Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Steels foe who played with greats

Source: The Star

Published Date: 20 January 2010

By Bob Westerdale


FOR three years, Adriano Rigoglioso lived the dream as a professional footballer, with Doncaster Rovers.
Sadly, like many fresh-faced prospects who hope the soccer world is at their feet, it didn't quite work out.

The midfielder whose skills were honed in the same Liverpool youth team line up as Michael Owen, Steve Gerrard and Jamie Carragher, slipped out of the Football League and down into the comparitive wilderness of non-league.

And when Rigoglioso returns to South Yorkshire on Saturday to debut for his latest non-League team, he might be forgiven for wondering what would have happened if he'd have made an impact in the same county, with Rovers.

The 30-year-old Scouser plays against Stocksbridge Park Steels in the Unibond Premier League for his new side FC United of Manchester.

Looking back at his time, in the pro ranks, he says: "Dave Penney brought me to Doncaster (2003; the season they were crowned third Division Champions ) but I didn't fit in with their style of play. I was used to playing in the hole behind a main striker but he preferred 4-4-2 with Leo Fortune-West and Gregg Blundell up front.

"The team was successful and I could never get settled. I had two knee operations; it wasn't the best of experiences."

The highpoints were a debut against Hull City and a volleyed goal from a Michael McIndoe corner in the LDV Vans trophy against Hereford.

A low point was being sent off for Rovers against Bradford, two minutes after coming on as a sub!

After 29 league games, mostly as sub, it was back to semi-pro obscurity with several teams before, on New Year's Eve, signing for FC, the club formed by renegade Manchester United fans.

"A win and maybe a goal at Stocksbridge would be a great start," said Rigoglioso, who supports neither Liverpool more Everton, but Palermo, because of his Italian dad's origins.

It's all very different to the lifestyle he could have enjoyed if he'd made it at Anfield. Does he keep in touch with the superstars of today?

"No," he laughed. "They live in a different world, don't they?"