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Reagan Connelly: Il Burattinaio Irlandese

Started on 31 October 2019 by ImThatSybGuy
Latest Reply on 12 May 2020 by TheLFCFan
ImThatSybGuy's avatar Group ImThatSybGuy
4 yearsEdited

The Beginnings

Liverpool, 14 October 2000
“Every young footballer dreams of their debut. Sleepless nights lead up to that one moment, the moment that could make or break your career. All the training, all the years of hard work, all for one moment.

My moment finally came rather late. After months of training with the first team, an 18-year old me heard the voice of Glenn Hoddle, the Southampton manager. I spent countless hours on the bench, in hearing distance from him, every time he spoke, I hoped to hear my name. I finally heard it on the 14th of October 2001. As the final minutes ticked away on the Goodison Park scoreboard, I finally heard my name.

The moment was surreal, I didn’t believe the fact I finally was allowed to take off my tracksuit and enter the pitch. I saw the 4th official held up his board, number 42 was ready to enter the pitch, Reagan Connelly would make his Premiership debut.

It was a game to never forget, not because of the amazing football, quite the contrary, it was terrible, which is putting it nicely. All of 147 seconds is what it took for me to make a mark on the English footballing world as I managed to take a shot from distance.

It was almost like a movie. The young player gets his moment in his spotlights and then shines. That movie was meant to star me, but instead the script went quite a bit differently. My name would end up in all the match reports, the newspapers and the history books. 147 seconds, 2 and a half minute that’s all it took to make a mark on Premiership history as that was all it took for me to be heading back to the dressing room after getting a red card.”
Not the start anyone wants to make in their career...question is will Reagan be able to bounce back from it.
The definition of an impact! But the red card a sour way to go after such a glorious moment!
Making your debut in the Premier League is something every young player dreams of. It's understandable that an inexperienced player will be full of excitement which may lead to them being rash. It's certainly not the most beautiful of debuts, but I'm keen to see how things went for Reagan after this game.
Perfect start for a career in the PL.
ImThatSybGuy's avatar Group ImThatSybGuy
4 yearsEdited


Italy, Summer of ‘02
“Despite my horrific debut game, 2000 ended up as my breakthrough year. I slowly got more and more game time even made my debut for the Irish national team. But, as good as the 2000/01 season was, the following season was twice as good.

I fully cemented myself in both the Southampton line-up and Irish national team and the peak of the season was when I was allowed to wear the captains armband for one half of football for the club that has given me so much in the 4 years I spent in Southampton after leaving my home town of Dublin behind to chase my dream.

I was not remembered anymore for the red card in a meaningless game against Everton, but for pulling the strings in midfield as a true midfield maestro. Naturally whenever a young kid broke through in the Premier League, people start jumping on the bandwagon. Slowly but surely I started believing in my hype, which is never a good thing for a young kid like me.

That overconfidence, that arrogance was not a good colour on me, but it’s such a natural process for young players like me. That’s why I think Italy will humble me. I mean, look at this place, it’s beautiful. That’s how I ended up here, in Parma.”

“I didn’t ask for your life story and you also didn’t answer my question.” said the Italian girl who was sitting next to me.
“Pardon me, I’m sorry, I have a habit of rambling on. I’m here to play football, for Parma.”
“So you are a footballer, nice to meet you. The name is Cecilia, Cecilia Monti.”
“What a beautiful name, Cecilia.”
“It’s Italian, of course it’s beautiful.”
she said with her beautiful Italian accent, while smirking at me.
I burst out laughing. “Yeah, I can see it is a beautiful place.”
“You haven’t seen half of it, believe me.”

I felt conflicted, I would have preferred to stay at Southampton and make a career in the Premier League, but to go on loan in Italy was a chance that not many people have. I wasn’t guaranteed to start for Southampton any more, but a chance to play for a club like Parma in competition such as Italy’s, was one I had to take.

Not for one minute did I regret leaving England. With the help of Cecilia I was able to settle quickly into Italy, learn the language and adjust to the people. Footballing wise the move was even better. I was a guaranteed starter and had a fantastic season.

10 months later I was as conflicted, happy to return to Southampton and continue where I left off in Italy, but sad to leave Parma, to leave Italy and to leave Cecilia.

TheLFCFan: We'll have to wait and see
Eoin: Not the impact you'd want to make
Scott: Definitely not one of the most beautiful, but one that will be remembered
SirBlastelot: Depends on what you define as perfect....
Oooo finding love early on?? Good to see that the recard has been put behind Reagan and he is starting to build a strong career!
Connelly has certainly grown as a player and as a person over the last few years. The opportunity to move to Italy, to experience a new way of living and to surround yourself with an entirely different culture must be very exciting. Meeting new people like Cecillia brings another positive aspect to the table and it seems she's had a real impact on Reagan. I'm interested to see if she makes a further appearance in his life and in this story. Italian football has a different style in comparison to English football and perhaps Reagan will return to England with a different approach to the way he plays, bringing the very finest of Italy with him on his return. Another great update!
Serie A in the early 2000s >>>>.

