Newcastle aside, there ain’t too much about the 1997-8 campaign we’d look back on with love. Cloughie got to work rebuilding the Boro’ squad during summer 1998. New faces for the 1998-9 season included Carl Alford, Lee Howarth and Dominic Naylor. But the start of the season didn’t put an end to the arrivals; after all, this is before Jim White and transfer windows. And one of ’em to come in that you might not remember was Rodney McAree.
So, just who the hell was he?
Rodney McAree: Who Is He?
A native of Northern Ireland, Rodney McAree first came to England as a teenager to begin his football career as a trainee with Liverpool. He turned pro at Anfield – but didn’t manage to break into the first team. Our matchday programme from the Hednesford Town game on 19 September 1998 reveals how the midfielder then moved onto Bristol City, before joining Fulham in 1995.
When did he sign and who from?
For the Cottagers, McAree became a cult hero after bagging a last-minute goal at Carlisle in April 1997; leading to Fulham’s promotion from the old Division Three. He didn’t appear to play often for the west London club, let alone score. So, it seems he chose his moment well there. But the 1997-8 was his last at Craven Cottage. Well, that’s what the data would suggest. It also looks like there was a loan spell at Woking before his Fulham stay ended.
And we guess that means his next port of call would be Broadhall Way…
Did he play often?
McAree came to us on trial to start with; the programme from that Hednesford Town game confirming he “made his debut at Morecambe, and then played again on Monday night at home to Yeovil“. He also turned out against the Pitmen too; three successive games, and clocking up the full 270 minutes (plus stoppage time) in the process. But that’s it as far as his Boro’ career is concerned. Not that it wasn’t for the want of trying by Cloughie.
Where is Rodney McAree now?
In the programme for our match against Farnborough on 28 September, the club revealed that “The softly-spoken Irishman has been offered a contract and, at the time of writing, he was thinking it over. McAree had been on trial when he first arrived at Broadhall Way“.
But it doesn’t look like the midfielder had much interest in putting pen to paper. Two weeks on, the programme for our Hereford United match announced: “Rod was offered terms by Stevenage Borough but failed to contact the club with his reply“.
For whatever reason, it looks like McAree decided that Crawley Town was the place to be. If you find him on LinkedIn, his bio mentions the Red Devils. And his loan spell at Woking. But there’s no mention of us whatsoever. How much should we read into that – along with the apparent failure to come back to us on our contract offer? Who knows.
Soon after, McAree moved back to Northern Ireland; first with Glenavon, then Dungannon Swifts – his hometown club. He spent seven years with the Swifts as a player, hanging up his boots in 2009. He stayed on as coach, however. In 2011, he moved into management with the Swifts and had various spells in charge over the next seven years for one reason or another. It’s all on Wikipedia if you’re interested to know.
In September 2018, McAree took up the reins at Coleraine. Reading that back, we meant no pun. It was a stint that’d last just a few months; the Bannsiders confirming in May 2019 that McAree had left the club by mutual consent.
RODNEY MCAREE – 3 (0) appearances, 0 goals (1998)