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Kalam Mooniaruck

Norwich Career: Youth 
Current Club: Tiptree Town (Ridgeons League)
Date of Birth: 22/11/1983
Nationality: English


Kalam Mooniaruck hit the back pages of the national press on 3rd March 1999 when he signed for Manchester United. The big deal about his move was that Kalam was only 13 and had been training with Norwich City.

United stood accused of making a mockery of the regulations that state that players of Kalam's age (13) are only allowed to train with or play for a professional club which is less than 90 minutes travelling time from their home. This rule is to protect young players so not to take up valuable education and homework time when they travel after school to their club. One could also argue that it protects smaller clubs from having their star talents poached from their academies by bigger clubs. Such rules would limit the catchment area of all clubs so youngsters are more likely to join their local side. This protects the academy as the really gifted youngsters save clubs fortunes on the transfer market or can earn millions when they are sold on. The academies cost vast amounts of money to set up and run, and are scrutinised and vetted by the Football Association. If the clubs cannot keep their best talent at a young age then it would make commercial sense for them to scrap their youth setup and just sign another ferry full of cheap foreign players. By keeping a player with a local side, their hopes and expectations can be kept reasonable, there is an element of normality and they retain the support of their family, school and community.

United however showed the lengths that big clubs would go to in order to sign young talent. Kalam lived in Bishops Stortford which is within 90minutes travelling time of Norwich City but not that of Manchester. At least not by road. However United got round this ruling by flying Kalam and his parents to Manchester from nearby Stanstead. The flight time being only 45 minutes. United claim they are acting within the regulations but Norwich went to the Football League to complain about their behaviour. (Evening Standard 3rd March 1999)

The story resurfaced in The Independent on December 15th 1999 when the Football League clarified that the 90 minutes travelling time was by road. United were still flying Kalam up to Manchester and putting him into nearby digs despite his young age. Kalam, who was then already playing for United's Under 17 side, might have been released from United's grip but whether he will return to Norwich is another matter. The Independent thought it proper that he was signed up with a London side !

At the end of January 2003, Kalam and fellow Man Utd youngster Chris Humphrey had trials with both Rotherham and QPR in their search for first team football. Along with French triallist Marc Zanotti, once of Caen, Bourdeaux, Toulon, Nancy and St Etienne, the two young Red Devils played for QPR Reserves in a 1-1 draw with Rushden & Diamonds. He had already played for Rotherham in their 3-3 reserve team draw with Oldham. He returned to Rotherham during the last week of January and played again in their reserve team clash with Walsall. However Ronnie Moore decided not to offer Kalam a contract. Kalam then surfaced at Grimsby on trial along with Charlton youngster Mads Mortensen. Grimsby opted not to take him on and he later had a trial with Wycombe Wanderers. Another trial came at the end of March 2003 with Kalam turning out for Swindon's reserve team. In mid April 2003, Kalam was on his sixth trial, turning out for Sheffield Wednesday's reserves in a 3-0 victory over their equivalents from West Bromwich Albion.

At the beginning of July 2003, Kalam joined Leyton Orient on a fortnight's trial with Orient's manager Paul Brush stating "he's a talented young player who has learned his trade at the highest level"

Failing to win a contract with a league club, Kalam signed for Braintree at the end of August 2003 as they are his local side. He joined Cambridge United on trial in January 2004 and played for their reserves in a 2-2 draw with Norwich on 14th January 2004. At the same time, Braintree released him stating that his skills and style of playing were not suited for the Ryman League. He is now playing for the Bishops Stortford Swifts.

In the summer of 2006, Kalam joined Cambridge City on trial. This became a permanent transfer during the second week of August 2006. He switched to Thurrock in January 2007. Kalam finished the season with Saffron Walden Town in the Ridgeons League

During 2007, Kalam quit playing to take up coaching and to link up with David Beckham to help establish the 'Beck's Soccer School` network. He returned to football on January 7th 2008 when he signed for Tipree Town.

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