Robbie Slater

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Robbie Slater
Robbie Slater.jpg
Slater in 2010
Personal information
Date of birth (1964-11-22) 22 November 1964 (age 55)
Place of birth Ormskirk, Lancashire, England
Height 5 ft 11 in (1.80 m)
Playing position(s) Midfielder
Senior career*
1982–1986 St George Saints 98 (28)
1987–1989 Sydney United 73 (17)
1989–1990 Anderlecht 4 (0)
1990–1994 Lens 121 (8)
1994–1995 Blackburn Rovers 18 (0)
1995–1996 West Ham United 25 (2)
1996–1998 Southampton 41 (2)
1998 Wolverhampton Wanderers 6 (0)
1998–2001 Northern Spirit 61 (10)
National team
1984 Australia B 4 (0)
1988–1997 Australia 44 (1)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league onlyand correct as of 16:47, 20 January 2010 (UTC)
‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 17:30, 20 January 2010 (UTC)

Robert Slater (born 22 November 1964) is an English-born Australian former professional football (soccer) player and sports commentator. He played as a midfielder from 1982 until 2001 notably in the Premier League for Blackburn Rovers where he was amongst the title winning side of 1995.


He also played in England's top flight for West Ham United and Southampton, as well as playing in the Football League for Wolverhampton Wanderers. Slater also played in Europe for Anderlecht and RC Lens as well as playing in has native land for St George Saints, Sydney United and Northern Spirit FC.

Early life

Slater was born in Ormskirk, Lancashire, England and migrated to Australia with his family where he started his playing career.

Playing career


Early years

Slater played with various clubs in his youth before joining St George Saints in the National Soccer League in 1982. He won the NSL with St George in 1983, and following this season he trialled with Nottingham Forest; however St George and Nottingham Forest were unable to agree terms and he returned to Australia.

He then moved to Sydney Croatia in 1987 before an aborted move to Hajduk Split was quickly followed by a transfer to Anderlecht.


Slater did not see much playing time in Belgium and moved to then Ligue 2 club Lens, which was promoted during his time at the club (1990–94). While he was at Lens he was attacked with a baseball bat by Paris Saint-Germain supporters and nearly lost his life. [1]

At the end of the 1993–94 season Slater moved to Blackburn Rovers, and there he became the first Australian to win the English FA Premier League in the 1994-95 season, [2] starting many of the games in the first half of the season and contributing numerous assists. He was not a regular player in the second half of the season, but his 18 league appearances (six as a substitute) were more than enough to qualify for a title medal.

In August 1995, he was sold to West Ham United for £600,000 with Matty Holmes moving in the opposite direction. He made his debut on 26 August 1995 in a 1–1 draw away at Nottingham Forest with his first West Ham goal coming on 2 December 1995 in a 4–2 away defeat to his previous club, Blackburn Rovers. Slater made 29 appearances in all competitions, scoring two goals for West Ham before moving on to Southampton in August 1996. [3]

After just one season in East London, Slater was signed for Southampton by manager Graeme Souness for a fee of £250,000 [4] and was a regular throughout the 1996–97 season, making 30 Premier League appearances as the "Saints" avoided relegation by one point with a run of three victories in the final five games. These included a 2–0 victory over Slater's former club, Blackburn Rovers, in the penultimate game on 3 May 1997 in which Slater scored the opening goal, forcing the ball home from eight yards after a good run by Egil Østenstad. [5]

In the FA Cup match at Reading on 4 January 1997, Slater was sent off by referee Graham Poll in the final minute of the match following a "gesture" to a linesman, as Southampton went down 3–1, finishing the match with only nine players. [6]

In the summer of 1997, Souness left The Dell club, to be replaced by Dave Jones. Under Jones, Slater rarely played, making only three league starts with his final appearance coming as a substitute against Manchester United on 19 January 1998. [7]

In March 1998, [4] he was transferred to Wolverhampton Wanderers where he stayed briefly, playing as a substitute in the FA Cup semi final against Arsenal, [8] before returning to Australia in the summer.


At the end of the 1997–98 season he moved back to Australia to captain a new team in the National Soccer League, the Northern Spirit. He would play with them until his retirement at the end of the 2000–01 season. In 2002, he was player-coach of Manly-Warringah.


He won 44 caps for the Australian national team, including the infamous 1997 World Cup qualifier against Iran.[ citation needed ]

Probably Slater's most memorable match was the World Cup qualifier between Australia and Argentina played at the Sydney Football Stadium in 1993, which also included Diego Maradona. The match ended in a 1–1 draw, but Slater's midfield performance caught the attention of the Argentine press and the team. Without any knowledge of who Slater was, he was labelled "the red one".[ citation needed ]

His final appearance for Australia was against Saudi Arabia in the 1997 Confederations Cup. He is a member of the Football Federation Australia Football Hall of Fame. [9]

International goal

117 June 1997 Parramatta Stadium, Sydney, Australia Flag of the Solomon Islands.svg  Solomon Islands 1–06–2 1998 FIFA World Cup qualification

After football

Slater wrote an autobiographical book in the late nineties called The Hard Way on his playing career. [10] Slater is now an analyst and commentator for Australian Pay-TV channel Fox Sports, [11] commentating matches in the A-League, while also appearing on Fox Sports FC and Matchday Saturday, which are both weekly football coverage shows.

Slater was involved in a controversy after writing an article for the Daily Telegraph, concerning an incident with Harry Kewell. The article led to a live confrontation on Fox Sports FC. [12] Graham Arnold was named as source in row between Harry Kewell and Robbie Slater [13] Slater was involved in a controversy with former Socceroo Craig Foster, who Slater accused of having a bias towards English people. [14]


St George

Sydney United

Blackburn Rovers


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  1. Slater, Robbie (18 January 2009). "Thugs hit me with baseball bat". Retrieved 21 August 2010.
  2. "Robbie Slater Bio". FFA Travel. 22 November 1964. Archived from the original on 6 July 2011. Retrieved 21 August 2010.
  3. "Robbie Slater". 22 November 1964. Retrieved 21 August 2010.
  4. 1 2 Holley, Duncan; Chalk, Gary (2003). In That Number – A post-war chronicle of Southampton FC. Hagiology Publishing. p. 580. ISBN   0-9534474-3-X.
  5. In That Number – A post-war chronicle of Southampton FC. p. 249.
  6. In That Number – A post-war chronicle of Southampton FC. pp. 405–406.
  7. In That Number – A post-war chronicle of Southampton FC. p. 255.
  8. "Wreh the wrecker of Wolves". The Independent. 6 April 1998. Retrieved 26 October 2014.
  9. 1 2 "Eleven new Australian Football Hall of Fame inductees". Retrieved 21 August 2010.
  10. "National Library of Australia Catalogue". Retrieved 21 August 2010.
  11. Robbie Slater Bio - Archived 10 July 2009 at the Wayback Machine
  12. Grasso, Rob (18 August 2010). "Not cool to be Kewell". The Sweet Spot. Special Broadcasting Service. Retrieved 21 August 2010.
  13. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 15 June 2011. Retrieved 23 September 2010.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  14. [ dead link ]
  15. "Robbie Slater: Overview". Premier League. Retrieved 18 April 2018.