STAN­LEY RE­TURN IS KEE FOR BILLY

The Football League Paper - - NEWS - By Joshua Richards

LESS than two years ago Billy Kee was la­belled the best striker out­side of the Cham­pi­onship – yet this sum­mer he nearly hung up his boots at the age of 24.

But with the chance to score goals again for Ac­cring­ton Stan­ley – the club with which he opened his se­nior ac­count – the for­mer North­ern Ire­land U21 in­ter­na­tional is ready to rekin­dle his love with the game once more.

Kee penned a 12-month deal to join Stan­ley this sum­mer and be­gin his sec­ond spell at the Crown Ground, where he first burst onto the scene as a teenager hit­ting nine goals dur­ing a sea­son-long loan from Le­ices­ter.

Ac­claim

Af­ter scor­ing for fun at Bur­ton, where he earned wide­spread ac­claim, a move to League One fol­lowed a year ago, but Kee did not make a league start for Scun­thorpe.

By his own ad­mis­sion, Kee does not take kindly to be­ing out of the team and, rather than take his Glan­ford Park night­mare on the chin and move on, he was con­tem­plat­ing giv­ing the game up al­to­gether.

But af­ter a lot of soulsearch­ing Kee is glad he de­cided to con­tinue.

“It feels good to be back. I had a few is­sues last year and I was ready to give it up, to join my dad, Terry, in the build­ing trade, but (Ac­cring­ton boss) John Coleman talked me round,” he said.

“It’s the tough­est time I’ve had in the game and it was a learn­ing curve.

“I wasn’t en­joy­ing my football, but my dad and brother, Thomas, said I should stick at it. They were right, of course, be­cause it is the best job in the world.

“I just want to en­joy my football again. I’ve only got this job for another ten years and I find it hard to be left out of the squad.

“But I had a good break, I spent some time away, and now I’m de­ter­mined to en­joy ev­ery minute. I want to be pos­i­tive this year.

“I could have gone part­time and got the same money, you have to look at these things. But I know the day you drop out of the game it be­comes very dif­fi­cult to get back into it. Af­ter two months off I changed my mind.

“I had a few other of­fers, but my wife is from up here, so it was where I wanted to be.”

Stan­ley fans prob­a­bly avoid trips to the book­mak­ers in Au­gust, with their side fre­quently the favourites to be rel­e­gated from League Two, just as they are again this term.

But a healthy pre-sea­son cam­paign and fresh­en­ing up of the squad has Kee be­liev­ing his new club will do more than just make up the num­bers.

Bud­get

“I can see why we get tipped, be­cause we have one of the small­est bud­gets, the bud­get will never be there at Ac­cring­ton,” he added.

“But peo­ple like me and (fel­low striker) Terry Gor­nell, we are here to play football, not for money.

“I have been in the league for six years and in play-off teams for four of those and I know we are not far off. If we can get the right to­geth­er­ness we will do very well this year.

“I don’t think we’ll be the sur­prise pack­age, be­cause I think teams will have taken no­tice of what we’re do­ing, they won’t be sur­prised.

“We got wins in pre­sea­son against teams like Burn­ley and Rochdale, we scored goals, picked up clean sheets. We’ll be all right for sure.”

PIC­TURE: Ac­tion Im­ages

FIRST TIME: Billy Kee in ac­tion for Ac­cring­ton Stan­ley against Notts County in 2009-10

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