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How a chance dog walk led a 10th tier English side to sign £7million Serie A star

In this article, we look into how a chance dog walk led a 10th tier English side to sign an £7million Serie A star earlier this week.

Beverley Town have pulled off the biggest, and probably most bizarre, signing in their 22-year history.

Daniele Mannini has played in Italy’s top division alongside and against some of the biggest names of European football from the past two decades, including Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Ronaldinho, Francesco Totti and David Beckham.

Beverley Town first team manager Dave Ricardo pictured with new signing Daniele Mannini.


Beverley Town have made the highest profile signing in the club’s history, by capturing former Serie A midfielder Danielle Mannini. 

Capturing the signing of Mannini is a real coup for the club and came about following a chance encounter whilst Chairman Mark Smith was out on his morning dog walk.  Mark picks up the story 

“I was out walking my dog when I got chatting to another dog walker.  He happened to say he played a bit of football in the past, I told him I was Chairman of Beverley Town and he should get down to pre-season training.  Little did I know he had over 200 appearances in Serie A under his belt!” 

Subsequently Danielle came down to training and fitted in really well, even scoring a fantastic free kick in one of the preseason games (see attached video clip) 

First team manager Dave Ricardo couldn’t quite believe it when Danielle arrived at training and spoke to Dave about his career. 

Dave added: “Most managers and coaches at any level will always say there are one or two players that crop up in preseason that you didn’t expect to become available.  I think it can be safely said Dani for sure falls into this category!  From a chance meeting walking his dog to signing for Beverley Town 3 weeks later you can safely say this comes under Barry Fry’s methods of transfer rather one of Peps. 

I cannot speak highly enough of Dani’s attitude, and his training and dedication have been first class. Dani can be a real inspiration for everyone involved at the club, its not often you get someone who has played the amount of games Dani has done at a high level, never mind in Serie A.  

Anyone who was lucky enough to be at the Frickley friendly earlier would have seen his undoubted quality, and the people of Beverley will not want to miss him in action when the season starts. 

He has a lovely family who have settled in Beverley, and on behalf of the club I welcome his in-laws, children, and partner to the club, I know the supporters will do the same” 

The signing of Danielle Mannini could not have happened without support from both Mannini’s company, Mr P Health and Greenthumb Beverley. 

About Danielle Mannini:

Son of former ACF Fiorentina goalkeeper Alessandro Mannini, Daniele started his professional career at hometown club Viareggio, playing with them in the Italian Serie C2 and Serie D tiers. 

In summer 2003, he joined Pisa of Serie C1. 

In 2004–05 season he joined Serie A club Brescia. On 12 September 2004, he made his Serie A debut against Juventus.  

He left for Serie A club Napoli on 31 January 2008, joining fellow Brescia players Santacroce and Hamsik, for a total fee of €18 million within a season. Mannini himself was sold for €7 million.   

In July 2009, Mannini joined Sampdoria, for €3.5 million 

Mannini made an excellent start in his first season at Sampdoria, scoring 5 goals in Serie A and 3 assists in just 8 games. 

On 6 August 2011, Mannini moved to newly promoted Serie A club Siena for €450,000 (plus €200,000 other fee) in a 4-year contract. 

About Beverley Town:

Beverley Town Football club were formed in 2000 and were founder members of the Humber Premier League. 

Since its inception the first team have won the Humber premier League title 3 times but has never been promoted higher than step 7 of the football pyramid. 

However, the recent addition of floodlights (due for completion end July 2022) and successful season on the pitch saw the first team gain promotion to step 6 of the football pyramid for the first time in their history. This will see first team will compete on the Northern Counties Eastern League. 

With 4 adults’ teams, including a ladies team, and over 27 junior teams, the club is one of the largest in the area, and provides opportunities at all levels for children’s and adults to enjoy football. 

View the clip of Danielle Mannini Scoring for Sampdoria below

Beverley start the new league season with a trip to Nottinghamshire-based Ollerton on Saturday the 6th of August.

Youth career
2000–2001 – Lucchese

Senior career
2001–2003 – Viareggio – 33 games (4 goals)
2003–2004 – Pisa – 32 games (4 goals)
2004–2008 – Brescia – 118 games (12 goals)
2008–2009 – Napoli – 39 games (2 goals)
2009–2011 – Sampdoria – 66 games (7 goals)
2011–2014 – Siena – 32 games (0 goals)
2014 → Pisa (loan) – 11 games (1 goal)
2014–2015 – Lecce – 31 games (1 goal)
2015–2018 – Pisa – 94 games (17 goals)
2018–2020 – Pontedera – 51 games (7 goals)
2022– Beverley Town

Fans reacted on how a chance dog walk led a 10th tier English side to sign £7million Serie A star…

Pete Griffin: Pizza after the games then 🍕🍕 What a signing for the young lads to work with 👏🏻👏🏻

Curtis Woodhouse: Ffs!!! They get this lad and I get Andrew Dixon in my ear every 2 minutes telling me he’s still got it if I need him! 🤢⚽️

@PeterRadiator: What a coup for Bev Town!

@CJLewis_90: 😳😂 That’s a random one! Great story to it though!

@jackgoodman94: This is fun and caused a lot of entertainment in the office this morning @TransfersRandom

@BobbiHadgraft: Unreal 😆

@JohnsonForza: Bev have won the transfer window

@davebrown8134: Hahaha this is class 🇮🇹

@Mike_Try6: This is so very, very good#Yorkshire #ForzaItalia

@Davidric26: The lad will fit in nicely with some great guys already here… top man ⚽️👍

@AAPR1997: MASSIVE 🔵🇮🇹⚪️

@ma_withell: Amazing signing for Beverley!

@BeverleyFMSport: Amazing signing from @bevtownfc 🔵⚪️ #UTT

@JohnMcM04582246: Love stuff like this 😍

@darrennorton60: Great Story that 👍 more to the point what was he doing living in Beverley 😂

@S_Coops93: Wow! Fair play 👏🏽⚽️

@robwilstrop: Class!

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