The rags-to-riches striker who terrorised the ‘Gaal-acticos’ of mighty Manchester United was playing against Hucknall Town only three years ago.
Jamie Vardy (27) enjoyed a dream debut in the Premier League as Leicester City pulled off an incredible 5-3 win over Louis Van Gaal’s United last Sunday.
He scored one goal, set up two others and won two penalties -- and he even upstaged United’s £265,000-a-week new boy Radamel Falcao.
Yet turn the clock back to March 2011 and Vardy was turning out for FC Halifax Town on a damp Tuesday night at Hucknall’s Watnall Road ground in the Premier Division of the Evo-Stik Northern Premier League.
In fact, Vardy supplied the cross for Halifax’s 85th minute winner in a 2-1 victory that helped Halifax land the title -- and send The Yellows, managed by Tommy Brookbanks, spinning towards relegation, from which the club has never recovered.
Earlier in the season, he was sent on as a second half substitute and had a hand in three of Halifax’s goals as they thumped Hucknall 4-0 at The Shay.
Vardy had been signed by Halifax for £15,000 from Stocksbridge Park Steels, another side Hucknall faced regularly at that time.
From Halifax, he was snapped up by Fleetwood Town, helping them win the Conference and promotion to the Football league.
And then came a £1m switch to Leicester, where he has now scored 21 goals in 66 starts.
Said a Hucknall spokesman: “His story gives encouragement and hope to all young footballers playing in non-league, even at Hucknall Town’s level.”