Trainee plumber Neil dominates headlines after FA Cup clash
Trafford College apprentice plumber, Neil Kengni dominated Marine FC v Spurs headlines this morning after narrowly missing an incredible 30 yard strike on the goal of England shot-stopper Joe Hart, in the much anticipated third-round FA Cup tie between the clubs last night.
The agonising near-miss would have seen the eighth-tier Marine side take the lead over premiership team Spurs after holding them out for an incredible 24 minutes of the game.
Despite the defeat, the club still have plenty to celebrate after their brave performance. As well as the glory of being only the second club from the eighth-tier of English football to get to this stage of the FA Cup competition, the tie has generated more than £300,000 for the non-league club through virtual ticket sales alone; a much needed windfall for the club, which had initially feared missing out on over £100,000 in commercial revenue because of the new restrictive measures around sport in the ongoing pandemic.
Marine Manager Neil Young, said the club would be forever grateful to José Mourinho and Tottenham for fielding the likes of Gareth Bale, Lucas Moura and Moussa Sissoko. The side even left a bag of shirts out of respect for the Marine players and have promised to send them their match shirts as well.
Staff and students at Trafford College tuned in with anticipation to the clash which was aired by the BBC yesterday, and were delighted with the trainee plumber’s performance.
Neil has been studying plumbing at the College's Stretford Campus over the past two years, embarking on an apprenticeship with Horizon plumbers last Summer.
Neil, 20, from Wythenshawe said: “It was such an amazing feeling to play against one of the best teams in the world and alongside players who have represented their country in the World Cup. Obviously, I was disappointed that the goal didn’t go in and that we didn't win, but I think we did ourselves proud as a team and did our manager proud as well. As a team we were just thrilled to have the opportunity to play against such a huge side.
"I’ve had lots of fans contacting me today and asking me if I'd play for their side which is a really great feeling. I’m just going to continue playing my best football and hopefully one day I may get signed by a big club; but right now, I’m happy where I am, playing with a fantastic team and alongside brilliant teammates.
“Studying plumbing then training in the evenings hasn’t always been easy, but the College has been very accommodating. It has been madness at times to go home, get changed and drive to practice, but to be able to play matches, like this one against Spurs, shows it’s well worth the effort.”
The former St Paul’s Catholic High School pupil started his footballing career playing for Rochdale on a youth scholarship until the age of 18, before moving to Stalybridge Celtic for two years. Neil initially went to Marine FC on loan before becoming the Club’s first Summer signing last year.
Head of Studies for Plumbing for The Trafford College Group, John Ellis, said: "We're all extremely proud of Neil's performance in plumbing as well as on the pitch. We're in awe of what Neil achieves on the pitch after studying as an apprentice on placement and with the College all week. It's not easy to juggle the two and we'd like to commend Neil on what he does week in, week out."