As England prepare to jet off to South Africa this summer, I thought I’d take a look back at a player who made the opposite journey, with mixed…er.. Fortunes. Quinton Fortune came to England aged just 11 and joined the Tottenham Hotspurs junior team whilst attending School in North East London. He never made the step up however and after failing to get a work permit, began his professional career in Spain with first Mallorca, and then Athletico Madrid. After playing in the 1998 World Cup in France for South Africa he returned to Spain but made limited appearances for The Mattress makers (no I haven’t just made that up) before signing for Manchester United completely out of the blue in August 1999.
Fortune was ostensibly bought as left sided cover for Ryan Giggs after previous deputy, Jesper Blomqvist, had succumbed to injury. However during his occasionally fruitful United career he was used in all manner of odd job positions, primarily as a defensive midfielder or at left back. In many ways he was the original John O’Shea, if such a thing could possibly be considered a complimentary accolade worth having. Despite enjoying a 7 year career at Old Trafford, his best and most memorable moment in a United shirt came against Middlesbrough at the Riverside in 2000 when he scored a late winner (or what turned out to be the winner) in a pulsating 4-3 victory. Despite his long time at United, his miserable Fortunes (excuse the pun) were summed up by the fact that despite playing in 4 title winning teams, he only received one medal, and even that was on special dispensation grounds due to the fact he’d been denied one so many times previously.
At the end of the 2005-06 season he was let go by United and signed for Bolton as a left back, but his bad Fortune (sorry) continued as he was injured after only 5 games and was let go in 2007. He then joined a few Premiership Teams on trial including Blackburn, Sunderland and finally Sheffield United but failed to make an impact at any of them before signing for Seria B side Brescia on a one year contract. There he made the majestic total of one appearance before moving on to the Belgian league to make a marked improvement on this total by playing as many as nine games with Tubize towards the end of the 2008-09 season.
Last August things looked to be turning round for old Quinton as he signed a load deal with Doncaster Rovers and scored a dramatic late equalizer against Ipswich in the Championship. However the vikings didn’t extend his contract and he’s currently out of work somewhere in South Yorkshire.
A feisty and often dependable player, Fortune’s career was blighted by injury and he was never able to put together a good run of games at any club after he left United. Far better than his appearance record suggests, but maybe not his medal haul, Fortune has made over 50 appearances for his national team and has one of the most likeable squashed faces in the game. God bless you Quinton Fortune, where ever you are.