I was stabbed three times - but now I’m going for the treble after leaving Aston Villa

Brad Young scores from the spot for Aston Villa in the 2021 FA Youth Cup final
Brad Young scores from the spot for Aston Villa in the 2021 FA Youth Cup final -Credit:Naomi Baker - The FA/The FA via Getty Images

Former Aston Villa youth graduate Brad Young has reflected on his journey from being stabbed to being on the cusp of a domestic trophy treble with Welsh outfit The New Saints.

The striker played 21 senior minutes for the Villains, making his half-an-hour debut against Liverpool in the 4-1 FA Cup third-round defeat in January 2021. It marked a poignant moment for the attacker given his life-threatening incident eight months prior.

Young, then 17, was attacked and stabbed three times during a trip to the park under Covid guidelines in May 2020 after the perpetrator had tried to steal his possessions. “The hospital didn’t know if I was going to live or survive,” he recounted to the BBC, initially not knowing he had been stabbed until noticing his blood-soaked tracksuit.

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“I was punched and I ended up fighting back. I didn’t even see the knife. I called 999 and was screaming that I’d been stabbed before I collapsed. My friends had taken their coats off and were holding the wound when the ambulance came.”

It was later discovered that one of the stabs had caught an artery through his buttocks, causing him to turn pale white. He felt he was “under a shower” due to the amount he was sweating.

Young, now 21, is the Cymru Premier’s top scorer with 22 goals in 25 matches and has already helped his club to the league title and the league cup. However, there was a point in the aftermath of the attack where he feared he would never be able to play football again.

“They said then to my family ‘We don’t know what’s going to happen here’,” he said. “I can remember actually asking if I was going to be able to play football again. When they said they didn’t know, that’s when I looked at my mum and burst into tears.”

A three-litre blood transfusion was required but Young was able to return in time for the new season, in which he made his first-team debut and won the FA Youth Cup with Villa, scoring what turned out to be the winning goal in the final at Villa Park against Liverpool, ironically.

Subsequent loans at Carlisle United and Ayr United in Scotland followed before his release from Villa last summer. He joined The New Saints in September and can complete the Welsh treble with his club in Sunday’s Welsh Cup final against Connah’s Quay.

The club actually made it to the Scottish Challenge Cup final too with the club being invited to take part, but fell 2-1 to Airdrieonians in the showpiece. However, Young has already bounced back from his biggest setback.

“I’ve used it as motivation,” he added. “There’s a lot of haters in the world but I’ve used what happened as fuel, to push on and do better. I’m healthy, I’m fit and doing well and I want to kick on again.”