The Graduates: No.5 Leon Mike
- 07 October 2011 08:19
- Posted by Peter Ferguson
The Manchester-born striker joined the Academy as a 13-year-old and represented England Schoolboys teams as well as England Under-18s, gaining several caps in a team that also included such players as Joe Cole and Francis Jeffers.
The pacey striker was loaned out to Oxford in 2000 and Halifax, then a League club, in 2001, but failed to make the scoresheet with either.
He made his City debut in November 2001, replacing Shaun Goater in a 2-1 defeat against Portsmouth at Fratton Park, and then started the next game, a 2-1 victory over Rotherham.
But with Goater, Paulo Wanchope and Darren Huckerby ahead of him in the pecking order, it was to be his only start for the Blues
Mike's hat-trick the week before for the reserves had attracted the unexpected attention of Aberdeen, who were there to monitor Scotland striker Paul Dickov but changed their minds and, following further monitoring of his ability, tabled a £50,000 bid for the youngster that was accepted in February 2002.
That three-year deal in Scotland was cut short at the end of the following season, with his return of only six goals from 39 outings persuading the Pittodrie outfit to settle his contract early as they sought to reduce a high wage bill.
His next port of call, Mossley, proved a different story initially
He fired 37 goals in two years and 71 games for the Unibond League outfit until he left with manager Jason Beckford expressing some concern over his weight and fitness.
Leon joined FC United in December 2005, their manager extolling his continuing virtues of pace, skill and awareness, he but made only six appearances in pursuit of the elusive first goal before announcing his retirement from football at just 25 years of age.He began studying for a law degree in Liverpool in 2007, and also turned up as an extra in Coronation Street after playing in a charity match alongside Scottish actor Sam Robertson, who played Adam Barlow in the ITV soap.