19 July 2008

Neil Masters

Name: Neil Bradley Masters
Born: 25 May 1972, Lisburn
Height: 6.01 ft
Weight: 14.02 st
Position: Full-Back

Representative Honours: Northern Ireland: 1 Under-17 Cap.

Club Career:
Teams
Seasons
Signed
Fee
League
FA Cup
FL Cup
Other
Glenavon
-
-
Youth
0(0)/0
-
-
-
AFC Bournemouth
92/93-93/94
Aug-90
Youth
37(1)/2
5(2)/1
4(0)/1
1(0)/0
Wolverhampton W.
93/94-96/97
Dec-93
£300k
10(2)/0
-
-
-
Gillingham
97/98-98/99
Mar-97
£50k
11(0)/0
-
-
1(0)/0
Gillingham
00/01
Oct-00
Trial
0(0)/0
-
-
-
Moss FK
2001 - 2002
Jan-01
Free
-
(Norway)
TOTALS
-
£-
58(3)/2
5(2)/1
4(0)/1
2(0)/0

Biography:
Neil Masters was an incredibly gifted player, who had it not been for a succession of injuries would surely have won senior international recognition. As it was he had to make do with a Youth cap and brief inclusion in the Northern Ireland squad under Bryan Hamilton in August 1995.

A left-back, possessing a fierce shot and superb crossing ability, Masters was one of a number of talented youngsters who emerged at Bournemouth under Harry Redknapp. Described as "true class" and "the best left-back the club ever had", his name was linked with moves to Blackburn, Spurs and Arsenal, but it was Wolves that claimed his signature in December 1993, in a deal that could have netted the Cherries over £600,000 had things gone differently. As it was he was quickly beset by leg and back injuries, limiting him to just nine games in his first season and a half at Molineux. When ex-England boss Graham Taylor arrived at the club in 1994 he quickly grew tired of the perennially injured youngster, accused him of malingering and placed him on the transfer-list at the end of the 1994/95 season.

Masters' reaction, to what many regarded as a crass and insensitive action by Taylor, was to work hard at regaining full fitness through the summer of 1995. So impressed was Taylor by Masters' pre-season displays that he started Wolves' opening three matches of the 1995/96 season. It was at this point that Bryan Hamilton saw fit to award Masters his first call-up to the senior squad for the European Championship Qualifier against Portugal. In a much changed panel from the previous 2-1 defeat by Latvia, it was previous squad regular Steve Morrow who made way. Masters however picked-up an injury against Sunderland on 26 August 1995 (which turned out to be his final appearance in Wolves colours) that cost him the opportunity of international recognition. Hamilton was forced to recall Morrow, who started in a 1-1 draw in Lisbon.

In March 1997, as Masters began to return to fitness, he made a cut-price move to Gillingham. He had to wait until 9 August to make his Gills debut, in a 0-0 draw with Preston, but was soon struck down by injuries once again. The eleven appearances he made for the club, at left-back or left-wing-back, gave Gillingham's fans scant opportunity to see Masters at his best, and in March 1999, having not played in ten months, his contract was cancelled.

Still Masters battled on. He sought medical treatment from specialists and spiritual healers from all over the world and actually returned to Gillingham on trial in October 2000. There was also talk of him moving to Glenavon, but eventually he moved to Norway with Moss FK where he played two seasons.

No comments:

Who was Northern Ireland's Greatest World Cup Player & Team? (select up to eleven players)

© NIFG 2006-2015