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Help A Footballer In Need

Football fans are a tribal bunch - we love our teams and love to hate others - but fans are also a part of a far wider footballing community and at certain times come together. This is such a time I think.

A young professional footballer, Alhassan 'Ally' Bangoura, who has made 50 appearances for Watford, is facing deportation having been turned down for asylum and ordered to return to Sierra Leone four years after leaving.

The situation has been championed by local Labour MP Claire Ward, who addressed Watford fans this afternoon. She says that the 19-year-old's life could be in danger if he was forced to return to his home country.

She has also called on the Immigration Minister to use his discretionary powers to stop Bangoura's deportation.

Watford Football Club have said on their official site:

'We would urge all supporters of Watford Football Club and Al Bangura to continue to maintain the pressure built up in the last four to five days. It is imperative that we continue to have our voice heard and ensure that Al remains an integral part of the Watford family.'

David Blunkett and Sir Elton John have both written letters to Gerry Sutcliffe, Minister in the Department of Culture, Media and Sport and the Professional Footballer's Association have also made representation to the minister.

Blunkett said: "Like Claire Ward MP, I am at a loss to understand why, given the circumstances of Al Bangura's presence in the country and the fact that in other circumstances and forms of employment (including under any new points system for immigration) he would have been able to apply from Sierra Leone as 'highly-skilled', and of course fulfils existing rules in relation to income and contribution. However, the simple fact remains that Al Bangura came here as minor, has put his time here to good use and is a valued member of the community. On these grounds I offer my support even in circumstances where Watford are playing my home team of Sheffield Wednesday on December 22nd - and if the decision were reversed I might live to regret it!'

Bangoura explained: 'I came here when I was 15, with no friends or family. Everything I have now is what I've made for myself and I don't mean just my home, but my relationships.' Adding 'I would love to be a citizen here, if I was given the chance to be British I would take it with both hands. I know that these people are doing their jobs, but they need to look at my situation individually. I'm doing everything right. I'm here, I have my family and my job - I'm not doing anyone any harm. I'm happy to be here, I see this as my home, my country.'

'People from all over the country are supporting me, English people. People from the country I want to live in and that makes me happy to know that. I'm glad they want me to be one of them as well. I want to thank them for what they've done for me. I only hope that I am able to see them soon and show my thanks to all of them. I am just praying every night that the Home Secretary will review this and allow me to stay because inside of me, I know I'm supposed to be here.'

There is a petition set up by a Watford fan site, Click Here To Sign If we all spread the word and get as many family, friends and fellow fans to sign it and if the press pick up on the situation more and more, maybe the pressure will pile on the Government to reverse this decision. It costs you just one minute of your time to add your name and although think that such actions don't have an affect, there is nothing to lose in trying.

Click here to join in the debate on the club forum.

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The Journalist

Writer: Rocky7 Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Sunday December 16 2007

Time: 6:38PM

Your Comments (oldest first)

Change to most recent first
I'm signing it.
Report Abuse
16/12/2007 18:48:00

I'm signing it to.
Report Abuse
16/12/2007 18:56:00

I not. How can you have a rule for someone and a rule for another? there are many assylum seekers who get kicked out whilst paying their taxes. he is no different.
Report Abuse
16/12/2007 18:58:00

me too
Report Abuse
16/12/2007 19:00:00

Goofie there is a difference here, if he was brougth in here as a 14 or 15 year old, a typical case of child trafficing then he is a victim of a horrible trade and should be treated accordingly.
Report Abuse
16/12/2007 19:14:00

correction "Goofle".
Report Abuse
16/12/2007 19:17:00

Goofle, how many of those people were smuggled out of their own country to be used in a child sex ring? How many have an English wife and child they would have to leave behind? There are always exceptions to every rule.
Report Abuse
16/12/2007 19:33:00

He has been sent back because he has broken a rule? True?
Report Abuse
16/12/2007 19:33:00

And what rule might that be Goofle, not too go out after eight?
Report Abuse
16/12/2007 19:35:00

Goofl an absalute law is an absalute unjustice.
Report Abuse
16/12/2007 19:48:00

correction "again" Goofle.
Report Abuse
16/12/2007 19:49:00

I've signed. This is a travesty. Sorry Goof, but i think your wrong on this one - as ROcky correctly says, he has an english wife and a child born here. There is no consistency in the way the law is applied, and too many ***** takers abuse our system. We get one genuine case where the individual would actually be a benefit to our society, and they want to throw him out. WHat the **** is wrong with this government??
Report Abuse
16/12/2007 20:06:00

why doesnt he just marry a european girl,problem solved...
fran merida
Report Abuse
17/12/2007 11:58:00

sorry i havnt even read the comments above,i didnt know he was married(obviously) how the hell can they deport him,this is crazzzzy
fran merida
Report Abuse
17/12/2007 12:00:00

Typical of our government. Deport a hard working lad with an English wife and child whilst paying 40% tax and keep most of the scroungers and criminals in luxury. You couldn't f****** write it.
Report Abuse
17/12/2007 14:05:00

i am signing.. i'm not english.. i dont know how the laws work there.. but its only logical.. and human as well.. that he be allowed to stay..
Report Abuse
17/12/2007 20:52:00

I've signed. I was under the impression that they weren't married? All the same, why should a piece of paper decide if this man is allowed to say here with his family or not? Disgusting. Utterly disgusting!
Report Abuse
17/12/2007 20:55:00

Thanks for your support guys. Al Bangura is well aware of the masses of support behind and thoroughly thoroughly appreciates it. It is testiment to the football world to see supporters getting behind other clubs. And they said English spirit was dead and buried!
Report Abuse
18/12/2007 09:37:00

He should just tell the government he is an Albanian people trafficker claiming state benefits. He'd be given total immunity from prosecution and a house in Hertfordshire. The joys of a labour government. Unbelievable.
Report Abuse
18/12/2007 09:53:00

...and it's usually the conservatives who are strict on immigration, boy how things have changed!
Report Abuse
18/12/2007 12:10:00

I have to mention that i don't like it. Its just the rules.
Report Abuse
19/12/2007 22:20:00


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