- Ex Liverpool & Blackburn Player
Jason McAteer got his big break aged 20, at local non-league team Marine, when he was discovered by scouts from Bolton Wanderers. He would go on to amass well over 100 appearances for the Trotters over his three year stay.
Early in the 1995/96 season, Liverpool captured the midfielder in a £4.5 million deal after playing against them in the 1995 Football League Cup Final for Bolton. He would appear 139 times for his boyhood heroes, scoring 6 goals for the Reds, but was black listed for bad behaviour together with several of his colleagues like Jamie Redknapp, Robbie Fowler and Steve McManaman at the time for their collective culture of being “Spice Boys” – a derogatory term that characterized the team of that time as underachieving playboys.
Towards the end of the 1998/99 season he joined Blackburn Rovers, for £4 million and would help them to promotion to the Premiership in 2001 during his second full season with the club.
In U2’s live DVD, U2 Go Home: Live from Slane Castle, during the song “New Year’s Day”, Bono wraps himself in an Irish flag and says “Close your eyes and imagine it’s Jason McAteer” as McAteer had just scored a decisive goal for the Irish National Football Team (against Holland, 1 September 2001). The crowd reacts to Bono’s statement with a great amount of cheer and excitement. In another incident during Ireland’s successful World Cup campaign in America, McAteer was asked by team-mates if he wanted a game of golf. McAteer replied that he didn’t, and relaxed in his hotel watching television. Upon switching to the sports channel he saw that the Open golf was on, turned to one of the team’s non-playing personnel and asked “Is that the lads playing golf then?”
He moved on again, 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 was likely critical comments made by McAteer of Keane after the Saipan Incident at the 2002 FIFA World Cup
Left without a club for the majority of the close season, he 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, and 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 in May 2007 and announced his retirement shortly afterwards.
McAteer is widely remembered in Ireland for his part in a televised Head & Shoulders advertising campaign in which he promoted the product whilst in the shower, and a subsequent campaign for Carlsberg when he dreamed about scoring the winning goal in the World Cup. His successes include winning two promotions and reaching a League Cup final in three seasons with Bolton, reaching a FA Cup final with Liverpool and winning promotion to the Premiership with Blackburn. McAteer scored the goal at Lansdowne Road when the 10 man Republic of Ireland team beat the Netherlands, which put Ireland on course for qualification for the 2002 World Cup.
McAteer headed home back to Tranmere Rovers in a role as assistant manager with former Liverpool teammate John Barnes as manager. Unfortunately, after a terrible start to the season left Tranmere with only 7 points from 11 games, the duo were sacked on the 9th October 2009.
Jason does occasional media work with Asia-based ESPN Star Sports. On 15th June 2009, he was appointed assistant to John Barnes’ managerial position at Tranmere Rovers. On 9th October 2009, he was sacked along with manager Barnes after a run of just two league wins from 11 matches.
Jason is a new addition to the “after dinner circuit” and is available for Sporting Dinners, Lunches and Club functions.