Jason McAteer shares hilarious story of how he asked Graeme Souness for a transfer as the manager dried himself with 'tea towel'
Former Republic of Ireland international Jason McAteer has shared the bizarre story of how he asked for a transfer away from Blackburn Rovers after falling our of favour with manager Graeme Souness.
At around about the same time he was scoring that famous goal at Lansdowne Road against the Netherlands in 2001, that helped Ireland qualify for the 2002 World Cup in the Far East, McAteer was training with the reserves at Blackburn.
Speaking on Off The Ball on Newstalk last night, when he spoke about his battle with depression during and after his playing days, McAteer revealed how the former Liverpool great left him know, in no uncertain terms, that he had no future at Ewood Park under him.
"We'd fell out and he was doing the old "Let's upset him by..." like for instance, he took me to Birmingham away and I knew I wasn't going to start. You look at the squad and I'm thinking 'loads of kids here, I'm going to get on the bench," he said.
"He names the team, and I was that convinced, I've not even listened to the team. And then I started getting dressed. I've took my trackie top off and Tony Parker come up to me and went, "You're not in the 16" , and I've gone "Wha?" And I was the only one who never got stripped. And I'm thinking "Oooh"
After that incident, McAteer plucked up the courage to ask Souness for a transfer.
When he went to the manager's office, Souness had just emerged from the shower and they discussed the future with the manager wearing only a towel.
The grandfather clock. I mean they were dangling down - Jason McAteer
"The grandfather clock. I mean they were dangling down. I swear to God. They were like spacehoppers. More like a punchbag. You know one of them balls in Rocky? They were unbelievable. Legs up, dangling down. And I'm asking for a move.
"It was like a tea towel, it wasn't even a towel. You know like a hand towel? He was drying himself with a hand towel, that's how cool he was.
"I plucked up the courage to go and ask him for a move. Did it, went in the room, asked him for the move and he just said "I'll see what I can do". Then I got a phonecall off the chief executive John Williams who was brilliant and he just said, 'We've agreed a fee'."
McAteer revealed how the pair had cleared the air while doing TV work together in Qatar.
"I just went, 'Graeme, I just want to say I'm really disappointed the way you treated me' and he went 'yeah and I am sorry the way I treated you and I shouldn't have done'.
"He said to me, if he could get his time back, he'd never treat me that way. What he knows now and how he looks at life now and things that have happened and how he sees football, he said: 'I wouldn't have treated you like that and I'm sorry, I'm very, very sorry'."