When you’re a kid, those first big role models are so important and a good teacher can leave a lasting impact on your life. For Manchester United star Ella Toone, one of those first important figures was her Regional Talent Club and youth coach, Emma Fletcher.
Emma Fletcher was the RTC and academy coach who mentored the Man United Women‘s all-time leading goalscorer through the age groups as she developed and playing a key role in ensuring the team had a future in the years it was disbanded (2005-2018), bringing through the likes of current captain Katie Zelem, Millie Turner, Toone and many more.
Sadly, Emma suffers from Huntington’s Disease, a nerve cell disease which affects the brain and is now limiting her ability to work. Nevertheless, the inspiring coach continues to graft for the United Foundation to this day, helping develop girls football at a grassroots level across Greater Manchester.
With that in mind, Tooney thought it was only right to honour Emma properly and pay her back for all her support throughout her formative years by delivering her a surprise her at Eccles Sixth Form College and helping raise more awareness surrounding Huntington’s Disease in the process.
You love to see it.
As the 23-year-old England star explains, Emma has been working for United’s RTC for over 22 years, looking after and believing in so many young girls like her, not to mention stressing the importance of women’s game from day dot. More importantly, not once has she let her condition hold her back.
“Right from the very start, since I was six or seven years old, she’s always been there, she’s always believed in me, she’s always pushed me”, adding, “For me, Emma’s always wanted the best for everyone she’s worked with and that was fighting for a Manchester United women’s team.”
The Tyldesley-born forward went on to insist that Fletcher has always been “very vocal” about United Women’s and advocating for women’s sport, making her a been a big part not only of her own journey but “the history of the club” as well.
As a result, not only was the United coach treated to a surprise visit by her old pupil but Ella was also given the great privilege of informing her childhood inspiration that that the female Academy Player of the Year would now be named after her. Well deserved, Emma.
Reacting to the news, Emma said: “I’m just blown away, can’t believe it. It’s an unbelievable surprise.
“I think I’ve got one of the best jobs in the world. We’ve got the best girls’ development programme, I’d say in the world now, I’d go as far as saying that. I’m really, really proud.”
Although it is considered a relatively rare disease, it is estimated that more than 6,700 individuals are currently living with Huntington’s Disease in the UK alone and even more could potentially carry the gene which causes it occur between age 30-50, so raising greater awareness is crucial.
You can donate to the Huntington’s Disease Assosciation HERE.
Manchester City’s Matheus Nunes rolls back the years and goes to work at Flat Baker in Ancoats
Manchester City star Matheus Nunes has already impressed many during his short time at the Etihad so far, but he impressed a few more this weekend not with his skills on the pitch but in the kitchen after moonlighting at a popular Manchester bakery, The Flat Baker in Ancoats.
The recent Man City signing might only have the one assist to his name during his time as a Blue thus far, but he’s served up more than a baker’s dozen to local Manc residents thanks to a quick shift as a pastry chef this past weekend.
However, it was by no means his first time in the kitchen, as Nunes revealed that he used to work in a bakery during the earlier days of his footballing career.
Getting put to work on one of The Flat Baker‘s bestsellers, their unbelievably addictive pastel de natas — trust us, they’re utterly sinful these things — the bakery’s owners Débora and her husband, also called Matheus, got the City star back up to speed. You can see the full video here:
That being said, as you can see, the 25-year-old midfielder was a bit of a dab hand after a few goes at it; the fact he not only had prior experience but also shares the same heritage as the bakery’s founders no doubt helped.
Born in Brazil but raised in Portugal — two places where these unmistakable sweet treats are most famous — Nunes explained how he, his mother and English step-father moved to Europe for “a better life” and to help his chances of becoming a footballer.
The former Wolves player went on to explain how he “failed a lot in school” and eventually his mum gave him a choice: “give up football or school, in order to start working”.
Starting out in his godfather’s bakery, he went on to spend a fair bit of time making bread and pastries and even appeared in a similar video back in Portugal after signing for Sporting Lisbon.
Naturally, the trio did eventually touch on football a little bit, with Nunes discussing what it’s like to play under Pep Guardiola and how nice it’s been to arrive at a club where there are plenty of Portuguese-speaking players like Ederson, Ruben Dias, Bernardo Silva and others.
Débora also joked about how he has fared getting used to ‘Rainchester’ and he was polite enough to smile it off and simply reiterated that playing for City was oppurtunity he culdn’t pass up.
So, if things don’t work out in the Premier League, he can always swap the sky blue shirt of city for a lovely chef’s apron and help out over at The Flat Baker.
Featured Image — Manchester City/Sporting Club de Portugal (via YouTube)
Tributes pour in for Manchester City legend and former chairman Franny Lee
Tributes are being paid to Manchester City legend and former chairman Francis ‘Franny’ Lee CBE, who has passed away aged 79.
The ex-Man City, Bolton Wanderers, Derby County and England star is said to have passed away in the early hours on Monday morning, 2 October, following a long battle with cancer.
Speaking via a club statement, his wife Gill along with children Charlotte, Jonny and Nik said, “He will be sorely missed and would like to thank everyone for their kind words”.
Both Manchester teams led tributes to the British footballing legend, with avid City fan Liam Gallagher and countless others joining in paying their respects.
Franny Lee scored 148 goals in 330 appearances during eight-year City, helping the club win multiple honours during their first periods of success, including the old First Division title back in 1968.
Born in Lancashire and starting out elsewhere in Greater Manchester at Bolton Wanderers, he also went on to play for Derby following his time with the Blues, helping the Rams to their second-ever title in 1975.
The striker also had 27 caps for England between 1968–1972, scoring 10 goals and winning FA Cup, League Cup, European Cup Winners’ Cup and the Charity Shield twice at club level during that period.
Honouring their former centre-forward who went on to serve as Chairman for four years from 1994 onwards, the club statement read, “It is with the deepest sadness and heaviest of hearts we announce the passing of former Manchester City player and Chairman Francis Lee, aged 79”, adding that flags around the Etihad Campus are flying at half-mast.
His first club, Bolton, said of the former marksman, “All at Bolton Wanderers are saddened to learn of the passing of former forward, Francis Lee. The thoughts of everyone at the club are with Francis’ family, friends and loved ones at this difficult time.”
As for legacy as for his time in Blue, the club had already planned to immortalise Lee prior to his death, announcing the erection of a statue back in May 2022, the reveal date of which will no doubt be moved up following his passing.
The club has also assured that “more tributes will follow in the coming days.”
Rest in peace to a legend.
Featured Image — Manchester City/England/Bolton Wanderers (via Twitter)