Ahead of this weekend's FA Cup Fourth Round contest between Bolton Wanderers and Liverpool, and considering the rich history between the two clubs, I thought it timely to review a few players who have played for both clubs.
Starting this morning with one of my favourite players; Jason McAteer.
I was just a lad when I first saw McAteer play. Between the ages of 9-12 I turned up at Burnden Park and was always impressed by the dynamic young attacking midfielder who could seemingly run for hours without getting tired or letting the standard of his final pass or shot drop. Fantastic.
Famously, the Birkinhead-born midfielder got his break in the game whilst starring for his local non-league side, Marine, when he was discovered by scouts from Bolton Wanderers in 1991.
The story goes that Wanderers negotiated a deal with the club to exchange the player for £5,000 plus a bag of footballs. Quite the deal. He made a winning debut in Wanderers colours at Burnden Park against Burnley in November 1992, going on to make a total 21 appearances as the club finished runners up in Division Two, earning promotion to the First Division.
The season after saw McAteer elevated to first choice in the Wanderers midfield, helping the club to the Quarter Finals of the FA Cup in the 1993-94 season and reaching the final of the Football League Cup the following year, losing 2-1 to McAteer's boyhood heroes Liverpool. McAteer then led the club to Wembley yet again in 1995, beating Reading 4-3 in the First Division Play Off Final under manager Bruce Rioch, earning the club its first ever spot in the Premier League.
The player's progression had not gone unnoticed, with local rivals Blackburn Rovers attempting to bring both McAteer and Bolton teammate Alan Stubbs to Ewood Park in the early stages of the 1995 season. However the deal collapsed as soon as McAteer learned of Liverpool's interest, and it would be to Anfield that the young midfielder would head for a Bolton club record £4.5m back when that was a lot of money.
He would go on to make 140 appearances for Liverpool, although his energy was utilised by managers as an attacking right back which, in my humble opinion, was a massive waste.
McAteer would eventually pull on a Blackburn Rovers shirt in 1999 when Brian Kidd paid £4m for his services. They would be relegated that season, although to his credit the former Bolton man would hang around and help Rovers return immediately to the Premier League.
In 2004 following a fall-out with Blackburn boss Graeme Souness, he was sold to Sunderland for £1m, but again suffered relegation to the First Division in his debut season with his new club. His career wound down with a handful of appearances for Tranmere Rovers before he announced his retirement in May 2007.
An established international for the Republic of Ireland, he made his debut for Jack Charlton's side whilst still a Bolton Wanderers player back in May 1994. He was also selected for the World Cup in the USA that same summer. He played in the 2002 World Cup in Japan/Korea, making a total of 52 appearances for the Irish side in an international career that lasted a decade.
He has since worked intermittently as a coach as well as a television pundit.