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'I left my accounting job to play for Liverpool, sat on the bench 120 times but never played'

Former Liverpool goalkeeper Tony Warner gave up an accounting job to pursue his dream as a footballer - but the scouser didn't play as much for his boyhood club as he would have hoped

Tony Warner never made an appearance for Liverpool - but he was on the bench 120 times
Tony Warner never made an appearance for Liverpool - but he was on the bench 120 times

Tony Warner left a trainee accounting job to join Liverpool as a 20-year-old - but the goalkeeper never played for the Anfield club despite 120 bench appearances. The scouser earned the nickname "Tony Bonus" as he raked in cash despite not touching the turf in Liverpool's famous red colors. One of Warner's most notable bench appearances for the Reds was the 1995 League Cup final triumph against Bolton Wanderers.

The next year, Warner was the backup goalie for the 1995-96 FA Cup final defeat to Manchester United. The Red Devils ran out 1-0 winners at the old Wembley, with the iconic Eric Cantona scoring five minutes from time. In the next three years following the FA Cup final defeat, Warner would be shipped out on loan.

Warner ended up playing for Swindon in 1997, Celtic between 1998-99, and Aberdeen before the turn of the new century. He then completed a permanent switch away from Anfield to South London club Millwall. And it was at the Lions where Warner made the most appearances.

Warner played 213 times for Millwall between 1999 and 2004, and he even scored a goal. In the last minute of a First Division clash with Crew Alexandra, Warner popped up with a last-minute headed equalizer to tie the game at 1-1.

Warner went on to play for big clubs such as Cardiff City and Fulham. It was with the latter that he made 21 Premier League appearances before dropping back down into the football league, where he was on the books of a further 10 clubs before retiring in 2019. Warner also played in New Zealand for Wellington Phoenix and Maltese side Floriana.

He is now a goalkeeper coach for Reading, who'll play in League One next season. Warner joined the Royals as First Team goalkeeping coach in July 2022, linking up with former Liverpool teammate Paul Ince. Despite Ince's departure in April 2022, Warner has remained at Reading under new manager Ruben Selles.

Tony Warner also played in the Premier League for Fulham
Tony Warner also played in the Premier League for Fulham

In recent years, Reading has struggled financially - a situation not alien to Warner, who was once playing for a cash-strapped Bolton under former owner Eddie Davies. The Royales have been hit with points deductions, the most recent after owner Dai Yongge failed to meet HMRC payment obligations.

However, Warner revealed he only pays attention to his job, whether that was playing back in the day, and now coaching. “Throughout my career, I didn’t take any interest in the stuff outside my day-to-day job,” he told LondonNews.

“That was the way I operated. I have played with lads who looked at the finances and talk to directors but I just looked to train, do my job, and look forward to games and only paid attention to the team and how we are playing."

Liverpool.com says: Despite not playing for Liverpool, Tony Warner was a well respected member of the Liverpool community and he went on to have a good career in the lower leagues. He is a 1995 League Cup winner and he'll be remembered as such.

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