Andrew James "Andy" O'Brien, (born June 26, 1979 in Harrogate, England), is an Irish football player who plays in defence. He plays for Bolton Wanderers.
O'Brien began his footballing career at St John Fisher Catholic High School, Harrogate, under the stewardship of his manager, Max Mills. His talent as a defender was spotted by Bradford City and joined their junior ranks in 1994. He made his senior debut in October 1996 against Queens Park Rangers. He soon became a regular in the Bradford first team, and helped the Bantams to promotion to the FA Premier League during the 1998-99 season.
He was a regular in the Bradford side during its two years in the Premier League, forming a partnership with club captain David Wetherall in central defence. In 2000-01, City were in financial difficulties and facing relegation when Newcastle United bid for O'Brien. After 133 league appearances he moved to St James' Park in March 2001 for a club record £2m fee, equalling the same fee Des Hamilton had also left Bradford City for to Newcastle.
He quickly became a central figure in the Magpies defence, making over 170 league and cup appearances in the ensuing four years. His performances also earned O'Brien a call-up to the Republic of Ireland national football team.
Despite several years as a solid defender at Newcastle, Andy suffered from poor form in the latter part of the 2004-05 campaign, as Newcastle finished a disappointing 14th in the Premiership. However, his reputation was such that Portsmouth paid £2 million to bring him to Fratton Park.
O'Brien was Alain Perrin's first signing for Portsmouth. Although he started the season poorly, his form improved as the campaign wore on. However injury forced him to miss the conclusion of his first season. He fell down the Portsmouth first-team list with the arrival of Sol Campbell and the good form of club captain Linvoy Primus.
There were rumours that Sunderland's Irish boss Roy Keane would sign the centre back.This came after Keane signed many Irish players to represent Sunderland. Instead he signed for Bolton on August 13, 2007. His signing has been met with much derision from Wanderers fans, who are baffled at the acquisition of a player who was deemed surplus to requirements by Portsmouth.
However O'Brien quickly settled at the Reebok Stadium and impressed the fans in his first few appearances as part of the Wanderers squad including a dominating performance in the UEFA Cup tie against FK Rabotnicki and in the Premier League against Tottenham Hotspur.
O'Brien has dual English-Irish citizenship, and despite representing England at under 18 and under 21 level, he elected to represent the Republic of Ireland at under 21 and senior level. Andy's performances for Newcastle led to him being called up to the Republic of Ireland national football team, earning his first cap against Estonia in Tallinn in 2001. Since then he has become a regular in the Irish squad, including forming an integral part of their 2002 World Cup squad.
Courtesy of wikipedia