How NOT to be a Football Millionaire

By: Keith Gillespie

By Keith Gillespie with Daniel McDonnell




To Mum, Dad, Claire, Angela, Heather,

Madison, Lexie and Nico





I

Acknowledgements

MY family have shared in my trials and tribulations and I cannot stress enough how grateful I am for their continued support.

Thanks to Mum and Dad for being there through the ups and downs, especially when the downs were more frequent. It meant a lot to have you there whatever happened. Angela and Heather are great sisters and great friends, and deserve all the happiness in the world with Davy, Stephen and the kids.

Claire Munn only came into my life as I started working on this project so, while she might only feature in the latter chapters of this book, I know she is going to be a huge part of the years ahead. Without Claire’s support and love, I wouldn’t have been able to open up and become a better person. I don’t know where I would be without her.

Madison, Lexie and Nico are the three best things to ever happen to me. Every day is a joy and I look forward to watching you grow. You are my everything.

I will always be eternally grateful to Eddie Coulter, the great Manchester United scout, who passed away in 2011. Without his backing, I may never have got the chance to spend time at such a wonderful club.

My grandad Bob was a constant presence on the sidelines in my early years and I miss him dearly. I should also mention the living legend, Joe Kincaid, ‘Mr St Andrews’ who gave me an opportunity at a great club to start my journey.

Like football, putting a book together is a team game and there are plenty of people I need to thank. Without the perseverance, help and support of Phil Munnelly this book simply wouldn’t have happened. As an agent, he is a one-off. Some agents desert a player when he’s of no value to them anymore, but Phil continually places his client first and has become a great friend.

Thanks to Daniel McDonnell for his hard work and graft in putting my thoughts on paper. We’ve spent many, many hours together but it’s been easy for me because of the rapport we struck up; I’ll always appreciate it.

Caroline Rhatigan has helped me in the PR department in recent years and was the key player in bringing me to Longford Town which has given me purpose for the last few seasons. My thanks also to the players, management, officials and fans of the club for their support.

Sarah Munnelly was instrumental in lining up the publisher for the book when we sought to get the project off the ground, and thanks also to Guy Rose from Futerman/Rose Associates for his assistance and Paul Dove and the staff at Trinity Mirror for their guidance in the final months.

Keith Gillespie, September, 2013

WHEN I first met Keith to discuss working together on the book, I was a little apprehensive.

My view was that there are too many football autobiographies where the subject’s primary goal appears to be crafting the image of themselves they would like the world to see rather than providing an actual insight into who they are. Within a minute of speaking to Keith, I was reassured. He listed examples of books that he disliked for that reason and stressed that he was keen to do things differently and portray the reality of life as a professional footballer, even if the truth isn’t always flattering.

When we started plotting a way through his eventful career, I didn’t realise there were still a lot of things going on with his life that any man would struggle to deal with. They are reflected in the final chapters, particularly with regard to the impact of financial setbacks on his day to day well-being. I respect his honesty in opening up on a difficult subject. I hope it encourages others to do the same. Pride should never be an obstacle.

It’s taken us a while to finish the story and I must thank my sports editor David Courtney and the staff at the Irish Independent who allowed me to say yes when the opportunity arose. I’m also indebted to a variety of journalists who covered various stages of Keith’s career and pointed me in the right direction when I needed help; if I start listing them I’m afraid I’ll forget someone. Paul Dove and the staff of Trinity Mirror have done a thoroughly professional job, and cheers also to Barry Landy for the assistance with the transcribing. Thanks and apologies are also due to my parents Derek and Anne and the unfortunate friends who didn’t always get a short answer when they asked how things were going, especially the Stateside contingent who had to put up with my ‘writing visits’; I promise I’ll stop talking about it now.

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