To pay tribute to Sam's memory, that of a hard-working, well mannered and quietly spoken young man on the verge of so many good things, having graduated from the FCUM Academy as a star pupil, we will be taking on Ashton Athletic in the 'Sam Harding Memorial Trophy' on Wednesday 20th July - 7.45pm at Ashton's ground - Brocstedes Park, Brocstedes Road, Wigan, WN4 0NR
Speaking about Sam, Jay Foulds the Manager of Ashton Athletic said:
"Sam joined the club in December 2021 and although he was only with us a short time he made a big impact on and off the pitch; his passion, enthusiasm, desire, work rate and enjoyment of football was infectious which showed in results when he played. Off the pitch he was a quiet, well mannered young man who always thanked the volunteers especially the women who put the food on after the game. He was destined to move up the leagues and had already attracted attention from a few clubs further up the non league pyramid.
Sam will be sorely missed but will never be forgotten and to have this game in his memory only seems right".
FC Academy Manager also paid tribute:
"I worked with Sam in our academy for 2 years in which he shown to be a very good central midfielder playing week in week out for the youth team before eventually training and making appearances for our first team. Technically Sam was one of the best academy players we had, and that was proven when he was successful in England school boy trials earning caps for his country. He was a very polite lad and a pleasure to coach. Not only did his footballing ability shine but his attitude, work rate and professionalism on and off the pitch was 100% all of the time. Sam would seem quite quiet in and around the lads, however it was clear that he was a very popular and well liked lad in the academy with his team mates and staff at FC United.
Sam was always willing to going that extra mile in training but also off the pitch. He would be one of the first to volunteer to come along to open evenings to speak to new scholars and their parents. I remember one evening I invited a room full of parents to feel free to go and speak to our current scholars and ask questions. Sams face dropped and I could sense him looking for the nearest exit. However, he stood and he spoke to several parents with maturity and politeness because that was the type of lad he was.
Sam is always spoken about to future academy players as a perfect example of the type of player we want at the club not only with regards to the standard of footballing ability but the type of person he was - kind, polite, hard working and professional.
He will be sadly missed"
More details about the fixture will be released closer to the time and it would be great to have as many people down there as possible to pay tribute to him