Freddie aims to be next Draper to make a name for himself

Bill Draper heads home for Lockheed Leamington.

Bill Draper heads home for Lockheed Leamington.

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Princethorpe College pupil Freddie Draper is well on the way to preserving his family’s footballing legacy after joining Derby County from Coventry City.

The 11-year-old, who started out at Leamington Hibs under the guidance of Stuart Turvey, is the son of former Nuneaton, Worcester City, Leamington and VS Rugby player Dave.

Freddie Draper

Freddie Draper

His father also went on to manage Racing Club Warwick, but it was his grandfather Bill who enjoyed the more distinguished career.

The centre-forward scored 83 times in 101 games for Lockheed Leamington and turned down the advances of Aston Villa to sign for Northampton Town where he amassed 22 goals in 52 appearances.

He went on to Kettering Town, where he scored 100 goals in three seasons, before finishing his career at Rugby Town.

And, following Bill’s death last year, Dave said the progress of his grandson was a source of strength for the family.

“It was a strange year with the bad news of my father,” said Dave.

“But to have the news of Freddie signing (for Derby) a couple of months later - it’s as if his legacy has carried on.

“My dad did come and watch Freddie play for Hibs in the early days - and even though his was ill with Alzheimers we were so glad he could be with us on the pitch at the Ricoh when he signed for Coventry City.

“We are sure he is up there now looking down and watching over him.”

Freddie enjoyed three seasons at the Ricoh before making the switch to Derby last summer and Dave said the opportunity to move to a Category One Academy was too good to turn down.

“The facilities were incredible and we felt that Freddie would have more opportunities to develop quicker and we decided to take up the offer.

“But the coaching and support Freddie received at Coventry was exceptional and we would recommend the club to anyone fortunate to get the opportunity.

“Fred recently said that all he wants is to be a footballer, but its a tough road and we are very aware that only a small percentage make the grade.

“But while he is under the umbrella of an up-and-coming club like Derby, there is always a chance.”