A new book has recently been published charting the story of former Manchester United teenage prodigy Adrian Doherty.
Forever Young, written by the journalist Oliver Kay tells the tragic story of a boy blessed with extraordinary footballing ability who found solace in music, poetry and books before his career and ultimately his life came to an untimely end.
Doherty was regarded as a certainty to make it by the Old Trafford coaching staff in the early nineties until he suffered a serious knee injury just days before he was scheduled to make his first team debut.
Former United winger and friend of Retro United Jules Maiorana knew Doherty well during their time at the club and the pair even shared digs.
Here he exclusively shares his memories of his friend who stood out from the crowd in more ways than one: “I’m going to try and get it myself, that’s how sad life is, it takes his death to give Doc the recognition he deserves. He was an old style winger who used to get his head down and take players on, something which is very rare these days. He wasn’t scared of getting tackled either, he was so placid and had a good temperament at a time when wingers used to get kicked all over the place.
“I’ve read that he was very close to playing in the first team when he got his injury. Fair play to Phil Neville he mentioned me and Ryan Giggs in an article about Doc, describing us as three of the most promising players when he joined the club. Out of the three of us, Doc got injured and had a tragic ending, I got injured and Giggs made it, that’s the kind of luck you need.
“He was a different lad, we were in digs together and I used to borrow his guitar, he taught me how to play Yesterday by The Beatles. I used to go in his bedroom and rummage for his guitar, use it and put it all back as it was before he got back but I’m sure he knew I’d borrowed it anyway. He leant me a couple of Bob Dylan records once as well.
“He was a better person than me because I was quite materialistic and used to like dressing smart but he wasn’t that way inclined.”
Adrian Doherty was never the same after his injury and his release went unnoticed in the summer of 1993 as the club celebrated its first league title in 26 years. He drifted out of football after playing a few games for Derry City and by April 2000 was working in Amsterdam for a furniture company where he slipped and fell into a canal putting him in a coma for several weeks before he passed away the day before his 27th birthday.
Jules recalls how he found about ‘Docs’ death and reveals his satisfaction that like his own story which took 20 years to come out, his old teammate is finally getting the recognition he deserved: “I found out about his death a while after it happened, his dad got hold of me as he was trying to write a book in tribute to his son and that’s how I found out. His brother wrote to me and I remember speaking to his dad a couple of times.
“I’m pleased that it has all come out eventually, I’m not a religious man but I hope and wish there could be something so that Doc will be looking down now with a smile on his face that he has been remembered.”