Billy Sharp meets

Billy Sharp is one of the most recognisable names in the English Football League. With over 200 (two hundred!) career goals to his name, Sharp has been making defenders look like amateurs since bursting onto the scene in 2005. But is there really much of a difference between a professional, a semi-pro and a grassroots player anyway?

We put Billy to the test and asked him about his experiences growing up as a budding youngster in Sheffield.


With over two hundred career goals to his name in the English Football League, Sharp is one of the most recognised names in the Sky Bet Championship. The striker has even played in the Premier League, and as a result you’d imagine that he’d have enough in his locker to beat our competitors at one of the FAs new hubs, St, George’s Park Sheffield Graves.

The Sheffield United legend was up against Brad Danks, Sunday League player for Staffordshire Arms FC, and Sheffield FC’s Joel Purkiss. To reflect their status in the footballing pyramid, each would be wearing a different Nike trainingwear range from the latest catalogue, with Billy in premium Squad 17, Joel in mid-range Academy 18 and Brad in low-cost Park 18 apparel.

Professional vs Semi-Pro vs Grassroots: Who Wins?

They say that you shouldn’t meet your heroes. Unfortunately, our player representing grassroots football didn’t listen to that advice. Lifelong Blade Brad started brightly by bagging his first free kick, however didn’t score a single effort after that. His left-footed, comically scuffed finish half-way through the challenges had Sharp in stitches.

Joel, our semi-professional from Sheffield FC, struggled early doors, but the forward almost made up for this by connecting with two volleys in the last challenge. This took his total to four points – having failed to convert any of his challenges in the first two rounds.

Needing five points to win, Sharp showed his class by converting a beautifully curled finish in the one-on-ones before dispatching first-time efforts – including an insane scissor kick – past the goalkeeper. He might have left it late, but these strikes highlighted the gulf in class between the three levels.

Billy Sharp

Pro Sharp Looks Back on Grassroots Beginnings

Whilst Sharp might have cemented top spot in our challenges as a professional player, he can still remember the times he had as a grassroots player in Sheffield.

“I started at a team called Whitehill, but we used to get beat week-in, week-out and I wasn’t happy,” Sharp recalled. “So, my dad took me to a team called Middlewood Rovers. We did really well, and a few more of the team could have made it as professional footballers but things come up in life and you go down different paths. I really enjoyed playing as a kid. Our away kit was all white and my mum washed the kit, so she would be annoyed when I slid about after scoring”.

As mentioned, Billy has scored a lot of goals in his career. But what has been the secret to his success, and what advice would he give aspiring young players?

“Belief, I think. Although I was small as a kid, as I’m still small now, I always wanted to play as a striker. I think I have a knack of being in the right place at the right time, and that’s something I’ve got naturally. It’s a confidence thing.

“As a young kid, you have to enjoy it. Without enjoying the game it will be a tough struggle. Other than that, the best advice I could give is to make sure you concentrate when you’re on the pitch. Ensure you put your mind to it.”

Billy Sharp wp1

Sharp Shooter Passes on Knowledge

Having already enjoyed an extremely successful playing career, Billy is now keen to transfer his knowledge to a younger generation. His soccer school at Goals Sheffield, Sharp Shooters, is developing a reputation in surrounding areas of United’s Bramall Lane as one of the most enjoyable footballing experiences for five-to-thirteen-year-olds.

“I had a good opportunity to set something up, and it’s going really well. We get a lot of kids attending from both sets of fans – United and Sheffield Wednesday – and it’s good to see. It puts a smile on everyone’s faces.” has recently partnered with the soccer school to provide their coaches with some Nike gear. Be sure to find out more about the sessions and activity days that Sharp Shooters are providing by following Goals Sheffield on Facebook.

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