‘I’m grateful for everything Roy Keane did for me’

WHATEVER Billy Clark goes on to achieve in football, he will always remember the debt he owes to Roy Keane.

As a largely underwhelming 2009/10 season wound down, Keane, with one eye on the future, took a punt on a relatively unknown homegrown talent.

Making his debut as a last minute sub against Doncaster Rovers at Portman Road completely took Clark by surprise.

Clark said: “Me, Luke Hyam and Tom Eastman were training with the first team most of the time towards the end of the season. But I just thought that it was just training – it never occurred to me that it might be anything else.

“After training on the Friday, they posted the Doncaster squad up and someone said I was in. I thought they were joking with me.”

You may also want to watch:

And his schoolboy dream of playing at the home of the club he supported was complete when Keane threw the youngster on for the last few minutes of a 1-1 draw against Rovers.

“I was just happy to be on the bench,” explained Clark. “I wasn’t nervous before the game because I didn’t think I was going to come on. And when he (Keane) said for me to go and warm up, you don’t really have time to get nervous.”

Most Read

Two further substitute appearances followed, including one at Newcastle United’s St James’ Park, leaving Clark on a high as the campaign drew to a close.

And of the former Town boss, he said: “I’m grateful for everything Roy Keane did for me. He was very good at giving young players opportunities. If you were playing well, he would put you in there. He was very fair.

“I can’t believe how that season ended. Making my debut, and at Portman Road as well, was probably the happiest day of my life.”

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter