Date: 26th November 2008 at 11:02pm
Written by:

Chix might not have been around much this week – He’s been busy, knee deep in dusty newspapers to bring you his first ever European ‘They Played’

On The Up
It was May 1983 and Pompey had just celebrated being crowned Division Three champions when manager Bobby Campbell was asked to collect his award for ‘Manager of the Season’. Pompey were on the up, but needed to strengthen the team if Division Two was to be tackled. Campbell acted quickly and in a move that caught his managerial rivals napping secured the signature of Coventry’s England U21 Centre Forward Mark Hateley for a tribunal set fee of £190,000.

Born and brought up in Derbyshire among mining folk, Hateley was the son of former top class striker Tony and following in his father footsteps had become a prolific scorer. First with Coventry’s youth and reserve teams then later with the first XI ending the 1982/83 season as the clubs top scorer. So despite Pompey only offering a mere £50,000 for his services the tribunal fee still seemed like a bargain for a player reported to be on the verge of the full England squad.

Instant Hit
Hateley made his Pompey debut against Middlesborough on 27 August 1983 and despite a 0-1 result it wasn’t long before he got into his stride. The following game – four days later away to Hereford in the Milk Cup – saw his first Pompey goal. Four days after that he got another against Fulham, then another against Barnsley and so it went on. At the time it seemed that if Hateley didn’t score his strike partner Alan Biley would. Failing that, Mark would create a chance for Nicky Morgan or Neil Webb or get fouled in the box only for Kevin Dillon to convert the resulting penalty. Hateley was a real handful and those around him benefited greatly.

It’s a well known fact that within the space of four days in November ’83 Fratton Park witnessed Hateley’s greatest Pompey legacy: Two hat-tricks. The first in the 5-0 slaughter of Cambridge, the second in the 4-0 drubbing of Grimsby which between them elevated Pompey to 7th in the table. Sadly the highest we were to reach that season.

Hateley was a goal machine – He loved Pompey and Pompey loved him, but scoring goals only accumulates points if your defence equals or concedes less than you score. With the Pompey of 1983/84 this was not the case and our defence was as leeky as a leeky thing on a very rainy day.

By the time manager Bobby Campbell had parted company with the club, prior to the penultimate game of the season, Pompey had scored an amazing 68 leagues goals, but had conceded 64 – Half of which were at Fratton Park – and were languishing just one place above the drop zone.

Alan Ball took caretaker control for the final game of the season but little did we know, that as Biley grabbed a hat-trick and Hateley & Morgan another apiece, to see Pompey smash Swansea 5-0 that that would be the last time we would see Hateley grace the Fratton Park turf.

Everybody points to one particular England game that led to Hateley’s departure, but many forget that whilst he was banging them in for the blues, the move to the South Coast was also the catalyst for a very successful career in a very successful England U21 team.

European Champions
In a squad that boasted young talent such as the (to be) Pompey stars of; Walsh, Chamberlain and Stevens. Dave Sexton’s babes were heading towards the European title and Hateley was a key player in their quest.

Mark hit four goals in a 6-1 romp against France in a quarter-final first leg then scored the winner in the 1-0 return. Italy were put to bed with a 3-2 aggregate semi-final victory so that only left the final.

England gained a 1-0 advantage in front of 30,000 Spaniards in the first leg and then, with another Hateley goal secured the championship with a 2-0 victory at Bramall Lane. It was no surprise then, given his 25 goals in 44 appearances for Pompey and his U21 exploits that Pompey’s ‘Player of the Year’ was called into Bobby Robson`s full England squad.

Twelve Months On
And so it was that within twelve months of joining Pompey Mark had won the first of his thirty-two caps – by coming off the bench against the USSR at Wembley – become the first Pompey player to represent England since Jimmy Dickinson in 1956, and with ‘that’ goal against Brazil in the Maracana (which elevated him to superstar status) only the second player ever to score for England whilst on Pompey’s books.

Ten days after returning from England’s South American tour he was on his way to AC Milan in return for a lucrative friendly and a figure very close to, and some suggest in excess of, a cool £1,000,000 – Whatever the agreed fee he was certainly the first, or the nearest to the first, £1m departure Pompey had ever had – Milan however never honoured the friendly!

Together with another English recruit – Ray Wilkins – Hateley, nicknamed ‘Attila’ by the Rossoneri, as they could not pronounce his surname, proved a great success. In his first season he secured his placed in Milan folklore by scoring and in turn helping, AC win the first Milan derby in nearly 5 years.

Hateley had a decent first two seasons in Milan, scoring at an average of a goal every three games, but his third season at the San Siro did not go according to plan. With limited appearances (mainly from the bench) he only managed a total of two goals . After three years, it was time to move on.

