THE Smiths and Wardles are a family United – despite being Manchester City fans.

It’s all down to tiny soccer sensation Ella Wardle who has been signed up by Manchester United Ladies at the tender age of nine.

Mum Kirsty and grandad Steve Smith, Kirsty’s dad, are City season ticket holders – but both are delighted that midfielder Ella has signed for the Reds.

Ella, who lives in Brandlesholme, Bury and attends Old Hall Primary School, has been making steady progress with a number of local teams and now she has been brought onto the big stage by United.

Ella started playing football for Ramsbottom Rockets in a girls team when she was just six. She then started turning out for Elton and Walshaw in a boys’ team for a season on Saturdays.

Ella moved to play for AFC Bolton on Sundays, a girls’ team but in a boys’ league. Last season she played for her dad Darren’s team Walshaw Warriors, a high-level boys team, with twin brother Josh and best friends Halle Morley and Lily Hynes.

Ella has been offered two full registrations with both City and United and she will join best friend Halle at Manchester United RTC U10s.

The girls started their journey together at Ramsbottom and also played for Walshaw Warriors. The next chapter is to be at United where Ella will be following in her dad’s footsteps as he also played for Manchester United’s School of Excellence.

Darren said:”The girls finished the season on a high by winning the Bury and Rochdale League Cup.

“They drew 2-2 in the final with Rossendale Valley – Ella and Lily both scored – and the Warriors team took the trophy on penalties.”

AFC Bolton coach Jen Winnard said: “Everyone at AFC Bolton is over the moon for Ella. To receive one contract offer is amazing, but to receive two is outstanding.

“Ella is a popular member of our team with both the players and coaches. She works hard and gives 100 per cent every week and encourages her friends.

“Ella is so dedicated to the sport and has spent the last 12 months pushing herself to achieve her dreams. We are so proud of her and will miss her immensely.”