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Keith Gillespie
Keith Gillespie.png
Personal information
Full name Keith Robert Gillespie
Date of birth 18 February 1975 (1975-02-18) (age 35)
Place of birth    Larne, Northern Ireland
Height 5 ft 10 in (1.78 m)
Playing position Winger
Club information
Current club Glentoran
Number 33
Youth career
St Andrews FC
Manchester United
Senior career1
Years Club App (Gls)*
Manchester United
Wigan Athletic (loan)
Newcastle United
Blackburn Rovers
Wigan Athletic (loan)
Leicester City
Sheffield United
Charlton Athletic (loan)
Bradford City
009 0(1)
008 0(4)
113 (11)
115 0(6)
005 0(0)
042 0(2)
097 0(4)
006 0(0)
003 0(0)
006 0(1)   
National team2
Northern Ireland U21
Northern Ireland
001 0(0)
086 0(2)

1 Senior club appearances and goals
counted for the domestic league only and
correct as of 14:41, 3 October 2009 (UTC).
2 National team caps and goals correct
as of 17:12, 22 November 2008 (UTC).
* Appearances (Goals)

Keith Robert Gillespie (born 18 February 1975 in Larne, County Antrim) is a Northern Irish professional footballer who plays in midfield for Irish League side Glentoran.


Playing career


Early career

His first years were spent in Islandmagee, County Antrim where he attended Whitehead Primary School. He later moved to Bangor, County Down where he attended Rathmore Primary School and Bangor Grammar School. He was scouted playing for St Andrews FC from Belfast, and was the first professional footballer to come from this club.

Manchester United

Gillespie signed for Manchester United on leaving school in the summer of 1991, being a member of the FA Youth Cup winning side in 1992. Also in that team were Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes, David Beckham, Gary Neville and Robbie Savage.

Gillespie made his debut for Manchester United in the 1992-93 season, and scored his first goal for the club against Bury in a 2-0 FA Cup third round triumph on 5 January 1993. He was issued with the number 31 shirt for the 1993-94 season with the introduction of squad numbers, but did not play any first team games and spent several games on loan to Wigan Athletic in Division Three.

Occasional appearances for United followed in 1994-95, but he was never able to displace Andrei Kanchelskis as United's first-choice right winger.

He moved to Newcastle United on 10 January 1995, as a £1million component in the 7 million deal (£6million cash) which took Andrew Cole to Old Trafford. Ironically, Gillespie had scored one of United's goals against Newcastle in the 2-0 victory at Old Trafford which had knocked Kevin Keegan's side off the top of the Premier League table less than three months earlier.

Newcastle United

Gillespie stayed at Newcastle for three-and-a-half years and during this time he played 143 games, including 15 European ties (in both the Champions League and UEFA Cup) and scored 13 goals. In both the 1995-96 and 1996-97 seasons he helped Newcastle to finish second in the Premier League (runners up to Gillespie's former club, Manchester United, on both occasions), being a key member of "The Entertainers".

In his final full season at Newcastle, the 1997-98 season, Gillespie helped Newcastle to reach the FA Cup final. However, he was not in the squad for the final and Newcastle lost to Arsenal The following season saw Gillespie depart Tyneside in a £2.3million move to Blackburn Rovers.

Blackburn Rovers and Leicester City

Five seasons at Ewood Park brought another 138 games and 6 goals as well as another loan spell at Wigan Athletic, bringing his total appearances for Athletic to 15 from which he scored 4 goals. He then moved to Leicester City on a free transfer playing 48 games and scoring two goals in two seasons. In his time at Blackburn he started in the 2002 Football League Cup Final in which they beat Tottenham Hotspur 2-1.

Sheffield United

Gillespie signed for Sheffield United on 5 August 2005, signing a one-year contract. This was then extended to June 2007 a month later. In his first season at the club, Gillespie played a role in Sheffield United's successful promotion campaign to the Premier League.

Gillespie's most memorable goal for Sheffield United came against Charlton, where he scored the winner in the 88th minute with a stunning volley from 25 yards. This goal was also a nominee for the December goal of the month competition, but Paul Scholes eventually won.

