Kee is centre of attention for defence as Sky Blues plan tactics
COVENTRY City’s outstanding defensive record will be tested to the max this weekend by Accrington’s lethal finisher who prides himself on being fuelled by beer and crisps.
Billy Kee has been described by his manager as a ‘throwback centre-forward’ and would leave most sports scientists recoiling in horror.
The 26-year-old has netted seven League Two goals this season, eight in all competitions, firing Stanley into the play-off places ahead of this weekend’s clash with Mark Robins’ Sky Blues who have kept an outstanding eight clean sheets in their opening 12 league games.
And the honest and engaging striker, who has spoken openly about his battle with depression, believes he’s not the same player if you take away his beer and crisps.
Most of the former Burton Albion and Scunthorpe striker’s fellow professionals live like saints in terms of what they put into their bodies, but Reds boss John Coleman is happy to turn a blind eye to Kee’s eating and drinking habits as long as he continues to devour League Two defences.
“We’ve just moved house and I walked in with a bag of crisps and you get told ‘you shouldn’t be eating them, you’re a footballer,’” he said, ahead of tomorrow’s match at the Wham Stadium where he will be trying to get the better of City’s centre-backs Jordan Willis and Rod McDonald.
“You go down the pub and have a pint and it’s the same. You get it all the time, but we’re just normal lads who want to live a normal life sometimes.”
Kee has tried to kick the crisps and beer into touch, but revealed it’s never worked out for him, and while Coleman might not encourage him to go down the pub, he is one of the few managers who has understood how to get the best of the striker.
“I’ve tried knocking it on the head, I did at Scunthorpe and I got paid off, I did it at Burton for a bit and I got injured,” said the stocky front man.
“I’ve tried it a lot, but the gaffer here tells me not to lose too much weight, he says if you do lose too much weight you’re not going to be the player you are.
“When I have lost weight he’s telling me to put it back on but that’s what he wants from me as a player.
“It’s not so much him saying ‘eat crisps and drink beer.’ He wants you to live as professionally as you can, but he’s a manager who understands me and he’s not going to change me from who I am, and that’s what I respect about him.”
Kee came through the ranks at Leicester City and his first spell with Stanley, on loan at the age of 18, was the moment he realised that a Premier League future for him wasn’t going to happen.
With the demands required of players at the top of the game now, he doubts he could make those sacrifices.
“I take my hat off to them because I couldn’t do what some of the Burnley lads do,” said the player who scored 15 goals for Stanley last season and 17 the year before.
“I couldn’t live like that, I couldn’t not go down the pub with my mates.
“But that’s how they live, they go to the cinema and have a bottle of water. I go and get an ice blast and popcorn.”
Kee’s form in September saw him nominated for the League Two player of the month award and while he loves playing he admits he takes little interest in the game when away from his team-mates and relaxing at home.
“I’m not one to watch football, I don’t really enjoy it and it’s strange, but I love being around it and playing it,” he said. “I don’t know why I don’t really enjoy it. The last four or five weeks I’ve tried watching it more, but it just winds me up.”
I’ve tried knocking it on the head, I did at Scunthorpe and I got paid off, I did it at Burton for a bit and I got injured.
on goal difference. After an SFA board meeting at Hampden Park, the governing body said it was “agreed that a new national coach should be recruited to provide fresh impetus” and the announcement suggested the decision was mutual.
In the statement, Strachan said: “I said on my first day as Scotland manager that it was the proudest moment of my career and that I wanted to put a smile back on the nation’s face again.
“I share the profound disappointment at missing out on the play-offs, especially having worked so hard to fight our way back into contention.
“The players should receive immense credit for that resilience in coming back from a difficult start and I would like to thank each and every player who has come in to represent their country.
“Together we have shared some really magical moments and those memories will live with me forever.”