The 26-year-old labourer was a centre forward for Alnwick Town and Amble Tavern before the Covid-19 pandemic hit.
Paul Yeadon, who had two spells in charge of Alnwick Town, recalled: “He was really quick, knew where the back of the net was and on top of that he is a really lovely lad.
"I think he’ll be very popular on Love Island so I hope it goes well for him.”
It was some 10 years ago when Paul first coached Brad.
"It was when he came into the senior set-up at Alnwick Town,” he said. “As a young lad he was really enjoyable to coach and as he grew up that continued.
"On and off the pitch he is a really humble and down to earth guy and he was a pleasure to work with.
"Even when I moved away from the first team we stayed in contact.
In his first spell at Alnwick Town he scored 16 goals in 24 appearances for the St James’ Park club in the Northern League second division before he was snapped up by first tier Ashington.
Brad went on to have spells with Shilbottle CW, New Hartley Juniors and Amble St Cuthberts.
But when Paul returned for his second spell as manager in 2018, he was quick to re-sign Brad.
"I think he was the first player I signed when I came back a second time, which shows that I rated him,” said Paul.
Alistair Turvey, manager of Amble Tavern when Brad played there, added: “He was a strong, powerful centre forward who was unplayable on his day.
"He was a key member of the team that became the first team in the area to win back to back Sunday county cups. We also won over 15 trophies during his time with the club.”
He has also had support from Amble AFC.
They posted on Facebook: ‘Big shout out to our very own Brad McClelland. The Amble hunk will do us and Northumberland very proud. He’s always a big character in the changing rooms, we’re sure he will be a bigger one in the villa. Let’s all get behind him and make it a cracking summer for him.’