Goalkeeper Roy Carroll joined Hull City when he turned 18 in September 1995. He was raised in Tamlaght, a village near Enniskillen in County Fermanagh, on the western fringes of Northern Ireland, and had come to City’s attention playing for local side Ballinamallard United in the Northern Irish Football League. After a short spell learning his trade alongside fellow Ulsterman netminder Alan Fettis, Carroll made his first team debut in January 1996 and immediately impressed with his command of the box and shot-stopping ability. Roy was making his name in a City side that was sliding into the fourth tier under Terry Dolan, and was City’s stand-out player throughout 1996. After three months out of the first team between November 1996 and January 1997, Roy returned to first team action and attracted the attention of several scouts from higher divisions. In April 1997 Carroll joined Wigan Athletic for a £350,000 fee, the largest fee paid by the Latics at that time. The fee was needed by the potless Tigers to pay an Inland Revenue debt, plus it was reputed that Dolan bagged 15% of the transfer fee – an odd motivational tactic for a football manager charged with building a successful squad. Later, the 20% sell-on clause Dolan placed on any future transfer was cashed in for £80,000 by City chairman Nick Buchanan, thereby saying goodbye to a half a million reward when Carroll eventually moved to Manchester United. Grim times.
Roy was the first choice goalkeeper at Wigan for four seasons, although he had to wait until November 1997 for his debut when he replaced another ex-Tiger Lee Butler. He twice played in the Championship play-offs for Wigan, but both campaigns were unsuccessful and in in July 2001 a £2.5 million fee took Roy to Manchester United. Working alongside Fabien Barthez and Tim Howard over the next four seasons, Roy made 72 appearances for the Red Devils in all competitions including 10 starts in European competitions, and won medals as a Premier League title winner and FA Cup winner. In January 2005 he made a notorious “save” when he clawed back a shot from Tottenham’s Pedro Mendes that had clearly crossed the goal-line, only for no goal to be awarded. However a 14 month lay-off with a back injury led to the development of problems with depression and alcohol abuse.
In May 2005, after assurances of being Manchester United’s first choice goalkeeper fell on deaf ears, Carroll joined West Ham United. He started his two seasons at Upton Park well but the combination of a back injury that required surgery, and his continued struggles with alcohol and gambling addictions, hampered his first team exposure and in July 2007 he signed for Glasgow Rangers. After just one appearance in the League Cup for Rangers Roy joined Premier League side Derby County in January 2008, but when the Rams were relegated in May 2008 and Nigel Clough took over as manager in January 2009 Roy lost his position in the first team.
In August 2009 he joined Danish Superliga side Odense BK and quickly became the League’s Goalkeeper of the Year. After 16 months in Denmark Carroll terminated his contract to return to the UK. After several unsuccessful trials with English clubs Roy headed for Greece in August 2011 to sign for OFI Crete. His form, coupled with his new-found sobriety after giving up alcohol, encouraged Greek Superleague rivals Olympiacos to sign Carroll in January 2012, where he saved a penalty with his first touch in a Europa League tie. He spent two seasons in Athens, winning one Superleague title winner’s medal and two Greek Cup winner’s medals. He joined Notts County in 2014, where in November 2014 he played an international for Northern Ireland and a League fixture for the Magpies in the space of 24 hours. Two years later in 2016 he returned to Northern Ireland, signing for Linfield. Playing into his 40s and making 78 appearances for The Blues under the management of former international team-mate David Healy, Roy ended his playing days in 2019 with two further league title winning medals in his collection, a cruciate ligament injury bringing a close to a highly decorated and at times notorious career. He subsequently worked with a footballers’ agency in Northern Ireland and worked for the Northern Ireland FA’s elite player development programme as goalkeeper coach.
Carroll was a Northern Ireland youth international and also made 11 appearances for the under-21 side. He made his senior debut for Northern Ireland in May 1997, shortly after leaving Hull City, and made the last of his 45 appearances against New Zealand in June 2017.
Nationality: Northern Ireland
Date/Place of Birth: 30 September 1977, Enniskillen
Hull City First Game: 20 January 1996, Swindon Town A (League Division 2), 18 years, 112 days old
Hull City Final Game: 1 March 1997, Northampton Town H (League Division 3), 19 years, 152 days old
Ballinamallard United, Hull City (1995-1997), Wigan Athletic (1997-2001), Manchester United (2001-2005), West Ham United (2005-2007), Glasgow Rangers (2007-2008), Derby County (2008-2009), Odense BK (2009-2011), OFI Crete (2011-2012), Olympiacos (2012-2014), Notts County (2014-2016), Linfield (2016-2019)
Hull City Record
Career: 50 apps, 0 goalsRoy Carroll
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