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Ex-Premier League and Champions League player joins 7th tier club

Ex-Premier League and Champions League player Jem Karacan joins 7th tier club Radcliffe, the lowest level of football he’s ever played at.

The 33-year-old is somewhat of a huge signing for the Greater Manchester outfit. Radcliffe finished 15th placed finish in the Northern Premier League Premier Division last season.

Karacan has spent a fair bit of his career playing in front of 24,000 people at the Madejski Stadium, or 54,000 at Galatasaray’s Nef Stadyumu. However, the Turkish midfielder is seemingly content with the significantly smaller 550 fans averaged at Radcliffe’s Stainton Park.

Radcliffe’s side includes the likes of David Fitzpatrick, Ben Rydel, Nicky Adams, Luke Joyce, Tom Stewart, Jake Thompson, Cameron Belford, Jean-Louis Akpa Akpro and Bobby Grant.


Our seventh signing of the Summer comes in the form of vastly experienced centre midfielder, Jem Karacan. The 33-year-old joins us having most recently been at Scunthorpe United in their 2020-21 League Two campaign.

Jem’s experience at the highest level is second to none, having played in the Premier League, the Champions League, all of England’s top four leagues and at international level for Turkey. He’s also played in various countries too, faring for the likes of Reading, Millwall and Bolton Wanderers in England, Galatasaray and Buraspor in Turkey, and the Central Coast Mariners in Australia.

The midfielder is often considered a club legend at Championship outfit Reading, playing a total of 175 times for the Royals in an 8-year stint at the club, also becoming their club captain. He would go on to help them become champions of the Championship in the 2011-12 season, playing an integral part in Reading’s promotion to the Premier League after a 5-year spell away from the top flight.

Joining Radcliffe means he is venturing into non-league football for the first time, however it’s a move he is incredibly excited to be a part of.

Jem: I’ve met the gaffer chairman, a couple of times, I do know a couple of the lads as well so just looking forward to getting going.

Interviewer: You bring a huge amount of experience with you, loads of different levels, how do you think that’s going to help on the pitch as well as off the pitch

Jem: I’ve been fortunate enough to play you know the highest of levels and you know if i can just bring a little bit of help and guidance experience to land out here on the pitch and kind of help them you know perform better or be better around the place you know that’s all i can do and it’s one of the reasons i came here you know i want to give back to young lads and and help them kind of go on to achieve some things and again going from that

Interviewer: What made you choose this project at this stage of your career

Jem: There was there was other projects and options i could have gone for you know home and abroad but the main thing for me was being around my family, local, you know when when i first met bob and the chairman you know they straight away when i first met him they’re good guys and you know i’ve had a lot of experience in football and unfortunately you know to find good people in the game can be difficult at times so right now in the stage of my career you know that’s exactly what i needed and they were huge for me to agree and come join this project

Interviewer: In terms of like your personal life, attributes that you bring on the pitch, how do you think you can influence games this upcoming season

Jem: You can have all the ability in the world but if you don’t give 110% every game you’re not going to get anywhere and i’ve always kind of prided myself on on giving that first of all, like i said i’ve i’ve been at you know, good levels at a game and i’ve been fortunate to achieve that in my career and with that you have to have some sort of ability to do it so i’m just hoping that you know i can i can bring that to the team and like i say just be a good person around the place on the pitch and you know like say first of all it’s hard work and after that you know trying to bring my qualities in the middle of park and and just go from there

Interviewer: Finally, what about your aims and goals for this season

Jem: You know, help get promoted, it’s a great project you know the way they’re going about things is right you know, investing in the pitch, investing in you know other aspects of of the club and the area you know, i wanted to be a part of something exciting and be on a journey and really be a part of it and this club’s going somewhere and if i can help them achieve the next level of that that would be brilliant and my main goal is to help this club be at a higher evel and i’m sure that’s the aim for that


Youth career
1996–2003 – Wimbledon
2003–2007 – Reading

Senior career
2007–2015 – Reading – 155 games (11 goals)
2007–2008 → AFC Bournemouth (loan) – 13 games (1 goal)
2008 → Millwall (loan) – 7 games (0 goals)
2015–2017 – Galatasaray – 11 games (1 goal)
2016 → Bursaspor (loan) – 9 games (0 goals)
2017–2018 – Bolton Wanderers – 21 games (1 goal)
2018–2019 – Millwall – 4 games (0 goals)
2019 – Central Coast Mariners – 10 games (1 goal)
2021 – Scunthorpe United – 24 games (0 goals)
2022– Radcliffe

National team
2006 – Turkey U17 – 5 games (0 goals)
2006 – Turkey U18 – 6 games (2 goals)
2006–2008 – Turkey U19 – 10 games (0 goals)
2008–2011 – Turkey U21 – 3 games (0 goals)
2012 – Turkey A2 – 1 game (0 goals)

Fans reacted as the ex-Premier League and Champions League player joins 7th tier club Radcliffe…

@jamesdunn22: How have they pulled this one off!😳

@PTheecow: Blimey! 😲

@gemchris1977: If anyone can Jem Karacan that’s a great signing

@donniemarco: Quite the coup

@GazBWFC58: Jesus wept!

@tonyjoe90: Fantastic signing for them.. 👍

@mplatics: Whose bankrolling these then

@ACW52: Class player

@BenBWFC__: fuckinel

@Alex_Jordan85: Going for it at Radcliffe! 😱👏🏻

@kellisinho: Fantastic player. Was great at Bolton – and not just for the volleyed first goal vs Peterborough. Good luck.

@jackvbwfc4: Jheez, fair fucks

@DMNorris19: Some squad being assembled here 🔥

@princessmacd: @ReadingFC legend 🥰

@oafcnipo: Radcliffe are doing better business than most League Two clubs wtf

@LukeB_RFC: How on Earth? What a signing for that level.

@claredoc76: WTAF!? We should’ve gone for him @ReadingFC

@JonnyDuffman: Best of luck Jem, would liked to have seen at least another season in an iron shirt

@LordCKS: Mad how his career nose dived. Injuries really ruined him.

@ElmRoyal: Do you remember #Readingfc fans after the legends game saying we should sign him up? 🤣🤣

@DDavidthompson: Guy got us promoted 2 year ago. Now hes at boro. What a guy

@paulgreenhalgh1: What is going on here?? What a signing that is. Football league standard without even blinking

@DavidJEtheridge: What a signing for my home town #weareradcliffe

@Tgee92: Radcliffe must have some money in bank 😳 #bwfc

@MattAtherden: Wait what? #BWFC

@kieranwh20: Absolutely buzzing to have Jem with us, loved him at Bolton and I can’t wait to see him in a Radcliffe shirt 🙌 #bwfc Welcome, Jem

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