At 59, Limavady man Mickey Guy proves when it comes to doing something you love, age doesn’t matter.
Not only is he still playing football, he’s also scoring goals!
The one he recently netted against Kilrea FC was no “wonder goal”, he laughs, joking it might even be his only one of the season. But there’s no doubt when the Roe Valley player steps onto the pitch, he plays as if everything is at stake.
“I love football, I always have. I love the competitiveness of it,” he says. “When we were young I remember playing football out on the green in front of the houses. That’s all we ever did. That’s all there was to do!”
Growing up, Mickey idolised the likes of Pele and George Best, and later players such as Kevin Keegan.
The first team he played for was, as a teenager, Coolagh, near Greysteel. He went on to play for Coleraine FC when he was 18 and stayed there for five seasons. Then he signed for Sheffield United, where he played for two seasons. After airing his views on how he thought he wasn’t getting a fair chance, he left. He had a spell with Crewe Alexandra thereafter, but when his contract ended - and despite offers from Bradford and Leicester - for family reasons he moved back to Limavady.
The boots didn’t rest for long and Mickey was back playing closer to home at Ballymena until he was 33. He’d won Irish League and Irish Cups with Ballymena and Coleraine by this stage, but decided on a break for a year, training with Roe Valley.
“Then the manager of Larne asked me to play for them, so I was there for the rest of the season,” he recalls. “We got to the final of the Irish Cup, but the Glens beat us 1-0.”
After that, Mickey decided the rest of his football days would be in Limavady with Roe Valley. Most of the players on the team today are in their twenties, or younger, but it doesn’t faze Mickey. Those who know him say he’s as “fit as a fiddle” and after his goal against Kilrea, Limavady footballer Stephen Lowry, who plays for Coleraine FC, tweeted the news, and called him a “legend”.
“I suppose I’m lucky that I’ve always been fit. I train a couple of times a week, just the regular football training,” he says. “It just takes longer to recover.”
Mickey says he plays “anywhere I’m needed”, adding he’s also been manager and groundsman with the team.
“I’m really enjoying it at the minute.”
So how does he rate himself as a player?
“I’m clean,” he says, adding quickly: “I’d say, aggressive. I do what has to be done.”
So does he ever regret coming home to Limavady?
“Ah no. You can’t look at it like that. Plus, I’d never of met all the friends I have.”
When he played for Sheffield, Mickey took home £250 a week, which was a lot of money at the time, especially compared to the £50 a week he would have earned had he stayed at home working as a joiner. He believes the top footballers of today are overpaid.
“There is no reality to it at all. People are starving and homeless. It’s madness and it’ll kill football,” said the Liverpool supporter, adding: “It costs me money nowadays to play!”
Mickey has no lucky routines before a game. It’s simply “get the boots on and head down”, he says.
When he was 50, Mickey was interviewed for television about still playing football.
“I was asked if I could see myself playing when I was 60, and I couldn’t see it. I’ll see next year and take it from there,” he says. “It’s a bit of craic and I enjoy it. If you don’t enjoy what you’re doing, then you shouldn’t be doing it!”