Tháng Chín 23, 2020

Manchester United's Lost Talent: Adrian Doherty

many stars have risen from manchester united's academy but perhaps the brightest of them all could have been a player that few have heard of Adrienne Doherty never made a first team appearance for United but his name is spoken with reverence by anyone who saw him play and while

very little footage exists the testimony to his talent is deep rich and compelling imagine a bit of Ryan Giggs a bit of Andrei Kanchelskis and a bit of Cristiano Ronaldo wrote tony park in sons of united a chronicle of the manchester united youth team then but it all

together and gigs himself doesn't disagree he spent much of his youth career on the opposite wing to Adrian and remember someone destined for a career at the top who could have done anything in football Gary Neville is also highly complementary so to a host of other Academy players

whose paths crossed with Adrian the admiration is unanimous and yet bizarrely almost none of it was made public until Oliver Kay's book foreveryoung was published in 2016 he was never discussed his memory was allowed to fade [Music] Adriane was born on June the 10th 1973 the son of

Jimmy and Geraldine and one of four children he was raised in Strabane in County Tyrone the mile from the Irish border Strabane was a place hit hard by industrial decline in the 1970s but it was hit harder by the troubles becoming a frequent battleground between unionists and Republicans

Adrienne's friends remember a happy childhood though and an intelligent boy who took easily to any sport that he played particularly football he was obsessive and dedicated spending hour after hour in the local park dribbling a ball between empty bottles and used cans timing himself as he went Adrian

would develop a reputation as a blindingly quick winger he was full of skill and changes in direction and had a low center of gravity which he is later a senior united figure would liken to that of romário the great Brazilian forward Adrian was an incendiary Talent and at

13 years old was playing for more field boys club which at the time was run by Matt Bradley he was remembers Bradley the nearest thing I've seen to another George best by the end of 1986 Adrian had attended trials at Nottingham Forest and Arsenal and knowing that the

Daugherty's were a Manchester United family Bradley took matters into his own hands writing a letter to Alex Ferguson urging United to take a look scout Eddie Coulter was dispatched was quickly impressed and in August 1987 Adrian alongside a young goalkeeper Michael Nash and a talented midfielder the future

Liverpool Celtic and Leicester manager Brendan Rodgers was invited to attend a trial in Manchester Daugherty was immediately impressive he was one who made you look up remembered Brian kid Adrian could light it up the United offered an apprenticeship which would begin in 1989 with Alex Ferguson calling the

DA high tea house in Strabane to break the news but when it began apprentice life was difficult for Adrian he lived in gigs a few hundred yards from the cliff the club's old training ground and the routine was odds with his personality he was a bright free-spirited quirky

boy who was passionate about literature and knew sick and who between the regimented training sessions the puerile initiations and the hours of boredom after training found it hard to adapt it to the banality of his new routine to pass the time and with some of the money from

the twenty nine pounds fifty a week he was earning he bought himself an acoustic guitar he'd grown up a Bob Dylan fan a legacy from his father and on Saturdays when most of the other scholars were watching the first team Old Trafford Adrian would often give away his

complimentary tickets and go busking in the city center but he was homesick Manchester was a different world tall busy and imposing in November 89 he even briefly returned to Strabane and was only coaxed back to England after United allowed him to move out of digs and live with

a Manchester family who were originally from Strabane but while the social adjustment was difficult football Watson he starred for the B team United's fourth eleven and became a regular for the a-team whenever he or gigs featured in one of those sides the other players were instructed to win

the ball move it and feed it to one of those two wingers by the second half of the 8990 season he was also featuring for the reserves and for the first time training alongside players like Mark Hughes and Bryan Robson with the first team in the spring of

