McAteer in 2013
|Full name||Jason Wynne McAteer|
|Date of birth||18 June 1971|
|Place of birth||Birkenhead, England|
|Height||1.80 m (5 ft 11 in)|
|1994||Republic of Ireland B||1||(0)|
|1994–2004||Republic of Ireland||52||(3)|
|2009||Tranmere Rovers (assistant)|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only|
Jason Wynne McAteer (born 18 June 1971) is a retired professional footballer, who represented the Republic of Ireland at international level. His primary position was in centre midfield, though he was also an able right winger and full back.
During his career, McAteer played for five professional clubs, Bolton Wanderers, Liverpool, Blackburn Rovers, Sunderland and finally Tranmere Rovers, as well as winning over 50 international caps for the Republic of Ireland. His total transfer values reach over £9 million. He announced his retirement from professional football on 12 June 2007.
McAteer got his big break aged 20, at local non-league team Marine, when impressing for Marine Reserves against the Bolton Wanderers A team in 1992. He had no contract with Marine, and Bolton purchased the young midfielder for £500 plus a large bag of footballs. He made his first team debut against Burnley in a Division Two game at Burnden Park on 28 November 1992, finishing on the winning side in a 4–0 triumph. He made a total of 21 appearances in the 1992–93 season for Bolton, who finished the season as runners-up and secured promotion to Division One. Bolton were FA Cup quarter-finalists in the 1993–94 season and achieved a comfortable position in Division One, but it was the 1994–95 season which proved most memorable, as Bolton reached the final of the Football League Cup (their first appearance in a major cup final for 37 years), but lost 2–1 to Liverpool.
McAteer and his colleagues returned to Wembley the following month on 29 May 1995, as they reached the final of the Division One playoffs having finished third in the league. Their opponents on this occasion were Reading. In an epic contest, Reading took a 2–0 lead in the first half and led the match until the 86th minute when Bolton scored a late equaliser to make the game 2–2 and force extra-time. Bolton went on to win the match 4–3 after extra time and McAteer was given his first chance of FA Premier League football.
Early in the 1995–96 season, Liverpool captured the midfielder in a £4.5 million deal after he played against them in the 1995 Football League Cup Final for Bolton. McAteer came close to joining Blackburn Rovers in 1995, but when Liverpool declared an interest, McAteer decided to sign for the team he had supported as a boy. He would appear 139 times for Liverpool, scoring 6 goals for the Reds, but he was part of a group of Liverpool players like David James, Jamie Redknapp, Robbie Fowler and Steve McManaman who were given the media label "Spice Boys" – a derogatory term that characterised the team of that time as underachieving playboys.
During his time at Anfield, McAteer also filled in at right back for certain spells despite being primarily a central midfielder. He broke his leg whilst playing against Blackburn Rovers at Anfield. He made a full recovery and on his return to the first team scored two goals dedicated to his close friend Rob Bond, against West Ham United. He also played in the 1996 FA Cup Final against Manchester United in which Liverpool lost to a single goal scored by Eric Cantona.
Towards the end of the 1998–99 season, Blackburn Rovers manager Brian Kidd signed McAteer for £4 million. Rovers were relegated that season, but McAteer would help the club to promotion back to the Premiership in 2001 during his second full season with the club. During his time with Rovers, McAteer had a vicious argument one day with Blackburn's manager Graeme Souness. McAteer later said of Souness: "He almost ruined my career and I cannot help but despise him for it."
Souness sold McAteer to Sunderland for £1million. He made 27 appearances that season, but was unable to prevent the Black Cats' relegation to the First Division in 2002–03. McAteer remained at the Stadium of Light for another year, playing in both legs of the play-off semi-final against Crystal Palace before being released at the end of the year. McAteer missed time during the season after suffering a broken nose in a clash with Manchester United's Roy Keane; the beginnings of which are likely to have been critical comments made by McAteer of Keane after the Saipan Incident at the 2002 World Cup.
McAteer had said of Keane: "Everything is black or white with Roy, there is no such colour as grey. I do not always understand his rage." McAteer said that when they clashed during Sunderland's match against Manchester United, he had said to Keane: "Put it all in your next book". Keane responded by elbowing McAteer on the side of the head.
After being left without a club for the majority of the close season in 2004, McAteer then made the decision to head back to Birkenhead, signing a two-year deal with Tranmere Rovers, hoping to play out his career with his hometown club. He trained as a coach ready to embark on a career in that department after his retirement. He was made club captain by manager Brian Little, skippering the side to the League One play-off semi-finals, where they eventually lost on penalties to Hartlepool United.
He was released by Tranmere Rovers in May 2007 and announced his retirement shortly afterwards. His domestic successes include winning two promotions and reaching a League Cup final in three seasons with Bolton, reaching an FA Cup final with Liverpool and winning promotion to the Premiership with Blackburn.
McAteer played 52 times for Republic of Ireland (ROI) between 1994 and 2004. He made his debut for ROI on 23 March 1994 against Russia in a friendly match at Lansdowne Road and was selected by manager Jack Charlton for the Republic's 1994 World Cup squad. McAteer came on as a substitute in ROI's famous 1–0 World Cup victory over Italy.
McAteer played in his second World Cup for the Republic of Ireland in 2002. He scored the decisive goal for the Irish in a crucial 1–0 World Cup qualifying win against the Netherlands in September 2001, which helped ROI stay on course for their place in the 2002 World Cup.
McAteer has regularly appeared for the Liverpool legends who play in various charity games around the world. In 2005, with the help of friends, McAteer organised Tsunami Soccer Aid which generated over half a million pounds. This was used by Save The Children, Merlin and other charities to help rebuild the worst affected areas of the disaster.
In April 2011, while participating in a charity football match between Darndale F.C. and Liverpool/Manchester United Legends in aid of Autism Ireland, McAteer clashed with Dublin GAA goalkeeper Stephen Cluxton. Cluxton punched McAteer and knocked him to the ground. Cluxton and McAteer were both sent off.
McAteer now works in the media with Asia-based ESPN Star Sports. On 15 June 2009, he was appointed assistant manager to John Barnes at Tranmere Rovers. On 9 October 2009, McAteer was sacked along with Barnes after a run of just two league wins from 11 games.
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