William John "Willie" Boland (born 6 August 1975) is an Irish former professional footballer.
|Full name||William John Boland|
|Date of birth||6 August 1975|
|Place of birth||Ennis, Ireland|
|Height||5 ft 9 in (1.75 m)|
|1991–1992||Republic of Ireland U17||3||(0)|
|Republic of Ireland U21|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only|
He notably played in the Premier League for Coventry City, and in the Football League for Cardiff City and Hartlepool United. He has also played for Limerick and spent a short spell as interim manager of the club in 2017.
Born in Ennis, County Clare, Boland started his career with Coventry City, making over 60 league appearances, before moving to Cardiff City in 1999. Despite scoring on his debut on 7 August 1999 in a 1–1 draw with Millwall, Boland initially struggled to find form in Cardiff, his time not helped by a broken leg early into his second season at the club, sustained in a match against Barnet. It was not until he recovered from the injury that he began to settle in the side and the following season he was awarded the club's player of the year award due to his performances in a three-man midfield alongside Mark Bonner and Graham Kavanagh. After helping the team win promotion to Division One he gradually fell out of favour under new manager Dave Jones.
The Irishman was Cardiff City's longest serving player, having been at the club for seven years and starting over 200 games, before leaving when his contract expired in the summer of 2006. He spent a short unsuccessful time on trial at Swansea City before in August 2006 signing for Hartlepool United.
Boland became Danny Wilson's first signing. His tough-tackling is something that Wilson had been looking to add to the squad and he agreed terms at The Vic after being out of contract at Cardiff in the summer. His leadership skills and experience were another part of the reason that Pools were quick to move for him when he became available.
Boland is a hard tackling midfielder with good battling qualities; he has represented his country at Under-21 level.
Boland announced his retirement from professional football on 21 October 2009 having not featured in a professional match for 14 months due to knee problems. His last appearance came on 23 August 2008 in a 1–0 defeat to Stockport County. He scored his only goal for Hartlepool in a 4–2 win over Colchester United on 9 August 2008.
Boland came out of retirement in May 2010 to sign for Limerick. Boland made his League of Ireland debut as a substitute, which turned out to be his only appearance, at Athlone Town on 8 May. On 5 April 2017, Boland was appointed interim manager of the side following the departure of Martin Russell. He spent one month in charge of the side before the club appointed Neil McDonald as Russell's permanent replacement.
- Football League Division Two play-off winner: 1
- FAW Premier Cup winner: 1
- "Willie Boland". Barry Hugman's Footballers. Retrieved 1 November 2017.
- Hayes, Dean (2006). The Who's Who of Cardiff City. Derby: Breedon Books. p. 25–26. ISBN 1-85983-462-0.
- "Veteran Cox released by Cardiff". BBC Sport. 22 May 2006. Retrieved 22 May 2006.
- "Hartlepool boss snaps up Boland". BBC Sport. 18 August 2006. Retrieved 18 August 2006.
- "Pools' Boland hangs up his boots". BBC Sport. 21 October 2009. Retrieved 21 October 2009.
- "Hartlepool 4–2 Colchester". BBC. 9 August 2008. Retrieved 16 February 2010.
- "Willie John Boland signs with Limerick FC". Limerick F.C. 4 May 2010. Retrieved 13 May 2010.
- "Willie Boland takes over as Limerick FC interim manager". rte. 5 April 2017. Retrieved 5 April 2017.
- Adrian Finnin (18 May 2017). "Neil McDonald confirmed as new Limerick FC boss". Sporting Limerick. Retrieved 11 October 2017.