FC Halifax Town: Ryan raring to go after seizing his chance

Halifax action at Brighouse Town. Ryan Sellers
Halifax action at Brighouse Town. Ryan Sellers

Had things worked out differently, Halifax defender Ryan Sellers could have been working as a city trader by now.

The Halifax left-back had been released by his local club Barnet and was studying maths, physics and economics at A-Level in preparation for a career in the city.

But his boyhood dream of making it as a footballer impelled him to try-out for the Nike Academy, a full-time, professional standard training programme, based at St George’s Park, who were holding trials near Sellers’ home.

“I was thinking I’d be going into the city to become some sort of trader,” said Sellers. “That was my ambition if football didn’t work out.

“I’ve always had that drive to be a footballer. It was always in me as a young boy.

“I found this link on Facebook about the Nike Academy. A couple of my friends attended it and they said to me ‘come down, it’ll be a good evening out, there’s coaching, a couple of scouts there, some free kit’.

“I was 18 and it was the week after my birthday. It was a five-minute walk from my house. It was at Barnet’s training ground. I thought ‘if it’s down there, I’m going to go’. Had it been anywhere else, I probably wouldn’t have gone.

“I didn’t realise how big it was at the time. There were 60-odd players there, all competing for a place in the final, which was called The Nike Chance.

“They all went to St George’s Park, and I was fortunate enough to be one of the two players selected to go to St George’s Park for this final.

“They took one boy from 30 different countries and one from the UK to do another trial in-front of scouts.

“If you won the chance, you went into the Nike Academy, and I won it.

“I was one of six who won. I only went up there for the weekend, for an experience, to see the England facilities.

“I didn’t look at it as anything else, but I guess I underestimated my ability by having that mindset, but maybe that paid off.”

Within six months of winning his chance, the head of recruitment at Bolton contacted Sellers inviting him for a trial.

“I was there for three weeks and the boss (Jamie Fullarton, then head of Bolton’s under 21’s) offered me a contract in my third week, which was fantastic. I snapped it up there and then.

“I spent a year there, but after Dougie Freedman got sacked, Jamie left the club, a new manager came in, changed things round, and at the end of the season my contract wasn’t renewed.

“I went to Wycombe for a year, which was a brilliant experience of first-team football in the league.

“I made 20-odd appearances, played in the FA Cup and the League Cup. I was still really young and when I find myself looking back now I can see I was young and naive.

“I came down to Wealdstone in non-league, very local to me. I was there for about 18 months, and had a good string of games last year, and also had a few goals and assists.

“That was a really good learning curve in terms of what I can bring to the table.”

And no-one will know what Sellers can offer more than Fullarton, who the defender is delighted to be linking-up with again.

“I’ve worked with the boss before and the way he wants to play really suits my style,” said Sellers.

“He likes to get the ball down and play, he likes the team to play football. He’s all about hard work and a good work ethic about your game and that’s what I feel I bring to the team as well.

“He’s a very intelligent person and a very intelligent coach.

“He knows how to get the best out of his players, but he also works you really hard and works you to a point where your body’s fatigued and you’re mentally fatigued, and you have to make good decisions whilst being tired.

“That happens in the 75th, 80th, 90th minute.”

Sellers, who can also play as a wing-back, has moved to Leeds and is sharing a house with fellow new signings Josh Staunton, Cameron King and Shaun Rowley.

“It’s a good laugh!” he said of living with his house-mates, while Sellers is also upbeat about Halifax’s prospects this season.

“With the boys we have, the manager, the level of ability we have in the group I really see us doing quite well,” he added, “hopefully being up there in contention if we can.”