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Young Footballer To Be Deported?

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.

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

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Writer:J P Fear
Date:Sunday December 16 2007
Time: 11:47AM


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 :)
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!
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.
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?
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
16/12/2007 13:40:00
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