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Family Affair: The McFadzeans

11 April 2013

Kyle McFadzean has been one of the key cogs in Crawley Town's rapid rise from non-league to npower League 1, but it could have been very different if it wasn't for Alfreton Town manager Nicky Law.

After coming through Sheffield United's youth system, the central defender chose to depart Bramall Lane with two years still left on his contract.

And after a spell away from football, Law, whose son, also named Nicky, played alongside McFadzean in the Blades' youth ranks, came knocking.

"He came to my front door and just said to me, 'I know you haven't played for a year and a bit but I've seen you play plenty of times and I think you're a waste, and I think you should try and play football again,'" Kyle recalled.

"If it wasn't for him, I'd probably still be sat at home. I'm obviously glad he came knocking - 100 per cent. I just want to improve every time I go on the pitch now."

Since that abrupt meeting on his doorstep, McFadzean has played a part in an Alfreton team that won the Blue Square North the year he left, and been instrumental in Crawley's double promotion, as well as their famous FA Cup runs, including a match against the mighty Manchester United at Old Trafford.

And while he's been busy rising up the divisions, another McFadzean has appeared on the football scene at his boyhood club Sheffield United - his younger brother Callum.

"My brother's doing okay. He has made a few appearances but he's often on the bench and that sometimes gets to him.

"I always ring him and tell him to keep his head down and work hard, and he'll get his chance."

Kyle, 26, is seven years older than Callum, who has represented England at U16 level, and the pair speak on a daily basis.

It gives the brothers a chance to share their feelings, and Kyle is eager to mentor his younger sibling to ensure he doesn't go down the route he did.

"I try to keep him on the straight and narrow and tell him where I went wrong at his age, and tell him not to do the same thing.

"I've had to come the hard way around and work my way back up from non-league.

"He's still only 19 and I think he has a good chance of doing really well if he works hard. Hopefully he gets his chance.

"He's a Sheffield United fan, like me, so he's just eager to play for Sheffield United."

While his brother is focused on making his name with the Blades, Kyle has always been enthusiastic to play against them.

That hasn't happen this season, though, as he's been sidelined for five months with a virus.

The strong defender, who was capped by England C in his non-league days, hasn't appeared for the Red Devils since November and admits it has been a tough time for him.

"I picked up a virus and it has taken a lot out of me, which is annoying. Physically I feel fine so it's very frustrating.

"I've been back involved at the club for ages; I'm just taking it steady and concentrating on next season now.

"It hasn't been a good season for me personally, but for the rest of the lads it has. We obviously would have liked to have done better but I think our main aim was just staying in this league, and we have done that.

"Three years ago the club was in non-league, now it is a League 1 team, firmly safe in The Football League.

"The virus has annoyed me and knocked me back a bit but I'll just have to come back fitter and stronger.

"Sheffield United may get promoted so I might not have the chance to play against them.

"I certainly want them to get promoted as I'm a Sheffield United fan. I like them to do well, but not against Crawley."

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