John McGreal

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John McGreal
Personal information
Full name John Leslie McGreal[1]
Date of birth (1972-06-02) 2 June 1972 (age 43)
Place of birth Liverpool, England
Height 5 ft 11 in (1.80 m)
Playing position Defender
Club information
Current team
Colchester United (Coach)
Youth career
1988-1990 Tranmere Rovers
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1990–1999 Tranmere Rovers 195 (1)
1999–2004 Ipswich Town 123 (4)
2004–2007 Burnley 96 (1)
Total 414 (6)

* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.

† Appearances (goals)

John Leslie McGreal (born 2 June 1972 in Liverpool, Merseyside, England) is an English footballer who is an experienced central defender. He was educated in Liverpool at the all-boys' De La Salle School, (home to other famous names such as Olympian Steve Smith, Brian Reade, Francis Jeffers & Wayne Rooney) with his best mates Tony Stewart, Michael Morgan & Tony Simpson.

He began his career at Tranmere Rovers rising through the club's youth system to become a regular first team player making 195 league appearances. By the summer of 1999 he was one of the highest rated defenders in the First Division which led to Ipswich Town signing him for £650,000.

At Ipswich, him became the linchpin of Ipswich Town's defense as George Burley led the club back to the premiership via the play offs and subsequently to a 5th-place finish in the next season. During that season he memorably scored the first goal at the Gwladys Street end in a famous 3-0 rout of Everton at Goodison Park.[2] The following season he also scored an important winner against Tottenham Hotspur.[3] Also, during that season he helped the club to the 3rd round of the UEFA Cup before losing to Inter Milan. Injuries impacted he later years with Ipswich and he was released at the end of the 2003-04 season.

McGreal joined Burnley in 2004 and proved to be an excellent signing and was a key figure in improving the team's defensive record in the 2004-05 season. He played alongside Gary Cahill, on loan from Aston Villa and was key in the young central-defender's growth and development. McGreal is known for his aerial ability, commanding nature and tough, no-nonsense attitude. Despite his attributes, he was pushed out of the Burnley first team towards the end of the 2005/06 season by Mike Duff. A combination of injuries and strength in depth in Burnley's squad at centre-back saw McGreal used less frequently in the 2006-07 season. He was not offered a contract at the end of the 2006-07 season and was released on 8 May 2007. He scored once during his spell at Burnley, his goal coming in a 3-0 win over Crewe Alexandra on 11 September 2004.[4]

After he was released he went on trial with Championship team Colchester United[5] however manager Geraint Williams did not offer him a contract. Subsequently he returned to Ipswich Town to study for a UEFA B Licence after it was suggested to him by Town manager and ex-teammate Jim Magilton. This led to speculation that he would joining club's backroom staff but they proved unfounded.[6]

He was later recruited by former Town coach Tony Humes[7] to become a Professional Development Coach at Colchester United, alongside fellow Ex-Ipswich coach Richard Hall.[8]


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