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Young Footballer To Be Deported?

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.

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The Journalist

Writer: J P Fear Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Sunday December 16 2007

Time: 11:47AM

Your Comments (oldest first)

Change to most recent first
Heard About Thiis..I Really Hope Things Get Sorted As Bangourra Is A Great Player For Watford Football Club. I Know Thiis Cos My Dads Frum Watford :)
Report Abuse
16/12/2007 11:52:00

I saw the Watford fans giving him a standing ovation at half time in there match against Plymouth. They were all holding up posters, it was quite moving! Red-tape - feckin cut it and let the lad stay!
Report Abuse
16/12/2007 12:06:00

What I dont understand about professional footballers needing work permits is they will clearly be working and paying taxes,think of the revenue the goverment would get if more were allowed in.I dont understand it,it would be a downright disgrace if the guy was deported especially that he now has a child that was born in the UK.
Report Abuse
16/12/2007 12:29:00

He has no rights to remain in this country. The Home Office and an Independant Immgration Judge have fully looked into his case and decided against him. He has nothing to fear by being returned home ..... I know lets just open the borders to everyone shall we? If he worked in Tesco on the tills who would give a flying fig?
Report Abuse
16/12/2007 12:30:00

If he returns to his country of birth, there's a 75% chance he'll be killed. And he has EVERY right to remain in this country. He's a law-abiding citizen who payes his taxes.
Report Abuse
16/12/2007 12:42:00

Aamir - who said 75%? The judge certainly didn't. Denis_B is right really. We constantly hear about the certainty of death should they return but then hear about a guy in this country because of this reason. He commits terrorist offences and then dissapears back home rather conveniently? How many people can this island support when 1000's of tax payers are leaving for sunnier climbs. How will our pensions cope, the NHS where it takes months to get treatment and from personal experience this delay can/may lead to the death of someone close? I know it's not PC to complain and I'm certainly not racist but where do you draw the line?
Report Abuse
16/12/2007 12:59:00

This guy (Bangura) is a law-abiding citixen (like you, me, and many others) and payes his taxes. If he goes back, it is likely he'll be killed by the force his dad used to be leader of.
Report Abuse
16/12/2007 13:05:00

It's difficult sometimes to know what the truth is in all of this. Certainly he was accused of lying during his appeal case with Bangura admitting he did for various reasons. The force you speak of was a secret society his dad was involved in who have apparently threatened to harm him. I don't know what clout they have or how big a threat it is but the appeals guys would have and they decided there was no threat.
Report Abuse
16/12/2007 13:25:00

Bangoura has every right to stay and if it were a guy on a till in Tesco and he was law abiding and in employment then he'd have every right to stay also.Just because someone is an asylum seeker does not mean they are a terrorist,all of these people have to leave their country to try and make a better life for themselves and Im sure would rather stay in their own countries but have no other option,these people are marginilsed enough as it is and its attitudes like that which encourages terrorisim.
Report Abuse
16/12/2007 13:27:00

Ever since I first heard this story I've been disgusted by the way Al Bangura has been treated. He's a first class citizen who has given his all to Watford and is an example to young footballers everywhere of what you can achieve if you put your head down and work (I think he's even captained his club on some occasions). If he returns to Sierra Leone his life would be under threat. To escape the regime he would have been subjected to had he stayed he risked everything and was nearly raped in the process. Now he's put all that behind him and entertained Championship and Premiership crowds alike. He should stay and for one I'll be signing the petition.
Report Abuse
16/12/2007 13:40:00

Denis_B and Gazvilla - check your family heritage; go back a few centuries....... perhaps you'll find a link to the Romans, Vikings, Normans, Celts. Before you start judging others' rights to be in a certain country try to remember that virtually all of us are descendants of a culture that were forced immigrants at some point in history. Europeans didn't get to South Africa, Australia, the entire North and South American continent, and numerous other parts of the world because of an invitation by the natives. This kid is trying to do things right because he is scared and wants to better himself.
Report Abuse
16/12/2007 14:36:00

and you trust the authorities Denis? I don't, the cover ups that lot get up to are amazing. I have a whole file full or letters about me waiting for a brain op for instance, total cover up as they never put me on the list. I digress. This lad is contributing to society unlike so many of the spongers in society, both British and otherwise. Suppose if he had money he would be of interest to Labour, hey they might even have given him a peerage.
The Fear
Report Abuse
16/12/2007 14:42:00

Absolute disgrace that they'd consider deporting such a positive member of society and he's handling the situation with grace too. It's also a disgrace that people are so uneducated as to write off this guy under the label that he's "not got the right to be here". It's ignorant and small minded. There's a difference between disposing of those who don't contribute (which i am all for) and those who bring something like this guy clearly dose.
Report Abuse
16/12/2007 18:01:00

I'm with Denis_B on this one. Rules are rules and have to be followed, you cant set a presedent just because he is a footballer. What kind of message is that sending out?
Report Abuse
16/12/2007 19:19:00

It isn't because he is a footballer, it is because he came here at the age of 15 with nothing but the clothes he had on his back and still he managed to make a useful contribution to society. There are others, as Denis says, who man the tills and yes, when they are set for deportation, fuss is made by their friends and colleagues as well, it is just as a footballer it is more high profile. It seems there are more than enough wasters in this country (again of all nationalities including our own) so it seems a shame to kick out one who is making a positive impact.
The Fear
Report Abuse
16/12/2007 19:42:00

i'm signing. At the end of the day I'd rather have a lad who has worked hard to get where he is today rather than those hood wearing dossers who think the world owes them a living, living in my country.
Report Abuse
17/12/2007 02:25:00

I find some people need to do some homework, look into the country and regime he left behind, look into the fact he has been here for so long and is now a parent of a british citizen, do we have the right to make that child fatherless? I could understand some of the attitudes on here if he was not contributing to our country, if he was a scrounger, if he was a terrorist, if he was one of the many people draining our economy instead of contributing a fair amount of his wage packet to the government coffers that feed and look after everyone of you reading this who use the NHS or are on benefits. He has my full support, good luck to him.
Report Abuse
17/12/2007 12:26:00

I sympathise with his plight, and yes I'll be signing the petition. Whether it does any good remains to be seen, and whether we are being mislead or lied to is open to interpretation, but when my country starts kicking out the trash from overseas that are here to scrounge while making war against us, then I'll start keeping mum when we feel the need to deport a seemingly decent kid who is paying his way.
Report Abuse
17/12/2007 18:17:00

Looks like his case is now under review, so good luck to the kid.
Report Abuse
21/12/2007 01:33:00


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