It is New Year’s Eve and what does every party start with? A goal from Billy Priestley because “we’re having a party when Billy scores!” And who can forget the party that every Ramsbottom United supporter had when he did just that in the league play-off semi-final win at Darlington in 2014 – which brought us one of the most memorable nights in our history!
Here is Billy “Looking Back” on his relatively short time at Rammy but was an integral member of the promotion winning side at Bamber Bridge.
Name: Billy Priestley
Appearances: 49 (1 as sub)
Yellow cards: 10
Red cards: 1
Seasons: 2 – 2013/14 to 2014/15
How did you come to join Ramsbottom United?
I was playing at Barnoldswick, where I had been for about a season. Paul Fildes was the manager and Jonno got in touch with him asking if he borrow Billy, our centre half. All of Rammy’s centre halves were injured but they were about to sign Billy Williams, who was playing for us. The paperwork came through with Billy Priestley’s name on it! Fildesy got on the phone and said ‘no, Billy Priestley can’t go, he plays for us every week’ but, in the end, I went to just play one game, a home game against Darlington – Robbo got a hat-trick. I didn’t really know anyone then but had a real laugh, although I got elbowed in the face, knocking my teeth out! After the game, Jonno said to me that I could either go back to Barlick or stay on with Rammy – it was a no brainer for me.
Just has to be the season we got promoted. The lads we had were absolutely great, really good lads. Training was always good, never had any bad points to it. But the real highlight was that Darlington away game in the play-offs when it all kicked off! All of the fans invaded the pitch at the end and it wasn’t great so we just got off the pitch as quick as we could but when I turned around to see Whiz going to the far side to get his bloody shin pads!! I went back out to get him back in and some fan was goading me on. I was about to throw a punch at him but Bernard held me arm back … there was also a copper right behind him! Would have got into quite a bit of trouble if he hasn’t held me back! It was a great game, really hostile atmosphere and to score as well, that was brilliant!
My favourite game just has to be the Bamber Bridge play-off final. There was so much pressure on us to win it and we didn’t want to let anyone down. It went right down to the last kick when they scored that penalty and we were really disappointed to have to go through extra time. But Dom scored that goal and then Martin [Fearon] pulled off that incredible save. That was a great game, so many heart in the mouth moments but the celebrations afterwards were something else!
I didn’t really have many from my time at Rammy as I loved it there but I suppose it was when I left to go to Bradford Park Avenue, only because it was a step up and it was a chance to play at a higher level. It didn’t really work out there and I kind of regretted leaving Rammy when I did. It was a bit of extra money but not the same as playing with the lads I did at Rammy. Rammy is a great club, everyone is friendly and meets up in the bar afterwards – and you have to buy your wages off Harry!!
Best player you played with?
There were a lot of really good players but Danny Warrender was as hard as nails! I have never met a centre half play with no shin pads on but he did. There would be a huge gash on his shin but he wouldn’t flinch at all. He was class. We had a great team, the likes of Jordan and Gaz Stopforth. I remember playing against Rammy for Colne and playing against Whiz [Phil Dean]. He knocked the ball past me and left me for dust!!
Player to avoid on the pitch?
I used to play against Robbo quite a bit before I came to Rammy and he used to kick me loads, boot me around the pitch but always come up at the end of the game and say what a good game it was. Robbo is a great bloke, really enjoyed playing with him and against him. Jonno was the person to avoid most, he used to give me the most grief but then he would normally be giving Jordan loads so we got away with it a bit!
Wodge [Danny Warrender] after the Bamber Bridge play-off win. He had a little C-Max car and we all piled into it and onto it and rolled down the hill just hanging on!! Oh and riding around on a little girls pushbike around the cricket outfield too – she didn’t really know what to do!!
But most of the time with Jordan were the funniest moments, he was bloody brilliant! But all of the good times were coming off the pitch where the club always involved the family and every single supporter wanted you to do well. Loved the fans singing my name too – that was brilliant.
And I also remember this one lad who was late for training one time, about 10 minutes later. Jonno was giving him the hurry up but he was just like, I’ll take as much time as I want. Jonno basically just told him that he can take as much time as he wants … putting his trainers back on and getting out! Never saw him again!
Oh… and the naked bus … can’t say what happened!! We had some great times!