It’s all coming together for striker Cofie at Stalybridge

BETTER days lie ahead for Stalybridge Celtic according to recently-signed striker John Cofie.

The former Manchester United front player is convinced the team will soon be climbing the Evo Stik League, premier division table.

John Cofie drives forward

Cofie, 24, who has played league football for Sheffield United and Notts County while with the Reds, said: “Results have not been good, but I definitely think things will come right.

“They are a great bunch of lads and there is great talent in the squad and togetherness in the changing room.

“It is coming together and there has been a lot of games we lost when we were unlucky not to get three points.”

Cofie added there is a great blend in the team, young players and then the experience with the likes of Liam Dickinson who has played in the Championship.

He explained the only reason he signed for Celtic from Southport was because of manager Steve Burr: “If I had not spoken to the gaffer (Steve Burr), I would not be here.

“I knew him from our days together at Southport and the way he plays – he like to play football – and his brand of football is suitable for my game.

“And despite not having a good start to the season, no matter what he has not changed his philosophy which I admire.

“I decided if I didn’t get another Football League Club, I wouldn’t play non league for another team.

“Had it not been for him messaging me, I would probably just be exercising by myself or maybe gone to play abroad.”

Cofie, who played alongside Paul Pogba, Jesse Lingard and Michael Keane in the junior sides at Old Trafford, takes inspiration from other players who have dropped into non league to rebuild their careers.

“There is definitely a route back and I have never doubted by ability. At the moment it is all about enjoying playing football and staying focused,” he continued.

Cofie’s journey thus far has certainly been an eventful one as he was born in Ghana and spent much of his childhood in Germany due to his father being in the Army.

His father organised soccer schools for the children of Army personnel and during one of them he was spotted by Burnley.

After a short spell with the Clarets, Cofie was signed by Manchester United aged 14.

There are reports on Wikipedia that it was for £1million after Burnley had rejected a bid from Liverpool with Chelsea also reportedly interested.

“I believe it was for a lot of money, but I was never interested in finding out how much it was,” he said.

The Moss Side based Cofie, a Liverpool fan as his godfather used to take him to games at Anfield, spent seven years at United where he won a scholarship and later became a professional.

“It was a great experience as we had good coaching, the facilities were great and it was everything you could dream of,” he said.

“I only made it to the reserves, but trained with the first team and there were times I travelled to games with them.

“We would also eat with the first team in the canteen and I would talk to senior players and get advice from them.”

United loaned Cofie to parent Belgium club Royal Antwerp where he played men’s football for the first time. That was followed by further loan spells at Sheffield United and Notts County.

“It was different to youth football and really good experiences that made me a better player,” he said.

After leaving United in 2013, Cofie joined Barnsley where he spent one injury-interrupted season in which he failed to break into the senior side.

Since then, Cofie has had spells at Telford, Crawley, Wrexham and Southport who loaned him to Bradford Park Avenue and Chorley. There was also a stint in Norway at Molde.

After two stints abroad, Cofie admitted that is a lure, continuing: “I believe they made me a better player and also a better person.

“When you are young, it certainly helps you to grow up moving away from home.”

Cofie admitted it is “not easy” switching from full-time football to non league, but he is hoping it will only be a temporary stay and that one of the 92 League clubs will again come calling.

 

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