Former Ireland striker Kevin Doyle says he was planning to quit full-time football and go to college in Ireland if his 2005 move to Reading from Cork City did not work out.
Doyle had been a full-time pro at St Patrick's Athletic and Cork City, and also been capped at U-21 level before Steve Coppell took him to Reading in a £100,000 move but the Wexford native says he had a back-up plan in mind which would have seen him focus on education.
"I had a plan when I was 17 or 18, I deferred college and I was going to go back at 23 and give up the full-time footballer route so I had a year or two left on that plan. I'd just turned 21 when I moved to Reading so it had always been my aim to build to that and be ready when I did go," Doyle said in an interview with Berkshire Live.
"I remember being nervous about it, I felt it was my chance to grab a long-term career as a professional footballer. I'd been waiting a few years for that moment to move - it was always my plan to move across to England and try my luck there.
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"And I was very lucky in how it worked out when I did go (because) 22 or 23 was my cut-off - I was going to go back to college.
"I was a full-time professional in Ireland at the time and I was well paid in regards to Irish football. I suppose I didn't see it in my long-term future - my aim was to try and move across to England and really kick on with my career," added Doyle.
The Wexford native praised Reading for the homework they did on him before completing the transfer, though the move became one of the club's best-ever financial deals as they paid £100,000 for Doyle and sold him to Wolves in 2009 for £6.5million, having bought back the sell-on clause from a cash-strapped Cork.
"I was playing well in the League of Ireland as a young striker, I was scoring some goals and there were a few clubs looking at me but Reading paid particular interest in me," Doyle told getreading.co.uk.
"Looking back now, they really did scout me. Brian McDermott (chief scout) came over and watched me a couple of times, Nicky Hammond (director of football) came to watch me and finally Steve Coppell (manager) came too so I was well scouted for the fee that it was.
"I doubt any Championship team now would be sending their manager, chief scout and director of football to go and watch someone that many times and only spend €100,000 or so, so fair dues to Reading, they really did their homework at the time.
"I had a connection with Reading because my manager at the time was Eamonn Dolan's brother Pat so I was delighted they matched the buy-out clause which was well known at the time and I went and that was it."