21st July 2026
Marwane Aarab stands for the photographer of the Isle of Man Courier by the goalposts of The Bowl pitch. With a beaming smile on his face and looking proud as punch in the FC Isle of Man home shirt, the 22 year old left back says the right things to the journalist about how pleased he is to be on the Isle of Man, it’s a good opportunity for him, you get the picture.
Never before has a new signing been paraded before the press in the history of FC Isle of Man. The 22 year old Swede is not just another transfer signing for Ravens boss Chris Bass, this one happens to be historic, a real landmark moment for the ambitious FC Isle of Man.
A healthy bank balance and promotion to the Northern Premier League has meant action was needed to improve the squad for a predicted relegation battle. Unlike many of their rivals, FC Isle of Man have the clout to make an actual transfer where money between clubs has been exchanged. The transfer fee of £2,500 paid to Cleator Moor Celtic FC is hardly going to make the ticker on Sky Sports News but for the fans of FC Isle of Man it is big news. Until now all new FC Isle of Man signings have been free agent players, players not tied down to a contract, meaning they can sign for the club without a fee. At this level of football this is how the majority of signings are completed.
“Don’t get me wrong, if I can sign a player for free then that is what I’d much prefer to do all day long. In fact, what I would really like is a young player from the Isle of Man to have the ability to come in,” says manager Chris Bass. “On this occasion my hands were tied, we desperately needed a quality left back, particularly as we’ve been promoted and Marwane was the standout option.”
Despite winning promotion from the Northern Premier League Division 1 North West via the playoffs, last seasons faltering end to the regular season could not be ignored, the defence in particular looked shaky.
“Aarab is just what we were looking for. He can defend and attack, just like I want my wing backs to do. At our level, it’s hard to find players that do both.”
Marwane was born in Sweden to a Morrocan father and a Swedish mother. The family moved to the UK whilst Marwane was a toddler. He grew up in the Didsbury area of Manchester and his accent has a ‘Manc’ nasal twang as opposed to anything more exotic.
He signed for AFC Fylde of the Vanarama National in 2020, aged just 17. Despite doing well for the academy side, first team football at Mill Farm felt a long way away for young Marwane. Manager Jim Bentley, who signed him, was sacked in November of 2021. Desperate for 1st team football, Marwane felt it necessary to drop a couple of levels of football just to get a game even if it meant going out on loan down to the depths of non-league.
With a year left on his contract, Marwane decided a loan move to North Shields of the Northern League Division 1 was the best thing, signing for The Robins on 11th August 2023. He finally made his senior football debut on 23rd August 2023 against Shildon in a 2-1 win in front of 68 supporters at Ralph Gardner Park. It was a rude awakening for Marwane, playing in a tough physical league, North Shields eventually finished the campaign in 14th position.
Marwane returned to AFC Fylde’s Farm Stadium fulling expecting new manager Gent Maqueshi, who knew nothing about him, to release him. Marwane’s gut feeling was correct and he was released from AFC Fylde as expected and quickly found himself on the football scrapheap.
“I had a couple of months in the wilderness, training on my own, attending trials and hearing nothing back. I won’t lie, I nearly gave up football completely.”
From being on a professional contract with AFC Fylde in the Vanarama North to nothing, Marwane eventually signed for Cleator Moor Celtic of the Northern League Division 2 on 24th October 2024.
“They play in level 10, it was a bit of a drop in standard but they were the only ones to give me a lifeline.”
Based in Cumbria, the extra hours drive from Manchester was not a barrier to Marwane as he looked to get his non-league career back on track with Cleator Moor Celtic. This was of course where former England keeper Scott Carson began his career before getting spotted by Workington and later Leeds United who took him in to the professional game.
Making his debut against Whickham on 6th November 2024, Marwane quickly established himself in the Cleator Moor Celtic first team with some impressive appearances. Soon enough, the club were fighting for top spot with Whickham throughout the season.
Marwane scored his 1st goal in senior football so far in the 2-0 win at Seaham in January 2024, a tap-in at the far post, evidence of his will to attack and to get into the box.
Good form in the final run-in saw Cleator Moor Celtic seal the Norther League Division 2 title on the final day of the season at home against Guisborough.
“We had a bit of good fortune that day to say the least. Whickham were just 2 points behind us and would have won the title if they had beaten Tow Law Town but they drew 2-2. It was a great moment, my first medal.”
A call-up to the Sweden U19 side followed in June 2024, this being the highlight of Marwane’s career so far.
“We played Bosnia & Herzegovina U19’s in front of 1,154 fans at Idrottsparken in Sundsvall. It was an amazing experience, more professional than what I am used to. We won 3-0 and I got on for the last 10 minutes.”
Life back in the Northern League Division One, where Marwane had previously played with North Shields, was again tough for the newly promoted side but Marwane was clearly a wanted man.
“I’d heard FC Isle of Man had been watching me, they are a big club compared to Cleator Moor Celtic. I just got my head down and tried to do my best every week.”
Last season was a mixed bag at left back for FC Isle of Man. Leke Ajibode has been a good servant for the club, now 3 seasons into his Ravens career and approaching 100 appearances. Leke can defend well, we all know that, but going forwards Chris Bass doesn’t feel he has enough end product. To this end, Ty Florence was brought in last season, but question marks stood over his defensive ability, hence why Florence was released during the summer. The FC Isle of Man Academy has hit a stumbling block of late when it comes to producing 1st team quality players.
So here at The Bowl in Douglas, Marwane Aarab stands in his red FC Isle of Man shirt as the first player to sign for the club for a transfer fee. Will it be too much pressure for a young lad who, let’s face it, just wants to play football at a good level. The fee of £2,500 will easily be recouped in gate receipts in no time, but for an ambitious club just 6 years old now, this will always be a landmark moment.
Good luck Marwane!
- 2026/27 Season | Marwane Aarab Transfer Makes FC Isle of Man History
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