Why Usain Bolt took a picture infront of Burnley's logo despite being a Manchester United fan

Why Usain Bolt took a picture infront of Burnley's logo despite being a Manchester United fan

Mark Kinyanjui 18:32 - 27.04.2024

Bolt visited Burnley's training ground and even took a photo infront of the club's logo recently.

In a surprising turn of events during the Premier League season, Burnley Football Club shared an unexpected social media post featuring a renowned visitor at their training ground, grinning in front of the club's motto: "It's a way of life."

This visitor was not just anyone; it was none other than Usain Bolt, the iconic eight-time Olympic gold medalist and world record holder in the men’s 100m and 200m.

Despite Bolt's legendary status in athletics, he has shown an interest in football since retiring from track and field in 2017.

However, his recent visit to Burnley was not to negotiate a career shift to professional football but to support his close friend Ricardo's son, Che Gardner, who was playing for Stockport County's under-21 team. 

Ricardo, a former footballer with an impressive career, had forged a bond with Bolt, leading to their families becoming intertwined over the years.

Reflecting on their friendship, Che Gardner shared with The Athletic, "We met ages ago just from being two sportsmen from Jamaica. We both represented our country so we got to know each other and we’ve remained good friends." 

This bond has grown stronger over time, with Bolt becoming an influential figure in Che's life, akin to an uncle. Bolt's visits to Europe often include spending time with the Gardner family and cheering Che on during his football matches.

Bolt's impact on Che's football journey has been significant, serving as a mentor and a source of inspiration. A staunch Manchester United supporter, he harbored aspirations of playing professional football after retiring from athletics. 

He had rials with clubs like Borussia Dortmund and Central Coast Mariners, but never landed a permanent deal. Nevertheless, Bolt continues to engage with football, notably participating in events like the annual Soccer Aid charity match.

Stockport County's recent success, clinching promotion to League One as champions of League Two, reflects positive developments within the club. 

Che Gardner's father praised Stockport's commitment to player development, highlighting Che's growth and enjoyment of the game as evidence of the club's efforts.

The unexpected encounter with Bolt at Burnley's training ground caught the attention of JJ Watt, Burnley's minority owner and NFL legend, who extended an invitation for Bolt to participate in The Soccer Tournament (TST) in America. Watt's playful message underscores the excitement generated by Bolt's presence and the potential for collaboration between sports icons across different disciplines.