Often Partisan

Where Are They Now? – Part XI

It’s sad, but thoughts of this player came back into my mind because of the tributes up and down the country to Fabrice Muamba. Back in 2002, this player lost several members of his family in the MV Joola disaster in Senegal; at St Andrews Blues fans held up coloured cards on the Tilton to display the Senegalese flag in tribute and solidarity to this tough-tackling midfielder. I am of course referring to Aliou Cissé.

Aliou Cissé

image courtesy Birmingham Mail

It’s not hard to picture Aliou playing for Blues. A tough tackling, hard as nails midfielder that took no prisoners who got sent off on debut for a tackle on Ashley Cole that the then-Arsenal player made the most of. Whilst the sending off did get rescinded Cissé kept picking up the bookings – five in his first six games and ten by the end of 2002 were the hallmark of a player who liked a tackle.

Signed on the back of a good World Cup campaign out in the Far East for Senegal, Cissé formed a tigerish midfield partnership with Robbie Savage that whilst being a little low on finesse and skill more than made up for it with passion, aggression and pride.

As mentioned in the opening paragraph, Cissé tragically lost several members of his family in the MV Joola ferry disaster of September 2002.

image courtesy bcfc.com

Before the match against Manchester City on October 26 2002, Blues fans on the Tilton raised coloured cards that combined displayed the flag of Senegal, as a tribute to the family members that Aliou had lost and also to the 1800 plus others who had died in the tragedy.

However, an injury ruled him out of the second half of that season, and on arriving late back to pre-season training Cissé found himself placed on the transfer list by Steve Bruce. It wasn’t until August 2004 however that Cissé moved on, in a £300,000 transfer to Portsmouth that has since had concerns raised about it by the Stevens Enquiry – which had later ramifications when in 2008 Karren Brady and David Sullivan were arrested in connection with the enquiry. Both were released on bail and neither have had to face trial for the charges.

Aliou made 28 appearances for Pompey, of which 23 were in the league. Either the refs had gotten used to Cissé or he had calmed down because his time at Pompey was marked by three yellows, and having only made three appearances in his second season at Fratton Park Cissé was released on a free.

The Senegalese midfielder signed for one of his former clubs in Sedan and he made twelve appearances in their 2006-7 relegation season. He spent a further year with Sedan in Ligue 2, making thirteen appearances and scoring a rare goal.

One of those Ligue 2 games with Sedan was against a team called Niort. In the first half of that game, young Malgasy-French (and former Blues reserve) full-back Marco Randrianantoanina collapsed on the pitch from a heart attack, requiring resuscitation and defibrillation. Thankfully Marco made a full recovery in hospital (although he never played football again), and the match was finished after he left the pitch with Aliou Cissé coming on as a second half sub for Sedan.

Cissé spent the 2008/9 season with Nimes Olympique, making nine appearances before finally retiring from professional football as a player.

In January this year, Aliou was named assistant coach for the Senegalese Olympic Team, with a brief to get the young lions into the London Olympics. However, after Senegal’s shocking showing at the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations most of the management staff were given the boot and Cissé was named interim coach along with Karim Sega Diouf. Interestingly, one of the few coaches to survive the cull was former Blues full back Ferdinand Coly.

Senegal’s first match under the stewardship of Cisse and Sega resulted in a creditable 0-0 friendly draw against South Africa.


10 Responses to “Where Are They Now? – Part XI”

  • skareggae72 says:

    I remember this guy coming on in the 90th min against Sunderland away.
    He proceeded to sprint after whoever had the ball (i was thinking : if he gets anywhere near the ball hes going to the man as well,he had that look about him)……. seconds later,instant red,without even touching the ball.

  • skareggae72 says:


  • Parisblue says:

    “gottten used to” ! Suppose you will be talking about “soccer” next!

  • keith Purdom says:

    Love these where are they now and what a lot of reseacrh you must be doing. Would love to see my childhood here Bertie Auld featured-Got Johnny Haynes sent off for hitting Auld’s fist with his chin, scored a goal when a ball boy took a corner ( I didnt make that up did I ) and complained that Ron Springett wasnt standing in the right place when he took a pen against Sheff W at the railway end–he scored anyway

    keep themn coming

  • Tony D says:

    Johnny Vincent for a future article please. Grabbed my imagination when I was a very small boy – I think because his name sounded like a comic book hero!

  • Leigh says:

    Definitely Bertie Auld, remember him chinning Ron Yeats, I recall Liverpool paraded their silverware before that match, and, if I remember correctly we won 3:1. Must rush off and check that in Gil Merricks memoirs!

  • Oldbluenose says:

    I reckon you have such a wealth of ex-blues players to troll through, but ” easier said than done “. finding out what happened to them cannot be that easy, methinks,!!.

  • andy says:

    What happened to Andy Kennedy? I remember this scottish striker being a firm favourite with the St Andrews crowd.

  • biggun_BCFC says:

    What happened to Emile Heskey, I don’t see him on the score sheet… Is he in the country ? Retired, I just don’t knoe :D

  • Kaje says:

    Aliou is one of my favourites of recent years – always gave his all, never moaned, just got on with things. He wasn’t a bad player, either – had some technical ability and never really did anything silly. Superb to hear he’s now the Senegal caretaker boss! :D

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