pulse could be proud of winning their 1st ever championship.
Steve won Manager of the Year 1999 at the J.League awards in which he paid tribute to Ossie's influence on the team. S-Pulse's Brazilian born Alex was voted Player of The Year and six S-Pulse players were named in the J.League's best XI. Steve was chosen as manger of the International Selection for the 1999 Jomo Cup. In the same year he was head coach for Japan West Vs Japan East and voted Asian Coach of the Month for September. S-Pulse's excellent form continued in 2000, winning the Asian Cup Winners Cup, which saw them beat some of Asia's best teams. S-Pulse continued their league form in 2000 finishing 3rd in the 1st stage championship.
Steve's record in his time as manager of S-Pulse was impressive, in 7 competitions the club had two- 1st place, one - 2nd, and two 3rd place finishes. After winning the Asian Cup Winners Cup, S-Pulse met Asian Club Champions Al Hilal of Saudi Arabia, in the Asian Super Cup. It would have been another great achievement for S-Pulse to reach the World Club Championship but unfortunately S-Pulse lost over 2 legs in what was Steve's last game in charge of the club. Steve returned to England after 5 years with S-Pulse.
In a period of so called inactivity Steve helped out at 3rd division Exeter City in their bid to avoid relegation from the football league. With no official title, Steve helped out manager Noel Blake and achieved survival with one game remaining. Steve only received expenses as he was still keen to talk to other clubs, a situation that Exeter were happy with, and after securing football league survival, Steve received many offers from various clubs. He eventually returned to Japan to manage J.League side Kashiwa Reysol.
Steve is now back at Exeter City where he was made Director of Football in 2003.