Chris Billy Becomes A Shayman

Last updated : 05 February 2007 By Thetashkentterror
Harshly maligned Chris Billy
United's central midfield stalwart has left the club this evening as he moves on to pastures new in a quest for first-team football closer to his native Huddersfield roots. The 34-year old has been relegated to the bench a bit recently this season, due to the form of Paul Thirlwell and Paul Murray in the engine room, after playing an integral part in the Blues' two successive promotion campaigns.

After being released by Bury at the end of the 2002-03 season Chris was brought to Brunton Park by then manager Roddy Collins in the summer of 2003, although Collins soon got the sack, to be replaced by Paul Simpson, after an appalling start to the 2003-04 campaign that would eventually end in relegation into the Nationwide Conference for the first time in the history of the club.

Billy, who also lists Huddersfield Town, Plymouth Argyle and Notts County among his former clubs, was a lynchpin in the Cumbrians midfield in their successful shot at promotion, at the first attempt, back into the Football League. The Huddersfield-born enforcer scoring one of only four goals for Carlisle in a hugely important play-off semi-final home game against Aldershot which eventually saw United sneak into the final, and a 1-0 win over Stevenage, at Stoke after a tense penalty shootout.

Chris has long been a player that has divided opinion among the Brunton Park faithful, with some supporting his all-action displays while others looked at his habit for giving the ball away a bit too much at times. So, with time running out a little on his career, which also him play a huge part in Carlisle's League Two championship campaign last season, the 34-year old has looked for a move to a club that can offer him the chance of a place in the starting eleven after making 160 appearances, plus seven as a substitute for the Blues.

Town boss Chris Wilder is obviously an admirer of Chris though, after snapping him up on a free transfer on a deal that runs until the end of the 2008-09 season, Wilder telling the Halifax Evening Courier about his new signing : " We know all about Chris who is strong and has plenty of experience. He has been in the Conference so knows what that is all about but he has also played 20 times in League One this season. We want people who have experienced promotion and he has had that. We have been missing his kind of experience for some time and hopefully we can add more quality to the squad in the future. His addition will give our midfield balanced options alongside Tom Kearney, Tyrone Thompson and Nicky Gray."

On that final footnote Wilder has also today signed Nicky Gray, son of Leeds United legend Eddie, on a contract that runs unti the end of the season. Gray was an unsuccessful trialist at Brunton Park in the summer of 2006 who then moved on to the Shay on non-contract terms in September, the 21-year old having made four starts, plus six games as a used substitute for Town to date.

First Team Transfers 2006-07 : Click here