Roll back 6 Years and former Cassies player Terry Anderson had just started coaching a new mini side that was the start of a new junior section at Crooklands. The side consisted mainly of Curtis' schoolmate from Yarlside School.
Curtis’s 1st game for Crooklands U8’s was a 23-0 hiding off an outstanding Furness Rovers side which could have been the end of his time as a goalkeeper after only 1 match. Curtis didn’t think that way and said “at least I was kept busy unlike the Furness Rovers GK”.During Curtis’s final year at Crooklands Casuals (U8’s) the team had developed into a strong side with only the Furness Rovers side a match for Cassies and this fixture was the highlight on the U8’s fixture list.
Over the 2 years at U8’s Furness Rovers edged it but most of the games were tightly contested with only a couple of goals separating the two sides, which was mainly due to a fantastic Cassies work rate and the absolute brilliance of Curtis in between the sticks.
It was an away game against Furness Rovers that Curtis was spotted by a Blackpool scout (who had already pretty much signed up half the Furness Rovers squad for Blackpool U9’s) and this was arguably Curtis’s best performance of that season with the scout saying “that’s the best performance that he had ever seen from an 8 year old”.
Curtis trialled at Blackpool for 2 weeks and was offered a contract for 1 year which was renewed for the following year after a good 1st season for the tangerines. The U10s year at Blackpool was where Curtis’s performances started to attract attention from other clubs, with scouts regularly coming to watch games he was involved in. Curtis played in the Welsh Super Cup for Blackpool held at Cardiff and experienced playing
against teams from America and Africa. Curtis was also moved up an age group to the U11’s to test him against older and stronger boys, he came through this with flying colours…
Curtis’s 3rd season at Blackpool (U11s) was probably his best by far, with Blackpool offering him a contract until he finishes the U16’s season and potentially an offer of a scholarship when he reaches 14. This was a massive opportunity and we signed pretty much there and then as we knew it was great deal to be had.
The scouts who had watched Curtis previously were now starting to make enquiries to Blackpool with regards to signing Curtis and in February 2012 the Blackpool Head of Youth contacted me with some amazing news….
Man City, Man Utd & Liverpool had all agreed an initial fee with Blackpool to sign Curtis which we believe to be in the region of £15,000.
Curtis went on a 2 week trail at Man City and performed really well in both training and the games. He was also taken to Warwick University during Feb half-term to play in a premiership tournament against Chelsea, Liverpool & Aston Villa and again did really well. Man City had made their decision, they wanted Curtis….!
Curtis went down to the Liverpool Academy for again a 2 week trial and with him being a lifelong Liverpool fan this was an amazing experience. He was coached by Jon Achtenberg (Pepe Reina’s coach) who is a fantastic coach and is a character to say the least. Curtis only played 1 game for Liverpool due to the fixture schedule and with Liverpool U11’s already having 2 GK’s signed, Curtis' wouldn’t have considered signing for Liverpool for this reason.
Man Utd had been asking for Curtis to go in for a trial but due to other commitments (mainly football) a date could not be agreed that suited both parties.
Man City had sent Blackpool a compensation package to sign Curtis which Blackpool rejected immediately due to the lack of “add-ons”. This was going to take a little time for an agreement to be reached. Curtis again didn’t bat an eyelid and just got with everything as normal training/playing for Blackpool with no drop in performance or attitude.
On the 10th April 2012 dad Terry got the phone call that they had been waiting for, Man City and Blackpool had reached an agreement and it was now with Curtis and the family to agree personal terms with City. This wasn’t done overnight and took a further 2/3 weeks in negotiating to make sure the decision was right for the family but more importantly for Curtis.
Curtis signed for Manchester City on Wed 2nd May 2012 on a long term deal that takes him up until the end of his U16’s Season. He will train at 1 of the best footballing academies in the country and travel all over Europe playing against the best Europe has to offer.
Curtis has set himself some targets, one to get selected for the England Schoolboy’s at 14/15/16 and also to get a scholarship at Man City. His hard work starts now…
This is a massive opportunity for him for which he has earned for himself and he now has the potential of fulfilling his dreams of becoming a professional footballer.
And all for a lad who liked diving around in the mud….
All at Crooklands Casuals FC wish both Curtis and his family the very best of luck, we look forward to watching Curtis' progress with keen interest and hope he achieves his dreams of becoming a professional footballer.