Bradford City fan Jake Verity give the Stacey West his views on our new midfielder, Billy Knott, who should set pulses racing at Sincil Bank.
When Billy Knott signed for Bradford City he was a relatively unknown figure. Raw, but extremely talented. The midfielder posed clear quality, which he made glaringly obvious in his early displays for the club.
He offers many fantastic and desirable qualities; a tireless work rate; the ability to spot a defence splitting pass and pick his man from an array of positions; his trickery and bravery to take his man on will excite the fans; his confidence to shoot from distance is refreshing to see. It felt like a steal getting the former England youth player on a free transfer.
Knott’s career began at West Ham, his boyhood club. A brief couple of years then saw him make the move across London to Chelsea’s academy, arguably a dream move for any youngster and after three years in the academy at Chelsea, he made the decision to move up north to Sunderland.
Knott’s time at Sunderland saw him make one appearance for the club under Paulo Di Canio, but he began to make a name for himself on a number of loan trips. His first ever loan our from Sunderland which was to AFC Wimbledon saw the midfielder gain confidence in League Two, a much more physically demanding league than the academy football he’d experienced but nonetheless, he flourished at the Dons. Knott picked up the clubs young player of the season award, three goals and twenty appearances under his belt in what was a mutually beneficial experience for both club and player.
The following season, Knott went out on loan on to Woking of the National League, racking up an impressive eight goals in twenty games. The talented youngster proved he could score goals from midfield and that he needed to be playing more regular professional football.
Knott than found his way back into the Football League, moving to League Two Wycombe and then to League One Port Vale on two seperate loan spells, during his time at both clubs, Knott impressed and eventually ended up the following season making a permanent move to Bradford City.
Knott’s time at Bradford was full of highs and lows, the high’s of Chelsea in the FA Cup and reaching the Quarter Finals’s were amongst some of his best memories with the Bantams but if there is any game Knott will be remembered for it’s Bradford City va Leeds United in the EFL Cup. Ask any Bradford fan about THAT goal. Ask them. It’s the 83rd minute. Leeds United; the Bantams fiercest rivals had gone a goal up against the run of play through a Matt Smith header and the travelling contingent from Leeds went wild. The ball goes straight at the Leeds defence from kick off, Bradford almost immediately win a corner. The corner comes out on the edge of the box, and as the ball seems to take an age to drop to the midfielder, Knott cushions it beautifully and volleys it straight into the top corner. The Bantams then went on to win that game with a goal a few minutes later and Knott became ingrained in Bradford’s history simply for that moment.
Knott’s passion and desire is unquestionable, his work ethic is unbelievable. Every single game that the Bantams went a goal behind, he was the first to take responsibility, grab a goal and try drive an attack forward. You could see he was hurting when he wasn’t winning. In modern football, it’s very rare you find them like Knott.
Off the field, its common knowledge at Valley Parade that the 24 year old had time in abundance for fans. Even when he struggled to get in the team through a period of patchy form, he’d be the first to give out an autograph, or to get in a photo. There’s a lovely video on twitter where he has a kickabout with a boy before the game outside the stadium.
Bradford were due to play Gillingham this weekend which would have meant Knott’s return to Valley Parade and rather than just like the tweet; or as many could do; ignore it, Knott replied saying he had a lot of time for the boy who he played football with and was looking forward to coming back to see him again.
The fact is he won’t be ‘coming back’, he’ll be starting a new chapter in his career away at Park View Road, and his time at Sincil Bank is going to be a very exciting one. Knott is a fantastic signing for the Imps and his previous experience in a number of high profile games will mean that he will be calm, collected and driven in the push for promotion from the National League.
Knott’s time at Gillingham this season was enjoyable under Justin Edinburgh, the man who Knott has known for a long time but as with any club, a Football moves on, managers come and go and Edinburgh’s departure from Kent has meant Knott has opted for a new challenge. There is no doubt whatsoever that the midfielder can add goals from midfield and can help to chip in following Theo Robinson’s departure from Sincil Bank. Sometimes Knott is rash, his decision making is questionable and he’ll do something you won’t expect.
Billy Knott though, is a diamond in the rough and make no mistake, will be an immense figure in the coming months.