1990 an injury crisis even saw him travel to Southampton for a first division game with the possibility of appearing on the bench and if he came on becoming the club's youngest debutante since Duncan Edwards it was extraordinary progress for a first-year apprentice let alone a 16 year old

who according to Archie Knox Ferguson's assistant manager must have been about five stone wept through a wee wife in the words of goalkeeper Jim Leighton now Adrian didn't make his debut at the Dell but he did collect a win bonus while other 16 year olds might have bought

new trainers or designer clothes he bought an old-fashioned typewriter on which in time he would tap out short stories and poems Manchester United would offer a five-year contract in the summer of 1990 at the time it was the longest and richest contract the club had ever offered to

a 16 year old but adrian declined the offer telling an amazed Alex Ferguson that he prefer one or two years both parties eventually settled on three after Adrian and his father left old trafford and asked his son why he replied that he couldn't be sure whether he'd still

want to be playing football in five years and on the 2nd of March 1991 the day that Ryan Giggs made his Manchester United debut Adrian Doherty was sat in the Old Trafford stance nursing a sore knee a week earlier he'd been injured in an a team game against

Carlisle United reserves by a tackle rather than a foul a 50/50 in his words and though he didn't know it at the time he would never be the same player again the nature of his injury remains a cause of conflict in March 1991 a sprain of the medial

collateral ligament was diagnosed two-and-a-half months later he was even playing again in the youth tournament in Zurich a few weeks after that he appeared in the first of two end of season games in Trinidad but complained afterwards of pain in his knee in July the first MRI scan

was taken revealing a proximal tear of the anterior cruciate ligament but no surgery was recommended in September with no sign of improvement an arthroscopy was performed but again with no reconstructive surgery instead Doherty was sentenced to rehabilitation in the cliffs gym and would eventually see the pitch again

in December for a B team game it would be a disastrous comeback his knee would fail him this time with no ambiguity his anterior cruciate ligament was damaged and a reconstruction was the only course of action in the aftermath Adrien embraced the other life that he'd been building

he'd been busking since he arrived in Manchester sometimes he would even perform on coach journeys for his teammates and by 1992 he'd become a regular at open mic nights in the city he'd even formed a band the Mad Hatter's and in May of that year in the early

summer of 1992 he spent the better part of a month in New York performing under the name murk hillbilly and becoming a minor part of the East Village scene the introvert in nature was an extrovert a heart but football was over he would return to England for one

final season at Manchester United and he would make a few B and reserve team appearances but his contract wouldn't be renewed he's damaged right knee still wouldn't fully straighten his power and acceleration were gone into this day the handling of his injury remains a point of contention between

the Doherty family and Manchester United he would play again briefly for Derry City but he left football behind seemingly not needing it or becoming embittered without it he would spend two and a half years in Preston working in a Chocolate Factory then a few months back home in

Strabane at a local hosiery factory on a win he moved to Galway becoming a day porter at a hotel before working at a cleaning company and then a home bakery everywhere he went the stories are the same of someone that everyone liked of a gentle soul who read

Rambo wrote poetry dabbled in Gnosticism and meditation and who thought deeply about life and art and the meaning of existence in May 2000 a dream set off one final time taking a job for a Dutch furniture company after he arrived in Holland his exact movements remain elusive what

is known is that on May the 7th on a Sunday morning he was retrieved unconscious from a canal in the hark he would remain in a coma for over a month long enough for his mother father sister and elder brother to fly to Holland to be by his

side but on the morning of the 9th of June 2000 a dream Doherty died the day before his 27th birthday at the time that he was admitted to hospital there were no drugs present in his bloodstream nor according to Dutch police was there any indication of violence contrary

to the innuendo which would Sully his memory in the years after and hurt his family a great deal Adrienne had just been on his way to work when he'd fallen in he couldn't swim bit a bit a terrible accident and his life was taken in tragic circumstances but

it was also one lived in many different ways deserving to be remembered as such a free thinker an original and also a precocious footballing talent one revered by anyone who saw it firsthand Adrian Doherty was unique forever young by Oliver Kay the story of Adrian is available to

find in your local book shops and online and if you'd like to read more of Ollie's work you can get 30 days free to do so by visiting the link in the description and joining tpho and Ollie at the athletic thank you for watching today's video [Music] you


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