Harrison Clark was released by Sunderland at 13 then picked up by the boys club that put Alan Shearer on the road to stardom.
The Arbroath new boy was preparing to study Physiotherapy at Northumbria University but never quite gave up on his football dream.
A move to one of England’s schools of excellence – Park View Academy of Sport – offered Clark a second chance.
It’s one the Newcastle-daft star grabbed with both hands as he earned a move to Scottish Premiership side Livingston.
And after being immediately loaned out to Arbroath for experience, Clark will make his Championship debut at home to Inverness.
Livingston FC is pleased to announce the signing of highly rated youngster Harrison Clark from Chester-Le-Street United, having also been part of the Park View Academy of Sport.
— Livingston FC (@LiviFCOfficial) July 10, 2021
“Football is all I really wanted to do,” said Clark. “I wanted to become a physio if it didn’t work out.
“I was ready to go to Uni next year.
“My dad used to own a gym and I’ve always been interested in sport. If it wasn’t to be football then that was my second choice.
“There are times when you doubt whether or not it will happen.
“I came out of Sunderland when I was 12 or 13 and went back into grassroots football.
“I was at Cramlington Juniors. Alan Shearer was there when he was younger so it was always going to be a good grounding.
“I was there for a while before I moved onto Park View.
“It was always my aim to make it in professional football and had a tremendous experience at Park View.”
Clark ready to make his mark at Arbroath
Our new number 16 Harrison Clark pic.twitter.com/3yacP2Iog7
— Arbroath FC (@ArbroathFC) July 14, 2021
Park View focus on creating athletes who benefit from intense data-led training programmes. They offer experience of playing both junior and senior football.
Unlike a normal football club, they celebrate when one of their academy stars makes the breakthrough into a senior club.
Clark, who will be watched at Gayfield by his mum Claire on Saturday, is now one of their star pupils.
He netted his first Arbroath goal in the 4-1 friendly defeat to St Johnstone and is ready for the league season to kick-off.
“I trained full-time at Park View and played junior football in midweek and senior games at the weekend with Chester-le-Street,” added Clark.
“That toughens you up on the pitch. All the data-led training makes a big difference too.
“They’d measure how far we’d run in games and I’d always be on the top with 10 or 11km.
“I enjoy the physical side of the game and I’m always trying to work on myself in the gym.
“But it’s brilliant to get my big break. I’m training full-time with Livingston and playing for Arbroath.
“Dick Campbell is class act. He’s a really good fun but he’s also very serious. I can learn a lot at Arbroath.”