Former footballer Brad McClelland aiming to score on Love Island

A former local footballer has been revealed as one of the contestants on this year’s Love Island.

Thursday, 24th June 2021, 1:55 pm
Brad McClelland in action for New Hartley Juniors (Picture courtesy of Steve Miller), and (right) will be appearing on Love Island (Picture from ITV).
Brad McClelland in action for New Hartley Juniors (Picture courtesy of Steve Miller), and (right) will be appearing on Love Island (Picture from ITV).

Brad McClelland, from Amble, was announced this week as one of the first 11 appearing on the hit ITV2 show starting next Monday.

The 26-year-old labourer’s social media pages have been taken over by friends as he prepares to enter the Majorca villa.

As a youngster, Brad was snapped up by New Hartley Juniors as a 15-year-old where club officials said he was a “handful" on the pitch but a quiet lad off it.

Brad McClelland enjoyed success on the pitch with New Hartley Juniors.

He spent two-and-a-half years at the club, famous for developing young footballers, scoring plenty of goals before a knee injury hindered his progress.

Mick Maley, club secretary at the time, said: “He was a real handful for us. He was 6ft 2ins at 16. He was a giant, a great leader.

“He was committed as he would travel all the way down from Amble to play for us.”

At the age of 17, Brad was thrown in against 18-year-olds as New Hartley played a cup semi final against favourites Ryhope, where he scored a first half hat-trick in a 3-1 win.

Mick said: “We thought we’d get beat. Our normal Under 18s striker was away with England so we threw Brad in, and he scored three in the first half.

"He was like Malcolm MacDonald at one point, he ran from the halfway line and their players were just bouncing off him.

"In the final against Redcar, they were the favourites again but Brad scored two in a 4-2 win.

"Brad had been recommended to us by a scout at Newcastle United, so we knew they were watching him as well.

"Brad was a big unit, he knew where the goal was. He was a genuine guy but a quiet lad which is why I was surprised to see he was going on Love Island.

“It’s not a programme I’ve had time for in the past but I’ll be watching it now to see him.”

After leaving New Hartley Juniors, Ashington-born Brad signed for Alnwick Town before Ashington AFC signed him as a 19-year-old in 2014.

Speaking at the time, Colliers manager Gary Middleton said: “Brad is a promising player who is very strong for a young lad.

"He has scored lots of goals in the second division for Alnwick and we have monitored his progress during the season. I believe long term he will be a good addition and he comes into our squad at a much needed time with two of our strikers facing suspension.”

Love Island returns to ITV2 and ITV Hub for its seventh series on Monday, June 28 at 9pm.

Laura Whitmore is at the helm as the Islanders do their best to flirt, date, couple up and try and avoid being ‘dumped’ from the villa.

With new arrivals, heads may turn, while others will prove their true feelings, all narrated by the inimitable voice of Love Island, Iain Stirling.

Love Island was the most watched show on any digital channel in 2020 and as it returns there’ll be lots of twists and turns along the way.