BY his own admission, Jamie Guy has rediscovered his passion for football.

And after a career of highs and lows, on the pitch and off it, he has more reason than most to appreciate his sport.

The former Colchester United striker emerged through the ranks at Layer Road before bursting onto the first-team scene in 2005.

However, it was during the following campaign that he made his mark at the then Championship club.

He scored his first senior goal in a 2-1 defeat against West Bromwich Albion, seconds after coming on for Kem Izzet, and went on to become something of a super-sub, also notching late goals against Coventry City and Cardiff City.

“I look back with real fondness on my time with Colchester,” said Guy, who has just popped up on the non-league scene again after joining Holland FC.

“It was a great achievement just to be in and around that squad.

“I played a lot of games, even if a few of my appearances were as a substitute, and no-one can take that away from me.

“I’m proud of the fact I was at the club at such a successful time, when they were in the Championship.

“It was a great set of lads and there was a fantastic atmosphere within the group.

“The team spirit was brilliant, both in the year we went up and in our first year in the Championship.

“It was all a bit of a fairytale.

“You couldn’t make it up, going to some of the grounds we went to and picking up results along the way.

“I remember scoring my first senior goal at West Brom.

“It was against their keeper Pascal Zuberbuhler, who had just played for Switzerland at the 2006 World Cup.

“He didn’t concede a single goal in their group games against France, Togo and South Korea, or in their second-round match against Ukraine.

“I remember one of the papers said I’d managed something the likes of Thierry Henry and Andriy Shevchenko hadn’t!

“There are lots of good memories and my dad has got all the cuttings at home.”

In need of regular football, Guy joined Conference outfit Oxford United on a season-long loan in July 2008.

And down the years, non-league football has proved another outlet of great enjoyment for the 30-year-old.

His list of clubs includes the likes of Essex sides Tiptree United, Braintree Town, Maldon and Tiptree, Heybridge Swifts, Witham Town and, more recently, Stanway Rovers.

Now he is at Thurlow Nunn League outfit Holland - linking up with friend, joint-manager and former Stanway coach Jon Willis - as well as being a Colchester and District Sunday League regular with Marquis.

“I’ve still got the football bug and this move has helped me get my buzz back,” he said.

“I’m enjoying it again.

“I just want to get as fit as I can as I haven’t played for a while and I’m happy to be here.

“I’m not thinking long-term, in terms of trying to move back to a higher level, and am just taking it game by game, week by week.

“For now, I just want to enjoy playing football.

“It can be difficult with work.

“I’m a bricklayer and so have quite a physical job, as well as very early starts.

“But it’s all worth it - especially when you win.”

Guy has more reason than most to appreciate football, having had his ability to walk properly - let along play sport - cast into doubt in February 2011.

Playing for Braintree, he suffered a sicking collision with Eastleigh goalkeeper Gareth Barfoot.

He was left with a double open leg fracture and broken tibia and fibula and facing a lengthy, painful rehabilitation period.

“There have been a lot of ups and downs over the years - there always is in football - but I think all players should play as long as they can,” said Guy, who was boosted by a benefit match, organised by Braintree and Colchester, at Cressing Road in July 2011 .

“If you don’t, I think you’ll regret it.

“You’ve got to get as much football as you can, for as long as you can.

“That injury was a killer and cost me a year and a half of my playing days.

“It was horrendous and I was told I wouldn’t walk properly again, let along play football.

“It makes me even more philosophical about it all.”

For now, Guy is happy to be playing again and delighted to be at Holland, playing under Willis and joint-boss Rob Batten.

“I saw Jon had got the job there and we’d got on well when we were together at Stanway,” he said.

“I sent him a text to say well done and he came straight back and asked if I fancied coming over.

“I think he was half joking but I thought ‘why not’.

“He explained that there was no budget but I told him that didn’t matter.

“I just want to play.

“The club are looking to bring young kids through and hopefully I can help where I can.

“That’s the next step for me in football, to try and get involved in the coaching side of things and pass on the benefit of my experience.”