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Fortune knocks once at every Man's door

Adam C

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10.3 patch, English, Italian, Spanish and Scottish leagues loaded only, it is a player story.

EDIT: Thought you should know my player is able to play CM, DM or AM, started as 80 CA with -10 PA, and is english.

Chapter 1: Home, Sweet Home

Every man gets a chance to make something out of themselves, something special. The majority lack foresight and wisdom thus letting the opportunity turn to dust, I was not going to do this. I had always been confident in my ability to play football, but had always thought there's so much people out there bound to be far better and more capable, so I never really believed I could truly be a pro. But here I am, Kevin Blackwell, manager of Sheffield United offering for my services at my tender age of 15 in the magnificent Bramall Lane, how could I say no? Needless to say my original idea of taking Maths, English and History were out the window for the time being, this is the first time I truly believed football was a possiblity.

The buzz, you can't explain, maybe it's like a drug which gets the best out of you, and doesn't end with some form of cancer? Probably not a great analogy but it's the best I've got. (Give me some slack, I'm only 15!) Anyhow a part of the deal was a free season ticket, good times. What this did mean, was that I would no longer be going to my local college in Wolverhampton, but moving to Sheffield. Being away from family is certainly a downside, but I knew, I know, it will be worth it in the long term.

I was also promised to make some sort of appearance in the final pre-season friendly against West Ham for the senior side, which is fairly daunting, but It will be a moment to remember whatever happens.

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Chapter 2: The Expected start:

Maybe some of you thought I would make a dream debut, scoring the winner against West Ham and quickly establishing myself as the new star of the side and get in at just 15 years of age, but no, this is not 'Goal'. (Thank goodness) We were easily beaten 5-2 by West Ham on our own turf, I had an alright game though, getting a decent assist for Jordan Slew, but overall I was nothing special. Gotta start somewhere though I guess.

The months following were to be expected, (given away a tad by the title I'd imagine), 1 cup appearance where we beat minnows Morcambe but once again I had little impact, nothing to get worried about yet though.

Then I was playing with the reserves and u18s as well. I'd played sides including Leeds Reserves, Middlesbrough's reserves, Doncaster u18s, and had 6 games and one sub appearance under my belt, in which I'd produced only one assist which was against Scunthorpe. Nothing to alert big side scouts but I was happy, content with how it had gone, aware time was on my side. However, on the 7th of October I had already tasted injury. Against Hartlepool reserves, no scapegoat for me though, as it was one of those rando injuries. I 'tore my calf muscle', whatever that means, is irellevant, what does matter was that I was out of action for 4 months. Bit of a sucker punch, fairly cruel in my opinion at the very start of my career but I was confident it was a one off as Injuries never really happened to me in the past and fingers crossed this does not become a consistent thing.

See you in 4 months...

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Chapter 3: The Wisdom of the Professor

So much months on the sidelines and finally on the 23rd of January, just a week before my 16th birthday, I returned. I was only on light training but to be back on the training pitch at Sheffield felt wonderful. That's when everything changed, I was finally back in training when the boss told me Kevin Blackwell wanted to see me. I'd assumed merely for welcoming me back from my first major injury, however, that was not the case. Roll scene...

I knocked on the door, heard the shout, "Come in", and I entered.

"Sit down Adam Sit down"

I took a seat. He sighed, leant forward onto his desk and said, "We knew when we brought you here you were a bargain, and had the talent to succeed at the highest level. However, we wanted to keep you as a blade for a long while. But that may not be the case."

"But, wha-why? Are you selling me? Releasing me?"

"No, not at all, however, a bid has come in from the very top."

My eyes shot out of their sockets, well it felt that way anyhow. "From who?" I finally maneged to blurt out. Everything seemed to be happening at once.

"I've been speaking with Steve Rowley, a big scout, from Arsenal. They wish to sign you and have bidded a fee we cannot reject"

"Arsenal!?!?!?!? Wow.... I don't know what to say..."

"There's nothing to say. This is a move we cannot refuse, and you cannot refuse. Mr Wenger's track record with youth cannot be rejected by anyone, you are a very lucky boy"

I covered my face with my hands, "Er, I'm at a loss to explain how I feel, erm... Thank you, I owe you so much Mr Blackwell, firstly for giving me my big break and then to let me move on to the top at just 16 is indescribable. Thank you"

He offered his hand, I shook it. He smiled, "Maybe one day you'll play once more at Bramall Lane, but even if that is not to be, we at Sheffield wish you all the best for the future and I look forward to keeping an eye on how your career unfolds"

That's the gist of it. What a moment. Perhaps I will regret not repaying Sheffield back as, well, I felt I owed them. But my original plan to stay with them could not go through once Arsene Wenger came into the equation. His track record is second to none and I don't need to say how capable he is of raising young players. I feel this is my very best shot of being the best I can be. I only hope this is that start of something special.

