Callum Gribbin, a former Manchester United youth player who impressed Jose Mourinho during his time at Old Trafford, has been forced to fundraise after suffering a career-threatening injury.
The 24-year-old midfielder, who spent 11 years at United between 2008 and 2019, was once rated as one of the best youngsters at the club.
Former coach Kieran McKenna described Gribbin as a “fantastic technician” with a “really bright future”.
In fact, Louis van Gaal invited him to first-team training at 16 and when Mourinho arrived on the scene, Gribbin was once again called over to train with the likes of Marcus Rashford and Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
But after showing huge promise in spells, the highly-rated youngster was injury prone and eventually, he left at the end of his contract.
Gribbin went on to play for Sheffield United and League Two side Barrow in the next stage of his career but once again, injuries kicked in and Gribbin made just one league appearance in Cumbria before departing in June 2022.
The midfielder would then join Northern Premier League Premier Division team Radcliffe before penning a deal with his current club, FC United of Manchester.
And things looked promising for the Salford-born man after scoring three goals in 21 games but in a heartbreaking turn of events, Gribbin ruptured his anterior cruciate ligament, medial ligament and posterior ligament following a nasty challenge.
With the talented midfielder on the sidelines, FC United of Manchester originally set up a crowdfunder to provide some income for Gribbin to help him and his young family get through a year out of football.
But the Northern Premier League Premier Division side were told on Tuesday that while the PFA had agreed to fund 50 per cent of the costs, Gribbin needed to find the other half by Friday 17th March or the operation would be delayed.
The club pointed out that even after the operation, the 24-year-old faces 9-12 months of rehabilitation.
Soon, a GoFundMe link was shared by hundreds of fans and over £10,000 was raised.
FC United, who play in England’s seventh tier, also posted Gribbin’s backstory under the link.
It read: “Everytime a player pulls on the shirt and crosses the white line, like any player in any team, they are doing so to get the best result possible for their club.
“What they are also doing is putting their physical well-being on the line, it’s part of the job, and injuries are commonplace, but sometimes the injuries are severe, affecting not only the player’s ability to playfootball, but also their life outside including their family life and their ability to work.
“When Callum was the recipient of a hard tackle on the touchline early on in a game at Broadhurst Park, it immediately looked bad and he was stretchered off in obvious distress.
“Following a scan it’s been discovered that the challenge has ruptured not only his anterior cruciate ligament, but also his medial ligament and the posterior ligament – these are the ligaments that provide stability to the knee, and are devastating for anyone in terms of mobility, not least someone who relies on football as an occupation
“We’ve done it before, and appreciate that times are hard for everyone, but if you can help by chipping in anything you can afford, no matter how small, it would help Callum through an incredibly tough period in his life – he wouldn’t ask for this support himself – but he needs it more than ever. Thank you.”