Oli Fannon: From lifeguard to professional footballer – how the youngster signed for Salford City
When Oli Fannon was released from Manchester City academy at the age of 15, he felt like he had lost his love of football.
He then worked as a lifeguard at his local recreation center and performed for Partington Village, his hometown.
But the 18-year-old has found his way back to the game with the help of a former Manchester United striker.
Speaking to BBC Radio Manchester, Fannon explains how he signed professional terms with Salford City.
“I joined City when I was 11. I spent about four years there. It was amazing and a great experience as a kid to play in one of the best academies in the world.
“I was released when I was 15 and that’s when I stopped playing a bit, which I probably shouldn’t have. I should have gone straight back to it. , but that’s where the journey took me.
“When you’re released, especially when you’re 15, it’s that kind of age where you have to be somewhere because that’s when you start to take off.”
Matches for Partington Village followed for the youngster, before a scout who knew former United academy graduate Febian Brandy made contact.
Brandy’s football scout app Skouted has touted players around the world and got Fannon back into the game.
“I kinda lost the love of football and stopped playing but just got back to it, started having fun, got into adult football on Saturday and I found love for it, “Fannon added.
“A scout was watching a game that Fabian knew. He got in touch and put me in a game against Radcliffe, I played a second game against Macclesfield and they started to organize events where the scouts came and went. look at.”
Offer a “second chance”
Those games and the screening events that followed led Fannon to sign his first professional contract with Salford earlier this season.
“Oli had several other teams in the upper leagues contacting me about him, but he’s a local boy, he’s a stone’s throw away and Salford City are a good team,” Brandy told BBC Radio Manchester.
“I was at Manchester United for 14 years and was lucky to be there for so long. I saw a lot of players come out of United.
“They might not have the ability to be successful at United, but they could if they went to an inferior team. But they didn’t have the connections or a platform and they fell in love with football.
“That’s where Skouted comes in. Players like Oli, who know they can make a career in the football industry, they just need that second chance.”
But was Fannon destined to put his footballing career in memory or did he always know his chances would be good?
“Deep down I always believed I would find a way back into football, but it all happened pretty quickly,” Fannon said.
“I want to gain as much experience, develop as a player, work on my strengths and weaknesses, have as much playing time as possible and gain some experience in the first team.
“I just want to play at the highest level possible and have fun.”