Jason McAteer explains how he made up with Graeme Souness

Former Ireland midfielder played for the Liverpool legend at Blackburn Rovers

BY Raf Diallo 21:17 Monday 8 May 2017, 21:17 8 May 2017

Jason McAteer, Blackburn Rovers. Steve White/EMPICS Sport

At one time, there was zero mutual appreciation between Liverpool legend Graeme Souness and ex-Ireland international Jason McAteer.

One of the main reasons stemmed from their time at Blackburn Rovers where Souness was manager and McAteer was part of the squad from 1999 to 2001.

"I couldn't stand him," said McAteer on Off The Ball of his time working under Souness at Blackburn - poignant because the ex-Ireland player idolised his Liverpool hero in his formative years - before touching on a meeting with the towel-clad Scotsman in his office.

"We'd fell out. 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'".

However, McAteer had thought wrong as he quickly realised once informed that he wasn't going to get that opportunity on the bench, in a sign of his status under Souness.

"So I've walked straight out and ordered a taxi from Birmingham," he said, although he ended up staying for the game and going home with the team on the coach.

Graeme Souness

"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 [with Sunderland]".

Kilbane who was in studio alongside his former Ireland and Sunderland team-mate then explained how he helped get the transfer to Sunderland in motion.

But more than a decade on and the relationship between Souness and McAteer has come full circle, with the Irishman noting, "I love this Graeme Souness" and that they "get on like a house on fire" now.

But how has that come about?

"He's changed, mellowed," McAteer explained, before telling the story of their first meeting at a mutual dinner with Mark Hateley in Qatar after years had gone by.

"I just thought this was my opportunity and 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'".  

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