NEW Hyde United signing Ciaran Summers works with some of the Premier League’s biggest stars in his daytime job.
The 26-year-old Scot, who has just relocated to Manchester, is a global football marketing associate with sportswear firm New Balance.
And the company has signed up the likes of Raheem Sterling, Sadio Mane, Bukayo Saka, Harvey Elliott and Eberechi Eze and they also have sponsorship tie ups with AS Roma, Lille, Porto and Atletico Bilbao.
It is Summers’ job to work with the parties on developing marketing campaigns having previously had a similar role with Nike based at their European headquarters in Holland.
“I have always had a passion for testing football products, and this is my dream job and why I went beck to university to study for a masters’ degree in marketing,” he said.
“Jobs like this are few and far between and it is great to be involved in developing our marketing campaigns and helping clubs manage their own campaigns.”
But Summers, a versatile player who is comfortable anywhere on the left, has had an interesting football journey and had things worked out he, too, may have been a full-time professional.Summers was at his boyhood club Rangers between the ages of eight and 17 before continuing his football education at Stenhousemuir, Queens Park and Stirling Albion.
And though he still dreamed of being a full-time career in football, Summers had embarked on a masters degree in marketing with an eye to the future.
He said: “I still wanted to go full time and was meant to join Falkirk who were in the Championship.
“It all came down to money and what they allocated for me was spent on bringing in a striker.”
Summers left Scotland for Holland in early 2020 and shortly before Covid-19 struck to accept the offer of an 18-month contract from Nike.
And he got fixed up through his Scottish connections by signing for VV Dovo in the fourth tier of Dutch football.
Their manager was Scott Calderwood, son of Jimmy, the former Birmingham City player and Aberdeen manager.
Since returning to Scotland in May, Summers signed for Stirling Albion and made his debut for them in the week he landed his new job with New Balance.
It was through a contact at his new company that Summers was put in contact with Hyde having initially approached FC United who never replied.
Summers sees the standard of the Northern Premier League as similar to the lower divisions in Scotland.
Looking back to the start of his playing days, Summers described living the dream playing for boyhood club Rangers.
He was in a great group which included many players who have gone on to have successful careers including Craig Halkett (Hearts), Liam Kelly (Motherwell), Charlie Telfer (Falkirk), Andrew Murdoch (Ayr United) and Lewis Macleod (ex-Brentford and Wigan Athletic).
Summers added it was his decision to leave Rangers as he was unsure whether he would have been offered a full-time deal.
He said: “I was quite small and at the time Rangers were signing players of my age from clubs in Scotland and Northern Ireland who were 6ft plus.
“I had friends aged 16 and 17 who were starting to hit first teams and I thought in the long run it was better that I left, even though it was heartbreaking to leave the club I supported.
“The dream was to play games and one day go back to Rangers. There was talk of that happening when Ally McCoist was manager but they were only rumours and sadly it never happened.”
Summers did, however, get to play against Rangers for Stenhousemuir in 2014 in League One after they had been relegated, a penalty for financial irregularities.
“It was an amazing experience to play against Rangers and to cap it I was named man of the match,” he recalled.
He added another highlight was playing for Queens Park whose home is Hampden Park, Scotland’s national stadium.
“It was amazing to play our home games there, the only sad thing was it was always at a near empty stadium,” he said.
Summers brings a wealth of experience to Hyde – 177 appearances for Stenhousemuir, Queens Park and Stirling Albion in Scottish League One and League Two which he believes is of a comparable standard to the Northern Premier League.
He hopes to become a regular in the side new manager Jim Gannon is building and marked his second appearance for the club with his first goal against Radcliffe.