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Birmingham winger Fahey almost quit game after Arsenal, Villa rejection

Birmingham City midfielder Keith Fahey admits he almost quit the game after rejection from Arsenal.

Fahey is making the most of his second shot at the big time, after admitting he came close to quitting the game. The Dubliner was a trainee at Arsenal before he signed for Aston Villa as a 17-year-old for £250,000. But it was too much, too soon; he did not enjoy the seriousness of being a young professional and he suffered from homesickness.

He returned to Ireland in 2003 and played for St Patrick's twice and Drogheda United, from where he was sacked for disciplinary reasons. In his second spell at Pat's he found himself at the crossroads.

"A couple of my close friends were telling me to look at something else, apart from football," he told the Guardian. "I thought, 'One more year and that's it,' although I didn't know what I would have done. I gave it one more bash in my last season at Pat's and, luckily enough, I got another shout."

Fahey joined Birmingham in January last year and helped the club win promotion from the Championship. Last season he featured in 34 of the club's Premier League matches, 18 of them as a starter. One of his father's final memories was watching him on television in the season opener at Manchester United.

"When I was younger I didn't see the bigger picture and I didn't enjoy being away from home," Fahey said. "But this time around I'm more determined to keep going. I'd also say that over the last year I've got a lot stronger, mentally."

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