Source: Belfast Telegraph
By Stuart McKinley
Friday, 18 December 2009
Rory Patterson has revealed how he almost quit football in his teens.
Patterson was very much an unknown when David Platt plucked him from the Conference North — two divisions outside the Football League — last summer, but he certainly isn’t an unknown anymore.
The Strabane man is the leading goalscorer in Northern Ireland this season and Coleraine fans are delighted that their new hero decided against turning his back on the game.
Patterson has hit 19 goals since signing for the Bannsiders in the summer and with 20 always being the yardstick for any striker, he is already well on the way to having a successful season.
Portadown are in the firing line tomorrow at the Coleraine Showgrounds when David Platt would love to see his main marksman make it a score before Christmas.
It could have been all so different, however, when Patterson became disillusioned following his release from Rochdale in the summer of 2004.
He didn’t particularly enjoy a short spell with Radcliffe Borough and at that stage Patterson was considering other options and leaving football behind.
“I moved over to England when I was 16 and was at Rochdale for three years,” said Patterson.
“I made my debut for the first-team at 17 and played 15 games, but it didn’t work out in the end.
“I got an injury, the manager changed a few times and the one that came in didn’t take to me; but that’s football.
“I was thinking of giving football up, but the manager of FC United is a friend of mine and he asked me to come down, have a look and see what I thought.”
And that sparked a goalrush from the 25-year-old, who hit an amazing 107 goals in 126 appearances for the club that was founded by Manchester United fans in the wake of the Old Trafford outfit being taken over by Malcolm Glazer.
“I went down and the first game I went to there was a crowd of about 3,000 there. When I made my debut I scored and the fans took to me after that,” said Patterson, who saw a the club grow from small beginnings to a model for their rivals.
“The set up and the fans, they are just like a league club. The support is excellent and it’s a very well run club.
“There are a few other teams who are thinking about going about things the same way.
“It’s not about paying people big money, it’s family orientated and although everyone thinks they hate Manchester United it’s not like that, they really are like a mini-Manchester United.
“They are fans of the club who simply aren’t happy that the club they love has been put into debt.
“Everyone in Manchester loves their football and these people just love their club.”
Patterson didn’t play in the Co-operative Insurance Cup draw with Cliftonville on Tuesday night — which was enough to see the Bannsiders through — but he is hopeful of being fit to face the Ports.