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Gone but not forgotten:
Daniel Brathwaite
Position: Everywhere
From: Youth team
Record: Played: 0 Scored: 0
To: ??? - no contract offered - March 2001
He was: A gentleman

At the start of the 1998-99 season, my good friend Colette casually dropped into a conversation that her family were taking in one of the new YTS lads at the club. The kid was from Hemel, and it was soon apparent that Colly's family had staying with them a really promising prospect, not to mention an all-round good bloke.

Unfortunately, Dan's early months at the club were hampered by a knee injury, which led to a successful operation. But once fit, Dan raced through the ranks of the youth team playing in a variety of positions at Under-19 level, and quite quickly found himself on the fringes of the reserves.

Surely it was a matter of time before professional forms were offered?

Despite a succession of good performances in the reserves, all that was offered was a third year of academy forms. But along with the promising Thomas Neill, and Fabien Forde, this translated to most observers that Dan was going to get forms, it was just that he was going to be paid peanuts for just one more year. Unfortunately, the pro forms never arrived and while Neill, Forde and six others were awarded contracts, Dan was left to pursue his career elsewhere.

It is often written that a player is a good prospect, or a nice bloke. But in the case of Daniel Brathwaite, he was genuinely both. What youth player would take the time out to present the annual WIFC awards? I cannot remember a youth player since Steven Collis actually queuing up for his own ticket, but on that fabulous night in May 1999, when several hundred fools stayed up all night in Occupation Road to get Birmingham ticket, Dan was with us, gradually letting his heart become yellow.

Much as I would wish any young player luck in the game, I am sure that anyone who ever met Dan will wish him not just luck and success, but fame and fortune as well. Dan was a true gent, in a game where manners seem to have disappeared at the same time as common sense.

Pete Fincham