Monday, February 12, 2007

Ali in the Observer

I've known Ali Yassine a long time now. He was watching Cardiff when it wasn't so easy to be a black face at Ninian. He is a Somalian Welsh speaker who has been prominent in changing the public perception of the Welsh language. He is also an actor who I have worked with professionally, and I've got a lot of respect and no little admiration for the man.

It was a shame then to read a backhanded criticism of my work at Cardiff City before Ali took over in his best known role as stadium announcer at Ninian Park. In an article in the Sunday Observer, Ali states that "previous announcers had no connection with the club." Hmmm, thanks mate.

Now as someone who only did the job for the season or two before Ali started, he probably wasn't thinking about me, but the announcer before me was the legendary Phil Suarez, who sadly died before his time a few years ago. If Phil Suarez had no connection with Cardiff City, then I don't know who does.

Now I know how these things work, and I'm sure Ali's phonecall interview has been butchered. It certainly didn't read like the Ali I know. But let's not get carried away with the cult status. Not everybody likes a showman on the mic. Dinosaurs like me believe that announcers are for announcing so I never worried about "playing the same music every week". For me, it's a football match not a discotheque.

And I don't know what to make of Ali's claim that he was the reason for Wales' first goal against Azerbaijan. Apparently he had got the crowd so worked up that the Azer players were standing dumb as Wales strolled the ball into the net. Please. Come on. You didn't really say that did you Ali? And if you did, you don't really believe it?


Anonymous said...

Just read your remarks. Seems that article touched a nerve.


Eric the Red said...

OK. So tell me what you meant when you said that "previous announcers had no connection with the club"?

Anonymous said...

Quite. Could he actually name all the announcers? Who did the announcing for the 2 1/2 seasons of Ali's Resignation?