|Uploaded Wednesday, 9th Jun, 2021 at 10:19|
|THE full-back turned midfielder who became a dead ball specialist during at the Sky Blues and also joined an exclusive club by picking up three winners' medals.|
Ballymena United manager Roy Walker invited Kane to pre-season in the summer of 2011 and after impressing against Kilmarnock, he signed a one-year contract at the Showgrounds. The defender marked his debut against Lisburn Distillery in August 2011 with a red card (the first of a few during his Ballymena career!), but it was Glenn Ferguson who began to get the best out of the rejuvenated Kane. In November 2012, he started and scored in the shootout of Ballymena's trophy famine ending victory over Linfield in the County Antrim Shield final.
Tony developed a specialty for spectacular goals and set pieces and following the signing of Jim Ervin in January 2014, Ferguson started to utilise the versatile full-back as a creative central midfielder as the Sky Blues progressed to the final of the Irish Cup.
|Following a number of close calls in finals, Kane and his team-mates finally put their cup disappointments to bed with another County Antrim Shield final victory against Linfield in January 2016, this time a thrilling 3-2 win at Windsor Park.|
|In came the indomitable David Jeffrey in March 2017 and Tony Kane's United career stepped up to another level. Having been appointed the regular penalty taker, he broke a 70-year-old club record - becoming the first midfielder to score more than 20 goals in a single season. This was the same year that he celebrated a landmark 200th game for the Braidmen and also starred in the League Cup final victory over Carrick Rangers in February 2017, having just recovered from injury in time for his third winners' medal with the Sky Blues.|
|Kane went on to make 358 appearances, ninth in the all time list at the Showgrounds, scoring 50 goals and becoming the club's all time record appearance holder in Irish Cup matches. He also completed a rare feat in modern day football by completing ten years, thus earning a testimonial season, an achievement made difficult to mark due to COVID restrictions, but not one that will go unrecognised as manager David Jeffrey explained, "By now he should have had his testimonial game and a celebratory dinner for his ten year of service. Unfortunately the COVID pandemic has denied us that opportunity to date, but the club are committing themselves very much so to, when it is best suited, welcoming Anthony back to play in his testimonial game and also to have a celebratory dinner so we can repay him back for his faithful and loyal service.|
|Anthony Kane, the longest serving member of the squad in Bryan's and my time. Mercurial right foot, corner kicks, free kicks, penalties, so very talented. When we first came we weren't sure where ultimately his best position was, but clearly it was in the middle of the park. A fearless warrior who always gave his best, someone who was a fantastic club man, and you really had to work with him to appreciate the level of his desire to serve this club.|
|An outstanding footballer, an outstanding gentleman of immense integrity and character and again Bryan and I wish him all the very best in the next stage of his playing career."|
|Tony Kane receives the Players' Player of the Year award in 2017|
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