Conor McCarthy (Michael Legge) 1997-1998

First Regular Appearance: 1.1 (#1)  Tuesday 14th October 1997

Last Regular Appearance: 1.64 (#64)  Wednesday 20th May 1998

Duration: EP: 1 - 64 ½ SE: 1.1 – 1.64

Squad Number/Position: Youth Team / #17 (Midfielder) (1997-1998)

Last Seen: Leaving the Baker’s to return home after being turned down for a professional contract by the club.

 

Conor hailed from County Down in Northern Ireland. In October 1997 aged sixteen, he is accepted to Harchester United’s youth team, something that makes his parents immensely proud. Living away from home for the first time, Conor’s arrival in Harchester is plagued with bad luck; when the Baker’s do not receive the message he is arriving that day, Conor gets rudely turned away from the digs by an unsympathetic Zoe. He then finds no help from manager Ron Atkinson and ends up sleeping rough at Addison Road. Conor is given his place at the digs, only again getting on Zoe's wrong side when it seems she will lose her room in order to fit Conor in.

 

Zoe’s hostility towards Conor continues when he is set an initiation challenge by Sean and Vincent to steal her underwear, and feeling he is struggling in the team on top of this, Conor goes back to Ireland without telling anyone. Zoe realises she has been harsh, and gives Sean a piece of her mind over his antics towards Conor before they and Des work towards getting Conor back to the club. Frank goes as far as travelling to Conor's home but leaves thinking they have lost him for good. He is surprised though when returning late at night from the Christmas party to find Conor sitting on his doorstep.

 

After Conor returns he gets the chance of his career when he is selected for Harchester’s FA Cup Tie against Arsenal. Ian Coates is the worst kind of boss for Conor, and his attitude of not wanting to see any weakness in Conor’s performance sees him being taken off following a disastrous tackle on Ian Wright, and it is Conor’s only appearance in the first team.

 

Conor finds a friend (and later flatmate) in team badboy Warren Masters, who drags Conor into a whole heap of trouble - from denting the hearse they are supposed to be cleaning on the morning of Chairman Michael Jacobs’ funeral, to encountering Doug, Warren’s unfriendly enemy (armed with a litre of tomato ketchup!) when they set up business in a burger van. Warren also causes Conor great embarrassment by making him pose as an escort to "Aunt" Marjorie, a sportswear company owner at a meeting where he has to pretend to be Warren. In order to avoid Marjorie’s older-woman-advances, Conor tells her he is gay - only to be overheard by Zoe and Georgina!

 

Any worries the inexperienced Conor had about making a connection with a woman were soon overcome with the help of physio Trudi Payton. She is gentle and shows him a night of passion, ultimately resulting in the loss of her job. Conor feels awful about this, but the mature Trudi tells him it was worth it and there should be no regrets.

 

At the end of the season in May 1998, Conor gets an almighty shock when Frank tells him he won’t be offering him a pro contract. Frank believes Conor isn’t good enough for the Premiership, and suggests he drop down a league or two and work his way up again. Conor’s emotions have been damaged enough by the game, and believing he will never reach the heights he thought he was heading for, decides to quit football and return home to his family. The Baker’s and Warren wave Conor off in his taxi, and it is later heard he is planning a career in law.