Bernard Joseph Slaven (born 13 November 1960) is a Scottish-born former Irish footballer. A striker with an excellent first touch, anticipation and finishing skills, he scored 223 goals in 567 league and cup appearances over the course of an 18-year career and also earned seven caps for the Republic of Ireland.
He started his career in his native Scotland with Greenock Morton in 1980, before moving on to Airdrieonians, Queen of the South, and then Albion Rovers in 1983. He scored 31 goals in 43 appearances to become to highest scorer in the Scottish Football League in the 1984–85 campaign, before he was sold on to Middlesbrough for a fee of £25,000 early in the following season. He was promoted three times with the club: out of the Third Division in 1986–87, out of the Second Division via the play-offs in 1988, and again out of the Second Division in 1991–92. He also played for Middlesbrough in the 1990 final of the Full Members Cup, and became the first Irish player to score a goal in the Premier League in the inaugural 1992–93 season. He was twice named as the club's Player of the Year and scored a total of 146 goals in 381 appearances during his eight years at Ayresome Park.
He took a free transfer to Port Vale in March 1993, and helped the club to lift the Football League Trophy two months later. He returned to the North-East in February 1994 after joining Darlington on a free transfer. He helped the club to avoid finishing bottom of the English Football League at the end of the season, before he announced his retirement in May 1995. He later played non-league football for Billingham Synthonia. He went into radio after retiring as a player, presenting shows and providing commentary on Middlesbrough matches with Ali Brownlee for Century Network and Real Radio. He also presented television programmes on Boro TV and published two autobiographies.
Despite being born in Scotland, his Irish grandfather enabled him to win seven caps for the Republic of Ireland, which he did between 1990 and 1993. This short international career resulted in the honour of being named in Ireland's 1990 FIFA World Cup squad – though he did not feature in the tournament.Close