2010-11 season index
Player profile: Michael Leary
17 August 2010
Chief executive officer of Ryanair Michael O'Leary is a bloody rich bloke. Grimsby Town midfielder Michael Leary, as a non-League footballer, one would assume, is probably not. With that disambiguation complete, down to the serious business of a player profile. Without any tedious aeronautics puns.
Michael Leary made his league debut for the then third-flight Luton Town as a fresh-faced 20-year-old in 2003. At the time, Luton Town's manager was the late Mike Newell. Having given Leary his chance in the first team, Mr Newell (RIP) later left Town in acrimonious circumstances and proceeded to sue the club for every penny he could.
Fast forward to 2010: after loan spells at Bristol Rovers, Walsall, Torquay and Brentford, Leary signed for Grimsby Town from fellow fourth-flight club Barnet, where he'd spent two years. At the time, Grimsby Town's manager was the late Mike Newell. Having given Leary his chance in the first team, Mr Newell (RIP) later left Town in acrimonious circumstances and proceeded to sue the club for every penny he could.
It's all just a little bit of history repeated.
So Leary is a legacy of that era, one of the thankfully few remaining players who represented
the club so shamefully during those darkest of days. But of the 11 starters and five subs for the Mariners' first matchday squad this season, Leary was the only one signed by
Newell (peace be upon him). From this we can conclude that Woods likes something that he sees in our Michael. Exactly what it is he sees demands further consideration.
Could it be Leary's goal threat from midfield? Well... frankly, no. In 148 career league appearances to date, Mikey has chipped in with a meagre six goals. That's ever so slightly better than a goal every 25 games. But he's averaged better than that for the Mariners, right? Ermm...
not as such: in his 33 appearances in all competitions so far he's yet to break his duck. On the plus side, he's due a couple.
Perhaps it's his range of passing, then? Long balls, clever balls, dinky little balls round the corner to set people away? No, it's not really that either. My abiding memory of Leary from last season was of him passing the ball a yard or so behind a fellow Mariner when passing it a yard or so in front for them to run on to would have created an opportunity.
To bring a bit of continental flair to Woods' distinctly British squad? Well, maybe I guess. He was born in Ealing, but apparently his middle name is Antonio. That counts, right?
So what on earth does he contribute? Tackles. Not of the penis, nor the fishing variety. But lots and lots of challenges and interceptions. Think Coldicott with hair. Leary is great at running around in the middle of the pitch and getting in the way of the opposition. "Combative" is how
the official website put it, and they're official you know.
I've never watched much non-League football. Quite frankly, as a Grimsby fan, I've never had to before, so I'm not fully aware what to expect this season. I'm sure the idea of big centre-backs, long balls at the very first opportunity, and every goal being preceded by a scramble in the six-yard box is a bit of a stereotype. But that doesn't mean that skilful players won't get kicked to pieces, and maybe someone running around getting in the way of the opposition as much as possible will be exactly what we need. I don't know, but I'm looking forward to finding out.
Let's hope Michael Leary, and the Mariners, can fly high this season!
Stats from Soccerbase
Info from Wikipedia