Fortune was very poorly treated in Zimbabwe, both at home and at school, but was finally reunited with his mother in England a few years later. He couldn’t speak any English when he first started school so suffered bullying and it wasn’t until he joined Middleton Technology School and met Nick Pearce, his Foundation coach, that things started improving.
Nick helped Fortune to join the football team and gave him opportunities to help out with younger children at primary school sessions. Fortune has since developed greatly in attitude, confidence and behaviour.
Due to their similar backgrounds, not to mention their names, Quinton Fortune was delighted to meet his namesake, and invited young Fortune to the Aon Training Complex for a tour and a kick about. Fortune was in awe at being at the training ground for the first time, and at meeting the former Manchester United and South African midfielder.
“It was an honour to meet Quinton, because I have never met a legendary footballer, and we have the same background and lots in common. We are both left footed and left handed and also like the same subjects at school,” said Fortune.
“It feels like meeting myself,” added Quinton. “We have had a similar experience because I came over from South Africa when I was 14 and we’ve both had to learn a different language.
“He’s had a hard time at school but I’ve tried to encourage him and told him to try his best to rise above it but thanks to the help of the Foundation, the coaches and teachers have been able to help him and you can see the amazing work and the difference they are making.”
The surprises did not stop there for Fortune, though. Halfway through a kick about on the Academy outdoor training pitch, he couldn’t believe his eyes when Manchester United first-team stars Juan Mata and Ander Herrera arrived bearing gifts. The Spanish duo joined in some volley football, before presenting young Fortune with an Aon training shirt and tickets to the West Brom match at Old Trafford on Sunday 15th April.
“It was a surprise because I didn’t know the players were going to come and it feels great that they came just to see me,” said Fortune. “It means a lot to me because I think my coach and teachers chose me because of my behaviour in classes and determination. I’ve become a bit brave because nowadays people around me talk to me and ask me to hang out. I feel proud of myself that I’ve developed from how I was before.
“When I was little I never thought I was going to be here today – I thought I would stay in Zimbabwe for the rest of my life so this is just a dream come true.”