On 20 January 2007, during a Premiership match against Reading at the Madejski Stadium, Gillespie was sent off for violent conduct (elbowing Reading's Stephen Hunt) twelve seconds after coming on as a substitute. As he made his way off the pitch, Gillespie pushed Hunt in the face.[1] He thereby achieved the dubious honour of becoming the fastest sending-off of a substitute in English football. He was sent off before the ball had come back into play, and so technically sent off being on the pitch for zero seconds of play.[2]

The day after this incident, he stunned Sheffield United when he handed in a transfer request to the chief executive Terry Robinson[3] but in July that year Gillespie recanted and signed a new two-year contract.[4]

In July 2008 he limped out of a pre-season friendly at Bury and missed the start of the 2008-2009 season.[5] Having regained fitness he was unable to regain a first team place and was eventually loaned out to Charlton Athletic.[6] He made only six appearances for the Addicks before being recalled to Bramall Lane as cover for mounting injuries.[7]

Despite being recalled to the Blades Gillespie failed to make another appearance and on 30 January 2009 his contract was terminated by mutual consent.[8] He went to Bradford City with whose manager Stuart McCall, Gillespie had been with at Sheffield United. However, McCall insisted Gillespie was only training with the club to stay fit and help out the younger players, and not on trial.[9]

Bradford City

Gillespie impressed McCall during training and told the manager he was very keen to gain match experience; as a result, Gillespie signed for Bradford City in March for the rest of the 2008–09 season.[10] Gillespie was an unused substitute in their 1–0 defeat to Exeter City and so had to wait for his debut which came as a second half substitute with City already 4–1 down to Bournemouth three days later.[11][12] After just three appearances Gillespie was not offered a long-term deal by Bradford City. In the summer of 2009 he had a trial with Hungarian side Ferencvaros and has been linked with a move to the IFA Premiership.[13]


In 2009, Gillespie made a shock move to the east Belfast club, Glentoran. It was believed that Gillespie's agents approched Glentoran. The midfielder is believed to be on a £1,000 p/w wage, which is being paid for by the Glentoran sponsor, FonaCab.[citation needed]

Gillespie made his debut for Glentoran against Bohemians in the Setanta Cup on 29th August 2009, before making his league debut against Coleraine on 1st September 2009. He scored his first goal at The Oval against Institute on 22nd September.

International career

He is currently 4th place in the list of appearances for Northern Ireland with 86 caps. He made his debut in September 1994 in a 2-1 home defeat by Portugal. He played an important role in his country's 3-2 qualifying win against Spain at Windsor Park on 6 September 2006. Gillespie was investigated by the Irish FA for his involvement in a fracas with George McCartney on the trip back home from a game in Iceland. [14] He has not been involved with the Northern Ireland set-up since being omitted from squad to face San Marino in February 2009[15]. His final cap was won in a 2-0 defeat by Hungary at Windsor Park in November 2008[16].

Presently, manager Nigel Worthington has stated that following his return to the Irish League, Gillespie would no longer be considered for international selection, this despite most recently calling up Colin Coates of Crusaders and Coleraine's Rory Patterson. However the midfielder has not yet given up hope of wearing his country's colours once again.[citation needed]



Blackburn Rovers


  1. ^ Reading 3-1 Sheff Utd
  2. ^ FA to act after mayhem at the Madejski
  3. ^ Let me go demands Gillespie
  4. ^ "Two new deals". 2007-07-20.,,10418~1075869,00.html. Retrieved 2009-01-31. 
  5. ^ "Battling Bury test Blades". 2008-08-16. Retrieved 2008-11-24. 
  6. ^ "Loan switch for Gillespie". 2008-11-16.,,10418~1465137,00.html. Retrieved 2008-11-24. 
  7. ^ "Gillespie set for Blades recall". 2008-12-24. Retrieved 2008-12-28. 
  8. ^ "Gillespie leaves the Lane". 2009-01-30.,,10418~1539598,00.html. Retrieved 2009-01-30. 
  9. ^ Parker, Simon (2009-03-05). "Gillespie training not trialling with Bantams". Telegraph & Argus. Retrieved 2009-03-05. 
  10. ^ "Winger Gillespie joins Bradford". BBC Sport. 2009-03-11. Retrieved 2009-03-11. 
  11. ^ "Exeter 1-0 Bradford". BBC Sport. 2009-03-14. Retrieved 2009-03-14. 
  12. ^ "Bournemouth 4-1 Bradford". BBC Sport. 2009-03-17. Retrieved 2009-03-18. 
  13. ^ "Keith Gillespie linked with Glentoran move". Belfast Telegraph. 2009-08-10. Retrieved 2009-08-11. 
  14. ^ Keith Gillespie faces inquiry over flight fracas - Football News - Telegraph
  15. ^ "Gillespie omitted from Northern Ireland squad". 2009-02-02. Retrieved 2009-08-11. 
  16. ^ "Hungary triumph at Windsor Park". Football365. 2008-11-19.,17033,8683_4522568,00.html. Retrieved 2009-08-14. 

External links


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