Billy O’Brien is a young man aged 22 years who played within the youth system at Manchester City; played in the Wales Under 19 and Under 21 squads and made a number of appearances on loan at non-league Hyde United and in Scotland at St Mirren before joining the Silkmen in 2017. Billy then made several appearances for the Silkmen where he gave a very decent account of himself before he left the club.
Fair enough I hear you say but why are you writing an article about this guy because his career has not been very spectacular and it’s not as if he’s a Silkmen legend is it? Please let me tell you a little more. Billy suffered the heartache of losing his beloved girlfriend who took her own life in June 2017 because she could not cope with the debilitating effects of a chronic bowel condition. Billy spoke of how he and his girlfriend ‘loved each other more than anything else in the world’ and this tragic episode understandably had a massive impact on this young man.
Billy tried to get on with his life by throwing himself into football and he subsequently joined the Silkmen. However, for Billy football could not be his salvation and he felt he had to move on with his life in another direction and the following words from Billy’s Twitter account provide the relevant information as to what direction that Billy took:
“What an amazing feeling. Earned my Green Beret today, and became a Royal Marine Commando. After such a hard year training. It’s all been worth it. Never give up on what you want.
Thank you to everyone who supported me along the way. And for the special people looking down on me.”
Upon reading these words I felt very humbled by this remarkable young man who had suffered almost insufferable heartbreak yet had used this as the catalyst to take himself away from a comfort zone from which he could have immersed himself in as he tried to deal with his grief to achieve an incredible feat, having undergone arguably the longest and most physically demanding specialist infantry training regimes in the world and achieved the treasured green beret. Billy may have only been a Silkmen player for a very short time but I feel honoured that such an incredible young man and genuine true life hero of the finest order played for my beloved Blues even for a very short time. Billy I salute you and I sincerely hope that wherever life takes you that you find the happiness that you so clearly deserve.