Former Welsh International Richard Duffy, who has played for numerous clubs across the EFL including Port Vale, now plies his trade at local Non-League side Kidsgrove Athletic.
Having been released by Notts County at the end of last season, Duffy faced an uncertain spell on whether a club would take a chance on him again.
Unfortunately, a spell back in the Football League didn’t present itself to the 34-year-old. However, an invite from Kidsgrove manager Ryan Austin presented Duffy a lifeline.
“I spoke to Ryan (Austin) in the summer and being a friend of mine it helped. He told me to come in to keep fit through pre-season and as it happened, nothing came about to stay in the game full-time so it was a good opportunity to come and play here.”
Kidsgrove currently sit 17th in the league, however an impressive FA Cup run to the third preliminary rounds meant they have only played 6 league games so far this campaign. Duffy has been a stalwart at the back in the majority of games thus far, even scoring his first for the club in a FA Trophy replay against Daventry Town.
Duffy spoke about how he thinks the season has gone so far:
“We started a bit slow as we got beat the first 3 games. The first defeat was disappointing from us, but the next two we played really well and didn’t deserve to lose but that’s just how things go. Then from there we went unbeaten apart from Saturday against Gateshead. We’ve worked on things in training and put them right defensively and started scoring them at the other end which helps.”
The centre-half enjoyed a successful spell between 2012-16 at Port Vale with the Valiants getting promotion to League 1 in his first season at the club. Although enjoying his time there, he admits the manner in his departure could’ve been better.
“When I joined we were in League 2 and we got promotion first season which was great and enjoyed another 3 seasons after that. Unfortunately, it came to an end, I wouldn’t say on bad terms but the contract offers weren’t there after we finished 9th or 10th and we only needed a few more players to push into the top 7 but it wasn’t to be. The owner had different ambitions which was fine as it was his Football club but it went sour and a bit downhill. But it’s good to see the new owners have come in and steadied the ship.”
Duffy broke through into the Wales team at 18 and made his debut two weeks before his 20th birthday. He played in a 1-0 defeat to England in 2005 and then manager Lawrie Sanchez heralded his performance saying he “acquitted himself very well on the right hand side”.
Thirteen international call-ups followed in a 3 year international career followed, as Duffy talked about his experiences in the national set-up.
“I broke into the team when I was 18 and it’s a daunting place to be. We had a young squad at the time and I loved every minute of it. A few things could’ve worked out differently for myself but that’s the game. Like my career in general, you can’t imagine what’s going to happen from year to year. I’m more than happy with my career and what I’ve achieved. I’m proud with the amount of games I’ve played and I’ve enjoyed everywhere I went.
It will also be Duffy’s first Non-League Day, as Kidsgrove entertain Wisbech Town in the Buildbase FA Trophy.
“It’s going to be great, we’ve got another cup game which has meant we haven’t had a league game in a while. As it’s Non-League day hopefully fans come from different clubs. Vale are away and Stoke haven’t got a game so we hope a big turnout to help the lads through.