From being stabbed, to the cusp of an ‘invincible’ season — The story of New Saints icon Brad Young

When Brad Young was stabbed, his life hung in the balance, but in a testament to his remarkable powers of self-belief, the formidable striker has risen like a phoenix from the ashes and now stands just a game away from an ‘Invincible’ season.

Blessed with poise, flare, and an unrelenting will to win, the Midlands forward has proven himself as one of the most gifted finishers the JD Cymru Premier has ever seen. Wearing The New Saints’ badge with honour, the dynamic player, who’s bagged a whopping 22 goals this season, has helped his side secure an iconic 16th league title.

However, his life could’ve taken a very different path when a horrendous attack nearly ended his dazzling career before it had even begun.

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Brad Young’s journey to footballing success

While he was still in the womb, Young adored football, with his mother fondly remembering her boy kicking her stomach, believing this was an early sign that he was destined for sporting greatness.

And her assumptions were quickly proved correct. Shortly after taking his first steps, Young gravitated towards ‘the beautiful game’, quickly exhibiting tremendous talent, which caught the eye of his PE teacher and subsequently, West Brom. After a stint with ‘The Baggies’, he ended up with his beloved Aston Villa, where initially, things looked bright. Alas, at the age of just 17, a terrifying and cowardly act, nearly robbed the athlete of not just his sporting career, but his life.

In an exclusive interview with Sporf, he explained: “It was just the wrong place – wrong time. It was during COVID when the restrictions weren’t as strict. So, I was going to the park with my friends, where I was playing football, and some lads tried to rob me.”

“I don’t just give my stuff away, so an altercation occurred. Someone threw a punch, so I fought back, and then I got stabbed three times from behind. I remember ringing 999, and then I collapsed. I was rushed to hospital. One of the stab wounds hit an artery, and it was 12cm deep.”

Brad Young fights for his life

After evaluating the extent of the damage, the doctors were terrified of the potential long-term side effects, forcing them to have an emotional and difficult chat with the footballer’s mother.

Young explained: “The doctors were holding one of the stab wounds, and they went out to speak to my mum. They told her, ‘We don’t know what’s going to happen here’. The experts didn’t know if I was going to live or play football again. They didn’t know if I’d be able to get an erection again. There were even fears I might have to wee and poo in a bag for the rest of my life.

“It was a massive wake-up call. I remember sitting there, not knowing what was going to happen. I had to wait six hours for the specialist to do the surgery. Thankfully, it was a successful operation, and none of their worries actually happened.”

Brad Young battles back from the brink

With such severe injuries, many players would’ve given up on their dreams, accepting that the life they once envisioned is no longer possible. But not Young— it simply isn’t in his nature.

Exhibiting remarkable fighting spirit, the sportsman refused to fall short of his goals, knowing he still had the chance to become the player he was always destined to be.

He asserted: “I had to wait for the hole to close, and then I started working my way back up. I was in intensive care for two-three nights, and then I got released. Thankfully, because of Covid, football wasn’t back up and running, so I had some time to get myself fit. I missed the whole pre-season working on my strength. Thankfully, I made the first game of the season. That’s the year, we kicked on and won the Youth Cup and I made my FA Cup debut. What happened to me motivates me more. The person who did it has been sent down. Thankfully, I’m back doing what I love.”

Brad Young dazzles for The New Saints

After achieving his childhood ambition, Young signed for The New Saints and hasn’t looked back since, earning the love and admiration of the fans, hitting the back of the net over and over again.

Through his remarkable eye for goal and the guidance he’s received under manager, Craig Harrison, his team now stands on the cusp of joining the likes of Arsenal, Preston North End and Rangers as ‘Invincible’ sides.

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Young beamed: “I’m over the moon. We always said from the start of the campaign, we wanted to go the whole season undefeated. We’ve done that in the league and all the Welsh competitions.

“All my praise goes to Craig. I wouldn’t have been able to show my ability if it wasn’t for him. He’s always believed in me.”

Tomorrow, The New Saints play the final league game of their season against Connah’s Quay. And should they secure victory, the staggering achievement will undoubtedly send the supporters into meltdown with a feeling of euphoria, which will only grow further if they can do the double and clinch glory in the Welsh Cup, when they play their rivals for the second time in two consecutive matches.

Featured Image Credit: The New Saints