Liking this so far and I wonder if Cecilia will re-enter Reagan's life at some point in the coming future?

The Italian Job

Parma, Italy, Summer 2003
“I am sad to leave Italy, but I want to come back home. Going out on loan is something nobody dreams about, but Italy was good to me, it changed me.”
“So Reagan, you ready to show England what you can do.”
my brother answered over the phone.
“Well of course little bro, I’ll show them the new Reagan.”
“That’s the spirit.”

But in reality I regretfully packed my bags. The way of life in Italy was different, in a good way. Mornings with coffee and Cecilia on a beautiful terrace on a little cobblestone street with the morning sun smiling down on us. Training in Italian morning sun beats the English rain every day of the week, but it was time to go.

Suddenly the last few hours in Italy were upon me, I fell in love with Italy and Cecilia and I felt heartbroken, knowing I may never see either one again. Tears were slowly covering my cheeks as I said my final ‘ciao’ to Cecilia.

Southampton, England, Summer 2003
I arrived back in England the same day, but everything was different, the coffee tasted different, the shining sun was not the same as the one in Italy. I felt homesick, to a country I lived in for 9 months, a life I wanted to live, with Cecilia.

Days turned into weeks, turned into months, and I was meant to return to the Southampton training ground. It was the morning before the season opening, before the very first training. I was about to leave my flat when I suddenly heard a knock on the door.

“Reagan, how are you?”
“Dad, I’m sorry I don’t have time, I have to go to...”
“Yes, training.”
“No you don’t, I have something much better for you.”

My dad acted as my agent for years, he was a lawyer, but he was a resourceful business man as well, he took control of the position as my agent and I never regretted it.

“What do you mean?”
“Well, you loved Italy right.”
“Well… yes.” I replied slightly confused.
“What if I told you that you could go back.”
“Go back to Parma? Really?”

The prospect of returning to Parma was a beautiful sight and one that I wished for ever since returning to England.

“Not exactly.”
“What do you mean with ‘not exactly’?”
“There are more clubs beside Parma, you know?”
“Really, I never knew that. But what are you trying to say.”
“Come on dad, stop teasing me”
“Okay, okay, you don’t have to be so aggressive. Southampton have accepted a bid, a bid from AC Milan.”

TheLFCFan: It wasn't the start you would hope for, but luckily it's all in the past now
Scott: Undoubtably a massive opportunity for such a young player indeed
Jack: Who knows what may happen....
Hmm interesting, looking forward to seeing where this goes
A return to a place that Reagan clearly loves and even better a team of the size of AC Milan. I wonder what he will be able to achieve there!
An excellent offer on the table. A beautiful city and a historic football club.

La Ragazza

Italy 2003,
I grew up in a very traditional family. I was born in Rome, but I grew up about 15 minutes outside the city. I was the youngest of 4 children. I had two older sisters and one older brother, my mom was a stay-at-home mom and my dad had his own bakery in Rome. I can’t picture him not working for 16 hours a day, come home, eat, sleep and repeat. My mother has never worked after, Silvia, my oldest sister was born.

On the surface it looked like a fantastic way of growing up, but in reality, to me, it was the opposite. Like I said, I was the youngest of four. Silvia is a very intelligent young women and excelled in everything she did, somehow all her achievements were met by Amelia, the middle sister. My brother Gianluca was a hard worker from a young age and when he was 14 he regularly helped out my dad.

Then there is me, the screw up of the family. School was a complete waste of time to me, I couldn’t motivate myself to ever get out of bed when I needed to and frankly I loved my lazy life. My parents however didn’t. Most of my teenage years I spend in the attic of our house, usually drawing or painting. I’d use anything I could find as a canvas. My dads old plain white T-Shirts, my mothers old blanket, an old chair and more.

Unsurprisingly my mother didn’t approve of my way of life, so one day she kicked me out of the house with one small suitcase of my belongings and a bit of cash when I was 17 years old. That was two years ago. Those two years were some of the hardest, shittiest years I’ve ever faced, but I wouldn’t want to trade them in for the world.

I’ve always been a quiet person, which is why growing up I never had many friends. I didn’t really need them, all I needed was my brush, some music and the fresh Italian air. But that same thing made my life really hard after I got kicked out. I decided to go north, after some hitch-hiking I got myself settled in Florence, the capital of art in my opinion.

It was a true shame I could never enjoy it, I lived on and off the streets, depending on whether I could talk myself into someone’s home or not. During the day, I would paint and sell some paintings to tourists and the bit of money I made, were spent on food.

I spent 14 months in Florence, before continuing my journey. My destination was meant to be Milan, but in the summer of 2002 something kept me in the city of Parma.
Having been forced to mature at such a young age, Cecillia must be admired!

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