Sunday Mirror

How McA­teer’s Bolton move earnt Ma­rine a new roof... and bag of foot­balls

STAR OWES STEL­LAR CA­REER TO TOUGH MERSEY­SIDE LOVE

- BY JOHN RICHARD­SON

MAK­ING HIS NAME Ja­son McA­teer at Bolton and boss at the time Phil Neal (be­low)

Founded: 1894 Ground: Ros­sett Park, Crosby Ca­pac­ity: 3,185 (389 seated) Man­ager: Neil

League: North­ern Premier League Di­vi­sion One North West

JA­SON McA­TEER en­sured that the roof didn’t cave in on non-league Ma­rine – now the Li­ly­whites hope to hit the heights in the FA Cup.

The for­mer Liver­pool and Repub­lic of Ire­land in­ter­na­tional is one of the Mersey­side club’s fa­mous sons de­spite play­ing only a few first- team games un­der iconic man­ager Roly Howard.

Now un­der present boss Neil Young the North­ern Premier League club, from foot­ball’s sev­enth tier, are hop­ing to make more head­lines when they travel to EFL League Two side Colch­ester United.

McA­teer said: “I’m made up that they’ve made the FA Cup first round. It’s just a shame there will be no fans to watch them be­cause the rev­enue from th­ese games nor­mally can keep clubs like Ma­rine go­ing for a cou­ple of sea­sons.”

The bustling mid­fielder owes his ca­reer to a tough cou­ple of years in Ma­rine’s re­serves and a chance meet­ing with Liver­pool leg­end Phil Neal.

He added: “I was at col­lege do­ing graphic de­sign and in my spare time earn­ing a few quid as a bar­man in the Sports­mans Arms, which is op­po­site Tran­mere Rovers’ ground. I’d also started mak­ing a bit of a name for my­self play­ing Sun­day League foot­ball.

“Ma­rine’s cen­tre- for­ward Paul Meachin came into the Sports­mans ev­ery now and again and asked if I fan­cied hav­ing a run out for Ma­rine re­serves.

“Yeah, I re­ally fan­cied that es­pe­cially when I dis­cov­ered that the re­serve team was full of play­ers who had been re­leased in the past by Liver­pool, Ever­ton and other league clubs in the area.

“The league they were in con­tained many of the ‘A’ teams of the big clubs in­clud­ing Liver­pool, Ever­ton and Manchester United.

“The United team in­cluded the even­tual class of ’92, young play­ers like David Beck­ham and Gary Neville mak­ing their way in the game. I re­mem­ber play­ing against Ian Rush in the Liver­pool side and John Barnes, who was com­ing back from in­jury. They would start off in the ‘A’ team be­fore mov­ing on to the re­serves and then back into the first team.”

But it ap­peared that the route to the all-con­quer­ing Ma­rine first team and the chance to play un­der Howard, who en­tered the Guin­ness Book of Records as the world’s long­est serv­ing man­ager with 33 years and 1,975 games, was blocked.

He said: “They were streets ahead of ev­ery­one else win­ning their leagues and plenty of tro­phies but be­ing a three-sided ground they were never al­lowed to progress into the Con­fer­ence.

“It cost too much money to de­velop the ground to the nec­es­sary re­quire­ments so they never made the progress they de­served de­spite be­ing about the best team around.

“De­spite win­ning just about ev­ery­thing they could Roly was prob­a­bly bet­ter known as Kenny Dal­glish’s win­dow cleaner! I barely

HOME COM­FORTS Ma­rine’s Ros­sett Park ground with a ca­pac­ity of 3,185 had a sniff of the first team. Luck­ily though I played against Bolton ‘A’ with Phil Neal, who was the Bolton man­ager, watch­ing.

“I played out of my skin, scor­ing a cou­ple of goals and when I got home that night the re­serve team man­ager Dave Rams­den rang to say Bolton were of­fer­ing me a trial.”

McA­teer was told to re­ject the of­fer of a con­tract from Ma­rine to en­sure that Bolton wouldn’t have to pay any trans­fer fee if the trial was suc­cess­ful.

Neal liked what he saw and McA­teer’s ca­reer took off, one which en­com­passed Liver­pool, Black­burn, Sun­der­land and Tran­mere Rovers.

Ma­rine though weren’t en­tirely for­got­ten.

“There had been a big storm and a tree fell and went through the roof of Ma­rine’s so­cial club at the ground,” re­called McA­teer.

“They were des­per­ate to fix it be­cause ob­vi­ously the so­cial club was a big source of in­come. As a good­will ges­ture Bolton gave Ma­rine £500 and a bag of foot­balls.

“It was tough but my time at Ma­rine was the mak­ing of me. You had to grow up quickly. It gave me the tools for a suc­cess­ful ca­reer.”

And for Ma­rine that meant a new roof for the so­cial club.

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