@braith23 looks at what happened to Kevin Moran and Robbie Slater after they retired.
Ah, the international week. Snoozeville.com. I’d hoped after relegation we were done with these annoying league breaks but, it turns out even in the 3rd tier of English football Blackburn Rovers has the pull of Scotland, Northern Ireland and Canada’s elite.
What comes with the international week is extremely slow news weeks for football clubs. Transfer window closed which means we get the odd update on what’s going on in training.
I didn’t even like international breaks in our Premiership years. The October break doesn’t usually bother me as much as The Super League grand final is always on. But, being a Wigan Warriors fan there isn’t as much interest in this years final. I’m just a sucker following ‘once great’ teams.
I decided to pass the ‘Rovers free weekend’ by having a look at what some of our former international players are up to following retirement. It’s not as easy as you’d think. You maybe shocked to hear that when you google ‘Vratislav Gresko’ there is no news and a very short Wikipedia page.
So I decided to start with some better known players.
In 1990 Rovers signed Sporting Gijon’s Irish centre half and former Man United player Kevin Moran. Although 34 years of age at his time of signing. Moran was a successful player for the club captaining Rovers to play-off final glory in 1992. Kevin retired due to injury at the end of the 93/94 season. Prior to his arrival, Moran had spent 10 years at Man United, winning 2 FA cups and becoming the first player ever to be sent off in an FA cup final. During his 2 years with Sporting Gijon, Moran roomed with future Real Madrid and Barcelona great Luis Enrique.
Prior to his arrival Moran had spent 10 years at Man United, winning 2 FA cups and becoming the first player ever to be sent off in an FA cup final. During his 2 years with Sporting Gijon Moran roomed with future Real Madrid and Barcelona great Luis Enrique.
What people may not know about the hardened centre back, is that prior to becoming a footballer he was a successful Gaelic footballer. You know, that Irish sport that looks like Quidditch.
Following his retirement, Kevin has been a successful football agent. He formed Proactive Sport Management with Paul Stretford and Jesper Olson. His own clients include former Liverpool player Steve Finnan and Sunderland captain John O’Shea.
Just as Kevin hung up his boots in 1994 Rovers signed the relatively unknown Australian Robbie Slater. He arrived in Europe in 1989 signed by Anderlecht where he only made 4 appearances. He moved to Lens in 1990 where he made his most appearances for 1 club and won promotion to Ligue 1. A little known fact is that Slater was attacked by a PSG fan with a baseball bat and nearly lost his life.
He may have only spent one season in the famous blue and white halves but, what a season it was. There is nothing for me to add about the 94/95 season that you don’t already know but, Slater was the first Aussie to win the Premiership.
For the life of me I don’t know why Ray Harford let him go in a deal for £600k plus Matty Holmes but, his short spell at Rovers will be fondly remembered. He went on to represent West Ham and Southampton in the Premier League scoring 4 goals. Ironically 2 of his 4 goals came against Rovers. He had a brief stint with Wolves before returning to play in Oz and retiring in 2002.
Robbie Slater is now the Australian version of Gary Neville in his native homeland where he is an analyst and commentator for Fox Sports. He is reportedly quite the controversial panel member which led to an on air row with Harry Kewell following an article Slater wrote to the Daily Telegraph.
He has also released an autobiography in the late 90’s ‘The Hard Way’.
Thanks for reading, and the next of this series will be published next Thursday.