|Sponsor||T Shirts United - Left click to link to website|
|Date of birth||16-07-1984|
|Place of birth||Derry, Ireland|
|Favourite club||Glasgow Celtic|
Rory Patterson is used to rejection.
In a short career in football the 21-year-old forward from Derry has spent time with top clubs up and down the country aiming to make an impression, only to end up signing his first professional contract at Rochdale. An undisputed talent with fine ball-skills, he enjoyed three years at Spotland before being released at the end of his deal in 2004.
However, after an unhappy time with Radcliffe Borough, it has taken Patterson a little over two months to build up a storming rapport with FC United�€trade;s supporters, so much so that he is the only member of the squad with his own special nickname.
And with seven league goals in FC United�€trade;s first 10 league outings, �€�Mr Mystery�€trade; is making an early bid to be our inaugural player of the season. Patterson may arguably be playing below the level of football he is capable of but perhaps now the youngster from Northern Ireland has found the right club to settle down with.
He explains that his FC United adventure began with a phone call from former team-mate Karl Marginson.
�€�It was mid-July and I got a call from Margy saying he had a behind closed doors game lined up for the club against Woodley and he asked me if I wanted to be involved,�€� he says.
�€�I knew Karl from his playing days. He played alongside me [at Radcliffe] when he was moving towards the end of his career and he always gave me encouragement.�€�
�€�So I went down and joined in with the lads in the friendly and I enjoyed it. Then he said there was a game coming up, which was the Stalybridge fixture.�€�
It was at Bower Fold that day that possibly FC United�€trade;s first ever cult hero was born with Patterson becoming an instant hit with fans without so much as kicking a ball.
The forward picked up the moniker of �€�the Man with No Name�€trade; after taking to the field as a substitute with no number on his shirt.
Far from being coy or red-faced about drawing such attention from supporters, Patterson admits he loves every minute of it.
�€�Some of the players at the Stalybridge game were telling me about the crowd at the Leigh and Wimbledon games, but I thought they were exaggerating,�€� he adds.
�€�Then before kick off I saw more and more people coming and the backing we had come kick off was phenomenal.�€�
�€�I think people thought it would grow, but things would level out, say if there was a wet night, whereas the opposite has happened and I feel lucky to be a part of it.�€�
�€�I took the opportunity to join the club because it was the chance to start a-fresh and to give football another go.�€�
�€�There wasn�€trade;t really anyone else showing interest in me at the start of the season and I was considering going down south to look for a club there as I have friends based there.�€�
�€�But then I thought �€�I already have my own house up here and there�€trade;s no point in moving away when there�€trade;s no guarantee I will find a club in the south anyway�€trade;. And I stayed.�€�
Patterson is the first to make the point that the ambition and potential of FC United has re-ignited his own somewhat faltering career which had begun with immense promise.
�€�I started off playing for a club in Derry called Moorfield Celtic. I think I was 10 years old when I started out,�€� he says.
�€�It was all the lads from school who played for them and we had a good laugh.�€�
�€�We all knew we were lucky to be playing with them because they were a great club and won everything �€“ even competitions in England and Spain.�€�
Such a reputation attracted interest from a magnitude of talent spotters from across the Irish Sea, most of which wasted no time in sizing up Patterson.
�€�It was a little strange and exciting at the same time because we knew that the best Moorfield players went for trials with English clubs when they were 14 or 15, but I got my first trial with Peterborough when I was 11,�€� Mr Mystery adds.
�€�Being away from home so early wasn�€trade;t as daunting as you�€trade;d think. You grow up surrounded by people playing football and you love it. So when you get the opportunity to play for a club you just focus on it and try to do your best.�€�
Through his teenage years, Patterson had trials with most of British football�€trade;s A-list, including Everton, Newcastle and even the team he still supports today, Celtic.
�€�I went to some fantastic clubs. Of all the places I went, I think Charlton was the best. The set up impressed me there and a couple of my mates were down there as well,�€� he adds.
�€�I would have loved to have a chance down there, but sometimes you aren�€trade;t given a chance and you have to accept it and move on.�€�
It was not long though before Patterson got his opportunity in the professional game when Rochdale offered him yet another trial. Patterson impressed and was rewarded with a three-year contract at Spotland.
�€�I was delighted to finally be staying put somewhere. You go for ages spending 10 days here, 10 days there with different clubs and then to have a bit of stability and be able to settle was brilliant,�€� he says.
During his time with Rochdale, Patterson featured in a memorable FA Cup run in 2003 that saw the Coca Cola League Two side knock out Preston North End and Coventry before eventually falling at the fifth round hurdle away at Wolves.
Unfortunately for Patterson, there was little else to write home about for Dale during his time there, which left the manager calling for change.
�€�It was a little frustrating because apart from that cup run nothing really much happened. Things got worse for the club and the crowds started to fall,�€� he says.
�€�I was frustrated as a player because I think we had a succession of managers and you just start to impress one before he leaves and then you have to start all over again.�€�
�€�I think [current Carlisle boss] Paul Simpson �€“ up to now at least �€“ is the best manager I�€trade;ve played under and I enjoyed being at Rochdale under him.�€�
�€�So when the club didn�€trade;t renew my contract I was obviously disappointed. I picked up an injury towards the end of winter that season [2003/04] but the boss [Simpson] encouraged me to push on.�€�
�€�I did my best and played through it until the end of the season and at that stage had no idea what would happen.�€�
�€�Then the manager brought me into his office and told me he wasn�€trade;t going to renew my contract. It was very frustrating.�€�
Moving on from the setback of losing his professional status, Patterson picked himself up and went to Radcliffe, where he found life less than fulfilling.
�€�It was a big shock. I was lucky to be able to find a job, which I was grateful for, but it was so tough playing a game in the day and then doing night work. It wasn�€trade;t the best of times at Radcliffe,�€� he adds.
Now Patterson is starting pretty much every game with FC United and ploughing on with his day job as a sprayer for an engineering firm.
And with a long-term girlfriend who he has just moved in with, he claims he is more than happy to be where he is now.
�€�I was chuffed to bits that the manager picked me to play in the team and I just wanted to repay him for the faith that he showed in me by scoring goals. I�€trade;ll do that for years to come if the fans and the manager want me,�€� he says.
�€�Everyone is really close on the team in training and we are always trying to go out on nights out together and things like that.�€�
�€�It is going well at the minute, everyone is gelling together and if anyone has got a problem we just say it and it has gone.
�€�I enjoy being part of the attack and I get on really well with Adie Orr, who I played with when he was at Manchester City.�€�
�€�The rapport with the fans has been something else �€“ unreal. No matter what you do they are always there behind you and they give you that extra edge.�€�
�€�I think the club can go as far as the fans want it to. With the fan base that is there, they have the power to bring in new players if we aren�€trade;t good enough to get promotion, but we will always put in our best effort.�€�
But with Patterson hopefully finding a club where he can showcase his undoubted quality, FC United�€trade;s fans will be eager to see him moving in mysterious ways in a red shirt for many years to come.