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Gone but not forgotten:
Fabian Forde
Position: Striker
From: Youth team
Record: Played: 0(1) Scored: 0
To: ??? - Free transfer - February 2003
Career stats: Soccerbase
He was: Colin Payne for a day.

Some players emerge from the Youth Team to great acclaim, like Anthony McNamee. Those that watched Macca dazzle for the reserves during the Vialli year can testify to the fact that it was clear he would make a first team impact. But for every Macca, it's just as obvious that some kids are never going to make it. It's a matter of conjecture as to whether Fabian Forde was one of the latter.

I saw him play a few times for the reserves during GT's last season. He looked powerful and athletic off the ball, but not so clever once he had it. There was never an avalanche of goals at that level but he had something, call it a raw talent if you like. GT gave him a pro deal and with two years to develop, it seemed he could come good.

Following a Perpetuini hissy fit at Burnley, Fabian got the call. Wearing Colin Payne's shirt with Forde and 33 hastily splashed onto the back of it (see LatS issue one for the full story, or ask Paynie to regale you with the tale next time you see him on the streets), Fabian took to the Turf Moor field for his league debut. I recall he ran about a lot, but my addled memory doesn't confirm whether or not he touched the ball. His day of glory was rather overshadowed by other events, but with a first team game under his belt, his career was on the road.

Only that was it, the Burnley game became his one moment in the first team sun. He struggled in the reserves last season, as did others. You can't help but feel that Vialli's preposterous idea of not allowing Ray Lewington the luxury of experienced players to bolster the side and help the young lads develop cost Fabian and some of his contemporaries dearly. The emergence of Jason Norville and the anticipated emergence of Hamer Bouazza spelt the end for Fabian, and his contract was not renewed.

Loan spells at Enfield and Aldershot this season point a clear way forward, he could become a decent striker at that level and get another pro chance like Wayne Andrews has at Oldham. We wish him well.

Dave Messenger