In love with the game again: Liam Reddy. Photo: Simon BennettLiam Reddy accepts he can’t change the past, nor what anyone thinks of him. But he’s never been more determined to set things straight. It was only 18 months ago that Reddy had a brain explosion, one even he can’t quite get his head around.
Dropped from the Sydney FC starting side and disaffected with the professional footballer’s lot, Reddy got drunk on a flight to Wellington before a preliminary final with the Phoenix.
Reddy, 32, accepts the stigma of what happened will linger for as long as he pulls on the gloves.
”That’s going to stay with me, I’ve got no doubt about that,” he said. ”But hopefully I can rectify that this year and they can start talking about my performance on the park rather than the last couple of years at Sydney. I’ve got to prove that I can be remembered for a guy that’s taken his second chance.”
Despite having a year to run on his contract, Sydney effectively tore up his deal and, with a glut of quality keepers in the A-League, Reddy was rendered virtually unemployable in Australia.
He ended up in Tehran but was scantly involved for Esteghlal. At rock bottom, Reddy joined NSW Premier League side Sydney United, where Mark Rudan had just taken charge. They went on to win the National Premier League, earning him a trial – and a contract – with Central Coast.
”They [Sydney United] took me in there, and that’s my junior club,” he said. ”I got back to enjoying football again because I probably hadn’t enjoyed football the last couple of years, and found my enjoyment and love for it again. Now I’ve come to a great club here with a great culture among the players. I’m fortunate that the club has given me an opportunity, and I’m hoping to repay them this year.”
The Mariners are the fifth A-League club Reddy has represented, after starting with Newcastle, followed by Brisbane for three seasons, Wellington for 12 games, then Sydney for two years.
Mariners coach Graham Arnold gave Reddy a chance to replace Justin Pasfield in Sunday’s match against Brisbane Roar after the latter’s howler in the F3 derby the previous week. He played a blinder – only denied a clean sheet by Kwame Yeboah’s last-minute cracker.
”I’ve been lucky. I’ve come off a good solid season at Sydney United, and finished with them in mid-September, and came straight into pre-season with these guys,” Reddy said. ”I feel sharp, and working with [Mariners’ goalkeeper coach] John Crawley has definitely added to my game and brought new things for me to learn.”
Arnold believes Reddy can make good on his promise. ”If he didn’t have any off-the-field problems at Sydney FC, he would still be their No.1 goalkeeper,” he said. ”He showed [against Brisbane] he’s got that quality.”
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