MANCHESTER United Foundation has released the latest film in its inspirational social media campaign, #UnitedandMe, featuring 12-year-old South African-born pupil, Fortune.
Fortune was born in Johannesburg, South Africa. He couldn’t speak any English when he first started school in England. When he went to Middleton Technology School he met Nick Pearce, his Foundation coach.
Nick helped Fortune to join the football team and gave him opportunities to help out with younger children at primary school sessions. Fortune has since developed greatly in attitude, confidence and behaviour.
Quinton Fortune was delighted to meet his namesake, and invited young Fortune to the Aon Training Complex for a tour and a kick about.
Fortune was in awe at being at the training ground for the first time, and at meeting the former Manchester United and South African midfielder.
“It was an honour to meet Quinton, because I have never met a legendary footballer, and we have the same background and lots in common. We are both left footed and left handed and also like the same subjects at school,” said Fortune.
“It feels like meeting myself,” added Quinton. “We have had a similar experience because I came over from South Africa when I was 14 and we’ve both had to learn a different language.”
The surprises did not stop there for Fortune, though.
Halfway through a kick about on the Academy outdoor training pitch, he couldn’t believe his eyes when Manchester United first-team stars Juan Mata and Ander Herrera arrived bearing gifts.
The Spanish duo joined in some volley football, before presenting young Fortune with an Aon training shirt and tickets to the recent West Brom match at Old Trafford.
“It was a surprise because I didn’t know the players were going to come and it feels great that they came just to see me,” said Fortune.
“It means a lot to me l because I think my coach and teachers chose me because of my behaviour in classes and determination. I’ve become a bit brave because nowadays people around me talk to me and ask me to hang out. I feel proud of myself that I’ve developed from how I was before.
“When I was little I never thought I was going to be here today – I thought I would stay in Zimbabwe for the rest of my life so this is just a dream come true.”
Fortune’s film is available to watch on the Manchester United Foundation YouTube channel, where you can also find out about other inspirational young people involved with the Foundation.
You can find out more about #UnitedandMe by following Manchester United Foundation on social media and looking out for the hashtag or at www.mufoundation.org/ UnitedandMe.
12-year-old Fortune with his namesake, Quinton Fortune