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Al Bangura 11/12/2007

Posted by Matt Rowson in Thoughts about things.

I’m frankly too angry to be particularly coherent about this.  I have a ball of fury welling up inside that really needs a release… it’s probably a good job that I’m not playing football today, but I pity the bastard that cuts me up on the way home.

The Official Site today reports that Al Bangura has had his application for leave of stay in the UK turned down by the Asylum and Immigration authorities.

Let’s leave aside for the minute that he’s a professional footballer carving out a respectable career by those standards and earning a very decent living by anybody else’s.  I’m not sure that this is irrelevant to the issue – surely his gainful employment and contribution to the exchequer has to carry some weight.  But Al’s case stands up very well without it.

You have to ask yourself what sort of tin-pot “justice system” offers asylum to an individual as a minor, allows him to set up a life, start a family, and gain employment only to turf him out again when his carriage turns back into a pumpkin.  There is, of course, a need to vet such applications, but the decision having been made to grant him asylum at such an age, whether appropriate or not (and we’ve all heard enough of Al’s story to make our own judgments on that one) Al should surely be allowed to continue the life he has set up for himself.  Otherwise, all the Home Office does in offering such temporary asylum is breed instability – having escaped Sierra Leone once, whatever the circumstances, to expect Bangura to spend a few years in limbo before being sent back again is plainly absurd.

We are lead to believe that an appeal against the decision is planned; the Official Site doesn’t sound overwhelmingly positive with regard to the chances of the appeal’s  success.  If the worst comes to the worst, the least we can do is kick up such an almighty stink about the issue that people actually start to look at our asylum laws through something other than the Daily Mail’s bigoted goggles.

Not that this will help Al Bangura.


1. Wrighty - 11/12/2007

Totally concur with Matt on this, I am so fing angry about this. The asylum laws need to be looked at properly rather than the knee jerk reactions we get every time some right wing idiot wants to get themself a bit of publicity.
I’ll read this again later and maybe post again once my thought proccess calms down

2. Esp - 11/12/2007

Without trying to cast aspertions or to upset anyone who has African relatives I think this decision puts our political system on a par with some of the more lunatic African governments

It’s a laughable decision that you would expect from a backward third world regime rather than from the home of democracy and a so-called civilised country

I think this transcends politics and I fear the decision would have probably been reached even with a Tory government but apart from the Daily Mail I hope that the cause and the campaign receive deserved national publicity

Whitehall has more lunatics in it than an asylum; knee jerk Wright says. Jerk offs the lot of them I’d say and that is from someone who HAS calmed down a bit

3. simmo - 11/12/2007

Matt, even though you say you wrote the piece in anger it is very articulate.

I am an immigration lawyer and face these nonsense decisions every day. Obviously as a Hornet fan I am upset at the decision regarding Al but not at all surprised.

Unfortunately you are accurate when you refer to the asylum laws effectively being created because of “the Daily Mail’s bigoted goggles”. It seems that the majority of people in this country now believe that every person who claims asylum is either here for the benefits or here to commit a crime. This is obviously not true but is fuelled daily by articles in the rag press. It is only when an injustice such as Al’s situation arises that people actually stop to question what is happening. It seems that one of the ways to change things is to stop buying these rags in the hope that they start to act responsibly and do not just resort to lazy journalism.

Al’s situation is not entirely hopeless as the Government could intervene. However he may have to return to Sierra Leone to make an application to come back to the UK. Lets hope that our Government intervene on this occasion before then because an application from Sierra Leone could take a long time.

Please also remember that asylum seekers to the UK are generally not here to take your benefits, steal your job and commit criminal offences but have left their country for a genuine reason.

4. Patrick Crozier - 11/12/2007

Just for the record, this right-wing idiot would abolish all immigration laws.

See: http://www.instapatrick.com/index/insta/individual/immigration1/

And, yes, this is an outrage and I would have thought so even he hadn’t been a Watford player.

5. John F - 11/12/2007

Matt, thanks for raising this. I too am suffering from a level of anger that is bad for my blood pressure. There really is no good reason for the decision if the government (small g) are to send out reasonable messages regarding those that arrive seeking genuine asylum. Perhaps if he had been depending on the state and was leading a criminal gang they would have been more kindly disposed. This looks like a way of responding to the bigoted sections of the media by saying look we’ll even throw out someone who is successful and is a great role model for young black men. Alternatively it may be that some of the jobsworths at the Home Office just see him as a statistic that counts towards their targets. I now believe that justice is dead in this country and currently I can’t see any politicians who will rise to the need. They are willing to stand up for terrorists but not a thoroughly decent young man. I am just so frustrated with the faceless army.

6. Mick G. - 11/12/2007

In 100% agreement with Matt and Wrighty on this.
I hope Claire Ward is banging the loudest possible drum and is able to raise it at P.M.Q.s tomorrow.
The whole thing is a monumental travesty.

7. Kris - 11/12/2007

Al’s situation is completely ridiculous. He has been allowed to build a base in England – build a family. Whatever happened to him before he first came – you cannot let someone stay and build a life only to kick them out after four years.

