Blantyre, Lanarkshire born right back Willie Steel began his football career with Belhaven Oak in 1924 and played for Bridgeton Waverley in 1925 before joining Scottish League club St Johnstone in 1926. After five years at Muirton Park he was signed by Liverpool manager George Patterson for £1,000 in September 1931. He made his Football League debut against Derby County on 19th December 1931, and was an ever present in 1932-33, missing only two games the following season.
He lost his place following the arrival of England International Tom Cooper in the 1934-35 season. Evidently his transfer to Birmingham City in March 1935 took a number of people by surprise as he had been, according to Liverpool’s programme: “a popular man here, a model professional and a most consistent performer.” He played 128 times for The Reds.
At St Andrews’ he initially established himself in the first team but from December 1936 became an increasingly occasional performer, and joined Derby County in February 1939 after 92 appearances for The Blues. He made 11 appearances for The Rams before the end of the 1938-39 season before joining Dumbarton in 1939, playing 19 times in their 1939-40 wartime league fixtures. Steel was later manager of Airdrie in his native Scotland from 1954 to 1963, and manager of Third Lanark from 1963 to 1964.