King's Lynn Town new boy Baris Altintop aiming high after move from Bury Town
Ever since he started taking to the field for Debenham LC and Framlingham Town’s youth sides between the ages of six to eight, all Baris Altintop wanted to do was become a professional footballer.
The now 21-year-old suffered big setbacks on his chosen path though after being released from Ipswich Town aged 12 and then Colchester United at 15 after a three-year spell with each.
But the former Helmingham Primary and Debenham High School pupil never gave up believing he was good enough.
And after two-year spells with AFC Sudbury, where he did a scholarship, and Bury Town, he was finally rewarded with a professional deal at Vanarama National League outfit King’s Lynn Town last week.
But there appears no danger of the centre-back falling into the trap of thinking he has now made it.
“When I got released from Col U my dream was always to make it professional and keep sticking at it by working hard,” he said.
“Going to Sudbury and Bury I was always ready for when a club came in or was looking at me to take a step up.
“My aim is still to go higher and I’m not going to stop, it is still my dream to play Football League.
“I know the National League is a professional full-time level but my aim is to go into League Two, League One, the Championship and the Premier League and that is what I am still heading for.”
He was an unused substitute in Saturday’s 6-2 home defeat to Wrexham but will be hoping to make his debut following injuries in his position tomorrow when the Norfolk side travel to high-flying Bromley.
And despite jumping three levels higher in the football pyramid, he says he will be ready to grasp any chance to play with both hands.
“I have got a lot of belief in myself and when I get my chance I have just got to take it," he said.
“King’s Lynn and myself don’t want to be in the position we are in and I’m going to do everything I can to help the team not concede goals and get them up the table.”
Altintop’s former Framlingham coach, Barry Tysoe, is set to be full of pride when his former budding player's moment does come.
“I have always kept in contact with Barry and he comes and watches me here and there when he can,” said the former Helmingham resident, who moved with his family to Sudbury to start his scholarship.
“He was someone who helped me a lot.”
Altintop said he also owes a big debt of gratitude to his parents, Theresa and Musa.
“My mum and dad have helped me so much,” he said. “They have been my rock and helped push me.
“They never miss a game and they still wouldn’t. I make sure there is a season ticket in the contract at every club I sign for.”
Having signed a deal with the Linnets until June 2023, he is now hoping to win a place in former professional Ian Culverhouse’s side and help the second-from-bottom club stave off relegation from non-league’s top tier.
He said: “Obviously King’s Lynn and myself don’t want to be in this position and I will do everything I can when my chance comes to help the team not concede goals and get them up the table.”
He also thinks working under the former Norwich City defender can only benefit him.
“He will guide me in the right direction like Ben Chenery did at Bury, of course,” he added.
“I will definitely learn lots from him and I am sure he will help me on my way as well.”
Wherever he ends up, Altintop will certainly will not forget the role both his Suffolk non-league clubs played in getting him there though.
“I need to say a massive thank you to AFC Sudbury, not just the first team side but the academy also with Danny (Laws), Dave (Cannon) and Craig (Power),” he said.
“It was not just for what they did for me on the pitch but the life skills they helped me to develop off it as well.
“They were a massive help to me and I can’t thank them enough.
“In the first team I played two seasons and became the captain at the age of 18 which was a massive help for me to push on.”
Having then spent two years at their divisional rivals Bury Town, where he made 23 appearances in a Covid disrupted period, he also heaped praise on the impact the Blues have had on launching his career in the game.
He said: “Bury have helped me so much and given me the opportunities to step up in the league and I can’t thank them enough.
“It is a shame I didn’t get to do a full season there with Covid but I had a great time and I had lots of help from the manager. The chairman, all the coaches and the players were also great to me.”
Having been on trial with Wigan Athletic during pre-season, Altintop revealed it was after being watched playing for Bury at Maldon & Tiptree that he learned of Lynn’s interest.
“There was a scout there who messaged me after the game saying King’s Lynn are interested and they’ve gone to Bury to put a bid in,” he said.
“It just went from there over the past three or four weeks.”
Meanwhile, Altintop has no doubt the Blues squad he leaves behind will end up achieving their target of a Pitching In Isthmian League North Division play-offs spot.
He said: “It’s been a bit of a struggling start but we’ve beaten a couple of the bigger teams and I’m sure they are going to be in the top four at the end of the season as they are a great side.
“They have got a great manager and I’m sure they will do fine.”