A highly regarded goal-scorer at Blackpool and Manchester City, Paul Stewart was signed by Spurs to add to their goal-power, but circumstances created a powerful and useful link-man.
Joined Manchester City in March 1987 and was relegated in his first season at Maine Road, although life in the Second Division gave him a chance to get used to the team and he played in 40 of the league games that season, scoring 24 times, including six in one match against Huddersfield Town. The goal-scoring feats brought him to the attention of the England selectors and he was called up to play for the Under-21s. It also flagged his talents up to Terry Venables, the Spurs boss who paid £1.7 million for Stewart to come South to Tottenham in June 1988. This was a club record at the time.
Unfortunately, Paul brought a two match ban with him from City and by the time he made his debut, against Manchester United, Spurs had a bad start and it took a while before things got better. Much was expected in terms of goals and having been raised on top goal-scorers, the Tottenham fans got on his back, despite a reasonable record. With a strong build and no great pace, his power and knowing where the goal was were his strength and quite often the ball would not be brought under control, leaving him without it and looking clumsy.
Gary Lineker was signed in 1989, but they did not have a great success in forming a partnership, although Stewart became more of a target man for the former Barcelona striker to play off.
In a home match against Luton Town, with Nayim and Pat van den Hauwe sent off, it was Venables' tactical change to move Stewart into midfield that proved a pivotal moment in the striker's career. In an area of the field where his strength became a valued commodity, Paul found that winning the ball and playing people in or running forward from a deeper position had a positive effect on his play. Continuing in that role, he was a major force in Tottenham's run to the FA cup final, where they met Nottingham Forest and it was Stewie who scored the equalising goal shooting across Crossley from the right to help Spurs back into the game after conceding an early goal and losing Paul Gascoigne to injury.
On Friday 6th September 1991, Stewart signed a new four year deal. However, the following year, rumours that his wife had failed to settle in the South-East, making life difficult for Stewart, began to circulate and although things were going well on the pitch, with an England cap in his new midfield place, his time at Tottenham was coming to an end. Despite European football with Spurs and a bright new side being formed, Spurs could not hold onto the player who yearned for his native North-West. Liverpool offered £2.3 million, so Spurs had got the best from the player and made a profit on him.
Unfortunately for Stewart, he failed to replicate his good Spurs form and his time at Liverpool. Injury also hit him at Anfield and he struggled as a second striker with Ian Rush, then being challenged for his place by Robbie Fowler and Nigel Clough. He was loaned to Crystal Palace (who won promotion from the First Division to the Premier League) in January 1994, Wolves in September 1994, Burnley in February 1995 and Sunderland between August and September 1995, helping them win promotion to the Premier League as Division One champions before joining the Black Cats on a permanent basis in March 1996. He could not keep the Black Cats up the following season, resulting in him signing for Stoke City.
Paul retired from senior football in the 1997-98 season and subsequently dropped into non-league to play for Workington, where he played 55 games over two years until the end of the 1999-2000 season, scoring 15 goals, before retiring from playing completely at the end of the 1999-2000 season with Workington re-established in the Northern Premier League First Division.
Outside of the game, Paul learned a couple of languages, did some roofing work and ended up selling advertising space on television screens at football stadia concourses, doctors surgeries, theatres, hospitals, building merchants, etc. Had business offices in Blackpool and Sydney, Australia.
In 2006, Paul was inducted into the Blackpool FC Hall of Fame.
In 2010 he was living at Pulton-Le-Fylde in Lancashire.