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cheers Chesterfan 2

Chapter 4: My Sweet 16th

As mentioned before, my 16th birthday was coming up. On the 30th of Jan to be precise. My original plans were to go home and celebrate, however, Arsenal coming in was hardly predictable and the u18s game against Brentford was to be my very first game wearing the proud Arsenal kit, and what better way to celebrate a birthday? Well maybe Spurs would've been a more 'tasy' opponent, but Brentford would do.

Straight away in a competitive game situation you real the difference in class between Arsenal and Sheff Utd, with players like Freddy Eastmond, my midfield partner, Afobe and Freeman up front, but importantly, I felt a part of this team and capable to be so. Straight away Eastmond made his mark with a great ball through for Freeman to slot home with a strikers finish, then a cross in from Jernade Meade was once again met by Freeman. At 75 minutes, my chance came, the corner was crossed in by Eastmond, cleared away, where I was waiting on the edge of the box, I volleyed it, decent connection too! A fair bit over as it turned out. Bit of an anticlimax but there you go, wasn't to be. Saw my name in the stars but to have scored there would have taken a top class strike, perhaps shooting was the wrong decision, but on my debut at 16, I think I could be forgiven. 2-0 was the final scoreline, comfortable and once again at a new club, I was off and running.

I then played against West Ham where Eastmond was needlessly sent off in a 3-0 defeat in the cup, and then played against Dag & Red in a 4-0 demolition away from home. Then it was against the infamous Millwall who we comfortably beat 4-1, and much to my delight I played the killer through ball which Freeman put away for his hattrick. Once again Freeman stole the show in a 2-0 win at Fulham, and then the much awaited game vs Spurs arrived. An early goal from Harry Kane for them left nerves flying, but then Freeman once again found the back of the net this time from just outside the area with a fine strike. A corner was then taken by Eastmond just before the break, defender Rhema Obed leapt above all overs and thumped a header into the corner. 2-1! Perfect timing to. With time running out in the 2nd half they were pushing forward, but after yet another clearance, I was on the ball, two v two, my partner being Luke Freeman, perfect. I ran towards my defender, took him on, successfully! two v one, I had to take advantage. I sprinted onwards towards the last man, pretended to go right, cut inside, played in Freeman! Great touch, Great goal! Game over! I rushed across to celebrate with him in what was certainly my best Gooner moment to date. Get in.

I was fairly exhausted after that and took a rest as we beat Chelsea 2-0 away, not quite as much a force as their seniors I suppose. Then it was Barnet at home, on paper an easy win, but as it was we were playing terribly and 2-1 down with 10minutes left. That was then Eastmond spread it out wide to Freeman, who whipped it in, I had made a late run into the box and met the ball in the air! GOAL! It may have been a terrible day performance and result wise drawing 2-2 at home to Barnet u18s, but I was delighted, I kissed the badge and waved to the fans to celebrate a goal that would always stay with me. It was also the goal that secured the league title! We had edged 4 points clear of Chelsea and that was that. Magnificent. Freeman was the player of the whole division undoubtedly, but I was delighted to play even the very small role i did. A 1-1 draw ended the season at W Ham but no matter whatsoever as some silverware had found it's way to the Emirates. (At last)

One downer was the fact the seniors massively underperformed and finished in 7th, whats more Spurs finished 2nd to kick us whilst we were down. Nontheless, I knew I was at a huge club and that there were good days to come.

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Chapter 5: Take a Break with an Update

Well just on the eve of my new season, the 2010/11 season for those unsure, so I thought I'd summarize the hugely eventful last 12months of mine:

23rd July 2009: Signed for Sheffield United

29th July 2009: Played first game for Sheffield United against West Ham United in 5-2 defeat

12th August 2009: Played first competitive Sheffield United game against Morecambe in League cup, 3-0 win

7th October 2009: injured for 4 months

17th January 2010: Signed for Arsenal

30th January 2010: 16th Birthday, Debut for Arsenal against Brentford u18s in 2-0 win

10th April 2010: First ever senior goal against Barnet u18s and first ever goal for Arsenal in 2-2 draw.

