Gillespie vows to prove his commitment to Longford
Published 01/04/2011 | 07:24
Keith Gillespie has insisted that he will be fully committed to Longford Town after making a surprise move to the Midlanders.
In his final game for Manchester United in 1995, Gillespie lined up alongside the likes of Roy Keane, Eric Cantona, Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes but, tomorrow night, is expected to make his debut against Athlone Town at Flancare Park after putting pen to paper with the League of Ireland First Division club for the rest of the season.
The former Newcastle United star -- capped 86 times for Northern Ireland -- has fallen on hard times in recent years. But, speaking yesterday at his official Longford unveiling, the 36-year-old said that he was still motivated and promised to give his all for the cause.
Looking fit and well, Gillespie said he was looking forward to playing competitive football again -- something he hasn't done since he left Darlington last December.
"I have always maintained that, if I felt fit enough and I was in good condition, I would play for as long as I could. Once you make the decision to retire, there's no going back, and, presently, I don't think the time is right for me to hang up the boots," he said.
Gillespie is under no illusions about the prospects that lie ahead. "Obviously there comes a stage when you have to drop down the divisions. So, with due respect to Longford, that doesn't bother me. I played a season with Glentoran and never found any problem in motivating myself.
"I think, as a sportsman, you go out with the intention of giving 100pc all of the time -- irrespective of what level you play at -- and I'll certainly be giving it my all here."
Longford manager Tony Cousins expects Gillespie's presence to have a huge impact on everybody at the club. "Keith has a wealth of experience and I've no doubt that his knowledge of the game will help our younger players. It's great that the club have secured a big-name player," he said.
Cousins revealed that Phil Munnelly, one of the club's sponsors, was the man who started the ball rolling in bringing Gillespie to Longford.