George Boateng is 39 today and had a very good career in England but not a lot of people will know that he is currently the head coach of Malaysian side Kelantan FA.
The central midfielder took over as manager of Kelantan on the 6th May 2014 and couldn’t have got off to a more dramatic start, with his team trailing 3-0 at half time in the semi final of the Malaysian FA Cup, he inspired his players to come back and secure a 3-3 draw. It will be interesting to see if his managerial career takes him to England where he spent most of his playing days.
Boateng began his career at Dutch side Excelsior and after some impressive performances in the 1994-95 season, he was signed by Feyenoord. He spent three years at the club and featured in 68 league games, scoring just one goal before moving to England and signing for Coventry City.
At Coventry he proved to be a very effective defensive midfielder and helped the club to a brilliant 11th place finish in the Premier League. But the performance he is most remembered for was away to Aston Villa. Coventry hadn’t won at Villa Park for 63 years but on the 27th February 1999 Boateng scored twice in a 4-1 win. His performances obviously impressed Villa as they signed him for £4.5 million at the start of the following season.
He spent three seasons with the club and the midfielder was part of the team that reached the FA Cup final in 2000 and was seen as one of their most consistent players. After falling out with Graham Taylor in the 2001-02 season his time at the club was coming to an end and after 131 matches he joined Middlesbrough for £5 million.
On the first day of the 2002-03 season he made his debut in a 0-0 draw away to Southampton. He will always be remembered by the Boro fans for being part of the team that won the League Cup in 2004. In the next season he finally scored his first goal for the club in a 4-0 win over Blackburn Rovers on the 16th Ocotber 2004. Boateng was one of the most influential player in the squads and they were not the same when he was out injured. This was evident when he broke his toe and in the eight weeks he was missing, Boro dropped from 4th in the table to 9th. After he returned he helped them qualify for the UEFA Cup.
They went on to reach the final of the UEFA Cup and in June 2006 he was not only rewarded with a new contract but also the captaincy. Some fans would argue that this affected his performances and he was not as good a player and manager Gareth Southgate responded by taking the captain’s armband off him. It turned out to be his last season at the club as he joined Hull City in July 2008.
He spent two seasons at Hull and played 56 times but could only manage one goal, against Manchester City in a 2-1 win and after their relegation he was released by the club and signed for Greek side Skoda Xanthi. After just 19 games he returned to England to sign for Nottingham Forest. But after limited appearances he was on the move again, however he did score a crucial last minute equaliser against Leicester City while at the club.
His last club before retirement was Malaysian side T-Team where he played 20 times and scored four goals before hanging up his boots.
The final word can go to former Hull goalkeeper Boaz Myhill. “George is as brave as a lion and that’s why he’s had the career he has had. He is a leader and he will put his head where there is danger. That’s why he is our captain.”