Billy Sharp

Billy Sharp is an English centre forward who was born in Sheffield on 5th February 1986. Sharp began his senior career with Sheffield United, after a short spell at Rotherham as a youngster. Neil Warnock handed him his first appearance for the Blades as a late sub in a 1-1 draw with Watford on 13th November 2004. Two months later Sharp joined League 2 outfit Rushden and Diamonds on loan. He enjoyed a hugely successful spell at Nene Park, scoring 9 goals in 16 games. Sharp returned to Bramall Lane to make one appearance at the end of the season.

In August 2005 Sharp signed for League 1 side Scunthorpe. He made an immediate impact for The Iron, scoring on his debut in a 1-0 win over Nottingham Forest at the City Ground. Sharp would go on to score 24 goals that season. The following campaign things got even better, as Brian Laws left Glanford Park to be replaced by Nigel Adkins. Sharp's 32 goals fired Scunthorpe to the League 1 title. He enjoyed a good forward partnership with both Andy Keogh and Jermaine Beckford in his two years in North Lincolnshire.

Sharp signed for Sheffield United in July 2007, shortly after Scunny's promotion to the Championship. The powerful striker struggled for form after netting a brace against Morecambe in a League Cup match in September 2007. Sharp went nearly 6 months without scoring, before netting three in as many games in March 2008. He started the 2008/09 season well, with a hatrick against QPR on 16th August. The goals soon dried up again, and Sharp soon fell out of favour at Bramall Lane.

Sharp scored in Sheffield United's 2-1 loss to Port Vale in the League Cup on 11th August 2009 in his final appearance for the Blades. In September 2009 he joined Doncaster on an initial loan deal. Sharp's first Rovers goal came in a 2-2 draw against former club Scunthorpe on 26th September 2009. He didn't take long to hit the ground running. Between October and December Sharp scored 9 goals in 10 games. He helped Donny to a respectable 12th place Championship finish for 2009/10. In the summer of 2010 Sharp signed a permanent deal at the Keepmoat Stadium, reportedly turning down Burnley in the process. Doncaster struggled at the wrong end of the table during 2010/11, but Sharp still found goals easy to come by. He netted 16 before an injury ruled him out for two months in March 2011. He returned on the final day of the season as a substitute in a 3-0 loss at Middlesbrough. That season also saw Sharp net two goals against former clubs Sheffield United and Scunthorpe. Other highlights included a double in a 3-1 win at Derby.

Sharp turned down a move to Southampton in the summer of 2011. Ipswich also had a bid rejected. Sharp scored in the opening day defeat at Brighton, but was later forced off injured and subsequently ruled out for weeks. He returned in late September, by which time Doncaster were rooted to the bottom of the table. Sharp missed the home match against Coventry in October 2011 due to the tragic death of his newborn son. Incredibly the player made a return just three days later, for the 3-1 defeat to Middlesbrough. Sharp scored the opening goal, and then revealed a t-shirt with the words "That's for you son." Four days later he scored in a 3-2 win at Portman Road, where he received a standing ovation from the Ipswich fans. Sharp continued his fine form in front of goal under new Doncaster boss Dean Saunders. He netted twice against Millwall on 29th November and did the same against Leicester on 17th December. Sharp also scored the only goal of the game against Southampton on 3rd December. He played his final game for Rovers on 21st January 2012, in a 2-1 defeat at Bristol City.

On January 30th 2012 Sharp signed for Southampton for an undisclosed fee, believed to be in the region of 1.85m. The former Doncaster man had previously rejected a move to Leicester, who were apparently willing to pay higher wages than Saints.

Sharp made his Saints debut in the snow at Birmingham on February 4th 2012. He scored a fluke goal in his first start a week later against Burnley. Sharp looked off the pace at first, and struggled for form. He missed a sitter at West Ham on February 14th. He then spent weeks on the bench, with the likes of Tadanari Lee and David Connolly keeping him out of the side. When they suffered injuries Sharp received another chance. He gained plenty of confidence after scoring twice against former club Doncaster on 24th March 2012. Sharp missed a penalty at Blackpool on March 31st, but quickly recovered and looked fitter and more clinical than ever before during April. He became a fans favourite after scoring twice in a 2-2 draw with Pompey. Sharp also netted a further goals against Peterborough, Middlesbrough and Coventry, helping Saints to the Premier League.

Sharp was involved in Saints' first two Premier League outings from the bench, before netting in a 4-1 win over Stevenage on 28th August 2012. Three days later he made the surprising move to Nottingham Forest on a season long loan deal. He took a while to find his shooting boots, before scoring his first in a 3-1 win over Cardiff on 20th October. Found the net 8 times in the following 14 games, but scored just twice in 2013, with his most recent coming at the start of February. Spent time on the bench towards the back end of the season as form deteriorated. A player who bases so much of his game around goalscoring might have been slightly disappointed with his eventual tally.

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