Mark Hateley: Attila the Hun

rangers striker mark hateley

Player Profile: Mark Hateley

Date of Birth: 07/11/1961

Height: 6 ft 3 in

Position: Centre forward

National Team: England

International Caps: 32

International Goals: 9

Club Career

A 6’3 man-mountain, Mark Hateley made his name as a good old fashioned centre forward. The type you rarely see in today’s day and age. He was big. He was strong. He could head, and he was a handful.

Over the course of three decades Hateley played for some of the biggest teams in Europe, and it all started in 1978 at Coventry. Born in Derby, Hateley signed for City at the age of 17. In his first two seasons at the club, he found appearances few and far between. In 1980 Hateley was sent on loan to North American Soccer League side Detroit Express where he made 19 appearances scoring twice. 

He returned to England for the start of the 1980/81 campaign, which would turn out to be his breakthrough season in English football. Hateley made 19 league appearances scoring three goals. By the end of the 1983 campaign and now aged 22, Hateley had established himself as a regular in the Coventry side. But in the 1983/84 season, he decided to step down a level, signing for Portsmouth in the Second Division in a move that would pay off handsomely.

Hateley scored 22 league goals in 38 appearances for Pompey, his best season yet, and it earned him a shock move to Italian giants AC Milan in a deal worth £1 million. Throughout his three seasons in Milan, Hateley made 86 appearances in all competitions but in truth failed to make a serious impact at the San Siro. Despite this, he will forever be a fan favourite after scoring the winner in the 1984 Milan Derby, ending AC’s six-year wait for victory in the fixture.

In 1987 he was on the move once again, this time to France and AS Monaco where he linked up with a certain Arsène Wenger. In his first season, Hateley won the Division 1 title, his first piece of domestic silverware. In total, he spent three years in France where he scored 24 goals in 68 appearances before joining Scottish champions Rangers in the summer of 1990.

Graeme Souness had tried to sign the striker three years earlier during his spell at AC Milan, and now he had his man. Hateley was an instant success at Ibrox scoring ten goals in 33 league appearances during the 1990/91 campaign, in which Rangers were crowned league champions for the third season running.

Hateley went on to win the league title in each of his next four seasons at Ibrox as Rangers dominated Scottish football for almost a decade winning nine successive league titles between 1989 until 1997. During that time Hateley also won the Scottish Cup twice and the Scottish League Cup three times. In his five seasons with the Gers, Hateley scored 112 goals in 218 appearances in all competitions and was named player of the year by the Scottish Football Writers in 1993–94. 

He returned to England in 1995, signing for Premier League side QPR for £1.5 million. His time at Loftus Road, though, was blighted by injury and as a result, he made just 14 league appearances during the 1995/96 campaign. Despite being relegated to the First Division, Hateley once again failed to make his mark with QPR and spent part of the season on loan at Leeds United before Rangers came calling once again.

In 1997 Rangers were aiming for a 9th league title in a row, but were hit with several serious injuries leaving Walter Smith – now the manager at Ibrox – in desperate need of a striker. Hateley was the man he called upon.

His first game back was the biggest of them all, Celtic in the Old Firm Derby. A game which would be pivotal in the title race. Rangers won 1-0, despite Hateley seeing red for head butting Stewart Kerr. After serving his suspension he made just three more appearances for Rangers, but his second spell at the club still ended with a sixth league title.

Aged 36 Hateley’s career was slowly coming to an end. But he wasn’t done just yet. He signed for then-Division 3 club Hull City in the summer of 1997, taking on a player/manager role. He bagged three goals in 21 games before heading back to Scotland in 1999, this time joining Ross County. After making just two appearances in the third tier of Scottish football, Hateley decided to call it a day. He announced his retirement from professional football in 1999.

International Career

In 1984, Mark Hateley’s excellent form for Portsmouth in the second-tier of English football was enough to earn him his first senior England cap against the USSR, a game which the Three Lions lost 2-0. A week later he was selected again to face Brazil in a friendly. England won 2-0 with Hateley scoring his first international goal.

Hateley was part of England’s 1986 World Cup squad. He started the opening two group games against Portugal and Morocco but was dropped for their must-win clash with Poland. In the last 16 Hateley featured from the bench as England beat Paraguay 3-0 to set up what would be a famous quarter-final clash with Argentina. The great Maradona would single handily – the pun was fully intended – knock England out of the tournament. First the hand of god and then one of the greatest World Cup goals of all time. Outstanding. England couldn’t handle him.

Overall, Mark Hateley made 32 England caps for England, scoring nine goals in total.

Where is Mark Hateley now?

Despite a brief spell as player/manager of Hull City before hanging up his boots, Hateley has not entered management since.

He is currently an ambassador for former club Rangers and appears in the media from time to time.

Did you know?

 Mark Hateley has a son Tom, who plays professional football for Polish side Piast Gliwice. Like his dad, he’s played in numerous countries including England, Scotland and Poland.

– His late father Tony was also an accomplished striker, enjoying spells at Aston Villa, Chelsea, Liverpool and Notts County to name but a few. 

– Hateley was given the nickname ‘Attila’ by AC Milan supporters who had had difficulty pronouncing his surname.