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Ten years ago last week, Burnley sold 14-year-old John Cofie to Manchester United. The news shocked Burnley fans, not because they felt we should keep hold of him but because they hadn’t even heard of him.

I never saw him play in any of our junior teams and I was only aware of him through our Youth Foundation when we declined an opportunity to pay his school fees because we wouldn’t have been able to publicise where the money was going.

He’d made an impressive debut for the youth team in the 2006/07 season, coming on as a substitute in a game alongside a number of players who were over four years older than him and there was considerable excitement within the club that we’d found a gem.

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However, his and his family’s heads were turned as Liverpool and Manchester United fought to sign him. In a last ditch effort to keep him, Barry Kilby flew to Germany to speak with his family; days later he signed for Manchester United (he’s pictured playing for them in the FA Youth Cup) on what was believed to be a guaranteed six year deal.

During that time he enjoyed loans at Royal Antwerp, Sheffield United and Notts County and the young striker scored six goals in total at those clubs, but at the end of the 2012/13 season was released by United without kicking a ball in their first team.

He was only to play one more Football League game. He signed for Barnsley but didn’t kick a ball for them in anger and he then went on to play for Molde, Crawley and Wrexham before moving to Southport in the summer of last year.

In the last season and a half he’s also played for Bradford Park Avenue and Chorley in loan deals and this season has been at Stalybridge Celtic. It’s been a downward spiral for Cofie although there is no doubt that injuries have played their part.

This week though he has made the move to Ireland in advance of the 2018 and was one of five players to join Derry City. In announcing the signing they said: “He is the youngest ever million pound player at aged 14, Manchester United bought him then he went to Royal Antwerp, Barnsley and Southport. He’s now 24 and it is a good opportunity for him to resurrect his career.”

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