Add to this that Al is holding his own and by far have repaid British society through his taxes. Al takes care of him self and his family. But he is also a fantastic role model for others who come into Brittain from similar circumstances. Work hard for what you want and you have a shot.

I can’t get my head around the decision made in Al’s case but on the other hand I can’t see an appeal being succesful. So I just hope the club finds a solution for keeping Al on the books and loaning him to a foreign club.

8. stephen hoffman - 11/12/2007

al is contributing to the country , he pays the highest level of taxes . he is giving something to Britain . unfortunately i have a feeling the home office is trying to make an example of Al Bangura — to show themselves as tough on immigration . Just to put asylum into perspective the asylum levels have decreased rather than increased in this country in the past 10 years . As for immigration itself there is a point in having a lower level of immigration but thats more to do with economic migrants rather than those in genuine need of asylum. to be honest im not hopeful for the appeal as i read on issues like this there is only a 10% success rate. if al when sent back to sierra leone and is killed the government will have blood on their hands . this is a travesty of justice , when a government refuses asylum to a person who was persecute and has a family , and pays the highest rate of tax — who are they going to accept as a genuine case of asylum. did the home office give a reason for al bangura being unsuccessfull in his asylum claim? if they dont say why , then clearly they have no case .

9. stephen hoffman - 11/12/2007

also this is a case which transcends politics not all right wing people are loonies ..

10. NRC - 12/12/2007

Meanwhile, let’s all do what we can and support Claire Ward’s efforts by writing to Jacqui Smith – it may all be a bit ‘disgusted of Tunbridge Wells’, but everyone has to pitch in. There’s nothing policitians hate more than noise in the system. Talking of noise, let’s hear it for Al this Saturday.

11. AndyC - 12/12/2007

I knew if I came to this site I would see an article about Al, such a ludicrous decision should have as many voices speaking out as possible.

I’m in support of Al staying in this country. He’s built a life for himself, a profession and is contributing to the community and economy. The government doesn’t care about any of these things, I’m not even sure what they gain from it…certainly not an “example case” . It’s just another example of our topsy-turvy justice system.

I’ll be writing a letter (not sure if it’ll do anything but every voice counts) and singing his name loud and clear on Saturday.

Bang bang bang bang…Al Bangura!

12. Billyo - 12/12/2007

And if you live elsewhere in the country write to your local MP.

13. Meldrew - 12/12/2007

I find it beyond belief that Al Bangura is made an example of, yet we allow in anyone from the EEC simply because they are European – no matter whether they will be contributing to the country or not.

As Boothroyd said ‘This once great country’

14. East Stand Man - 12/12/2007

His poor partner and baby. What will become of them. Absolutely ridiculous decision. All the facts as I know them only point to one decision, so how the bloody hell do they come up with kicking him out of the country.

Have they no sense of justice or fairness.

The WFC Offical Website now has links to some petitions you can sign up to.

15. Kris - 12/12/2007

If you write Claire Ward on her website – you get a nice email back with a statement. I don’t know much about her but she seems genuine in the statement.

16. Wrighty - 13/12/2007

I’m not sure if everyone who reads this get’s Aidy’s e-mail, so I thought I’d cut and paste it here as it is relevant to this discussion

http://www.watfordfc.com 12 December 2007

The Watford family

Hi everyone,

Right, here we go. I don’t imagine that any of you would expect me to speak about anything other than Al Bangura today.

Suffice to say that all of the players mean a lot to me, and to you, but we all know that in Al’s case he means a whole lot more to everyone.

I don’t need to tell and retell his story to you all; you know what he’s been through and what he’s facing by now. But, what I do want to talk about is the Watford family. That’s me, you, the players, the staff, the past and the present people, and most importantly Al and his young family.

We all talk about the ‘family club’ and we all know about the legacy left to us, well if we really are a family club now is the time to show it.

In fact, now is the time for the whole of Watford, the whole of our community, to fight for one common cause. Time to put any issues aside and fight for what is right and just as we see it.

Al will be at Vicarage Road on Saturday and I want us all to really show him, and our Government, just what this young man means to this community. If we make enough noise they will have to listen.

I don’t think that there is much more to say on the subject other than that, but remember that Saturday is Family Day and in a weird sort of way, we couldn’t have timed it any better. Al is part of our family and let’s show him so.

You can email our MP Claire Ward directly and sign her petition, so please register your support via her parliamentary email: wardc@parliament.uk

We are one team.

Come on!


17. stephen hoffman - 14/12/2007

it’s amazing we let the killer of the school teacher phillip lawrence stay in the country ,and abu hamza , but when it comes to people who genuinely need asylum like the iraqi interpreters and Al Bangura we slam the door on them . the home office has no sense of justice or fair play or decision making , it just picks on the easiest options who shouldn’t be sent home ,and cant be bothered to send those out of this country who are a genuine threat . what is up with this country where the criminal can stay , and the innocents cant .

18. Pete - 15/12/2007

The lunatics have taken over the asylum.

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