AFTER Liam Feeney completed his first official press duties since signing for Blackburn Rovers on loan from today’s opponents Millwall, he could be seen keenly casting his eyes over the motivational quotes from famous footballers that Gary Bowyer has had plastered over the walls at the club’s top-class Brockhall training complex.
At that exact moment in time Feeney could have been forgiven for thinking just how far he has come.
It was just seven years ago that the winger was playing part-time for non-league side Hayes in the Conference South.
After accepting a chance to go full-time with Salisbury City in the Conference Premier, Feeney began a rise up the Football League ranks which has taken in spells at Bournemouth and Millwall and which culminated with him joining former Premier League champions Rovers on loan for the rest of the seaosn earlier this month.
“If somebody told me 10 years ago I’d be here, I wouldn’t have believed them,” said Feeney, who under the terms of his loan agreement is ineligible to face the Lions at the Den today.
“It’s not something I could have imagined happening but it was always something I dreamed of.
“Hard work, doing well and making the right decisions have got me here and it’s something I’m grasping.
“It’s not something I take for granted as I know how hard it is lower down the league and in non-league, working and stuff like that.
“So this is something I’m grasping. I love being here and hopefully I can help out, do my bit and we’ll see what happens.”
Whether Feeney remains at Rovers after his loan expires at the end of the campaign remains to be seen.
The wide man has yet to make an impression at Ewood Park with two of his three appearances coming off the bench.
Feeney is acutely aware that his spell at Rovers represents a big chance to put himself in the ‘shop window’ as his days at struggling Millwall look numbered.
The 27-year-old is out of contract in the summer and seemed set to leave the Lions earlier in the season before they recalled him early from an impressive loan spell at Bolton who were, and still are, keen to sign him permanently.
Feeney joined Millwall in 2011 after three successful years at Bournemouth, who he helped on their remarkable journey from administration and the bottom of League Two to the Championship, and he was a regular in his first two seasons at the Den under then boss Kenny Jackett.
But he has found opportunities harder to come by this season, firstly under Jackett’s replacement Steve Lomas and most recently under the Lions’ second manager of the season, Ian Holloway.
Feeney said: “It’s been an up and down season.
“I went to Bolton, had a really good time, played regularly and did well – and the rest is history. “I got called back by Millwall and I went from the highs of playing every week to the lows of being in an out again.
“It was frustrating and difficult for me, what with the changes of managers, but I’ve never doubted myself and what I can bring if given the opportunities and those opportunities were a bit few and far between at Millwall.
“So hopefully I can get a few more here and help out.
“You are always out there in the shop window every week when you play but with my contract being up at the end of the season it’s probably makes it more out there.
“But I will not change anything, I will just try my best for Blackburn and see what comes at the end of it."