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It Puts It All In Perspective

Most Arsenal fans will know that former Arsenal midfield starlet Fabrice Muamba fled DR Congo as a child and moved to London.

What most probably don't know is his story of how he came to be here. I'll let him take over...

'It was very, very tough. 'I saw the war. I saw people die. I grew up with it. It was scary.

'I didn't live far from the gunshots and the sound of them going off. It was difficult to get used to, especially hearing guns at night. It did have an effect on me.

'It stopped us going out to play football because we were scared we would get killed. One or two of my friends were hurt, one or two of them have since died.'

'My father feared for his life, there were loads of people after him. No one has told me what it was about, it's just one of those things that happened.

'We don't talk about it any more. Once or twice he has tried to speak to me about it. But I don't want to hear. I'll just get angry about it.

'I can't remember the exact day he left us. But I can recall what happened. I said: 'Where are you going?' and he replied: 'I'm just going'. I said: "OK, I'll see you when I see you" and that was it.

'I didn't go to the airport with him. My mum and my uncle went. No one knew anything. One of my uncles put my mum Gertrude, my brother and two sisters in a safe place. No one knew where we were.

'But one of my other uncles was killed later. And no one has told me that story to the present moment, either.'

'It was December 6, 1999. I was 11. Oh my God, it was so cold. I was shivering. I thought to myself: 'What am I doing here?' Then, I saw him in the airport.

'It was good to see my dad. He was a different person from the one I knew. It was amazing the family being together again, but I couldn't speak a word of English. I did extra work at school and that helped me.

'I had arrived halfway through the school year. My first day at school was just a big puzzle. There was nobody who was from the Congo. I did OK in French! But that was about it. People were talking too fast and I was just puzzled.

'PE was my favourite lesson. I used to like that because I used to run the show. Football was the answer to everything. That's how I got respect at school.

'People would say: "That kid's good". I didn't play for the district team. I just played for Arsenal's academy.'

A truly shocking story, I'm sure you'll all agree. It's stories like this that put football into perspective!

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

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The Journalist

Writer: Nick Simmonett  Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Saturday January 12 2008

Time: 12:29PM

Your Comments (oldest first)

Change to most recent first
Football can be used in so many ways.Take Iraq for instance, if Americans implemented some footie down there in some non-war zones, I bet the Iraqi kids wouldn't be suffering as much.When you play footy you forgot about everything else.
Report Abuse
12/01/2008 12:39:00

That is sad... I feel it for him. :"(
Report Abuse
12/01/2008 13:56:00

You're right there kev. Football divides all in to seperate clans, but ultimately we are all united under one big roof. Wonderful thing is football.....war isn't, it sucks.
Report Abuse
12/01/2008 14:47:00

Remember what happened in th trenches during world war 1, a pause in the war and a game of footy kicked off in no man's land, all problems forgotten for a while - there is definitly something in what you say Kev and Rocky.
Report Abuse
12/01/2008 14:55:00

It's true what you all's amazing what football has contributed so far in this world since it was introduced.
Report Abuse
12/01/2008 15:36:00

Does any body know what the latest is on that young kid that was being sent home that plays for Reading I think, not sure if it was Reading but perhaps someone out their can put me right
Report Abuse
12/01/2008 17:59:00

The media and some people kinda laughed at Arsene when he said something like "Football competitions have replaced war as the international arena for nation to show off their pride and strength." I thought there's some truth in what he said. When the developed countries don't go into wars (not directly on their home soil, more like, but send troops to the Middle East) that much now, what we have left is international competitive football - well maybe not England for a while. And yeah I'd rather we channel our patriotism and pride and strength that way than hurting and killing people of course.
Lou the Gunneress
Report Abuse
12/01/2008 18:20:00

Topspur i believe his (Bangura?) application was rejected and he's undergoing another appeal. I know his lawyer, so will see if i can get some info this week and post back.
Report Abuse
12/01/2008 22:51:00

and then you drop points buggar eh!!!!!!! never mind now utd are top ugh
ozanne park rangers
Report Abuse
13/01/2008 04:43:00

Thanks Cesky! It would be a disgrace if they send the lad back
Report Abuse
13/01/2008 21:10:00

Completely agree with you Topspur. There was an online petition posted somewhere on this site, don't know if you had it at VitalSPurs?
Report Abuse
13/01/2008 22:46:00

The Watford kid Al Bangura's been given a work permit:
Report Abuse
15/01/2008 10:59:00

Thanks Louisa. Work permit was granted yesterday. He can then apply for leave to remain in the UK.
Report Abuse
15/01/2008 13:16:00

Excellent news I have to say, nice to know that commonsense prevailed. I wish the lad all the best and look forward to seeing him playing in PL next season with Watford
Report Abuse
15/01/2008 13:31:00

Cuoldn't agree more!
Report Abuse
15/01/2008 15:14:00

Pervert football boss Jim Torbett terrorised a generation of young Celtic players. The trusted team chief lured innocent lads with promises of the big time. Then the Celtic Boys' Club supremo molested the babes who idolised him. Depraved Torbett, 50, is still a major figure in the Parkhead talent nursery. Today three of his victims -including Scotland cap Alan Brazil -break their silence. Brazil, 37, said: "Torbett should be locked up. "He shouldn't be allowed anywhere near boys' teams." Sex abuse allegations have haunted Celtic Boys' Club for almost a quarter of a century A Record investigation has revealed Celtic's board knew about the rumours 20 years ago. Only Jock Stein was big enough to show Torbett the door. And after the legend died, the pervert wormed his way back into the good books. Today, Torbett is a respected senior official of the boys' club. His Trophy Centre shops sponsor the league Celtic boys play in, and provide Celtic FC with most of their medals and awards. He also helped raise cash for the Celtic Charity Fund. And he has a regular seat in the Parkhead directors' box as guest of his pal, past chairman Kevin Kelly. Bachelor Torbett lured Celtic kids to his council flat with ice-cream and fancy meals. He also took them on glamorous foreign tours. Then he used them as sex toys, in return for a promise of glory. John McCluskey, brother of Parkhead star George, was one of Torbett's victims. He said: "All I ever dreamed of was to play for Celtic. But Torbett turned that dream into a memory that will haunt me until I die. "My shame is not for what happened, but for keeping it quiet so long." Last night, Parkhead supremo Fergus McCann promised to personally investigate the scandal. He has already spoken to some of the victims. He even called in police, who found nothing. In a statement, McCann said: "These are very serious allegations, and those concerned should report all information to police. "I would like to make it clear that this matter has no current link to Celtic Football Club. "I have nothing to say on the past board's handling of the matter." Celtic Boys' Club chairman Tony McGuiness said he would call for an immediate special general meeting to probe the claims. He said: "I asked Jim about the allegations, and he assured me he would never do anything to harm the club. "He is still connected with the club, although he is not a regular attender at meetings. "I have heard rumours and counter-rumours over the years against several people, and I recently helped police with certain inquiries." At his home in Glasgow's west end, Torbett said: "I have nothing to say on the matter." --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
billy britain
Report Abuse
15/01/2008 18:03:00

Heavy going out of the blue there Billy. If its true, i hope he swings for it along with all other paedos.
Report Abuse
16/01/2008 00:16:00


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