The EFL Player of the Year has been catching the eye of many Championship outfits, however, the striker didn’t leave the world of non-league until he was 23 years old.

Alfie May scored more league goals than Erling Haaland in 2023, boasting a total of 30 for Charlton Athletic in League One. 

However, it certainly hasn’t been all plain sailing for the talisman as Semi-Pro takes a dive into his early football days. 

A tricky few years 

May endured a tough beginning to life as a football player. At the age of 14, he was released from Millwall academy because of his size. 

Maybe football wasn’t for him? May went into full-time work after his dismissal and started working for his brother’s company at the age of 16 on a harsh £20 a week. 

Then, at the age of 21, he started getting back into football, featuring for multiple clubs like Chatham Town, Bromley and VCD Athletic. 

But, it was his time at one club in particular that made him the star he is now.

That stint on the south coast

Hythe Town, a club that were in the Isthmian League Division One South, took their opportunity to secure May’s signature. A transfer the club did not even think of making. 

The Cannons enquired about the signing of May’s good friend, Ryan Johnson, while they were both at Erith and Belvedere. 

During talks, Johnson recommended the club to also sign May which Hythe complied with. 

The pair joined the Cannons when they sat rock bottom of the league and were in need of saving. 

What better player to secure than a man that outscores Erling Haaland? Hythe Town’s scouting system must be investigated. 

Luckily, I was able to see May in action at Hythe Town as I worked as a ball boy at the club. 

I can recall his excellent performances which were on show week in week out. All the fans were mesmerised with how Hythe had managed to secure such a good player.

Onto bigger things

It wasn’t long before Football League clubs began enquiring about him.

May secured a move to Doncaster Rovers in January 2017, however, regular game time was a problem. 

Netting only 10 goals in 92 appearances, the striker packed his bags and signed for Cheltenham Town after three years at the Rovers. 

After a slow start to life in Gloucestershire, May started to become a key player for the club.

A certain mastermind of the game took a liking to May when he netted against his club in the FA Cup fourth round.

Pep Guardiola labelled May as “exceptional” after he put Cheltenham ahead against Manchester City. 

He also went on to receive the League One Player of the Month awards for February 2022 and March 2023, going onto become Cheltenham’s highest EFL goalscorer. 

The Addicks await

His improved performances earned him another move, this time to Charlton Athletic. 

The Addicks, who paid a reported fee of £250,000, gifted May the number nine shirt. 

Despite the pressure, he took it all in his stride as he netted an incredible 30 league goals in 2023, beating Erling Haaland who ended the year on 28. 

To top it off, May was awarded EFL Player of the Year at the 2024 London Football Awards as well as the League One Golden Boot.

What’s next? 

Well, who knows what is around the corner for May this summer. A player who provides guaranteed goals, it would not be rocket science for clubs to lure him away from The Valley.

At the age of 30, a move to the big leagues would need to happen sooner rather than later for the bagsman who undoubtedly has high aspirations. 

Don’t be surprised to see Alfie May in the Championship next season!