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Millwall's Irish star Shaun Williams on selling newspapers on the street while trying to realise dream


Millwall's Shaun Williams (centre). Photo: Reuters

Millwall's Shaun Williams (centre). Photo: Reuters


Millwall's Shaun Williams (centre). Photo: Reuters

By his own admission, Shaun Williams is an easygoing guy. He doesn't tend to get carried away in the emotion of any occasion.

Millwall's epic FA Cup run this year has slightly tested that self-control. The Londoners have progressed to Sunday's quarter-final date with Spurs by knocking out a trio of Premier League clubs with Bournemouth, Watford and Leicester all taken down by the League One underdogs.

The final cup game at White Hart Lane gives the 30-year-old an opportunity to get to Wembley, but a fairytale win might struggle to match the excitement of the week where Leicester were downed.

That's because Williams' second son Freddie was born the previous weekend. He missed a league game when his partner Sinead went into labour, but was back in time for the epic success over the Premier League champions. Millwall were down to ten men for the business part of that fixture.

"It was a bit wild to be fair," says Williams. "The sleep levels weren't too bad. My missus knew that I needed a bit of rest now and again so I ducked into the spare room when I could.

"The Leicester game was a bigger scalp than Bournemouth and Watford and, to be fair, while they did change the team, they were unbelievable on the day.

"It was a smash and grab win for us which made it all the better right at the end when we did win it (Millwall grabbed an injury-time winner)."

Williams is an experienced figure in England now with the sixth anniversary of his initial move to MK Dons looming.

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That came off the back of a turbulent end his time in the League of Ireland which he detailed in an interview with the new independent.ie/eir Sport LOI Weekly Podcast.

Williams' last club in Ireland was Sporting Fingal who went out of business shortly after they rejected a bid from Celtic for his services.

He had also experienced hardship as a youngster at Drogheda United when that club hit the financial rocks off the back of a period in the good times.

The talented midfielder recalled his times working on the streets selling newspapers to earn a few quid.

"It's difficult to put plans in place at home where you don't know where you are going to be the following season.

"I was a young lad at Drogheda but it still affected me because I needed a job then.

"Myself and another lad Gareth Whelan were out handing newspapers on the side of the road - the 'Evening Herald' - when the club went into administration because we had no way of making money but we still had bills to pay."

Williams was 24 when he left home, but used Keith Fahey as an inspiration for adapting to life in England at a slightly later stage than the average Irish football emigrant.

He still keeps an interest in matters at home and says he would like to come back to play in Ireland at a later stage in his career.

Before that, he has Spurs on the mind.

And you can get involved yourself by tweeting @LOIweekly.

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Irish Independent