Arsene Wenger and Monaco
A £2m move to Arsene Wenger’s AS Monaco in 1988 saw Hateley hit 14 league goals, and together with the inspirational Glenn Hoddle – Who had moved from Spurs for £750,000 – helped secure the Monte Carlo’s club first Ligue 1 title in six years, but it was to be Hateley’s next move in 1990 that proved to be his best.

Rangers Bound
The move to Scottish champions Glasgow Rangers saw Hateley play the best football of his career and although it took him some time to win over the Rangers faithful, in part because he hadn’t played for a long while due to an injury sustained at Monaco but also in partnering Mo Johnstone some believed he was keeping goalscoring hero Ally McCoist on the sidelines, but when Hateley scored the two goals that beat Aberdeen at Ibrox to win Rangers the second of their nine-in-a-row he knew he was to be forever in their hearts.

As it transpired Johnstone was sold to Everton in 1991 and McCoist took his place in the side alongside Hateley and formed one of the most lethal striking partnerships in British football and the main reason for Rangers’ winning of the domestic Treble in 1992-93 – Indeed some would argue that Ally McCoist would probably not have scored as many goals as he did, if it hadn’t been for Hateley’s work and effort.

An injury and operation induced depression led Hateley to leave Rangers for QPR in 1995, but realising his mistake and taking advantage of an injury crisis at Ibrox he returned 18 months later just in time for the ninth successive title to be claimed.

In 1997 Hateley took up a post as Player-Manager at Hull City but although it felt like the coming of the Messiah to Tigers fans Hateley took Hull towards oblivion and relegation into non-league football. In November 1998, with a record of 76 games, 17 wins, 14 draws and 45 defeats and with the club lying bottom of Division 3, Hateley was sacked.

Nowadays and Looking Back
These days Hateley is a regular columnist and contributor to Setanta Sports’ Scottish Premier League coverage and also works on various projects behind the scenes at Ibrox where the highlight of his post player days was being appointed the official ambassador to the Rangers fans in Manchester for the UEFA Cup Final last year.

There’s no doubt that Hateley is now Rangers through and through and Scotland is a country he has taken to his heart, but together with a large number of Pompey and Milan fans I can remember him back in the 80`s when he was ‘English’ and when I am proud to say that I saw ever single goal he scored whilst playing in Pompey’s blue shirt.

He may have only spent one season at Fratton Park but it’s a season I will never forget – I hope he never will either.


Further Reading
If you’d like to read the story of who replaced Hateley at Fratton Park ‘click here’

Join the Vital Pompey Debate


6 Replies to “He Played For Them Too: AC Milan – Mark Hateley”

  • I can remember well watching that match v Brazil on telly and still not being able to take it in that there was a Pompey player in an England shirt. Then, when he scored, that was a feeling that I still have very clear memories of. Marvellous! As far as I can remember that was the first time in my career of watching Pompey to that point that we had a centre forward at the beginning of his career rather than some old gimmer on the way down (sorry, Colin Garwood, my all time hero, but you know what I mean…)

  • Well written Chix. I got to more games in 1982/3 & 1983/4 than I ever have since (work & kids). Hateley was superb, he would stop and have a chat outside the ground to chubby teenagers like me, (along with Kevin Dillon – who always had time for a word). He had a certain “aura” about him even then. I’m glad you mention the 6v1 hammering England gave France U21’s – they were favourites and you wouldn’t believe their side. We caned them and they could not cope with Hateley. I watched him run on as a sub at Wembley against Russia, then stayed up to watch him play against Brazil – that header, Chile & Uruguay… Was proud as punch, then Deacon said “a million might tempt me” – and he was off within the week, for £915,000. He still speaks well of Pompey, and when he was with QPR he was a whisker away from rejoining us rather than Rangers. In some ways I’m glad he didn’t.

    Shame we are missing 5 of our first team – including arguably our 3 best players tonight. Hope we don’t get whipped – the nation will watching – and there will be a good atmosphere at the Park.

  • Great article Chix. It things like this that give a little more history of the club and players to younger supporters like me :oP

  • Yep, have very fond memories of Mr Hateley. I was 16-17 that season & saw most of the matches & remember the hatrick against Grimsby very well. The header against Brazil, slightly overshadowed by John Barnes mazy run & goal. The news breaking he was going. Glad he went to have a decent career, a proud son of Pompey, if only a brief one with us.

  • The hat trick against Grimsby was a header a right foot shot and a left footed long range curler if my memory serves me. A Pompey great without doubt and great stuff as always Chix.

  • Thanks for your comments fellas – I really enjoyed doing Hateley as, as mentioned I say all of his goals for Pompey and with the attention always directed to Biley he sometimes gets forgotten

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