The Grateful Footballer

Luke Brattan came to prominence playing for Brisbane Roar in the A-League. He was a key part of the team that won the Premier’s plate for topping the league table and then played his part as Brisbane won the Grand Final.

Since then he signed for Manchester City. He didn’t play for the Premier League team, instead immediately going on loan to Championship side Bolton Wanderers. He didn’t play any competitive matches for Wanderers, and has since transferred to Mancehster City’s sister club Melbourne City in the A-League.

His father, Gary Brattan, played four seasons in the NSL for Heidelberg United in the early 1990s after a playing career in England that included a stint at Cambridge United.

“The first match I went to was when I was about three to watch Dad play. It was me, my older brother and my mum, who was pregnant at the time. That was what we did every weekend.”

Despite his father’s connections with Cambridge United and other UK clubs, Luke grew up a Manchester United supporter.

“The first kit I ever got was a Manchester United Ryan Giggs kit. I remember it clearly. I’ve still got it.”

Luke idolised Giggs, but over time he found himself following Paul Scholes much more closely. “I wanted to play like him, play his position and play the way he played.”

As for the Giggs shirt, Luke still has it, but confesses that it doesn’t really fit him any more.

“Scholes was definitely a role model for me, and Scholes is still the one I compare myself to. He was unique, he wasn’t too fast or physical, he would just read the game. His passing and his long-distance shooting was a big thing as well.”

In football, there are those with aspirations, there are could-have-beens and then there are those who have made it. Luke comes across as the grateful footballer, one who loves the game and doesn’t just see it as a job.

“My older brother and my younger brother still play locally, so I think if I didn’t make it I’d still definitely be playing just for fun. I can’t imagine my life without football to be honest.”

Luke still sees himself as a fan. “I try to watch as many EPL games as I can. I watch a lot of Serie A and La Liga, replays that are on during the day. Because I’m training a lot I can’t get up in the middle of the night to watch the game.”

As fans, we all have matches that we’ll never forget. For Luke, it was Brisbane Roar’s first grand final at the team’s home ground, Suncorp Stadium. “I was in the squad but not involved in the game. The way we won it, coming back to draw 2-2 and then win on penalties, I think that was one of the most memorable days of my life.”

And what about superstitions?

“I’ve got my game-day undies, and I only wear them on game-day. But I’m not really too superstitious. I like to walk a certain way to Suncorp for home games, and I have a pre-match meal – a chicken paella – that I have the same every week.”

Playing in the World Cup would be a dream for Luke. “It’s the biggest stage in the world. Every player wants to be there – if they say they don’t dream about playing at the World Cup then they’re lying. It’s the biggest honour in the world to represent your country.”