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The Spice Boy Era: Jason McAteer

Jason McAteer was born in Birkenhead, on Merseyside. Primarily a right-sided defender or center midfielder, he began life playing for Marine F.C, a small club in Liverpool. He represented the Republic Of Ireland at international level and won 52 caps.

McAteer was spotted by Bolton Wanderers scouts at the age of 20 while playing for Marine F.C. At the time, Bolton played in the old 2nd Division (League 1). McAteer made his first team debut on 28th November 1992 against Burnley in a 2nd Division match. His first full season proved to be a successful one and he made 21 first team appearances as the team gained promotion from 2nd Division into the 1st Division.

In the 1994-1995 season Bolton finished mid table and reached the quarter-final of the F.A cup. The following season Bolton reached the League Cup final but lost 2-1 to Liverpool, a team McAteer aspired to play for. During the same season Bolton reached Wembley for a 2nd time and Bolton won 4-3 in extra time. This gave McAteer his first opportunity to ply his trade in the Premier League.

It was early in the 1995-1996 season that McAteer signed for Liverpool, the team he supported as a boy. The fee was reported to be in the region of around £4.5m. It was believed that it was after his impressive performance while playing against Liverpool that they decided he was going to be a Summer target for them. As Rob Jones’ injuries were worsening, McAteer was being brought in to be first choice right back.

Early into his Liverpool career, McAteer was being touted as one of the best right-wing backs to ever play for Liverpool. Even after Rob Jones regained fitness, McAteer remained first choice wing back and Jones was being employed as a left-wing back. Although his favored position was in the center of midfield, McAteer proved to be a top class full back over the years for Liverpool.

Renowned for his antics off -field, McAteer was somewhat a joker and enjoyed having a laugh in the dressing room. He was famous for playing pranks, and loved to make fun of people, including himself. He was nicknamed Trigger at Liverpool because he often spoke before he thought.

Overall McAteer made 139 appearances for Liverpool and scored 6 goals. Near the end of the 1998-1999 season, McAteer joined Blackburn Rovers for £4m. He was unable to prevent them from relegation but they returned just two seasons later and McAteer played a major role in that success.

McAteer famously fell out with Blackburn manager Graeme Souness. McAteer had said about him: “He almost ruined my career and I cannot help but despise him for it.”[ He was then sold to Sunderland in 2001. He made 27 appearances but couldn’t prevent the team from getting relegated from the Premier League. He remained there until 2004 when he was sold to Sunderland for £1m.

Again McAteer experienced yet another relegation and despite his 27 appearances for Sunderland, they were relegated to the 1st Division in 2002-2003. McAteer was left without a club in 2004 and decided to move home to Birkenhead. There he signed for Tranmere Rovers. While at Tranmere he was made club captain by then manager Brian Little. He played at Tranmere for 3 years and announced his retirement from professional football at the age of 36.

 made his debut for the Republic Of Ireland in 1994 against Russia in a friendly. Only a few months after his international debut he was selected by Jack Charlton in the 1994 World Cup squad. He had a short appearance in Ireland’s historic 1-0 victory against Italy after a wonder goal from Ray Houghton. McAteer was picked again for the 2002 World Cup by Mick McCarthy. In the qualifying campaign, McAteer scored a fantastic goal against Holland which all but assured a playoff spot for Ireland. Carlsberg done an advert in Ireland about that goal and pretended that the goal was the winner in a World Cup final against Holland. The slogan used was “Carlsberg don’t do dreams, but if they did, they’d probably be the best in the world.” McAteer also had a high-profile bust up with Roy Keane over the Saipan incident when Roy Keane left the national team. McAteer was on the receiving end of a broken nose apparently caused by a row with Keane. While on Soccer AM in 2011 he described the 2002 World Cup as a type of “stag do.”

McAteer now does his fair share of media work and has played in a few notable charity matches over the years. In 2009 he was appointed assistant manager to John Barnes at Tranmere Rovers. Both were sacked after a far from impressive start winning only 2 in 11 games. McAteer is also well-known for his hilarious head and shoulders advert. He is currently writing his autobiography.

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About Gift Of The Gab

I'm a journalism student from Dublin, Ireland. I'm a Liverpool fanatic.

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