IN THE SUMMER of 2003, the FA chose to highlight Sean Doherty as one of the most promising young players in the country.
An England international at under-19 and under-20 level playing a Premiership club, Doherty looked to have the world at his feet.
Three years on and he has just become Accrington Stanley's first signing since regaining Football League status.
A fall from grace maybe, but Doherty's arrival at the Fraser Eagle Stadium could help provide the perfect new start for both club and player.
"He was a major talent three or four years ago," said Accrington boss John Coleman. "Fulham paid £500,000 for him which just shows what potential they thought he had.
"He lost his way a little but by not playing much first-team football but this is a chance to kick-start his career with us."
Basingstoke-born, Doherty started out in the youth system at Everton.
It was on Merseyside that the young winger came onto Coleman's radar and the Reds boss has kept tracks on the 21-year-old ever since.
In 2001 Doherty made the switch from Goodison Park to Fulham where he progressed through the reserve side to the first-team squad. However, playing opportunities were limited and after a brief loan spell at Blackpool, Doherty left Fulham in May, 2005 to try his luck overseas with Dutch club Den Haag.
A transfer-window move back to England brought him to Port Vale in January and Doherty played a handful of League One games for Martin Foyle's side last season.
But he was not kept on at the end of the campaign and Coleman's long wait finally came to fruition when he signed the player on an initial 12-month deal to pep up his side's strikeforce ready for their assault on League Two.
"He is a very attacking player with a lot of pace," Coleman added. "He can play on either wing and up front so gives me another option. He will be a good asset for us."
With Gary Roberts looking to hold first claim over the left-wing berth thanks to his outstanding contribution to Stanley's Conference success, Doherty may be targetting the opposite flank for his most likely route into the side.
Coleman's desire to strengthen that area had also prompted the Stanley boss to consider a move for Morecambe wideman Garry Thompson.
According to the Shrimps, Thompson turned down approaches from Accrington and Bury to sign a new two-year deal at Christie Park.