Drugs, gang fights, shootings, stabbings and killings: Ex-Doncaster Rovers ace lifts lid on childhood

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An ex-Doncaster Rovers footballer has revealed how he was exposed to killings, shootings, stabbings and gang violence during his traumatic childhood.

Quinton Fortune, whose last professional deal was with Rovers, witnessed violence on an almost daily basis while growing up in Cape Town in South Africa.

The footballer, now 45, and a cult hero from his time at Manchester United before later joining Rovers, was exposed to shootings, stabbings and killings with the country under apartheid legislation at the time.

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He lived in the dangerous area of Kewtown where threats to his life were frequent and he has praised his family for helping him through.

Former Doncaster Rovers star Quinton Fortune has spoken of his traumatic childhood.Former Doncaster Rovers star Quinton Fortune has spoken of his traumatic childhood.
Former Doncaster Rovers star Quinton Fortune has spoken of his traumatic childhood.

“There were scary parts; the drugs, the gang fights, the shootings, the stabbings, the killings — it was right there, every day," Fortune told The Athletic.

"From the moment you woke up, you were exposed to it. It is easy to fall into that trap but thank God for my grandma, my parents and my siblings, who took care of me and kept me in sport.

“My brothers were all protesting against the apartheid regime and I remember at primary school leaving early, running home with my bags, seeing the tear gas and the big tanks coming.

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"Those were scary times because this was different. These were big tanks, big guns and they were shooting rubber bullets. I was too young to fully understand it. It was, ‘Run home as quickly as possible’. But I knew something was happening.”

Fortune’s life changed when he was 14 as Tottenham made him part of their academy after he impressed in South African tournaments.

He moved to Spain in 1995 playing for Mallorca and Atletico Madrid before joining United in 1999 after impressing Sir Alex Ferguson during a trial.

Fortune went on to play for Bolton, Brescia, Tubize and Doncaster after leaving United while he claimed 46 caps for the South African national team. He retired in 2010 after leaving Rovers and forged a coaching career.

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He returned to Old Trafford in 2019 as he took up the role of assistant coach with the under-23 side. He joined Reading as a first-team coach in 2020 and now helps support the coaching teams in the England youth set-up.