Roll on new season...

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Cheers Ben, Let it be known I have no input on decisions the player makes or anything like that, I just comment on how the game runs.

Chapter 5: No Pain, No Game

First game of the new season, and I felt fresh, ready for my second season. Time to shine. Once again I was wearing my Arsenal kit representing the u18s, however I was playing alongside an unfamiliar team. A new batch of youth had come in, with no very notable new players. Eastmond and Freeman had been promoted to the reserves, and the only new player in the senior side was Mancini, signed for a reported 3.9m. However I still played alongside some familiar faces such as Afobe and Meade. 15 minutes in, and I'd made the dream start. Delivering the corner from which new youngster Ben Wilkinson put away. Then 10 minutes later, I spread the ball out wide for another new boy, Dave Oakley, who took on a defender, beat him! Was in the box now, I was calling for it, he ignored me, took on another, was taken down! Foul, surely! Yes penalty! We were in limbo momentarily until Liam Brady on the touchline indicated that I would be taking this penalty. My heart was in my mouth, admittedly pressure handling has not been my 'thing' in the past. I stepped up, and stroked it into the corner, GOAL! The keeper went the wrong way and I ran off to celebrate, before being bundled by teammates, GET IN! I was loving every minute, certainly my best performance to date, perhaps ever. The half time whistle came far too quickly for my liking and I was just raring to go again. And that I did, picking the ball off immediately after the break, spotting a great run from Afobe, knocking it through, he was in! GOAL! Finished superbly and I ran to celebrate with my team mate, better and better. The smile on my face just grew and grew. It all looks rosy now doesn't it? Well typically that was not the way it would end, as I jumped for a header only to be smashed in the jaw, accidentally of course. The pain was incrucifying. And naturally I have been ruled out for about a month with a fractured jaw. Super duper. Even getting man of the match was of little comfort.

Once again I find myself on the sidelines, frustrated, but I'm not going to be bitter, I'm going to wait it out, try and get back ASAP and support my lads in the meantime. Once again, It's Over and Out till I return.

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Chapter 6: Ups and Downs

On the 29th of August I was shocked to hear my good friend and ex midfield partner Craig Eastmond had left Arsenal for 500k to sign for Sunderland. It came as a bit of a shock, but at least I would certainly keep contact with Craig and keep an eye on how things develop over time for him.

Thankfully my return from injury was quicker than expected and I have since made a few appearances for Arsenal Reserves from the bench. It was a step up I was happy and satisfied to make, perhaps my first performance had a part to play in that? I came on in both Stoke at home and Chelsea away, in which we drew both games 1-1. I came on with little time to make an impact really, but I was slowly gaining my fitness back.

However I'm probably better off getting more football with the u18s than just sub appearances for the reserves, and apparently the management agrees and I have since played a part in beating Fulham 2-1 away curtesy of a 85th minute Tom Lawson goal and a victory over QPR where a single goal from Dave Oakley won the 3 points. I played the full 90 minutes in both games, and although my performances were mediocre, playing again was getting my match sharpness back.

Now time for West Ham, a rivalry. I felt up for it. Not a huge rivalry but a rivalry nontheless. The start, was disastrous. As young striker Jack Wendley broke our offside trap and then broke the deadlock. After that our response, in my view, was superb. We won the 50-50s, we played some typical 'Gooner football' and were fully in control. We also had no trouble creating chances, but just had plenty of trouble in finding the back of the net. Chance after chance went begging, and when it was half time, how we were behind, was beyond me. Frustration was rife through the dressing room but we began the 2nd half as we ended the first, bossing the game completely. Yet still chances were being consistenly wasted. We attacked and attacked, stupidly in hindseight as we didn't need to be at 60 odd minutes, and we unsurprisingly got caught. Matt Hassan was played in and I was just behind him, with no hope of getting the ball, just outside the box, I had to take action, and did just that, I cleaned him out. I was walking before the referee went into his pocket. My first red card. Thinking about it now it may have been the wrong decision considering he may not have scored and time was remaining to get back into it, but I made a decision and paid the price. The decision proved to be the wrong one I guess as we ended with a 3-0 defeat, but perhaps this was just my inexperience showing... Sadly this meant I would miss the following game, but it's only Barnet, so it's not all bad. Sadly our loss to W Ham means we're in 3rd whilst they are 9 points ahead of us but thankfully we have a game in hand.

