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Northampton Town vs Bolton Wanderers: Played For Both Clubs - Phil Neal

A look at the career of the former Wanderers player/manager, Phil Neal.

Bob Thomas/Getty

Ahead of today's game, here's a look at the career of former Northampton Town and Bolton Wanderers player, Phil Neal.

Phil Neal, born 20th February 1951, began his playing career at Wellingborough Town, before he joined today's opponents Northampton Town in 1968. Neal would go on to spend seven seasons with his local side, scoring 28 goals in 187 appearances in Division 3 and Divison 4 for the Cobblers.

In October 1974, Neal moved to Liverpool for a fee of £66,000. Signed by manager Bob Paisley as a replacement for the aging Chris Lawler, Neal initially began his Liverpool career playing at left back, before moving to right back for the majority of his time at Anfield. Neal made his Liverpool debut in the Merseyside Derby against Everton at Goodison Park on 16th November 1974, in a game which ended 0-0.

Neal scored a penalty in the 1977 European Cup Final, when the Anfield club beat Borussia Mönchengladbach in Rome to win the European Cup (Champions League) for the first time. Neal subsequently played in the 1978 and 1981 Finals, Liverpool beating FC Bruges and Real Madrid respectively, before scoring in the 1984 Final against A.S. Roma. This meant that Neal was the only Liverpool player to feature in all four of Liverpool's European Cup wins in the 1970s and 1980s.

During his time with Liverpool, Phil Neal became one of England's most successful players.

In eleven years with Liverpool, Phil Neal racked up quite the trophy cabinet. In total, Neal won eight First Divisions, four League Cups, five FA Charity Shields, four European Cups, one UEFA Cup and one UEFA Super Cup.

It was also during his time with Liverpool that Neal made his debut for England. Phil Neal played 50 times for England, including games at the 1982 World Cup in Spain.

At the age of 34, Phil Neal left Liverpool to become the player-manager of Division 3 side Bolton Wanderers, taking over from Scotsman Charlie Wright.

In total for Liverpool, Phil Neal played 650 games, scoring 59 goals.

Phil Neal's time at Bolton is well known to be one of Wanderers' low points.

As Wanderers manager, Neal took the club down into Division 4 (League 2) for the only time in the club's history. Fortunately, the club were promoted at the first time of asking, and have since not been back in the fourth tier.

After guiding the club back into Division 3 in 1988, Phil Neal went on to help Wanderers win the 1989 Football League Trophy, after beating Torquay United 4-1 at Wembley.

Neal then retired from playing soon after. In total for Wanderers, Phil Neal scored three goals in sixty-four games.

Phil Neal went on to spend a further three years at Bolton as manager. In both the 1989/1990 and 1990/1991 seasons, Neal guided Bolton to the Division 3 Play-Off places. However, Bolton couldn't manage to achieve promotion, and due to a 13th place finish in 1992, Neal was sacked.

In seven years as Bolton manager, Phil Neal took charge of 351 games, winning 153, drawing 116 and losing 103. Only John Somerville, Charles Foweraker, Bill Ridding and Sam Allardyce have managed more games for Bolton.

Whilst manager of Bolton, Phil Neal was one of Graham Taylor's assistants for England, a role he kept until Taylor's sacking in 1993.

Phil Neal went on to have spells as manager of Coventry City, Cardiff City and Manchester City before retiring from football in 1998.