Cork soccer: Billy Clarke joins Bradford City for the third time

Cork soccer: Billy Clarke joins Bradford City for the third time
Cork's Billy Clarke weaving through the Irish defence during the U15 challenge at Turner's Cross in 2003. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

BRADFORD City have announced the signing of Billy Clarke on a one-year contract.

The Cork man has forged an impressive career cross-channel, having emerged as a talented schoolboys player with Maymount United.

Clarke rejoins the Bantams for a third spell and will be reunited with Stuart McCall and Kenny Black at the Utilita Energy Stadium. He'll turn 33 next December.

He started his career in England with Ipswich Town, playing 49 times between 2005 and 2009 scoring three goals, but also going out on loan for brief periods, before making a permanent switch to Blackpool

The Irishman first joined City in 2014, scoring 25 goals in 144 games before returning to the club for four months last year.

The former Charlton Athletic attacker enjoyed a successful spell at Grimsby Town during the 2019/20 season, prior to the campaign’s curtailment.

On returning to the club Clarke told the club website, “I am absolutely over the moon to be back here, again. I was devastated to leave last time and to get the chance to return is unbelievable.

“The time I had with Stuart McCall and Kenny Black was brilliant and we were close to achieving big things. It was the most enjoyable season of my career to date.

“I am determined to right the wrongs and bring my experience and quality back. Hopefully, we can enjoy a really successful season.” 

Manager McCall added: "Billy is a player Kenny and I obviously know very well, and one who knows this football club inside out.

"He was part of a team we had in our previous spell here which came so close being successful, so he probably feels there is a little bit of unfinished business.

"I am naturally aware his second spell was not as memorable, but the reason for bringing Billy back is based not only on his quality and character, but also on his performances for a Grimsby Town side which was resurgent after he joined them, last season.

"I know how desperate his former manager, Ian Holloway, was to re-sign him - as were Grimsby's supporters.

"After studying many of his games closely in recent months, I know he still has the fitness and desire to come back here and be a success with us.

"He fits into our mentality of setting high standards, both in matches and on the training ground, and has a strong belief and positive mindset we want to see in all of our players."

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