13-year-old Glenavon player Christopher Atherton breaks UK record

13-year-old schoolboy Christopher Atherton makes history by becoming the UK’s youngest-ever senior player when he comes on for Northern Irish side Glenavon in League Cup tie… and he got an assist with his first touch!

  • Atherton was 13 years and 329 days when he played for Glenavon on Tuesday
  • He came on as a substitute in their Northern Irish League Cup first round tie 
  • Atherton set up a goal with his first touch of the ball in a 6-0 win for Glenavon
  • The previous UK record holder was Blackpool’s14-year-old Eamon Collins  

A 13-year-old schoolboy has made history by becoming the youngest senior footballer in the United Kingdom.

Christopher Atherton came on as a second-half substitute for Northern Irish club Glenavon against Dollingstown in the League Cup aged 13 years and 329 days.

The teenager not only set a new record but had an instant impact, providing an assist with his very first touch for Glenavon’s sixth goal.

Christopher Atherton (right) became the youngest-ever senior footballer in the UK when he played for Northern Irish club Glenavon against Dollingstown aged 13 years and 329 days

Atherton broke a 42-year-old record when he came on in the League Cup tie on Tuesday

Atherton breaks a 42-year-old record set by Eamon Collins, who played for Blackpool on September 9, 1980 at the age of 14 years and 323 days.

It is claimed the world record for the youngest professional player was set by 11-year-old Eric Godpower Marshall last year when he played for Liberian side Gar’ou against Haifa FC.

He beat the record previously held by a 12-year-old Bolivian Mauricio Baldivieso, who played for Club Aurora against La Paz in July 2009.

Glenavon won the first round tie against third-tier opposition 6-0 with Atherton getting an assist for their sixth and final goal

The substitute appearance by Atherton broke a record that had stood for 42 years 

On Atherton’s debut, Glenavon’s Twitter account said: ‘Also, not to mention, his first touch of the ball tonight was an assist! What an amazing debut!!’

Fans of various clubs wished Atherton well on social media. Michael Thompson said: ‘Roy of the Rovers stuff!!! Well done Christopher. World hard and enjoy your football.’

Rory Hale tweeted: ‘Unbelievable, what an achievement. Great kid.’

David Scully wrote: ‘Great achievement for the young kid and his family. First team debut so young, he must be some talent.’

The Belfast Telegraph reported that Atherton has already gone on trial at several clubs, including Scottish Premiership side Dundee United.

NIFL Premiership side Glenavon made light work of their third-tier opponents with their goals scored by Conor Scannell (2), Josh Doyle, Micheal Glynn, Aaron Prendergast and Matthew Snoody.

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