Thursday, 21 June 2007

Mixed Feelings About Yassin

Reaction to the news that we have signed France's U-21 captain Yassin Moutaouakil seems so far to be universally positive - but I have to say it prompts a mixed reaction from me. Not because it points to Luke Young's departure (happy with this if we get a decent price; undoubtedly a very good defender but my abiding memory of him will be as the supposed captain of the team skulking off the pitch at Brammell Lane last season leaving Matty Holland to face the fans), rather because of the domestic fall-out.

My partner is French and to make it worse she lives in Lyon (it's a real hardship going to a city that even Parisians accept as the culinary centre of France). Usually it's an entente cordial but there are the occasional Jeanne d'Arc moments (relations are bound to be somewhat strained this autumn when the rugby world cup gears up).

While she sometimes acknowledges that she is not strictly speaking an expert on football (worse still I've managed to get hooked up with the only French woman in history who can't cook), and with the usual Gallic shrug expresses disappointment over another year which sees Lyon fail to win the Champions League and only walk away with the French title, she was emphasising through last season that our problems were down to the absence of French players in the team. I had of course hoped that Kelly Youga would make the grade. Now, if we get promotion with Yassin she's going to claim all the credit and 'I told you so' may get the occasional airing. We may never know if we could have done it without French help - and I'll never be allowed to forget it.

If truth be told she took to The Valley like a duck to water (before it gets stuffed, force-fed, slaughtered, grilled, smoked etc). How could it not be love when her answer to my question after her first game, a rather undistiguished draw with Coventry (which did feature a splendid JJ goal), as to which part she most enjoyed was 'when we scored'. Either someone trained her very well or she instinctively knew the way to an Addick's heart.

By the way, it have it from the horse's mouth (before it gets slaughtered, stewed, grilled etc) that the correct pronounciation of Moutaouakil is: moo ... ta .... ooo (like rou without the r) ... a ... kill.

It might seem insensitive to post something (and something which is at least aimed at being humourous) about partners in light of the losses suffered by Confidential Rick and Charlton North Downs. I obviously hope not - and that if there is any impact it is to provide a reminder of happy memories.

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