Man Utd icon Quinton Fortune’s life exposed to shootings and killings

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Ex-Manchester United star Quinton Fortune had a tough and varied upbringing while growing up in South Africa. The 45-year-old grow up in the city of Cape Town and was exposed to shootings, stabbings and killings during his childhood in the province of Kewtown with the country under apartheid legislation at the time.

Fortune spent seven years at United between 1999 and 2006 helping the club to claim the Premier League on three occasions. The midfielder made 127 appearances while at Old Trafford scoring 10 times and producing six assists.

The 45-year-old defied a difficult upbringing to forge a successful career within football. Fortune grew up in apartheid South Africa and has a black child footballing opportunities were rare while he lived in the dangerous overcrowded zone of Kewtown where threats to his life were frequent and he has praised his family for helping him through.

“There were scary parts; the drugs, the gang fights, the shootings, the stabbings, the killings — it was right there, every day,” Fortune told The Athletic last year. “From the moment you woke up, you were exposed to it. It is easy to fall into that trap but thank God for my grandma, my parents and my siblings, who took care of me and kept me in sport.

“My brothers were all protesting against the apartheid regime and I remember at primary school leaving early, running home with my bags, seeing the tear gas and the big tanks coming. Those were scary times because this was different. These were big tanks, big guns and they were shooting rubber bullets. I was too young to fully understand it. It was, ‘Run home as quickly as possible’. But I knew something was happening.”

Fortune’s life changed when was 14 as Tottenham made him part of their academy after he impressed in South African tournaments. The move brought a different kind of pressure.

“I was then on the front of The Sun newspaper the next week being labelled as potentially the first million-pound kid,” he recalled. “That was a nice little bit of pressure for me!”

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He moved to Spain in 1995 playing for Mallorca and Atletico Madrid before joining United in 1999 after impressing Sir Alex Ferguson during a trial. He cost £1.5million and his career is most synonymous with his time at the club.

Fortune went on to play for Bolton, Brescia, Tubize and Doncaster after leaving United while he claimed 46 caps for the South African national team. He retired in 2010 after leaving the South Yorkshire side and forged a coaching career.

He returned to Old Trafford in 2019 as he took up the role of assistant coach with the under-23 side. He joined Reading as a first-team coach in 2020 and now helps support the coaching teams in the England youth set-up. It’s a job, that his upbringing has prepared him well for.

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