DANIEL ALLEN’S dream of being a professional footballer was cruelly cut short through injury in his teens.
But the 28-year-old from Greenfield, a former Oldham Athletic and Manchester City striker, is enjoying sporting success in another activity.
Daniel recently triumphed in the 40-strong elite field in the Rastrick category of the Rainhill Trials, a CrossFit fitness competition held at SportsCity, Manchester, and open to members of gyms from throughout the UK.
CrossFit is massive in America and is a strength and conditioning programme that tests competitors to the limit in Olympic lifting, powerlifting, gymnastics, metabolic conditioning, running, rowing and body resistance movement.
Daniel had to do four initial workouts in the competition with the top 10 progressing to the final, from where he emerged the victor.
“I have been competing in-house for four years, but this was my first major competition, and I was absolutely delighted to win it. It was good to see what I can do against others,” he explained.
Daniel added it was good to practise what he preached as he is the owner of the CrossFit Saddleworth franchise and for the last seven months has operated that from his gym at Wharf Mill, Diggle.
And he says that enables him to train a couple of hours each day while juggling running the gym, coaching and also doing some work as a personal trainer.
Daniel describes CrossFit as real life functional training which is brought into everyday activities.
He said: “It is about being coached and learning new skills in one-hour sessions.
“In seven months I have signed up over 50 members and a lot are new to CrossFit. I can see it taking over from commercial gyms in the next 10/20 years.”
It is a far cry from his earlier life as he was at Oldham Athletic between the ages of 13 and 16 when he joined Manchester City on the same day as Micah Richards made the same move from Latics.
Daniel said: “I played with Micah at both Oldham and City and he sometimes used to stay at my house. He has shown the dizzy heights of what can be achieved going on to play for England.
“I sustained a bad knee injury that knocked me down but, thankfully, I have found a new avenue to go down.”
Daniel later played some semi-pro football for New Mills and Glossop and was in the latter’s squad when they reached Wembley in the final of the FA Vase.
Football has been kicked into touch, however, as Daniel says he cannot risk getting injured as that would be problematic in his new line of fitness work.