From a garage to an FA Cup semi-final: Steinsson's road to Wembley

16 April 2011 01:36
The road to Wembley may be paved with gold for some, but its origins could hardly have been any humbler for Gretar Steinsson.

For Bolton's right-back, the fame and fortune traditionally attached to the FA Cup seemed a million miles away when he launched his career with Akranes, in his native Iceland, and found himself living in a garage. Not once, but twice.

'They were both very nice, though, and it was the club I always supported as a child,' he said. 'I had to find accomodation, because Akranes was over four hours away from where I grew up, and the club helped me.

Unusual road to Wembley: Gretar Steinsson's (left) career began in a garage

'They said: 'Gretar, we've found you somehere - it's a garage.' I didn't bat an eyelid. I would have slept on the street for an opportunity like that. In Iceland, Akranes are like Manchester United, Liverpool or Arsenal, so if you are 16 and they say you can play for them if you don't mind sleeping rough, you just say yes, that's fine.

'Living in a garage was a bit different, admittedly, but I had nothing to complain about. The family who owned it were fantastic and are still close to me. It had been refurbished and had its own entrance, and I never, for one moment, thought I had it tough.

I'm having a Gretar time: Steinsson is enjoying life with Bolton

'It was only one room, but it was bigger than the one I'd been used to with my parents and it had everything I needed, a toilet, a shower, the lot.

That was a fantastic time for me.

'To be fair, you don't need too much when you are growing up, particularly when you are training every day and focusing on trying to make a career for yourself. They were fantastic people, the town was really nice and I'm still grateful for everything I had back then.

'The family who owned the garage haven't been over to see me since I joined Bolton, but maybe they will if we reach the final. Mind you, I've just seen the ticket prices, so I'm not so sure. There won't be any freebies!

'It does seem incredible to think I've gone from living in a garage to preparing for a Wembley semi-final. I'm 29 now, and it has been quite a journey. I have gone through plenty of highs and lows, but I have learned a lot along the way. I am really happy where I am in my life, and I'm really happy to be at a club with a lot of ambition and a manager who wants to go for it. I really feel I belong here.'

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Source: Daily_Mail

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