Bill Blaney

Goalkeeper

Bill Blaney

Albion’s 2007/8 Clubman of the Year may describe his career highlight as shattering the nose of an opposing striker, but he’s a nice guy really. His worrying need to drink beer before any game may just be a symptom of playing behind Albion’s back four rather than any wider problem.

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Name: Bill Blaney

Nicknames: Nicholas Cage / Meola

Age: 32, DOB Jan 21, 1976

Height: 6′

Previous clubs: The Superfriends, The Tigers, Winston-Salem Rovers,  Ephesus, ASA McCarthy

Club you support: Tottenham Hotspur

Favourite food: a proper New York pizza pie

Favourite film: the Big Lebowski (the Dude was my role model for years) or Menace II Society, it’s a toss up.

Favourite TV programme: currently, 30 Rock. Also a huge fan of the Shield, Battlestar Galactica (remake), It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia and Long Way Round.

Favourite player: Hard to say, as most of my football watching has been limited to World Cup play (perils of growing up in small town America). Jurgen Klinsmann would have to be an all-time favorite, and Bodo Illgner was probably the first keeper I idolized. I’d have to give props to Diego Maradona tho too…who doesn’t love a straight up baller like him. 5′-nuthin, incredible finesse, loves to party like nobody’s business, and doesn’t hesitate to shoot paparazzi with his pellet gun.

Player you are most like: Jorge Campos with a broken leg and really poor Spanish skills

Goalkeeper, why?: Guess I’m a glutton for punishment. I enjoy yelling and throwing myself into dangerous situations. Nothing gets me more fired up than colliding with an opponent at full speed. Let’s just say I’ve broken more noses than I’ve had broken myself (2-1 and counting).

Best subject at school: Technology in Mass Communication

Superstitions: a beer or two before a game gets me warmed up better than kicking around for 15 minutes

Career highlight: Played for a city team in Winston-Salem, North Carolina around ’97/’98 while I was still at university. In the finals of the league tournament, I came out on a high ball break away and punched the ball clear…my knee also smashed into the striker’s face, shattering his nose quite spectacularly . The game ended 1-1, and went to penalties. We shot first, and it went back and forth all the way to the 10th kicker. Our shooter missed, then I stepped in with the game in the balance. I made a diving save to force another kick, then got up and took the 11th PK (I was last because of my swollen knee….really!), burying it. Stepped back in the net and they kicked their shot wide, giving us the championship. I’m not sure I’ll be able to ever top that feeling. On the down side, for winning we got a crappy tshirt sporting a bunch of cartoon soccer balls on wheels with cheesy grins. WTF?

Favourite music: I like a bit of everything, from hip-hop to bluegrass to ambient metal. But mostly I’m a guitar junkie…if nobody is playing a proper lead guitar, I probably won’t like it. Pearl Jam is my all time favorite band, I’ve seen them ~20 times live.

Other job: Technology Analyst (I test new technology for a mutual funds company)

Most skilful player / showboater (at Albion): Stewart Lauder. By showboating, I mean breaking the other teams’ ankles.

Biggest difference between US and UK Sunday football: Seems the style of play here is much more clustered together. ASA McCarthy’s style was to spread the field as much as possible, while here you guys are constantly yelling at each other to get closer. You also have the benefit of playing on mostly grass instead of rocks and glass, which is usually what we had in NYC. We once played on a pitch covered, literally, completely with hay. In all fairness, it’s gotten better there recently as they’ve started adding the new amazing artificial grass to replace all the dirt pits.

Quickest player (at Albion): Clearly this award goes to Mr. Will Slater

Who will win Euro 2008: Germany

Worst thing about being a goalkeeper: Being scored against. It’s absolutely the worst feeling in the world, even if there wasn’t anything I could do about the shot. Picking the ball out of the net sucks.

Favourite game of all-time: Drinking Jenga

Favourite drink: Maker’s Mark on the rocks

Cage fight to the death, Jindy vs Jade, who wins: Although Jindy is very fast (not as fast as Will tho) and would be hard to grab hold of (due to his comically tight shirts and shorts), I think Jade would wear him down with his continual yelling and criticism until Jindy just gave up.

Pre-match meal: Typically a banana and a snickers bar. A beer if it’s an afternoon game

Favourite football pundit: Alexi Lalas

Most annoying Southern Sunday ref: Whoever that guy was who called our draw against the Westminster Wanderers. He wouldn’t shut up talking to me about how I should play

Pin-up: Milla Jovovich, wowzers

Pick your all-time greatest team: Bodo Illgner – Franco Baresi, Cafu, Franz Beckenbauer – David Beckham, Carlos Valderrama, Lothar Matthaus, Diego Maradona – Jurgen Klinsmann, Dennis Bergkamp, and Roger Milla (purely for corner flag dancing). Doh, I should have an American in there, shouldn’t I…..um…..Mia Hamm!


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