The winner of 'Football Icon' who signed for Chelsea - what happened to him?


It's been a long time since football talent shows were a 'thing'.

Wayne Rooney once tried his hand at scouting young talent with his 2008 TV programme 'Street Striker', which lasted for three seasons and 30 episodes.

And in 2010, 'Football's Next Star' was created to give aspiring football players the chance to earn a professional contract with Inter Milan no less.

But before both of those came 'Football Icon' - a talent show on Sky One that featured lads between 16 and 18 years old competing for a contract with Chelsea.

As many as 5,000 young footballers took part in series one and were whittled down to just 14 finalists, who battled it out at the club's Cobham training ground.

Week by week one player was eliminated until only three remained, with then-manager Jose Mourinho personally picking the eventual winner: Chelsea fan Sam Hurrell.

Hurrell, who was a 16-year-old left-back at the time, won a six-month contract with the Blues to kickstart his footballing career - but what happened to him?

Well, six months into his Chelsea career and after impressing Mourinho and the youth coaches, Hurrell earned a 12-month extension.

Mourinho said of the youngster at the time: "Sam has come through a tough process, he deserves to be with Chelsea.


"The academy tells me that he has developed as a player, not just as a defender, but he has adapted to the needs of the academy, too. He is progressing."

It was all looking so good for Hurrell, but at the end of his 12-month extension and following the arrival of Ashley Cole, he was released in 2007.

Hurrell then went on to play for semi-professional teams St Albans City, Welling United, Worthing and Woking before moving out to America with New Orleans Jesters.

He even took a step into management in 2012 at the tender age of 24, becoming co-manager of Hillingdon Borough in the Spartan South Midlands League.


And now, aged 29, he's a Professional Academy Coach at Chelsea, back at the club where it all began for him back in 2005.

Safe to say Hurrell's career has panned out pretty well despite everything that happened, though he said in 2012 that he regrets not playing at a higher standard at a younger age.

"Maybe starting at an earlier age I could have done it," he said, "but until then I had just been coached by people's dads.

"In the 18 months I had there (Chelsea) the development I made was unbelievable. I think I gave it everything. I used to stay late to do extra work, because I knew I was playing catch-up."

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