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Norwich City and the professional game did not suit Stowmarket Town signing Anthony Spyrou

Eyebrows were raised when Stowmarket Town’s latest addition Anthony Spyrou joined Step 6 outfit Holland FC in January 2020.

It was a move that came a month after the forward had cancelled his contract with Norwich City – then of the Premier League – by mutual consent.

While Spyrou was yet to make a senior appearance for the Canaries, he had impressed with the club’s under-23s and was a member of the under-18s side that reached the quarter-finals of the FA Youth Cup in 2018.

Anthony Spyrou. Picture: Norwich City FC
Anthony Spyrou. Picture: Norwich City FC

The future looked bright, but after a couple of disappointing loan spells that opened up the striker’s eyes to life in the professional game, he decided it was not for him.

“Wrexham were the first club that came in for me (in March 2019) and I got sent there on loan. There was no research done to see if it would suit me, that sort of thing,” said the 21-year-old, who is training to become a plumber.

“I was away from home for the first time, five-and-a-half hours away and I didn’t get a sniff (of playing). That’s when things started to spiral.

Anthony Spyrou. Picture: Norwich City FC
Anthony Spyrou. Picture: Norwich City FC

“I actually did well during pre-season in Germany with Norwich and then got sent on loan to Chesterfield. It started well, I was scoring goals but then a week before the season I got injured and once I got fit again it was the same as Wrexham – I didn’t get a chance.

“Again I was such a long way from home and I really suffered mentally. I didn’t go the doctors and get diagnosed, but I’m sure it was depression – I was a mess.

“I just decided professional football wasn’t for me. It’s hard to explain it if you haven’t been involved, how lonely it gets and things like that.

“I got a real taste for it and decided it wasn’t something I wanted to do. Everyone is different and it was completely my decision (to leave).

“I even had the chance to move to the MLS when I left Norwich but I didn’t want it. I wanted to go home, play with my mates (at Holland) and be closer to my family and girlfriend.

“I don’t look back with any regrets, it was the right decision for me and I’m in a much better place.”

Covid-19 limited Spyrou to just 14 outings for Holland, but he still contributed a return of nine goals. However, while he has no desire to work his way back up into full-time football, he had found himself getting frustrated with the level.

That was the major driving force in his decision to link up with Stowmarket, who this week were promoted to Step 4 as part of a non-league restructure.

“Playing for Holland helped me massively. I got back to enjoying my football and looking forward to matches,” he added.

“It wasn’t a job anymore and it felt like when I was youngster, just being able to play and not worry about anything else.

“But I have got frustrated at times and that’s why I was keen when Stowmarket showed some interest. I’ve only heard good things about the club and the way it’s run.

“I’ve not met the lads yet but I’ve spoken with the manager (Paul Musgrove) and I liked what he had to say.”

In terms of what he will provide on the pitch, Spyrou is confident he will give the Stowmarket faithful plenty of goals to celebrate.

He said: “I’m a pacey striker and would like to think I can get 20 to 30 goals. It’s been said before that I look a bit lazy at times, but I do work hard and it’s my job to score goals. I’m 6ft2in and can hold the ball up as well.

“I do have a confidence about me when I’m playing – I think you need that as a striker.

“I know Stowmarket have a lot of good players who will create plenty of chances, so it’s down to me to take them.”

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