Danny Cadamarteri shot to prominence by famously scoring for Everton in a Merseyside derby victory aged 18.
His stunning strike against arch-rivals Liverpool in October 1997 saw him carried out of Goodison Park on the shoulders of jubilant supporters.
Twenty-six years on, Cadamarteri’s eldest son Bailey, 18, is on the brink of making his league debut for Sheffield Wednesday while 13-year-old Caelan is also in the Hillsborough youth ranks.
Bailey, a prolific goalscorer for the Owls’ Under-21s side, was an unused substitute during last weekend’s goalless draw with Huddersfield.
Cadamarteri senior told Planet Football: “They’re both strikers and Bailey is an old-fashioned No 9 who can also run in behind.
“He’s 6’1 and spent time with the first-team in pre-season, having played in a Carabao Cup game last year.
“The Championship’s a huge step up, but I also think fans want some excitement and he’s certainly edging closer to his first-team debut.
“He’s a good finisher, as he’s been showing for the Under-21s. West Ham made bids for Bailey two years ago but they were turned down and he’s now on a long-term contract at Sheffield Wednesday.”
— Danny Cadamarteri (@Dannycadz) January 13, 2023
Hit prospect Caelan plays for the Owls’ Under-14s side and is rumoured to be attracting interest from Manchester United, Manchester City and Leeds.
Cadamarteri, who holds a key role in the academy at Sheffield United, added: “There’s a lot of attention on Caelan right now.
“But that’s in the hands of Sheffield Wednesday and if they deem any bids sufficient enough then you never know.
“Every time Caelan plays there must be 20 scouts watching him closely, but he’s a level-headed kid.
“I joke with him, saying ‘we’re going to come in and take you to Sheffield United!’ but he’s happy where he is.”
After breaking through at Everton, Cadamarteri went on to play for Bradford, Sheffield United, Huddersfield and Dundee United.
He was once arrested after an altercation in Liverpool city centre and also served a drugs ban later in his career after taking Day Nurse to remedy a bout of flu.
Cadamarteri, who also runs his own academy called The Soccer aKIDemy in his native West Yorkshire, recalled: “People used to compare me to Michael Owen but I didn’t reach those heights.
“I had my ups and downs but ultimately I got an opportunity to live everybody’s dream.
“I played in the Premier League, I had a nice car and house, and played with world-class players such as Paul Gascoigne and Olivier Dacourt and against Marcel Desailly and Thierry Henry.
“I can now pass on all my experiences to my sons, to all the kids at Sheffield United and also my own academy to help them flourish.”
Cadamarteri – who made his Premier League debut against Chelsea – recalled one experience in particular: “Playing in a Merseyside derby and scoring was amazing because I spent a year living with a host family who were all Evertonians.”
By this point, he was a regular in the Everton side ahead of the 1997-8 season at just 17, and had achieved what was a pipedream for so many: “When I scored, Goodison erupted and it was like a vibration in my chest. I just remember Graham Stuart picking me up and it was literally felt like I was flying, similar to a bungee jump.
“Afterwards I walked out of main reception and got carried down the road by all the fans.
“That’s something that will never leave me.”
It wasn’t all just the glitz and the glamour of the Premier League, though, recalling the ‘momentous times’ of achieving promotion with hometown club Huddersfield and winning the Scottish Cup with Dundee United.
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Cadamarteri’s early career was blighted despite bursting onto the scene with Everton, but he spoke openly about why he had no regrets.
“The off-field issues I had were very well documented,” He explained: “I was initially charged with assault, which was then reduced to self-defence, for an altercation in town.
“When you’re a young lad, living away from my parents, the host family brought me up but there’s only so much they can do. When I broke through at Everton, I was seen as an adult and was around friends who saw me as Danny Cadamarteri the footballer.”
That – combined with a six-month drug ban during a second spell with Bradford in 2005 – provided Cadamarteri with plenty to learn from.
“I was also banned for using what they said was a performance-enhancing drug – but it was Day Nurse that I took for flu before a Championship game for Bradford City.
“It was reduced to three months because they realised it was an error of judgment.”
Despite the error, Cadamarteri has used the experience to guide the younger players around him, particularly in his current role.
Serving as Head of Individual Development at Sheffield United’s academy, Cadamarteri oversees players’ individual programmes at the club.
“I’ve got a team of staff specific to strikers, midfielders and defenders. I support the Under-21s and obviously the players with high potential across the academy, particularly the 18s and 21 lads.”
It hasn’t been a straightforward path into the role, though, but rather a fascinating one.
“I left Sheffield Wednesday to go to Burnley for two years and then had a spell in China working in coaching education,” Cadamarteri detailed: “I came back from China and I was going to have a break but I had a spell at Oldham with the Under-18s and the first team.
It was from Oldham where he then took up his current post with The Blades, a job he’s now been in for the best part of two years and – crucially – a role that he loves.
For a man that’s seen the game from so many different sides, his experience and expertise can only prove invaluable to the young players that work with him and – crucially – his sons on their own path in football.
By Ross Heppenstall