Oliver Willis is a
defender from Norwich who joined City's Academy as a scholar in
the summer of 2002. He had been with the Canaries as a schoolboy
beforehand, experiencing both the agony of a missed penalty in
the shoot-out against Wycombe in the FA Youth Cup, and being named
Pink Un man of the match for his performance against Ipswich.
Olly was also part of the Norwich Under-12s that swept away all
that opposed them incouding a 14-0 thrashing of Ipswich. Sammy
Morgan said in the summer of 2003 that "Olly may be
small in stature but he's got a big heart and he's a tremendous
On January 26th 2005, Norwich announced that they would not be
offering professional contracts to third year scholars .Adam
Smith, Lee Blackburn, Olly
Willis and Nicky Howell. "We've
worked with the boys and when it comes to the crunch, a decision
has to be made," said Nigel Worthington. "Unfortunately,
from their point of view, the boys will not be taken on. We will
do everything we can to help them move forward, whether that be
in football or another field". Ricky Martin added the
timing of the decision was made to give the players the chance
to make other plans. "We've looked to make this decision
at this time to enable the players to finish off the educational
element of their scholarship and to make a decision as to whether
to pursue their career with trials at another football club or
to apply to university."
Along with Nicky Howell, Ollie was reported to have joined Team
Bath in the summer of 2005. However both of them played for Robert
Taylor's Dereham Town on the opening day of the 2005/6 Ridgeons
League campaign against Halstead (13th August 2005). Ollie was
in the Dereham side that narrowly won the Norfolk Senior Cup final
1-0 against Paul Franklin's Norwich
United on 19th April 2006.
Ollie has a younger
brother Sam who joined him at
Dereham in the autumn of 2005.
Ollie helped Dereham win the Thurlow Nunn Eastern Counties Leauge
title in 2012/13, winning a place in the Ryman League for 2013/14.
He made 27 appearances that season
He later became manager of Harleston Town along with Adam Gusterson, They also manage the Norfolk Under-18 Representative Squad. They led Harleston to promotion into the Eastern Counties League and finished top of the Eastern Counties First Division in 2017/18. On 8th January 2019, Willis and Gusterson were named the new managers of Dereham Town following the sacking of Neal Simmons. A club statement from Harleston said: “The club are sad to announce the imminent departures of our first team management staff, Adam Gusterson, Olly Willis & Chris Linehan. The trio have been offered an incredible opportunity at a higher level and they leave the club with our blessing and best wishes. We will forever be grateful for their incredible achievements at the club, cumulating in the Sterry & Mummerry cup double last season. They leave the team in a fantastic position at the top of the Thurlow Nunn 1st division and will always be welcome back at the club. A further statement will be released in due course regarding the vacant management position.”