Born: 10 June 1973, Strabane
Died: 9 June 2000, The Hague (Netherlands)
Height: 5.08 ft
Weight: 10.06 st
Representative Honours: Northern Ireland: Under-16, 6 Under-15 Schoolboy Caps (1988)
Teams ........... --Seasons-- Signed -Fee- League
Moorfield Boys ..................... Youth
Derry City ......................... Youth
Manchester United ............Nov-87 Youth 0(0)/0
Derry City ...... 93/94 ..... c/s-93 .Free 3(0)/1
A contemporary of Manchester United's famous "Class of '92", Adrian Doherty was rated ahead of the likes of Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes and David Beckham. By the time those illustrious names had become established at Old Trafford, Doherty's career had been ended by injury.
Doherty came through youth football in the Derry area, earning schoolboy caps while a pupil at St Colman's in Strabane. He was attached to Derry City and signed for Manchester United at fourteen. He was just 16 when called into United's senior squad in March 1990. Around the same time Billy Bingham sought to include him in the Northern Ireland Under-21 squad for a match against Israel, but Alex Ferguson blocked the move considering Doherty still too young.
Just days before what should have been his First Division debut, Doherty suffered the cruciate ligament injury that would ultimately end his career. Over the following few years he had a few abortive comeback attempts before Ferguson agreed to allow him to sign for Roy Coyle's Derry City. He made a goalscoring debut for the Candystripes against Cobh in August 1993, but after just two further matches, and aged just twenty, his playing career was over.
Also a talented guitarist and song-writer, some speculate that he could have as easily been the next Bob Dylan as the next George Best, Doherty attempted to build a career in music. In reality he ended up drifting from job to job. It was shortly after moving to Amsterdam to work in a furniture factory that he tripped and fell into a canal. After spending a month in a coma, Doherty passed away, just a day short of his 27th birthday.
An incredibly tragic story of "what might have been".
Matt Bradley Tribute
|Northern Ireland Schoolboys, 1988|