Billy Clarke (footballer born 1987)
|Full name||William Charles Clarke|
|Date of birth||13 December 1987|
|Place of birth||Cork, Ireland|
|Height||1.7 m (5 ft 7 in)|
|Current club||Crawley Town|
|2006||→ Colchester United (loan)||6||(0)|
|2008||→ Falkirk (loan)||8||(1)|
|2008||→ Darlington (loan)||20||(8)|
|2009||→ Northampton Town (loan)||5||(3)|
|2009||→ Brentford (loan)||8||(6)|
|2011||→ Sheffield United (loan)||5||(1)|
|Republic of Ireland U17|
|Republic of Ireland U19|
|2007–2009||Republic of Ireland U21||11||(2)|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 4 October 2013 (UTC).
† Appearances (Goals).
Born in Cork, Clarke is a product of the Ipswich Town Academy and signed professional for the club in May 2005. He made his professional début as a substitute against Cardiff City in late November 2005. He won the Irish Examiner Junior Sports Star of the year award for Soccer in 2005 and was nominated for the Irish Under-19 Player of the Year award in 2006. He also made a big contribution to Ipswich's youth team in winning the FA Youth Cup in 2005.
At the end of the 2005–06 season he was sent on loan to Colchester United to gain first team experience, playing six league games. During the January 2008 transfer window, he joined Scottish side Falkirk on loan. He scored his first goal, a late winner, in a crucial match against Inverness Caledonian Thistle.
After returning to Ipswich Clarke scored his first league goal in the 2–1 victory over Southampton and followed it up three days later with the winning goal in the 2–1 victory over Coventry City. He also scored in a 3–1 victory over Essex side, Southend United.
Clarke was transfer-listed and on 8 August 2008 went to Darlington on one month's loan, which was extended to January 2009. He scored four times against Macclesfield Town on 30 August 2008. He also scored a vital goal in the Carling Cup against Walsall, knocking the League One side out of the cup.
He joined Northampton Town on a month's loan in January 2009. He scored a hat-trick on his debut in a 5–1 victory over Crewe Alexandra. It was the first hat-trick scored by a Cobblers player since 2002.
Clarke joined Brentford on loan in the run-in to their attempt to win promotion out of League Two. He was recruited mainly to cover for the absence of fellow Ipswich loanee Jordan Rhodes, who was injured. Clarke scored his first goal for the Bees in the 1–1 draw at Bradford City. He ended his loan spell scoring six goals in eight games. While at Brentford, he scored twice against former club Darlington in the game that Brentford clinched the league two title. He had scored 18 goals overall during his three loan spells that season with Darlington, Northampton and Brentford. He was nominated twice during the season for the League Two Player of the Month.
Clarke was released by new Ipswich manager Roy Keane on 8 May 2009.
On 26 June 2009, Clarke signed for fellow Championship side Blackpool on a two-year contract with an option for a further year; his contract starting on 1 July, once his Ipswich contract expired. Clarke said of the move, "It happened very quickly. I met the manager (Ian Holloway) on Tuesday and I had my medical this morning. I am delighted to be here and I can't wait for the season to start," adding "It is brilliant for me to be still playing in the Championship.
His first game for the Seasiders was a pre-season friendly against non-league side Burscough on 11 July. Two days later he scored the second goal as Blackpool beat Barnstaple Town 5–0 in a 2009 South West Challenge Cup group stage match.
On 8 August Clarke made his league début as a 73rd-minute substitute as Blackpool started the 2009–10 season with a 1–1 draw with Queens Park Rangers at Loftus Road. He scored his first goal for the Seasiders in a 4–3 defeat to Stoke City at the Britannia Stadium in the third round of the 2009–10 League Cup on 22 September. His first league start came in the 2–0 win over Plymouth Argyle at Bloomfield Road on 17 October. His first league goal came after just 23 seconds of the West Lancashire derby 1–1 draw with Preston North End on 30 November. He also won the Sky Sports "Man of the Match" award for his performance.
After three months out through injury, Clarke made his return to action as a 78th-minute substitute in the 1–0 home win over his former club Ipswich Town on 6 March 2010. During pre-season for the 2010–11 season, which was Blackpool's début in the Premier League, Clarke suffered a knee injury that would, it was initially thought, keep him out of action for three months; however, on 26 July it was revealed that the injury was more severe and that he could miss the whole campaign. This was confirmed when, on 2 February 2011, he was left out of Blackpool's 25-man squad for the remainder of the campaign. The club exercised a third year option on him so he is in the squad for the 2011–12 season. With first team opportunities proving limited Clarke agreed a month's loan to Sheffield United in October 2011, going on to make five appearances and score one goal for the South Yorkshire club.
On 31 January 2012, Clarke joined League Two club Crawley Town for an undisclosed fee. The signing of Clarke is a signal of intent from Crawley, who beat off the interest of several other clubs. Crawley boss Steve Evans called Clarke a wonderful signing.
Club career statistics
- As of 16 August 2010
|Club performance||League||Cup||League Cup||Total|
|England||League||FA Cup||League Cup||Total|
|2005–06||Colchester United (loan)||League One||6||0||-||-||6||0|
|Scotland||League||Scottish Cup||League Cup||Total|
|2007–08||Falkirk (loan)||Scottish Premier League||8||1||-||-||8||1|
|England||League||FA Cup||League Cup||Total|
|2008–09||Darlington (loan)||League Two||20||8||1||0||2||1||25||9|
|2008–09||Northampton Town (loan)||League One||5||3||-||-||5||3|
|2008–09||Brentford (loan)||League Two||8||6||-||-||8||6|
a. All Football League Trophy results are included in totals
- Football League 2 Division winners 2009
- Football League 1 Division runners up 2006
Clarke has played at various levels for the Republic of Ireland. He has made 45 appearances at under-16, under-17, under-18, under-19 and under-21 scoring 14 goals. In May 2008 he played in the inaugural Intercontinental Cup in Malaysia.
- "Inverness CT 0–1 Falkirk". BBC. 15 March 2008. Retrieved 29 May 2010.
- "Cobblers sign Ipswich striker". bbc.co.uk. 20 January 2009. Retrieved 24 January 2009.
- "Northampton 5–1 Crewe". bbc.co.uk. 24 January 2009. Retrieved 24 January 2009.
- "Clarke set to become Ollie's First Signing". Blackpool F.C. 26 June 2009. Retrieved 26 June 2009.
- "We Speak To Billy Clarke". Blackpool F.C. 26 June 2009. Retrieved 26 June 2009.
- "Seasiders Begin With Victory". Blackpool F.C. 13 July 2009. Retrieved 14 July 2009.
- "Stoke 4 – 3 Blackpool". BBC. 22 September 2009. Retrieved 29 May 2010.
- "Blackpool V Preston". bbc.co.uk. 30 November 2009. Retrieved 30 November 2009.
- "Blackpool v Preston – live". Monday Night Live. 30 November 2009. Sky Sports.
- "Blackpool vs Ipswich Town". Blackpool F.C. 6 March 2010. Retrieved 6 March 2010.
- "FURTHER CLARKE BLOW FOR SEASIDERS" – Blackpool F.C.'s official website
- "Blades capture duo". Sheffield United F.C. 14 October 2011. Retrieved 14 October 2011.
- "Crawley Town sign striker Billy Clarke from Blackpool". BBC. 31 January 2012. Retrieved 31 January 2012.
- "Stokes heads a young Éire squad". sportsmalaysia.net. 11 May 2008. Retrieved 14 July 2009.[dead link]