YouTube clips convince Tilson to sign Bradley Barraclough to Lincoln City
BRADLEY BARRACLOUGH'S story would not look out of place in a Roy Of The Rovers comic book.
A Lincoln City fan sends a video to the club showcasing his talent in an attempt to catch their eye and land themselves a deal.
It is the stuff of fiction, but for 22-year-old Barraclough it is now reality after the youngster penned a one-year-deal this week.
His You Tube clip of his goalscoring exploits for Bellarmine University in, Kentucky, America impressed Imps boss Steve Tilson enough to earn him a trial at the club this summer.
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From there he stood out in the pre-season campaign and went on to sign his first ever professional contract.
During his stay in America, Barraclough scored 52 times and came back to England with his heart set on a move into the professional game.
"I moved back from the States in May and I started trying to find a club that would give me a chance," said Barraclough, who moved to Lincoln with his family when he was four.
"I uploaded a video of my goals on YouTube and I also sent an attachment in an email to the management of Lincoln City.
"They got back to me and invited me on trial and I am very grateful to them for that.
"I sent the video to other clubs too, but Lincoln came back with the most serious response.
"I was not sure whether they would get back to me, but I was hoping they would take it seriously."
Barraclough has pulled on the red and white shirt of Lincoln four times this pre-season, most recently netting in the Imps' 4-3 loss to Grimsby in the Lincolnshire Senior Cup just days after penning a deal.
However, they have only been warm-up games and the youngster hopes to take the next step and follow in the footsteps of legendary Imps strikers Simon Yeo and Gary Taylor-Fletcher.
Both strikers were relative unknowns on their arrivals at Sincil Bank but both left having gained hero status following their goalscoring exploits under Keith Alexander.
"They were definitely two of my heroes and I had a season ticket for three seasons between the age of 12 and 16 so I followed Lincoln to the play-offs," Barraclough recalled.
"I definitely looked up to Simon Yeo while Gary Taylor-Fletcher was a great striker and the challenge now is to try and do something similar in a Lincoln shirt."
That challenge will not be easy and the transition from collegiate football to the blood and guts of non-league is bound to take time.
Manager Tilson has already admitted that Barraclough has to 'learn the game' and the striker is under no illusions that he is only a student of football at the moment.
"In America we played in a conference where the top four teams went through to the nationals," said the young striker.
"We made the regionals a couple of times and it was a very competitive set-up. Fitness was a very important aspect and the players were all very strong.
"My main goal now I am here is to work my socks off for the team.
"The gaffer and Paul Brush like me for my work-rate and they know I can score goals.
"It is just a case of polishing up some aspects of my game as I still have that rawness to my play.
"But I love scoring goals, being in the box and putting pressure on defenders."