Danny Heffernan – From Sunday League to Australian hotshot
Danny Heffernan has had one of the most bizarre footballing careers in history, having played almost every position on the pitch, returning to previous clubs, scoring 49 goals in one season and now playing football in Australia, all before the age of 25.
Heffernan, who plays as a striker, started his career playing Sunday League football until the age of 18, when he was asked to play in the reserves for Conference North side Altrincham.
The youngster started matches playing as a left winger, but also made appearances as a central midfielder.
The same season he was playing for the reserves, Heffernan was asked to sign papers for the first team, so, as every wannabe footballer would, he signed the forms.
As Heffernan didn’t make an appearance for the first team after that season, he decided to follow the departing reserve team manager to Abbey Hey FC, who play in the North West Counties League.
Player of the year
Heffernan once again started as a winger, but also played as a central midfielder and his most preferred position, striker. That season in 2008-09, the striker won League Player of the Year (voted by opposition managers) after his impressive performances during the season.
The following season, Heffernan re-joined his previous club, Altrincham, where he played 2-3 months of football in the first team, before moving on to New Mills FC, another North West Counties League side.
Due to a new job, Heffernan was forced to leave New Mills for local Manchester league team Whalley Range FC.
After playing against Salford City (Northern Premier League) during pre-season, he decided to join their team at the beginning of the 2010-11 campaign.
Heffernan was enjoying his football at Salford, but was enforced to join Fletcher Moss Rangers due to being limited to training sessions and matches as work commitments clashed.
49 goals in all competitions
After a full season at Fletcher Moss Rangers, Heffernan scored an incredible 49 goals in all competitions, when he decided to come out of work and return to Salford City.
Heffernan impressed during his time at Salford and even played centre-half for the side due to covering for players’ injuries/suspensions. He continued to impress in different positions and even played 70 minutes of football in between the sticks.
The 25-year-old signed up to findthatfootballcv.com, which allows football clubs to find new talents. He was soon contacted by a club in Australia who were keen on signing him, after a few conversations the striker was on his way.
“I decided that this move would be good for me,” he said.
As of March this year, Heffernan has been playing in Shepparton, Australia as a striker. With the season coming towards its climax in Australia, Heffernan has scored an impressive 26 goals in 16 games for his current side.
“The experience of being out here in Australia is something I would definitely recommend, I just wish the opportunity had come along when I was younger,” he said.
Returning to England
Heffernan’s ambitions still remain to play football at the highest level possible, he will be returning to England in three weeks when the season has finished, so he can think about where his next step will take him.
Ideally, Heffernan would like to play in Europe although he hasn’t got a professional club on his CV, which usually makes it extremely difficult to make the next step up.
“I would like to play in a lower league in Europe, as I know I’m good enough,” Heffernan explained.
If the striker doesn’t receive any offers over the summer, he will return to Australia and play for South Melbourne FC, who have already stated their interest in the player.
After such an eventful career already, Heffernan’s future remains undecided, but one day he hopes to settle down into a club where he plays regular football and continues scoring goals as has shown he can do.
By Josh Harris