Now, the transfer market, although Arsenal may have had a quiet transfer market, the market itself has been very busy and some transfers were fairly eye-catching. Such as Luka Modric moving to Barcelona for 36m, too much in my personal view and I cannot see him beating Iniesta and the likes to a starting place, Steven Jovetic and Angelo Palombo signed for Man City for 21m and 22.5m respectively, Luis Suarez left Ajaz for Stamford Bridge for 22m and perhaps the most shocking transfer of the window, Peter Crouch left Spurs, for a fee of 20.5m to Real Madrid. Unbelievable. On that note, another surprise transfer to join the Galacticos was John Arne Riise for the ludicrous fee of 15m. And there were a fair few more big deals as well.

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Chapter 7: Young but not Innocent

I was fairly ashamed about my recent red card and had apologized to all the lads, but in the end that was I all I could do and I had to get on with things again. Of course, I was gutted to sit on the sidelines at Barnet, but I needn't have worried, they were phenominal. Afobe broke the deadline just a minute in, we struggled to find the second goal and in the 51st minute out of nowhere they had equalised. However the lads showed their mental strength and netted 3 times in the last 15minutes, Paul Lake with one and Mark Hayes getting the other two. Meaning the 3 points were ours in a comfortable 4-1 away win.

My suspension was of course then removed and I was picked to play Wycombe in the cup. However was once again terrible as we conceded just a quarter of an hour in, and a scrappy half an hour meant half time. It also meant an unpleasant chat with Liam Brady who told us in no uncertain terms that we were c*** and had to get back into this game. He was right, not a single one of us could have been pleased with their performance out there. So we gritted our teeth, and responded. Kris Cane was on the ball for them, he took me on, but I outmuscled him and played it to Aneke, our captain and my partner in the centre of midfield, who then played a lovely ball out to Tom Lawson on the left flank, who then cut inside, and cut outside once more, confusing his defender, and whipping in a great ball, and it arrived at the back post to right winger WILKINSON! Great header! We were level! Considering he was a winger, it was a superbly directed header which left the keeper stranded. Game on and it have taken just 3 minutes in the first half to get that equaliser. After that it was as if we had a new lease of life, playing quality football, I was on the ball, I played it to Wilkinson, who returned it, I then played it out wide for Lawson, who played it back to Aneke, who flicked it towards myself, I turned instantly and rolled in Wilkinson, One on one! GOAL! Stunning football, and I was proud to be a part of it, proud to wear the Arsenal colours. But once again, just after getting our lead, what is seemingly becoming a trend of mine occurred once more. I was the victim of a late challenge and my ankle was in agonising pain. The offender patted me on the back and was booked for his troubles. The pysios helped get me off the field but it was no go, I could not continue. The physio indicated this to Brady who then swiftly subbed me for Nico Yennaris. I was devastated. I believed it would be yet another month or so out...

Thankfully, the heavens were finally on my side and I was told I would be perfectly able to play the next game and I had nothing to worry about. Makes a nice change.

Anyhow, to my surprise I was even playing Brentford in the next league game and of course this is a fixture I hold dear, with Brentford u18s being my first ever appearance in an Arsenal shirt. I feel I've come on a fair bit since then and here's the chance to prove it. A good performance would've done me fine. However, life holds surprises and this game was no different. 5 minutes in, and already a huge challenge came flying my way and left me grounded. I knew that was me out for the rest of the game. I was disgusted, and bitter. So, so bitter. I lashed out. Kicking Steve Clayton in the leg whilst I was lying on the floor. I acted the inocent, but no use. I saw red, whilst my opposite saw merely yellow. I was outraged. But I was carried of down the tunnel in a stretcher, knowing I had once again disrupted my teams chances of winning the game. Whilst receiving treatment I held back the tears of dissapointment and guilt I felt at my actions and at his. Once again my injury appeared to have no real huge problems attached. But that did little to ease my pain. However, fair play to my team, they took it on the chin and produced a masterclass. Paul Lake got 2, Afobe got one and Dave Oakley also found the scoresheet as the 10men won 4-0.

I received an earful from Brady, and I knew I deserved it. The excuse, "It was inexperience", may have been correct, but the fact was it would have been of no use here, and I could not simply brush aside my stupidity, I had to ensure it never happened again.

To add insult to injury, I would miss 2 games, one of which was Spurs, which was gutting in itself and even MK Dons was a match I'd have liked to play in, as is any game for the gooners. I now needed to put my head down and repay the 2 million or so they payed Sheffield Utd to bring me here.

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