Ely teen signs for Charlton Athletic

NICK Pope, whose talent as a goalkeeper was first spotted at King’s Junior School, has signed a contract with Charlton Athletic after honing his skills with Bury Town.


The Suffolk non-League club may have lost a quality young keeper, but Bury Town Manager, Richard Wilkins, believes they could have just launched a Premier League star.

He described the 19-year-old as the most naturally-talented player to progress through the ranks at the West Suffolk Sports Academy and Bury Town.

That is some praise from the man who helped oversee moves to professional clubs for Ian Miller, Liam Trotter (both Ipswich Town), Jay Dennis (Cambridge United) and Ben Coker (Colchester United).

“I honestly think Nick Pope can go all the way to the top,” said Wilkins. “It wouldn’t surprise me in five or six years time, when he has built up his core strength and improved his technique, to see him make it.

“That’s how much we rate him at the college and the football club. Looking at natural talent, he is probably the best one we’ve had.”

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Terms have been agreed between the south London-based npower League One club which includes Nick studying sports science and coaching at Roehampton University.

Despite the lofty ambitions of his former manager, Nick is keeping his feet firmly on the ground and aiming to impress enough to earn another contract at the end of the two-year deal with Charlton Athletic. He said: “To go any higher would be great, but I don’t expect to do a Chris Smalling and come out of non-League and end up at the top in two years. What I want to do is make a career out of the game for the next 10 or 15 years. I’m not joining a struggling team, but a really ambitious club looking to go up.”