James Young for Soccer Gods:
Removed from friends and family at a young age and placed in an often alien landscapes, it is little wonder players have often found it hard to settle, particularly given that, historically, clubs did not always do all that they could for their new arrivals. The BBC’s South American soccer correspondent Tim Vickery has often recounted the experiences of the likes of Colombian striker Juan Pablo Angel at Aston Villa and Argentina’s Hernan Crespo at Chelsea, early pioneers of the foreign legion that would soon take over English soccer. In those days, with a distinct lack of club liaison staff to help with the process of adaptation, the players’ greatest challenge was often not performing on the field, but working out how to call a mechanic or buy a washing machine.
It’s a fantastic piece. I was happy to see him quote the amazing Tim Vickery who has often spoken of the same issues in 5 live’s World Football Phone-in.