Irish Footballers that Played for Liverpool - Steve Finnan
Steve Finnan - Introduction
Steve Finnan was born in Limerick on 24 April 1976. He moved to England at a young age and played for non-league club Welling. Following a couple of seasons with Birmingham City and Notts County Liverpool legend Kevin Keegan brought him to Fulham. His performances with the London club and for the Republic of Ireland attracted the attention of a number of big clubs. Liverpool manager Gerard Houllier agreed to pay £3,500,000 for the services of the full back in July 2003.
Steve Finnan & Liverpool
Steve Finnan made his Liverpool debut on 17 August 2003 against Chelsea at home in the Premier League. He came on as a substitute for Stephane Henchoz. Chelsea came away with a 1-2 win. He made his first start for Liverpool against Tottenham Hotspur ten days later, also at Anfield.
Although he made 31 appearances, his first season was disrupted by injuries. When Houllier was replaced by new manager, Rafael Benitez, Finnan's future with the club looked to be uncertain.
Despite this Finnan established himself as Liverpool's first choice right-back making 33 Premier League appearances in each of the next three seasons, and a total of 151 appearances in all competitions. One of those appearances was in the 2004 Champions League final against AC Milan in Turkey.
Liverpool Wins '04 Champions League Final
Steve Finnan and Liverpool took part in one of the most amazing European finals ever. Having narrowly eclipsed Chelsea in the semi final Liverpool lined up to play Italian giants AC Milan in the Champions League Final in the Ataturk Stadium in Istanbul. Finnan took his usual position at right-back as the match kicked off but with one minute gone in the match Liverpool were 1-0 down as an unmarked Paolo Maldini scored from a Pirlo free-kick. Things got much worse for the Merseyside team as Crespo scored twice within a five minute spell just before half time. There looked to be no way back for Liverpool as their first half performance was so inept.
To make matters worse Steve Finnan didn't re-emerge for the second half due to a thigh injury. He was replaced by Dietmar Hamman. Seven minutes into the second half the Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard pulled one back to give the Reds a glimmer of hope. The glimmer ignited as Vladimir Smicer added a second goal just two minutes later. Unbelievably Xabi Alonso equalised three minutes after that. An amazing comeback that had Liverpool fans all over the World enraptured and Milan fans totally perplexed.
The match descended into a very cagey affair that went to extra time and then to a penalty shoot-out. The Italians missed their first two penalties and when Jerzy Dudek saved their fifth penalty from Andriy Shevchenko Finnan, Liverpool, and their fans were in pure ecstasy as Europe's top football prize returned to Anfield for the fifth time.
More Silverware for Steve Finnan
It would have been almost impossible to match the events of the miracle of Istanbul but a year later Steve Finnan did add more silverware to his Liverpool collection. The Reds took on West Ham United in the FA Cup Final on 13 May 2006 at the Millennium Stadium. Amazingly yet another cup final involving Liverpool ended up with a 3-3 score line and went to penalties. Yet again Liverpool prevailed winning 3-1 in the penalty shoot-out.
Coincidentally Liverpool reached another Champions League final in 2007 against AC Milan. On a personal basis it was a better final for Finnan in that he played for 88 minutes but as Milan won 2-1 it was an overall disappointment for the Limerick man.
During the 2007/08 Steve Finnan's place in the Liverpool came under threat from the newly arrive Alvaro Arbeola. Finnan made 35 appearances, down from an Anfield high of 52. His last appearance for Liverpool was on 11 May 2008 against Tottenham Hotspur at White Hart Lane. In August 2008 Finnan signed for Spanish club Espanyol. Steve Finnan had made 217 appearances for Liverpool FC and score just one goal. That came in a 3-0 win at Anfield against West Bromwich Albion in September 2004.
Steve Finnan - Republic of Ireland Career
Steve Finnan made his debut for Ireland on 26 April 2000 against Greece in a friendly match at Lansdowne Road (now Aviva Stadium). Mick McCarthy was the Republic of Ireland manager at the time. Finnan played in six of the 2002 World Cup qualifiers - five as a substitute. He started in the Iran play-off matches as Ireland qualified for the finals in Japan and South Korea. Finnan comfortably made the Irish 2002 World Cup squad but was not certain to be an automatic starter.
Following the traumatic events surrounding the Saipan affair there was a mood of unease and concern about how Ireland would perform in the group matches. With Steve Finnan on the bench Ireland came under pressure in the first match against African champions Cameroon and it was no great surprise that Ireland conceded late in the first half. Finnan came on at half time in place of Jason McAteer and had an immediate impact as he began raiding down the right. His performance seemed to set the tempo for the rest of the Irish team and Ireland deservedly earned a draw through a Matt Holland goal after 52 minutes. Finnan retained his place for the remaining Irish 2002 World cup group matches against, Germany, Saudi Arabia, and Spain.
Steve Finnan has won 53 caps for Ireland and along with the high of playing in the World Cup he also suffered the low of the 5-2 defeat to Cyprus in a 2008 Euro qualifier in Nicosia. Following the end of this hugely disappointing Irish qualification campaign with Stephen Staunton as Irish manager, Finnan announced his retirement from international football. Following the appointment of Giovanni Trapattoni as Irish manager Finnan came out of retirement and played in two of the 2010 World Cup qualifiers against Georgia and Montenegro.
Steve Finnan has scored two goals for Ireland. His first goal came in a friendly match in November 2000 in a 3-0 home win over Finland. His second goal was on 17 October 2007 in the return 2008 Euro qualifier against Cyprus at Croke Park. Unbelievably it looked likely that Cyprus would complete the double over Ireland as the Cypriots led 0-1 with just seconds remaining. Finnan's last ditch equaliser saved some of the Irish blushes.
Steve Finnan - Liverpool & Republic of Ireland Statistics
|Liverpool FC History - Liverpool Irish Players - Liverpool Supporters Clubs|
|John Aldridge - Phil Babb - Jim Beglin - Willie Donnelly - Sam English - Steve Finnan - David Hannah |
Steve Heighway - William Hood - Ray Houghton - Robbie Keane - Mark Kennedy - Billy Lacey
Mark Lawrenson - Jason McAteer - Ernest McCappin - Billy McDevitt - David McMullan - Billy Millar
Brian Mooney - Richie Partridge - Darren Potter - Michael Robinson - Elisha Scott - Kevin Sheedy
Sammy Smyth - Steve Staunton - Ronnie Whelan
|Manchester United History - Manchester United Irish Players - Man Utd Irish Supporters Clubs |
Glasgow Celtic History - Celtic's Irish Players
|Liam Brady - Damien Duff - Eamon Dunphy - Niall Quinn|