Man Utd: Ramon Calliste's incredible story from 'next Giggs' to £5m-a-year business

  • Kobe Tong
Calliste playing for Man Utd.

Ramon Calliste sadly never quite made the grade at Manchester United.

However, in an exclusive interview with The Sun, it’s been revealed how the former starlet labelled as the next Ryan Giggs has gone onto make a huge success of himself in the world of business.

Originally starting off at Coventry City, Calliste got his big break in 2000 when he signed for United just one year after they won the Champions League, Premier League and FA Cup in the same treble-winning season.

Calliste signing for Man Utd

Calliste explained as he recalled his early days in football: “I was watched by Man United scout Tony Hopkins for two years when I was at a high school in Cardiff.

“Originally, I signed for Coventry, but I didn’t feel happy there. I got picked for the Wales under-19s aged 13, and Coventry stopped me from playing.

“I found out that was because someone could’ve poached me if they’d saw me play and I impressed other scouts. I got out of that contract, went back to school and then I was off to Manchester United in 2000.

“When I got to Old Trafford I met Sir Alex Ferguson, which was an incredible experience. Seeing everything for the first time, I went into the famous room where everyone meets him.

“It was a special, I wasn’t fazed by much when I was young, but he had the aura of a great man.”

Calliste playing in the FA Youth Cup.
Football – FA Youth Cup , Semi – Final , 1st Leg , Charlton Athletic Youth v Manchester United Youth , 29/3/03 Ramon Calliste – Manchester United Youth Mandatory Credit:Action Images / John Sibley

Training with Ronaldo, Rooney and Bale

And while Calliste was never able to fully integrate into the United first-team, he nevertheless had the chance to train alongside the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and Wayne Rooney on the odd occasion.

“We didn’t always train with the first team, but sometimes we’d have five-a-side games,” he reflected. “I aspired to train with them permanently, and it was amazing when I did get the opportunity. I trained with Rooney and Ronaldo, which was a big deal.”

A big deal indeed, Ramon, particularly given the latter would go onto become arguably the greatest male footballer to ever live with five Ballon d’Or trophies to his name.

Calliste also got to witness the fledgling talent that was Gareth Bale during his time in the Welsh youth ranks, noting even then that he could tell that the future Real Madrid star was a “special player.”

Calliste in action for Wales U21.
Football – England U21 v Wales U21 UEFA U21 European Championship Qualifier – Ewood Park, Blackburn Rovers FC – 8/10/04 Ramon Calliste – Wales is chased by England’s Dan Harding Mandatory Credit: Action Images / Michael Regan

A cruel end to life in football

As for himself, though; Calliste was eventually released from Old Trafford and after a season as Liverpool reserves’ top scorer, he sought first-team opportunities with Scunthorpe United under the advice of then Wales manager John Toshack.

However, that was when everything changed because a cruel twist of fate saw him dislocate his ankle during his first pre-season change for the club, cracking a bone and damaging his ligaments.

And despite trying to revitalise his career with clubs such as Farnborough and Cambridge City, the injury ultimately ensured that Calliste was never able to reach the true heights of his talent ever again.

Calliste played for Wales' youth teams.
Football – Wales U21 v Austria U21 UEFA U21 European Championship Qualifier – Penydarren Park, Merthyr Tydfil FC – 25/3/05 Ramon Calliste of Wales and Gyorgy Garics of Austria in action Mandatory Credit: Action Images / Andrew Couldridge Livepic

Calliste’s move into business

But as one door closes, another one opens with the former Welsh wizard making the most of a bad situation by inaugurating his business Global Watches in 2013.

As the name would suggest, the company sells high-end watches including brands like Rolex, Audemars, Piguet and Hublot to the tune of an estimated £5 million per year.

Didier Drogba is just one of the business’ happy customers with other footballers, celebrities and high-rollers said to be amongst the buyers looking for new bling on their wrists.

Calliste explained his move from football to business by saying: “When I realised football wasn’t going to give me the life I desired, it was about setting up something else and moving fast.

“I started to get involved in watches through contacts I had in the world of football. Once I saw it could become a viable business, I set up Global Watches in 2013 and it’s become a really strong company that’s now turning over millions.

“The idea is to keep it growing and hopefully sell the company in five or ten years time, just like Watchfinder did recently.”

It’s explained that the 36-year-old will sell watches valued at around £50,000-£70,000 on a regular day, but can sometimes make £150,000-£250,000 sales when clients want to make money from a collector’s item.

It’s also outlined that Calliste wants to expand the business by opening more stores to make Global Watches an internationally renowned brand, hopefully then retiring at the age of 50.

Paul Scholes tee - GMS shop

All in all, you’ve got to take your hat off to an incredibly ambitious and hard-working individual who hasn’t allowed himself to be defined by the collapse of his football career.

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