Accrington Stanley have received some fantastic tributes to Billy Kee after he retired from full-time professional football due to his ongoing mental health problems.
Striker Kee, 29, was always a fans’ favourite on and off the pitch and his team-mates loved him too!
We will be doing a special programme for Billy Kee on Saturday for our game against AFC Wimbledon but here is a taste of the some of the comments from those who knew him day in, day out.
One of his good friends at Stanley, Sean McConville said: “Hands down Billy is one of the best players I have ever shared a football pitch with, no one else will come close.
“In work and out of work, we formed a bond that will never be broken.”
Centre half Mark Hughes said: “I felt my own career was on a bit of a downward spiral but coming to Accrington and playing with Billy is one of the main reasons why I am still here today.
“He is certainly the best striker I’ve ever played with.
“He brought many smiles to fans’ faces and is one of the main reasons them and us are going to the Stadium of Light’s, Fratton Park’s and Portman Road’s.”
Midfielder Scott Brown said: “Billy Rodney Kee is an absolute legend, I have nothing but good memories of playing and being with Billy at the heart and soul of everything on the pitch and off it!”
Shay McCartan said: “The best striker I have ever played with and the best of lads as well. Got me most of my goals at Accy.”
Piero Mingoia provided a number of assists for Kee and said: “I will never forget how he transformed our season in 2015/16, an unbelievable striker who sacrificed himself for the team. Most importantly a man with a heart of gold.”
Nick Anderton recalled a funny memory: “I will never forget Billy wearing the gaffer’s Copa Mundials because of a swollen foot, only boots he could wear without pain…and he ended up scoring two.“
Assistant manager Jimmy Bell said: “Billy was possibly my best friend in football. He gave me my best ever moment in football when we went to Luton and scored in the 94th minute, looking back that gave us the title. He has been a great servant to the club and I am devastated we are going to lose such a big character.”
Matt Crooks said he wasn’t sure what to expect when Billy arrived at the Wham Stadium in 2015.
“I remember him turning up on the first day of pre-season, out of shape and the loudest in the changing room straight away.
“I remember it like it was yesterday. I was led on the pitch in the sun with Bucko and Windass and I said: “He better be decent as he isn’t shy!” I guess he didn’t do too badly! Fantastic guy, friends for life and I have shared many moments with him since leaving Accrington, outside of football.”
Captain Seamus Conneely added: “It was nice to see Billy last weekend at the Burton game and it was great to hear that he’s doing well. It was a pleasure to play alongside him for four seasons and I wish him all the best in his next chapter.”