We can announce that following negotiations we have today agreed an undisclosed fee with Scottish Premier League club Hamilton Academical FC for the transfer of Tunde Owolabi from FC United.
The fee met the termination clause the club had agreed with the player on signing the contract. We would like to thank Tunde and Hamilton Academicals for the professional manner in which negotiations occurred.
Tunde’s goal-scoring prowess saw him become the highest goal-scorer in the top seven divisions of English football, with 35 goals in a season which he didn’t join till late August 2019, and was curtailed due to the season being abandoned mid-March.
His strike rate attracted attention from professional clubs within a couple of months of him joining FC, so the club took the decision in light of his performances and the growing interest to make him our first contracted player of the season.
While we are naturally very disappointed to lose a player of Tunde’s calibre, we are delighted to once again help a player develop their potential. Tunde’s move to the Scottish Premier League sees him reach the highest level a former FC Inited player has ever reached, meaning that in a matter of weeks he could be running out at Celtic Park or Ibrox in front of more 50,000 fans, and playing in European competition. It’s understandable therefore that as an ambitious and talented player he wishes to test himself at the highest level possible.
Upon confirmation of the deal Tunde
said: "I have always dreamed since the first day I started playing to follow my dad’s footsteps of being a professional football player. It’s been a long journey full of ups and downs. A journey that I would question from time to time if I had what it takes to fulfil my dream. But I learned that if I could believe in myself, work hard and trust God, it was definitely possible. I am absolutely grateful to God that I can now say I am living my dream. Words can’t describe how I feel...it’s been an overwhelming couple of weeks to be honest but one that I continue to love every minute and second of the day.
“I just want to say a massive thank you to my family for always being there for me, supporting me even when at times it was hard. I am truly blessed to have them on my side. I have known Chucks since I was at the reserves at FC United and he has always helped me especially during the off season to work on my game and how I can improve and develop. In fact, before even going to Scotland, I spent good time with him and his coaching has absolutely helped me be in a good physical condition to fight my way into getting a deal in Scotland. I love working with him and I can understand why Ighalo loves working with him too. Finally, Of course Ladi, my agent who helped get me the opportunity to go on trial in Scotland. Last season I was playing non-league, and now I am a professional football player. Never give up on your dreams because I never did and now I am living it. To all those that have contributed to my journey one way or the other, thank you soo much. I am absolutely grateful and blessed and believe me, I won’t ever forget.
“I had an incredible season with FC United. Working with the manager and his coaching staff who helped and believed in me, gave me the freedom to express myself on the pitch which in turn led to me being the best I could possibly be. Playing with such a wonderful group of players has been an amazing experience. I have absolutely enjoyed sharing the pitch with them all and I wish them all the very best this coming season, I strongly believe they will continue to move from strength to strength, entertaining the fans with that brand of attacking football which we were known for last season and achieve promotion under the leadership of the manager and his coaching staff.”
He added: “What can I say about the FC United faithful? It’s been a privilege and honour to have been able to play for one of the best if not the best non-league club and fans. It’s been an incredible experience knowing you guys and playing for you. Since my first day, the love and support I received has been absolutely special. Not had that anywhere I have been, it’s a special club full of special special people. I want to say a massive thank you for supporting me and loving me. I won’t ever forget how it feels representing this club, I am truly humbled. I am sad to leave FC United, a place that felt like home long before last season. I will miss you all and I hope I leave with all your love and support. I will always be an FC United supporter even though my future lies in Scotland. I will continue to follow the team’s progress and support them during the upcoming season. Thank you all once again and God bless you all."
Manager Neil Reynolds
said : "I am delighted for Tunde to fulfil his dream to become a professional footballer. The last few days have been a testing time trying to get the deal finalised but as with all deals, they take time. I am happy that it has now been concluded and we can move forward and plan for the upcoming season. Tunde was an integral part of what we achieved last season. Since joining the club he was always hardworking and eager to improve and no-one can argue about his goal scoring record during last season. I have thoroughly enjoyed working with Tunde and hope he goes on to reach his goals.
“Tunde follows in the footsteps of Elliot Simoes and Kurt Willoughby under my leadership, and there is no better feeling than developing players and seeing them go on to a higher level to better themselves. We have a fantastic young squad who will miss Tunde but whoever steps into his shoes will be doing everything possible to repeat last season’s successes.
All the best Tunde and thank you."
From day one Tunde has embraced the fans and the ethos of the club, always the last back to the changing room after a match, he has made himself available at every opportunity for example to record birthday messages for FC Uth supporters, attending the FC Uth bowling event with all the other players; this attitude off the pitch as much as on it saw him win the Russell Delaney Award as the Fans Player of the Year, the Bowland Brewery Player of the month award, plus the League’s Golden Boot and several Goal of the Season Awards, so we thank Tunde for his fantastic contribution, and wish him all the best with his move to the Scottish Premiership.
We look forward to the new season with our four targets all recruited strengthening the spine of the FC side, with Forward Dan Cockerline, midfielder Nathan Burke, Defender Matty Makinson, and goalkeeper Ollie Martin, and we will look to attract another proven goalscorer alongside Dan to ensure we’ve got competition for every position.
We will be announcing more friendlies shortly, and look forward to seeing you all back at Broadhurst Park after what for most of us is the longest break in football in living memory, prior to a season where once again we look to challenge for the title under Neil’s stewardship and his exciting brand of attacking football.
Stay safe and see you all soon